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Changing JIRA User to Portal (customer) only


With the upcoming changes to the cloud pricing to be per user, this question has become even more important which is:


How do you change a user with JIRA access to now only be a customer? i.e. portal only access. 


The cloud instance I'm currently working on has a number of users who no longer need access to JIRA projects as they only need to use the service desk portal to create and manage their requests.


I've tried a lot of different ways but essentially it appears that the only way a user can now have portal only access if they were an existing JIRA user with JIRA access etc (after the portal only checkbox has been removed) is to leave them as a user but remove all their groups. As noted above though, that means that we would end up paying for a user license for someone who should now be a customer only due to internal restructure. 


(If I deactivate the user, it will not them log in as a customer only because the email address is already in use and the user has been deactivated.)


Anyone else can think of another way? Or is it going to be a feature request/fug to JSD as I suspect?



6 answers

2 accepted

4 votes
Answer accepted
Angélica Luz
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
May 28, 2019 • edited

Hi everyone,

I understand that this post is from 2017 and many things have changed in Jira Service Desk and Site administration.

We have a feature that allows us to migrate customers to Atlassian account where they can be internal users with a license to work on tickets or they can still be a customer without counting as a license, but with the ability to log in using SSO, for example.

For now, there is no option to migrate a customer back to a portal only account, but removing the product access has the same effect. A user without any default group won't have access to your Jira because whenever they try to log in, they will be automatically redirected to the portal since they don't have a license.
You can find more details about the difference between customers with and without Atlassian account here.

Hope this clarifies.
If you have any other question regarding this matter, please let us know.


Removing product access does not have 'the same effect' for us.

In our instance, with SSO, an Atlassian account user that was never a service desk customer cannot be added as a service desk customer, even after all their product access is removed. 

This means that SSO cannot be used for portal-only accounts. It also means the SSO user has to be deleted before the customer portal user can be created.

Revoking 'Site Access' for an Atlassian account user is the wrong way to free up a jira license when you want them to keep service desk access.

If you add a user via 'People' page in Service Desk, to the Service Desk Customer role, it will fail if you've revoked 'Site Access'. However if you've granted site access, the people screen will add them to the jira-servicedesk-users group, which still requires a license. (It probably also fails if you don't have any available service desk licenses).

So, to allow an Atlassian account user to become a portal-only user and maintain SSO, it seems the following must be met.

- Ensure account has Site Access
- Remove account from all groups that grant licensed access
- Ensure available license for Service Desk
- Add user by email address on People screen within Service Desk
- remove user from jira-servicedesk-users to free license (or consider removing jira-servicedesk-users from Product Access groups for Service Desk, not sure this would work)

this is a big pain in the butt, I have a customer that is really difficult, and he was added as a jira user in error by  a junior admin, now i cant remove him as a user because every-time we do we revoke his access to his support calls. this really needs to be fixed.

Like # people like this

If his support calls were added in the service desk (rather than a regular jira project), he should be able to keep them if you remove him from the automatic licensed users groups in Jira - `confluence-users`, `jira-users`, `jira-servicedesk-users`, etc (or your custom groups if you've set it up that way).

2 votes
Answer accepted

Hi all, this seems to have been resolved by Atlassian silently. Now when you remove the application access on the user on Cloud user management (by unchecking the checked application boxes), they become purely a customer and the license count for the applications drops by one. Not as neat as the previous one-click solution but at least we are now no longer being charged for users that are now customers due to restructures, mistakes etc.


I tested this out on a client's affected Cloud instance on a colleague's account and confirmed that everything works as expected and as a customer, he is still able to log in and create requests via the JSD portal with the same login details etc. 


Hope this helps!

It appears to be something missed in the customer mapping so I have raised it as a suggestion for JSD Cloud. Link here:

Was there any resolution to this? I don't have the "Restricted portal access" checkbox on Jira user management.


My User:

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 8.44.31 AM.pngDocumentation for converting a user to Service Desk only:


Hi. No. I've raised a suggestion which is linked above. Please vote for it

Would SAML be supported for JIRA SERVICE DESK Portal only customers?

We also need a user provisioning for customer service portal via SAML SSO token.


Hi Alex. You'll have more success getting this answered if you post this as your own question as an answered question doesn't have the same visibility. 

@Aleksey Shchukin Have you every figured this out? This is beyond any frustration. I can't believe this is not spelled out anywhere.

0 votes
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Jun 29, 2017

Hi Karalee,

At this point the only way is to remove the Application access as you have done so this would be a great candidate for a Suggestion on JAC.  Once you create it please post the ticket number here so others can comment and vote on it!



Thanks. Disappointing that I was right :P


I've created a suggestion and added a link as the accepted answer. 


Just hit this issue with a handful of Users I want to convert back to customers.

Will follow the suggestion above but its not an easy transition back and forth.

Suggest an answer

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