Communities are a great way to share information and collaborate with people outside your company who are key to your business processes, such as customers or partners.

You can create multiple communities within your organization for different purposes. For example, you could create a customer support community to reduce support costs, or a channel sales community for partner deal support, or you could have a community dedicated to an upcoming event.

Communities live inside your org and can be easily accessed from the global header using the drop-down menu in the top left corner of Salesforce or in the Salesforce1 Mobile Browser App. Use this menu to switch between your communities and your internal Salesforce org.

If you want to add new pages or customize existing pages in your community, you can use Force.com Sites or Community Builder. With either option, you can create branded, publicly available pages such as landing or marketing pages, and private custom pages that only community members can access.

Suitable for developers with experience using Visualforce, Force.com Sites lets you build custom pages and Web applications by inheriting Force.com capabilities including analytics, workflow and approvals, and programmable logic. Thus, if you are looking to create sites programmatically using Apex and APIs, Force.com Sites is the product for you.

By default, each community comes with default login, password management, and self-registration pages and associated Apex controllers that drive this functionality under the hood. You can use Visualforce, Apex, or Community Builder (Site.com Studio) to create custom branding and change the default behavior:

  • Customize the branding of the default login page.
  • Customize the login experience by modifying the default login page behavior, using a custom login page, and supporting other authentication providers.
  • Redirect users to a different URL on logout.
  • Use custom Change Password and Forgot Password pages
  • Set up self-registration for unlicensed guest users in your community.

For more information on Communities, see “Set Up and Manage Salesforce Communities”.