Setting up Portals

Portals, in Zoho CRM, are designed to give the customers access to a part of the CRM. By creating portals, you can extend your Zoho CRM account's accessibility to your customers as well. Through a portal, your customers can access either the Leads or Contacts module and also some of the associated data such as products, invoices, and notes. They also have the option to view, edit, or create records, notes and attachments to the respective CRM modules.

Let us consider a few scenarios that will help you understand how portals can be helpful to your business.

  • In a franchise - Say you run a fast food business and have granted others the right to operate the franchise in a few locations. You use Zoho CRM to manage all the business details and to keep track of outlets' perfomance. But the franchise owners can request to view their outlets' performance and also their customers' details. In such cases, you can create exclusive portals for the franchise owners. They will be able to view and edit the relevant records right inside the CRM.
  • In the automobile industry - For example, you have an automobile shop and want to keep track of the customers' details, sold vehicles and servicing schedules. To do that, you can create a portal and share it with your clients. The customers can view and edit their details in the portal, and that will be updated in your CRM records. Similarly, if they want to get their vehicle serviced, they can fill in the details using the portal.
  • In an educational institute - If you run a school, instead of manually entering each and every student's details, you can provide the portal's access to the parents. They can add, update or view their child's details right inside the portal. Furthermore, you can share the students' grades and performance scores with the parents through the portal.
  • For business partners - Say you run a software company and use CRM to follow up with your contacts and leads or to track several deals that are at different stages. There is a meeting with the partners and you want to discuss all the contacts and the associated deals that have the highest revenue. Imagine how tedious it would be to share this elaborate information with individual partners. You can easily manage this situation by creating a portal for the partners, where you give them access to the contacts module and add a contact lookup in the deals module in CRM. This will enable them to view the contacts and their associated deals. Also, the partners would be able to add or remove details in the modules based on their permissions.


Permission Required: Users with Manage Portal profile permissions can create a portal and invite customers.



  • You can add the first user type and invite 10K users to the portal for free, additional users can be invited after payment. 
  • Below is the pricing model for additional purchases:
    50 users(minimum user count) - $600/month
    51 to 100 users - $12/user
    100 onwards - $10/user
  • You can add more than one portal user type and portal users after making payment, you can check the payment section by clicking on the Manage Subscription link in your CRM account.

Create & Set up Portals

Creating and setting up a portal consists of the following steps:

Step 1. Creating Portals

In Zoho CRM, you can configure upto 5 portals for the Leads, Contacts and Custom modules. By default, the company's name will be added as the portal name and it will be used to generate a URL that customers will use to access the portal. However, you can choose to change the portal name while creating the portal. If the portal name is already in use, Zoho CRM will check for the availability and prompt you to change it.


  • When you create a portal, a default portal user type called Client Portal will be created. This default portal will have the default settings and you cannot delete this portal user type from your CRM account. You can add 10,000 users to the default portal user type without making any payment, to add more users you need to check the pricing details. In this portal user type you can add only the clients or customers, you will not be able to add users from the same domain, that is your employees or partners.
  • For existing customers who have already created portal user types, the first portal user type will be considered as the default portal user type.  

Step 2. Defining Portal User Type

A User Type in a portal is a label for the users who will be accessing the modules from your organization's CRM account. Permissions can be defined for the user types that will enable or restrict access to the data in the CRM account. These user types can be vendors, clients, consultants, customers, partners, or resellers.

Please note that, only a customer can be the first portal user type.

