Altium NEXUS Documentation

Licensing Altium NEXUS Server

Created: March 16, 2021 | Updated: April 6, 2021
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Parent page: Installing, Licensing & Managing the Altium NEXUS Server

Licensing for the Altium NEXUS Server consists of the following two components, that together comprise a two-tiered licensing system:

  • Server License – this license makes the features and services of the Altium NEXUS Server installation available to the organization.
  • Client Access License – this license enables users within an organization to access, and sign-in to that organization's Altium NEXUS Server.

Licensing for the Altium NEXUS Server can be handled through the cloud, or locally through license files (*.alf).

Since the Client Access License controls the ability for individual users to connect to the Altium NEXUS Server, it is often referred to as a Connector License.
Both Server and Client Access Licenses are timed licenses, lasting 12 months. Subscription must be renewed on an annual basis in order to provide continued access to the Altium NEXUS Server for the users in an organization, as well as to access new features and functionality developed by Altium as part of the Altium NEXUS Server. If this annual subscription renewal lapses, a single Server and CAL license will be provided to access your data for backup and configuration purposes.

Both Server and Client Access license types are available in a single distinct license package – Altium NEXUS Server – giving an organization, and its users, access to installed server technologies supported by that licensing.

Note that while a Client Access License allows a user to connect to the Altium NEXUS Server and use its features and services, certain features or services will only be available to administrative users of the Altium NEXUS Server.

Getting Licensed

The Altium NEXUS Server's functionality becomes available when the Server has been licensed by the addition of a suitable Altium NEXUS Server License. In summary, the Altium NEXUS Server and its client connections can be licensed in one of the following ways:

  • Acquiring Server and Client Access (CAL) licenses from the Altium License service portal. This uses the From cloud option of the NEXUS Server's self-licensing facility. Sign out then back in to the NEXUS Server to enable its newly licensed features.
  • Connecting to the PLS service in another Altium NEXUS Server, or Altium Infrastructure Server (such as a central license server) that offers acquired Altium NEXUS Server licenses with available seats. See the External PLS mode for details on this licensing option.
  • Importing existing license files (*.alf) from disk. This uses the From file option of the NEXUS Server's self-licensing facility, and effectively 'acquires' NEXUS Server licenses that you already have locally. Sign out then back in to the NEXUS Server to enable its newly licensed features.
  • Placing license files (*.alf) in the root directory of the Altium NEXUS Server installation (normally \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server). The NEXUS Server will automatically import the license files when it restarts - a reboot may be required.
For more information on acquiring the license files needed for the last two methods listed above, see Obtaining License Files.
The software checks every hour for the presence of valid license files. Without a valid Server License, access to the Altium NEXUS Server will not be possible. If there is a valid Server License, but no valid Client Access Licenses (no available connections), a single administrative connection is permitted for backup and configuration purposes.


The Altium NEXUS Server provides a flexible 'self licensing' method for adding or acquiring Altium licenses, available though its Licenses page (Admin - Licenses). With a fresh installation of the Altium NEXUS Server, you will be guided through the licensing process by a sequence of hint instructions.

  1. Begin the licensing process for a newly installed Altium NEXUS Server by logging in to its web interface from the PC that's hosting the NEXUS Server. You must be signed in as an administrator, using the default name/password (admin/admin) credentials, or those of a configured admin account.

Note that a newly installed Altium NEXUS Server is unlicensed and not accessible from the network, so the initial browser connection must be made using the local machine – the PC that hosts the NEXUS Server. To connect, use the NEXUS Server's internal address (http://localhost:9780, using the default port number) or its network address (http://<computername>:9780 – where <computername> is the NEXUS Server host PC's network name, and using the default port number). To confirm a PC's network name, go to Control Panel\System and Security\System and note the 'Computer Name' entry.

When subsequently licensed, the NEXUS Server can be reached from all computers on the network using the <computername> address.

Sign in to your Altium NEXUS Server through its browser-based interface.

