Understanding Power Apps Portals pricing and how it differs from Dynamics Portals

“You know you’re priced right when your customers complain—but buy anyway.”

John Harrison

Dynamics portals are changing name to Power Apps portals and the pricing is changing which could cause a significant rise for some portal users.  This Dynamics portals are changed their name to Power Apps Portals, and the pricing is changing, which could cause a significant rise for some portal users. This post helps readers understand the price changes. It’s important to discuss with current customers the coming increase in costs so they have time to act before it’s implement. The new pricing comes into effect on the 1st October 2020 for existing Portal customers.

The Power App Portal price increase was announced in Inspire 2019 and active for new portals from October 2019, read Microsoft Pricing FAQ portal section for more details from Microsoft

The Power Apps Portals pricing is used for new portal customers but for existing customers need to assess how the pricing change will affect their monthly costs.

The goal of this blog is to understand the new Portal pricing and how it will affect existing customers.

What are Dynamic Portals?


Power App Portals is the new name for Dynamics portal.  A portal is a way to extend your Dynamics environment or Power Platform environment with people outside your organisation (e.g. not Dynamics or Power Apps users).  The portal functionality is built on the old ADX studio portal functionality (brought by Microsoft and renamed Dynamics portals).  

Portals are hosted in a separate Web Server and linked to your Dynamics instance/Common Data service instance, the allows you to have a portal where your customers can raise cases which get added into Dynamics and then worked on but without your customers need full Dynamics licences.

Dynamics portals are a way to create a portal which integrates with Dynamics 365 with Dynamics developer’s only need to learn liquid templates (a mixture of Dynamics and HTML).  You need not worry about hosting the Web Server or capacity of the portal.
These posts describe Dynamics portals

This post describes the new Power App Portals

Power Portals is expanding beyond Dynamics 365 and enabling the Power Platform and the data source is Common Data Service (CDS).  The future is built around smaller solutions and based on data in CDS and the Power Portals is another step towards building an infrastructure to support this and move away from Dynamics based.

What is the current pricing

You used to get a portal with no additional cost when Dynamics 365 customers had 10 or more Enterprise licences

Additional Portals could be purchased at £377 per month.

New pricing

I say new pricing but it’s only new for existing customers
Microsoft is moving to Azure like consumption-based model and you no longer need to purchase a portal.  Like the change in not changing for instances and moving to data model. 

Portals don’t need you to purchase a portal, but they will charge you for number of logins and views.Here are the details of the new licencing from Power App licencing FAQ page

User typeModelSKU namesUnit capacityPrice/monthChannelComments
External user (authenticated)Per loginPower Apps portals login capacity add-on100 logins$200AllA login provides the authenticated user with access to a single portal for up to 24 hours
Power Apps portals login capacity add-on Tier 21000 logins$1000All
Power Apps portals login capacity add-on Tier 25000 logins$3500CSP only
External user (anonymous)Per page viewPower Apps portals page view capacity add-on100,000 page views$100All
Internal userVia licenseDynamics 365 (various)n/an/an/aCustom portal use rights are aligned with custom app use rights
Power Apps per app plan
Power Apps per user plan

Microsoft distinguishes between external user (authenticated) and External user (unauthenticated).  My understanding is customers who authenticate using a B2C AD authentication will login.

External users who don’t authenticate will view the page and the users who authenticate will be counted as a login.  

The difference here is if you have a FAQ or documentation on a portal for people to view are external unauthenticated.  Users who login and raise a case are authenticated.

Views are cheap $100 for 100000 views, whereas logins are more costly. 

A login is counted every 24 hours, so a user can login multiple times in 24 hours and it will count as one billable login, Microsoft cheerily says we should look at it as a day pass :-). 

A user can also access multiple portals for no extra cost if it links them to the same Dynamics or CDS instance.
Microsoft explains the differences on the licencing FAQ page Power App licencing FAQ page

What is the difference between Power Apps Portals and Dynamics 365 Portals in terms of licensing?**

ParameterDynamics 365 PortalsNew Power Apps Portals
Provisioning a portal environmentPurchase Dynamics 365 Additional Portal SKU at $500 per monthProvision a portal—no need to purchase portal addons to provision a portal
Qualifying base offersDynamics 365 licenses onlyCustomers can add on portal external login or page view capacity to Dynamics 365, Power Apps and Power Automate licenses
Internal use rightsDynamics 365 enterprise licenses, Dynamics 365 team member license.Internal users can now access portals with a Power Apps per-app/per-user license. For a Dynamics license it is same as custom Power Apps use rights.
MonetizationPer portal environment Per page viewPer log in Per page view
Entitlement for Dynamics 365 customers1 portal environment for the first 10 full Dynamics 365 USLsNot applicable―Power Apps Portals environments can be provisioned

Understanding costs

The good news is like Dynamics environments, we no longer pay for creating environments.  This makes it easier to deliver enterprise projects and create separate environments for dev, testing, QA, training, UAT, pre-production and production. 