Step 3. Configuring the Portal Tab

In this step, you will have to choose the modules and the specific layouts that the portal user will be able to access and also define the permissions to either create, edit, view or delete records. For instance, say you run a car company and want your clients to enter a few pieces of information. To achieve this, you can configure a portal exclusively for these clients and give them access to the Leads module. The clients can enter their details in the portal and that will be added to the CRM record. Configuring the portal tab includes the following steps:

  1. Choose the module: Depending on your business requirement, you can choose to give the customers access to either the Leads, Contacts or custom module. The customers will be able to view their own details in the module and based on their permission, they will be able to add records too.
  2. Select the related modules: The modules that have a lead or contact lookup are listed under the related modules. You can choose the list of related modules that you want the customers to access. 
  3. Select the layouts of the related modules: For each related module, you can choose more than one layout that the portal users will access.
  4. Define the module record permission: You can set the permission level for each record in a module. For example, you can allow the clients to view or edit their License number or the mailing address. Similarly you can give read only permission for purchase orders to a vendor.
  5. Select list view: If you have created a canvas view for any CRM module, you can choose either List view or Canvas view for a record's display. By default List view will be selected for all the modules, however you can choose a canvas view also. Note that, the custom Buttons or Custom Links if added in the canvas view will not be displayed for the portal users.
  6. Filter By: Select the records that the portal user will view by using the lookup filter. For example, if you have added 2 lookup fields in the Deals module, you can choose a lookup based on the records that you want the portal user to view. However, for the existing portal users the lookup filter will be applicable only if they edit the portal configurations.


The portal users can access the following records and perform actions based on the permissions defined for the portal's user type:

  • Their own record - They have the option to add or edit the details.
  • Other leads/contacts that they create - Records can be created, edited, or deleted as per the permissions given.
  • Other records associated with the leads/contacts (deals, invoices, quotes, etc.) - Records can only be cloned.
  • In Products - They can view all the records listed in the products module.

Step 4. Specifying Field Permissions

The related modules that you selected in the previous step (Portal Tab Configuration) will be listed under the Field Permission section. You can select the fields that you want the portal users to access. You can also mark the fields that you do not want the customer to edit as Read Only. The mandatory fields inside CRM will be marked as mandatory in the portal too.

Creating Portals

To create a portal

  1. Go to Setup > Channels > Portals.
  2. In the Portals page, click Get Started Now.
    Your company's name will appear as the default portal name.
  3. Edit the Portal name, if required.
  4. Click Configure Now.
    The customer portal URL will be generated and the portal name will be available.
  5. Click Next to continue.
    Next, you can define the portal user type, portal tab configuration, and field permissions.


  • You will not be allowed to edit the portal name once it is created.
  • Once a portal is configured you will not be able to delete it.

Defining Portal User Type

To define a portal user type

  1. Under Portal User Type enter a name. (For example: parents, partners, vehicle service).
  2. Click Next.

Configure the Portal Tab

To configure the portal tab

  1. In the Portal Tab Configuration page, in Choose Module select a Module from the drop-down list.
  2. Under Related Modules section, do the following:
    • Tabs - Select the checkbox(es) for the related modules that the portal users can access.
    • Layouts - Select one or more layouts that the users will have access to.
    • Permissions - Select either create, edit, view or delete permissions for the records in the module. Portal users will only be able to perform the defined actions for the records in the module that are owned by them.
    • List View - Select either List view or Canvas view for the records.
    • Filter By - Select the filters from the drop-down list. 
  3. Click Next.

Specify Field Permissions

To specify field permission

  1. In the Field Permissions page, select the check boxes for the fields that needs to be available for the portal users.
  2. Click the Read Only checkbox, if required.
  3. Click Save and Next to move to the next layout or module to define field permissions.
  4. Repeat the above steps for all the modules and layouts.
  5. Click Finish to save all the details.

View the Portal Preview

Once the portal configuration is complete, you can preview the portal to see how the customers will view the records.

To view the portal preview

  1. Go to SetupChannels > Portals.
  2. In the Customer Portal Configuration page, click Preview.
  3. Select the Portal User Type from the drop-down list to view the respective portal's preview.


You can view the portal summary after the portal configuration is completed. In the portal configuration details, you can edit the Field Permission and Portal Tab Configuration. Also, if required you can add a new portal user type.

Send Invite to Users

After creating the portal, you can start inviting the customers. When you send an email invitation, the user will receive the portal URL details. Once they accept the invitation, they will be prompted to set a password. Inside the portal, the customer has to set the basic information like preferred language, time format, time zone and country (by default the CRM settings will be displayed), after which they will be directed to the respective module page. Note that, you must add the customers, clients, resellers or vendors to either the leads or contacts module to send an invitation.