  1. When signed in, you will be taken to the Licenses page of the interface and an alert banner at the top of the interface indicates that the NEXUS Server is unlicensed. To add a license click the button, and select from the cloud or file options. The From cloud option will load a list of licenses available to your company from the Altium portal, whereas the From file option will open a file browser for selecting and importing existing alf license files from disk.

The Altium NEXUS Server will prompt that licensing is required. Choose whether to add licensing from the cloud, or from existing alf licensing files available locally.

  1. Altium Account credentials are required to connect to the web-based Altium Licensing portal when using the From Cloud option. Note that these credentials allow the License Server to communicate directly with your AltiumLive account for the initial acquisition of your company licenses, so the host machine – on which the Altium NEXUS Server is installed and running – needs access to the internet at this time.

As the NEXUS Server is not yet configured to connect to an account, an AltiumLive Sign in window will automatically open to request your account credentials. Note that this is a one-off process – once the account credentials have been validated, they will be saved as part of the NEXUS Server's configuration (see Admin - Settings - General - AltiumLive Credentials).

When using cloud-based licensing you will need to supply your AltiumLive login credentials.

To check that the Cloud license service portal URL is correctly configured, so that the available licenses can be acquired from the Altium License service, see the Cloud license service url setting on the License manager settings page – (see Admin - Settings - License manager). The entry should be:
  1. The Add Licenses window will appear, listing all Altium licenses available to your company, including those for Altium NEXUS and other Altium software. To activate the NEXUS Server features choose a valid Altium Nexus Server server license. To enable users to sign in to the NEXUS Server from Altium NEXUS, also select a valid Altium Nexus Server CAL license (Client Access License).
These same licenses are used, regardless of the backend database (Firebird or Oracle).

Select the required Altium NEXUS Server licensing – consisting of a Server Licence and at least one Client Access License (CAL).

When a large number of licenses are listed in the Altium account (the From Cloud option), use the filter options (Product Name field and Show Valid only checkboxes) to locate and select the required type of license(s).
  1. Instigate the process of acquiring (or 'retrieving') those licenses from the remote Altium License Server to the local Altium NEXUS Server by clicking the button. When the process is complete, the Licenses page will show the acquired licenses, along with an instruction to sign in/out to activate the NEXUS Server features. One seat of the Altium NEXUS Server license will be used, as indicated by the User Count field associated with that license. This is by the internal 'System' user.

Acquired NEXUS Server licensing – the fastest, and most streamlined method, by which to get your Altium NEXUS Server licensed.

  1. Once you have signed out and back in to your Altium NEXUS Server, its enabled features will become fully available on the main navigation tree on the left.

Once fully licensed, the full set of features become available on the navigation tree of the NEXUS Server's browser interface.

Obtaining License Files

Acquiring licenses for your Altium NEXUS Server – through the cloud-based Altium License service – is the quickest, and most streamlined approach. But, should you wish, NEXUS Server licensing can also be handled locally through license files (*.alf). Manual acquisition of the required license files is performed through the Altium Dashboard (accessed using the Dashboard control at the top of the Altium website). From the Licenses page, locate the applicable license (typically in the ALTIUM NEXUS SERVER grouping of licenses) then click through to the detailed license management page. Once there, click the Activate link to generate and download the associated license file.

The number of license files will depend on the needs of the organization, but a minimum of two files are required:

  • Altium Nexus Server License – this license makes the features and services of the Altium NEXUS Server installation available to the organization. The license obtained is the same, irrespective of the type of back end database used for the NEXUS Server data: Altium Nexus Server License <LicenseActivationCode> R10 Primary.alf.
  • Altium Nexus Server Client Access License (CAL) – this license enables users within an organization to access and sign-in to the organization's Altium NEXUS Server, and also determines how many users can simultaneously be connected to the NEXUS Server. Although any number of users may be registered to access and use the NEXUS Server, only that licensed number will be allowed to connect to it simultaneously. Each license provides a purchased number of seats, n, giving simultaneous connection to up to n different users. The license obtained is the same, irrespective of the type of back end database used for the NEXUS Server data: Altium Nexus Server CAL License <LicenseActivationCode> R10 Primary.alf.

