License vs. Subscription: What’s the Difference?


The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.

 -Thomas Berger


A very common question we receive here at SolidWorks (actually one of the top 5) is the difference between a subscription and a license.  I thought it was worth going into more detail on the differences.

When you purchase SolidWorks software (all three flavors, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, 3DVIA Composer, etc.), you are actually purchasing a SolidWorks product license.  Your license never expires.  So, if you purchased SolidWorks 2010 two years ago, you can use it forever.  However, if you want any updates to the software or the new version when it comes out (historically, in the October/November timeframe each year), then you’ll want to purchase a software subscription instead. The advantage to a subscription over a license is that you receive software updates automatically, so you have the latest and greatest version as soon as new functionality is ready and released.  As the software becomes more efficient, you become more efficient too!

Along with updates, you receive unlimited full technical support at no additional cost.  This is not like the email support that may take 48 hours to receive a reply like that some other software companies provide. You have complete access to the SolidWorks Call Center Team which almost always has a wait time less than 1-minute.  This is not included in a license.

A subscription does not automatically expire after the 12-month term, and is renewable.

If you have more detailed questions about subscription vs. license, visit our website to get in touch with a SolidWorks Representative,

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Cliff Medling

Cliff Medling is a Senior Marketing Manager at SolidWorks and the host for the Born to Design Podcast.