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What is a Concurrent User?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 16, 2024

A concurrent user is a person who is accessing a system resource at the same time as one or more other users. Many computer programs support concurrent users. In the case of software, a software license may specifically limit the number of concurrent users a program will support; for example, teleconferencing software might support up to 20 concurrent users at any given time. Software companies use this as a way of providing multiuser functionality while still controlling how many people use their programs.

Concurrent users can view items like files simultaneously across a network, and they can also access software programs in similar ways. This allows offices to do things like buying one copy of a software program with attached concurrent user licenses so that everyone in the office can use the software. This is much cheaper than equipping each computer with a separately licensed version of the software and paying for each computer every time updates are released.

When people purchase software with concurrent user options, they are provided with information about how many concurrent users the software will support. Some companies require each user to be registered, while others allow a set number of unidentified users. If users are registered, the software may allow people to deregister people or devices and reregister different people and devices. This allows for flexibility in using the software without violating the terms of the software license.

With registered users, it can also be possible to set permissions. This allows a concurrent user different levels of control and access. In a teleconferencing program, for example, one user might have permissions to invite participants and terminate the teleconference, while others are invited as guests only and are not capable of controlling the conference itself. Varying levels of access can be important in a system where there are concerns about security or worries that a user could accidentally change a critical setting.

The Internet is heavily reliant on supporting concurrent users. Websites can support large numbers of users accessing the site and its resources at the same time for everything from browser-based games to chat clients. Without concurrent user functionality, people would have to wait for their time for online resources. People may note that websites tend to have a ceiling based on server capacity. Eventually, too many users will be logged on or visiting as guests and a site will begin to slow down.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Oceana — On May 25, 2012

Has anyone here ever had issues with concurrent internet connections in the same household? My dad has a computer in the house, and I have one in a workshop out back, and sometimes when we are both on the internet at the same time, things seem to go more slowly.

It takes longer for images and text to show up on webpages when we are both logged into the internet. I can always tell when he logs off, because the information loads much more quickly all of a sudden.

We both do work online, so we have to use the internet at the same time. We split the bill to make it more affordable, but I'm starting to wonder if it might be more efficient to just get my own internet and work from home.

By StarJo — On May 25, 2012

I am a graphic designer, and I share software with about ten other people in my office. We all use the same program to lay out both ads and pages, so we have to be able to access it at the same time.

I work for a newspaper, and though there is only one other graphic designer in the building, the people who lay out the pages use the same program that we do. The writers also have to be able to open the pages with this program so that they can flow in the text from their articles.

We are set up so that we can all do our work quickly, using the same program at the same time. It would have cost thousands of unnecessary dollars for the company to have purchased a copy of the program for each person, so I'm glad it allows for concurrent users.

By shell4life — On May 24, 2012

@cloudel – I know how frustrating that can be. I had the same problem with the site at work, only instead of trying to read information on it, I was trying to access it in order to update and upload some information.

Years ago, my company had a bad concurrent user system. It only allowed four people to be on the site doing alterations at once, and we have twenty employees who do this sort of thing.

After seeing how much this slowed down our productivity, they decided to change the system. Now, all twenty of us can be on the site at once. We get a lot more work done this way.

By cloudel — On May 24, 2012

I have noticed that some sites seem to slow way down during times of high use. Particularly, I've seen this on sites designed to accept votes from viewers of certain TV shows during a time frame of only a few hours.

Several TV competitions have a voting system set up online. Just think of how many millions of people might be trying to access this system at once during such a short period of time.

I've also noticed news sites slowing down right after the announcement of a major event. Everyone is trying to get access to the information at once, and the site just can't support all those users. It's frustrating, because I really want to know what is going on at the same time that everyone else does, but I just have to wait.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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