A friend of mine has a small company that needs a new website,
and I am interested in helping him, since I have worked a bit with Asp.net MVC. However, I am not sure if I'm allowed to sell or give away websites made with the community edition of Visual Studio.

The license says


INSTALLATION AND USE RIGHTS. a. Individual license. If you are an individual working on your own applications to sell or for any other purpose, you may use the software to develop and test those applications.

b. Organization licenses. If you are an organization, your users may use the software as follows:

· Any number of your users may use the software to develop and test your applications released under Open Source Institute (OSI)-approved open source software licenses.

· Any number of your users may use the software to develop and test your applications as part of online or in person classroom training and education, or for performing academic research.

· If none of the above apply, and you are also not an enterprise (defined below), then up to 5 of your individual users can use the software concurrently to develop and test your applications.

· If you are an enterprise, your employees and contractors may not use the software to develop or test your applications, except for open source and education purposes as permitted above. An “enterprise” is any organization and its affiliates who collectively have either (a) more than 250 PCs or users or (b) more than one million US dollars (or the equivalent in other currencies) in annual revenues, and “affiliates” means those entities that control (via majority ownership), are controlled by, or are under common control with an organization.

c. Demo use. The uses permitted above include use of the software in demonstrating your applications.

d. Backup copy. You may make one backup copy of the software, for reinstalling the software.

If I understand correctly from this answer to a very similar question
I am allowed to sell software I've made, as long as its not customized for a big company which websites tend to be.

Is it true that I need cannot use Visual Studio community to make a website for my friend, even if I do it for free?

Is there a relatively cheap version of Visual Studio that will allow me to do this?

Edit: it might be worth saying that my friend is a car dealer and his company does sell cars for more than 1 million USD a year.

  • While I'm not familiar with this particular license, it's worth mentioning the non-obvious option that b1 appears to provide: Sell it to your friend under an open source license, sidestepping the question of whether you count as an organization. That will probably give him the power to modify/distribute/etc your code after you sell it to him, but that's probably a non-issue for a one-off custom website for a friend.
    – Ixrec
    Commented Sep 7, 2015 at 18:20
  • If you are unsure about the community edition, you can try if VS Express Edition suits your needs. And if does not, ask your friend if he will buy you a copy of VS professional.
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


From your question, it sounds like you would be a contractor for your friends business. It doesn't sound like you'd be considered an affiliate as your consulting company is not under direct control of your friends business. Since you probably don't have 250 or more computers, and you're consulting business probably doesn't do more than $1M in annual revenue, you wouldn't be considered an enterprise.

You sound exactly like what is described in a. and nothing like b. definition of an enterprise. And the line above says if you are not any of the above and not an enterprise, you're good. So my layman interpretation of the text you posted here is that you'd be fine to sell the app to your friends business. Of course, consult a lawyer to be sure. They probably could get you an answer fairy cheaply. It wouldn't take one long to read the license and give you an answer. I consulted a lawyer for a matter and our conversation took 15 minutes for me to describe and her to give advice, so I only paid $45. ($180/hr rate).

Also I feel I should clarify something; nothing in the text you've pasted indicates that it matters who your customer is. It matters if you're considered an affiliate or not, but I'd be surprised if you were considered one.

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