Life Dynamics environments you aren’t charged for instances but charge for the data you use.  The benefit of this is it allow you to create other environments for development and testing, particularly useful with Microsoft have two major releases (April and October) which you must take.  This means you must test your customisations with the new release before your production instance is upgraded.

Portals no longer require you to purchase portal environments, but you will pay for logins and views.  This will make non-production environments cheaper because they will have low volume, it raises the question what happens when you want to load test a portal environment!


The portals look a good deal for low usage customers because the removal of a portal provision fee. The pricing that we know of at the moment is this

  • 100 logins at $200 = $2 per login
  • 1000 logins at $1000 = $1 per login
  • 5000 logins at $3500 = $0.70 per login

UK prices

  • 100 logins at £153 = £1.53 per login
  • 1000 logins at £765 = £0.75 per login
  • 5000 logins at £2677 = £0.53 per login

For over 5000 logins or more per month, speak to Microsoft because I think you would get some extra discount based on size.

You can see small users who get 200 logins per month will find it the same or cheaper but once you move above 300, then the new portal pricing will be more expensive (depending on how many portal environments you have)

if we use the 5000 logins to estimate the price of a heavier portal use we get

  • 10000 logins = £5354
  • 20000 logins = £10708

Customers with busy portals will face a bigger monthly, although I would suspect they could get a better deal by negotiating with Microsoft.

Why have Microsoft changed the pricing?

Since Microsoft moved Dynamics 365 to Azure they know the cost of supplying services and can price accordingly.  The previous model was great for customers who had high portals traffic because they paid a flat fee.

Portals is a powerful and popular functionality, with the previous low cost licencing it was attractive to most customers.  The competitive portal pricing would have helped Dynamics or the Power Platform win projects.
The popularity of portals has grown steadily, this article published on July 2019, it highlighted the growth in portals

  • 13,000 monthly active portals, up 33 percent in the last six months
  • 8.03 million monthly active users in the last month, up 180 percent in the last six months
  • 200 million page views per month – excluding bot traffic – which is 106 percent growth
  • 52 million monthly transactions, up 110 percent–this includes all CDS operations as well as log in and log out

I would expect these numbers to have continued to grow at the rate above.  Take into account increased portals would result from increased Dynamics 365 and Power Platform licencing.

The change to a consumption model is an increase in costs for heavy users, but you will only pay more if you have more portal users, so Microsoft will say it’s fair.

No one complains with Azure consumption based pricing because it’s a fair price, the portals pricing seems expensive compared to the previous price and this is the main complaint with the new pricing.

 Is the pricing fair?

Is this price increase fair?  If you have more portal users, you pay more and fewer portals uses will cost less. It’s cheaper than its competitors but it could be a significant increase for heavy users.  

Microsoft is in a difficult position, their initial portal pricing seems discounted to win users and now this big increase seems unfair, particularly to existing customers where their portal costs can jump significantly.  It would have been a smoother increase if Microsoft ramped their pricing increase over a 2 or 3 years.

To understand the pricing lets consider what you get for your money.
A portal framework to create a portal linked with Common Data Service or Microsoft Dynamics 365.   A portal service, with a hosted website where Microsoft deal with scaling, capacity, disaster recovery.

If you consider the cost to create and host your own website.  Additional development costs to integrate the website with Dynamics 365 or Power Platform, then the cost per login doesn’t seem overpriced.

Comparing the price of Salesforce portals, you can see (I think) they charge $2 per login and Microsoft are charging half that price.  I admit I know little about Salesforce portals and don’t know how the functionality compares, I just wanted to get a rough price.

Conclusions

Microsoft is moving to consumption based pricing.  Why this pricing increase has caused complaints is, it’s potentially an increase for existing portal users.  The goal of this post is to understand the pricing increase and encourage Dynamics professionals/partners to discuss the increase with their existing customers and help prepare and plan the increase.

The potential increase in portal pricing will anger customers who chose Dynamics 365 because of the cheap portal functionality.  Many businesses will have built a portal to be a key part of their business, the increase in portals might ruin their business model and these customers can feel aggrieved because they have invested a lot of money in Dynamics 365.

Looking at competitors prices or alternates to Power Portals then it feels Power Portals is still the best value for money.  There is the possibility that this could cause a better priced competitor to rise but I’m not sure they could do this and charge lower than Microsoft. 

There is a possibility people can take the portal source code.
A version Microsoft Dynamics 365 Portals Source Code Available for On-Premise Customers read this for more details.

you can download here

There is an open source portal project – xRM-Portals-Community-Edition

A good alternative would be an open source portal with similar functionality to Power Portals but this would need a community contribution.

The other painful part of the new portal pricing is the now customers have estimate and purchase the number of logins at the start of each month.  The logins do not roll over to the next month.  This will lead to customer buying more logins than they need and losing those extra logins.  It will involve wasted time estimating and purchasing views each month.  It’s extra hassle with no benefit.

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