If you have multiple G Suite editions

When your organization has multiple G Suite editions, your organization has a combination of G Suite Basic, Business, and Enterprise users.

The following are common questions about buying and using multiple G Suite editions.

Getting started

I’m new to G Suite. Where should I start?
Customers who are new to G Suite should start at the basic setup. The steps are the same when you want to use multiple editions. The main difference is that you must work with a Google sales representative or partner to buy licenses for multiple G Suite editions. See Set up G Suite for your organization.
How do I buy licenses for multiple G Suite editions? How does billing work?
The billing processes are mostly the same when you have multiple G Suite editions, with the following differences:
  • For customers who have automatic payments or invoiced billing, your invoice shows each G Suite edition as a separate line item.
  • All of your editions have the same monthly draw date. The first month is prorated, as needed, to bring the draw dates into alignment. However, the annual renewal dates for each edition stay separate based on the date you bought each one.

For more information, see Billing and payments.

How do I assign Vault or Drive storage to my G Suite Basic users?

You can’t buy add-on editions such as Google Drive and Google Vault when one of your products is G Suite Business or Enterprise. If your users need extra features, such as unlimited Drive storage or Vault, you need to assign those users a Business or Enterprise license.

Using licenses with multiple editions

How do I manage user licenses?

In general, licensing for multiple G Suite editions works the same as for a single edition. If you manually assign licenses, you simply assign the correct license to each user.

Note: If you set up organizational units, users in child organizational units can have different licenses from users in the top-level organizational unit.

Automatically assign licenses

  • You can set up automatic license assignment for only one of the editions. When you do, all new users and users with no licenses are automatically assigned licenses for the edition. Any existing users continue on their current license unless you manually reassign the license.
  • You can switch automatic licensing to another G Suite edition at any time. When you do, all new users and users with no licenses are automatically assigned licenses for the new edition.

Learn more about assigning licenses.

How do I add seats (licenses or users)?
The process for getting more licenses or adding users is the same when you have multiple G Suite editions. If you have automatic licensing turned on for one of your editions, the number of users you can add is limited to the number of seats you have for that edition.
How do I change a user’s license to a different edition?

You can change a user’s license to a different edition—for example, to upgrade a user from G Suite Basic to G Suite Business.

You can adjust licenses based on your payment plan:

  • If you’re on the Flexible Plan, you can upgrade some or all of your users at any time.
  • If you’re on the Annual Plan, contact your Google sales representative or partner and request the new license levels. You have 15 days to assign licenses. After 15 days, we tally your committed license count for the licenses and charge you based on the licenses as you assigned them to your users.

    For example, you start with 1,000 users with G Suite Basic licenses on the Annual Plan. You upgrade 500 users to G Suite Business through your Google sales representative or partner. Now you have 15 days to move the 500 upgraded users to a G Suite Business license. If you move only 300 users to G Suite Business in that time, we update the committed license count for G Suite Basic to 700 (the original 1000 minus the 300 you reassigned) and charge you accordingly.

Learn how to change a user’s license to a different edition.

Managing users

I want to move a few users between G Suite editions. How do I do this?
  1. Make sure you have enough licenses for all your users.
  2. If needed, get more licenses.
  3. For each user, assign the correct license type.

    You can upgrade or downgrade the license type. See how service and administrative settings change if you downgrade a user.

Are all features available when I have users on multiple editions?
If you have users with multiple licenses in your organization, some features might not be available for all your users. Also, some G Suite Enterprise advanced features might be enforced for G Suite Basic and G Suite Business users in the same organization. These advanced features include Gmail data loss prevention (DLP) and Google Drive sharing and data access.

Example: Set up session length

Google session control is available for G Suite Business and Enterprise users.

Example: Devices audit log

Devices audit logs that display events for all mobile devices or for a specific device are available only for users with G Suite Business, G Suite Enterprise, G Suite Enterprise for Education, and G Suite Essentials editions. You won't see data for users with G Suite Basic licenses.

Example: Drive sharing policy

If some users in an organization have G Suite Enterprise licenses and an administrator configures an organizational unit to allow sharing to users in whitelisted domains, all users in that organizational unit can share Google Drive items to users in the whitelisted domains.

What happens when a setting applies to only some of my users?

Users are affected by only the settings included with their assigned G Suite edition. When you configure a setting that is included for only some editions, users assigned to editions that don’t include the setting are managed by a default value or are unmanaged. 

For example, if a setting that’s on by default applies only to users with G Suite Business and G Suite Enterprise licenses, your users with G Suite Basic licenses aren’t affected when you change the setting. See the documentation for specific settings to learn how those settings apply for a multi-license organization.

If I restore a user, what license do they get?

If you turned on automatic licensing for one of your G Suite editions, a restored user automatically gets a license for that edition, if one is available. As a result, the user might get a license that’s different from the one they had before they were deleted.

If automatic licensing isn't turned on, you need to manually reassign a license to the user.

If the user had an Archived User (AU) license, manually reassign that license to ensure that the user’s data and policies are appropriately restored. Read Manage former employees and their data.

Still need help?

For more information about working with multiple G Suite editions, contact your Google sales representatives, Google partner, or G Suite support.

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