Once the license files are downloaded, they can be used in the following ways:

  • Import them, one at a time, through the NEXUS Server's self-service licensing. From the Libraries page of the NEXUS Server's browser interface click the button and select the From file option. A file browser dialog will open, from which to select and import the alf files (one at a time).
  • Drop them into the root installation folder for the Altium NEXUS Server (the default for which is \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server). The NEXUS Server will automatically import the license files when it restarts – a reboot may be required.
Additional licensing can also be purchased as needed, to allow a higher number of simultaneous connections to the Altium NEXUS Server. Simply purchase the relevant Client Access License with the number of additional seats required.

Licensing Users

Connectivity access for Users (Team members within your organization) is controlled by the Client Access License (CAL) that is currently applied to the Altium NEXUS Server. The license is added to the server as described above and configured by an Administrator through the server's Licenses page (Admin - Licenses).

A Client Access License provides server connectivity for a specified number of seats which act as a floating on-demand license pool. When a user signs in to the NEXUS Server, they are served a license connection seat from this pool if they are a member of the role the license has been assigned to. This applies to users signing in to the server from either a browser or the NEXUS design client – only one license seat is used if the user is signed in from both a browser and the design client (on the same PC).

See Managing User Roles for information on working with user roles.

To control how a connection license (CAL) is made available to roles, and therefore users, edit its license assignment configuration to include specific roles, seat allocations and connectivity options. Access a license's current assignments by clicking its edit entry () on the Licenses page.

CAL Licenses can be applied, and seat-restricted, for individual groups of users. When combined with Project Sharing this tightly controls user access.

Licenses are assigned to all server users by default unless the Automatically create assignment for All Users group option is unchecked on the License manager page (Admin - Settings - License manager).

Edit the connection license assignment () to define the role that has access to the license (Assign to role) and consequently which users can connect, and how many of the license's seats are available to that role (Seats count or All available seats). Note that the other settings such as Automatic leasing and Allow Roaming apply when other license types are served by the Private License Service.

Control who has access to the NEXUS Server from a browser or the NEXUS design client by assigning a specific number of license seats to a specific role.

Further assignments can be added () to the Client Access License to distribute its available seats to user roles as needed.

Multiple license assignments can be associated with a connection license (CAL) to distribute or restrict the seats that enable user sign in.

License Usage

The Altium NEXUS Server provides a number of ways to view and assess the use of licenses. In the case of CAL connection licenses, to see who is (or has) signed in to the server, expand the connection license entry on the Licenses tab of the Licences page.

This user list includes the duration of license usage and when it commenced, and also allows you to terminate a user's connection session (Kill Session). Further information is available under the Roles tab, which shows the license seat availability and current usage for each server role.

Increasingly comprehensive license usage data is available under the Licenses, Roles and Reports tabs on the Licenses page.

For advanced assessment of license usage, open the Reports tab. This offers a highly-configurable reporting system, which provides table-based data that details both current and historical license usage.

See Monitor license usage on the Private License Service page for more information.

Exceeding the License Connections Limit

By default, the seats of all Client Access Licenses are gathered into a floating license pool. In other words, one big bucket of potential NEXUS Server connections. When a user (Team member) within an organization attempts to connect to the server they will automatically be served a seat from this pool, as outlined above. This assignment continues for subsequent user access.

The same user can be accessing the Altium NEXUS Server concurrently in different ways (e.g. connected through the NEXUS design client AND signed-in through an external Web Browser) and it only counts as a single connection from the licensing perspective, when access is made from the same PC. If the same user accesses the NEXUS Server from different PCs, each different PC access will require a separate connection (so extra seat of a Client Access License).

If you try to connect to/access a NEXUS Server from within the NEXUS design client or an external Web Browser, and the limit on the number of simultaneous connections – determined by the licensing seat count and role assignments – has already been reached, sign-in will fail. In this case, you will be presented with a dialog alerting you to this fact.

Through the NEXUS Server's browser interface, an administrative user can kill the session for a user, to forcibly free up a connection. This can be performed from the Licenses page (see above) or the Sessions page (Admin - Sessions).
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