Configuring Anonymous Access in SharePoint 2010

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Many public SharePoint internet portals require having access for anonymous users. This article explores the configurations for anonymous access in SharePoint 2010.


When you enable anonymous access to a Web site, you allow anonymous users to browse the entire Web site, including any list, library, folder within a list or library, list item, or document that inherits its permissions from the Web site. If anonymous access has been enabled by the server administrator, members of the Site name Owners SharePoint group can do the following:

  • Grant anonymous access on a site.
  • Grant anonymous access only on lists and libraries.
  • Block anonymous access on a site.

Note: enabling anonymous access makes a Web server inherently less secure, because anonymous users and authenticated users that have not been granted access to your site can potentially change settings or content on your site. A malicious user could also launch a denial of service attack against your server, and their actions cannot be traced to an authenticated user account. An alternative to granting anonymous access is to add the Authenticated Users Windows security group to the (Site name) Visitors SharePoint group. This grants all authenticated members of your Windows domain read access to your Web site. Unlike actions of anonymous users, actions of authenticated users can be traced back to users. For more information about adding users to SharePoint groups, see Manage SharePoint groups.

As is the case with other permissions settings, when you grant anonymous access on a site, you also grant anonymous access on sub sites that inherit permissions from the site.

Configuring & enabling anonymous access on SharePoint 2010 portals is easy and it is somewhat similar to SharePoint 2007 anonymous access configurations, but there are some changes in the UI (User Interface). So let's follow the below steps :

1. Start > Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products > "SharePoint 2010 Central Administration" :


2. Central Administration > Application Management > "Manage Web Applications":


3. Select "Highlight" your web application > click "Authentication Providers" :

authentication providers

4. Click on "Default" link :


5. Check "Enable Anonymous Access" under Anonymous Access Section > click "OK" :

edit authentication

6. Click on "Anonymous Policy" to check the Anonymous Access Restrictions :

access restrictions

7. Go to your SharePoint Site > Site Actions > Site Settings :

site settings

8. Click "Site Permissions" link under Users and Permissions Section :

site permissions

9. Click "Anonymous Access" :

permission tools

10. Select "Entire Web Site" at Anonymous Access Section :

entire web site

11. Check now that Anonymous users can access your site :

permission tools
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MSSQLTips author Hesham Saad Hesham Saad

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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