To send an invite

  1. Go to the Leads/Contacts module..
  2. Select a User.
  3. In the User detail page, click More icon > Send Portals Invitation.


  • You can send an email invitation to the customers from the User detail page in Zoho CRM. The send invite option is available only if the user's email address is entered.
  • You can not send mass email invitation to the customers.
  • Let us take an example: Russell is the CRM user who invites Sage to access the portal with the permission to create contacts and deals. In this case, when Sage creates a contact through the portal, it will be added to the CRM database and Russell will be the owner of the new contact.

Change Portal User Type

There can be chances when you have to move a user from one portal user type to another. Say for example, you have created two different portals for customers interested in Product A and Product B. If the customer is no longer interested in buying the Product A and wants to buy Product B, you can easily move him to the Product B portal user type. You can transfer users from one portal user type to another from any of the below mentioned places: 

  • Record Detail Page - You can change the portal user type from the record's detail page.
  • Portal Users List - If you want to bulk transfer the portal users to another portal user type, you can do so from the Portal Users List popup in the Portal Configuration page.

When You Convert a Lead to Contact

In Zoho CRM, you can convert leads to contacts once they are qualified either manually or automatically using the workflow rules. If you have created one portal user type for leads and two for the contacts and also added the CRM leads and contacts to the respective portals. When you convert these leads into contacts inside the CRM, you will be prompted to choose one of the portal user types under contacts to transfer leads. For instance, you have four leads A, B, C and D in leads portal user type; and Contacts 1 and Contacts 2 as 2 portal user types in Contacts modules. When you convert the A, B, C and D lead into contacts inside CRM, you will be prompted to choose the Contacts portal user type to which these leads must be transferred.

Data Privacy for Portal Users

Data Processing Basis:

As a Data Controller, in order to be GDPR compliant, you need to process data based on one of the lawful bases. Based on your business requirement and discretion you can choose a processing basis from the list of bases such as: Legitimate Interests, Contract, Legal Obligation, Vital Interests, Public Interests and Consent. When consent is the lawful basis used to process data, Zoho CRM provides an option to extend the accessibility to the details to your portal users. In such cases, the portal users can provide consent to process their personal data. See Also GDPR and Zoho CRM

You must consider the below points while setting data privacy for the portal users:

  • The data privacy tab will be displayed for a record only if the compliance settings in turned on.
  • The portal user can view the data processing basis in their account only if the data processing basis is Consent.
  • The portal user can also update the consent details of the Leads/Contacts that they have added.
  • The portal user can update their consent details from within the portal.

Data Subject Rights:

Under GDPR Compliance the portal users have certain rights towards their personal information. They can manually add a request from the data privacy section for the below mentioned rights within the portal:

  • Right to delete
  • Right to stop processing
  • Right to export
  • Right to rectify

In addition, they can add requests in the portal on behalf of the contacts/leads that they add to the portal. See Also Data Subject Rights

Delete a Portal User Type

There can be instances, when you want to remove a particular portal user type. In that case, you will first have to transfer the users to another portal user type and then delete the current portal user type. Also, you can transfer the users to another portal user type only if you want to delete that portal user type. 

In rare cases, if you have not associated any users with a portal user type, you can delete it as it is.

To delete the portal and transfer portal user type

  1. Go to Setup > Channels > Portals.
  2. Select a portal and hover, click Delete.
  3. In the pop-up, click Transfer and Delete.
  4. Choose a Portal User Type to which you want to transfer the user from the drop-down list.
  5. Click Yes Proceed.


In case you want to rename a portal user type, you can do so by clicking the Edit option in the Portal Configuration Page.

Deactivate a Portal User

Based on your requirement you can deactivate a portal user as and when necessary. 

To deactivate a portal user

  1. Select a Portal User Type and click Portal Users.
  2. In the Portal User List popup, toggle off the status bar of the user.

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