So, let’s get stuck into Salesforce customer portals vs. Communities…
What’s a Salesforce customer portal? A customer portal acts as an online support channel for all your customers. This helps them resolve any inquiries without contacting a customer service rep. They could be customised with Visualforce to have great user interfaces for your customers. Generally, they were geared towards allowing your customers to see the information that relates only to their account with you — so, for example, their account and contact info, or maybe the contracts they have on file with you and their assets.
What’s a Salesforce Community? These are newer, more branded online spaces for your employees, customers, and partners to connect in. You can customise and create Communities to suit your needs and the needs of those most important to your business.
What can you do with Communities?
Communicate with prospective customers
Provide self-service support via a knowledge base and FAQs
Allow customer service to talk with customers and resolve their questions and support cases
Share knowledge and best practices with partners
Collaborate with partners and employees on leads and deals
Create custom modules with Lightning
Add pretty much any object page; there’s no restriction to the standard features
Quickly change the colourways, logos and fonts of your Community without the need for any code.