Office 365 SharePoint Administration requires a license

One of the misconceptions I see is that people believe you need to assign every Office 365 user a license. It has been best practice to create an Office 365 global administrator assign them no license and then use that user to configure and manage Office 365. You can create as many of these ‘admin’ users as you want generally as they don’t consume a license.

I just tried that with the latest version of Office 365.


So I created a user called Tech Support and made them a global admin as shown above.


I then didn’t assign any licenses as shown above.


If I then login as the admin user I can go to Exchange Online administration as shown above.


I can also go to Lync Online administration, again as shown above.


But when I go to SharePoint Online administration I see the above error. I tried to add that Tech Support user as a site collection owner and that didn’t work either.


As soon as a assign a SharePoint Online license to that user as shown above,


I can access SharePoint administration.

So it would seem that to administer SharePoint Online I need to assign the user a SharePoint license but I don’t have to do the same for either Exchange or Lync Online?

That’s a little strange to my mind. I hope I’ve overlooked something obvious in all this.

2 thoughts on “Office 365 SharePoint Administration requires a license

  1. I am unsure of the Lync Administration but I know that in the O365 (based on 2010) you have to have a license to perform admin tasks of Exchange. As you've seen you can access some areas of the ECP but if you attempt to dig deeper or use PowerShell you'll start seeing errors.We always enforce a +1 policy for our clients so the assigned global administrator has their own license to eliminate any possible restrictions.JB.


  2. Yep, +1 always the way to go but it is the inconsistency that causes the real issue I believe. It does here but doesn't here. I works in the old version but not the new version. If it was documented somewhere again I wouldn't have an issue but I can't find anything that spells it out. Annoying to say the least but now it is here on my blog I hope that will at least let people know and maybe illustrate to Microsoft that having it consistent and documented is in their own best interests!


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