How to Enable SharePoint Anonymous Access

SharePoint anonymous access configurations enables users to access SharePoint files of websites without providing any authentication credentials. Anonymous access helps organizations that create public facing sites to enable some content to be easily available to external users. By default anonymous-access is disabled by the widows sharepoint services when you create a SharePoint web application, individual list and individual sites. When configuring a site for anonymous access, you can set anonymous user-access to use any of “valid windows” account.

Since SharePoint comprises many zones, each zone has it’s own way of enabling anonymous access.

How to Enable SharePoint Anonymous Access

To enable anonymous-access to an individual site, you need to configure the following settings:

  •  Open SharePoint and click on the site that you want to enable anonymous-access
  •  On the site click on the “site-action” menu
  •  On the “Site-Action” menu click “Site-Settings” option.
  • When the Site’s Setting” page opens click on the “Advanced Permissions” located in the “User and Permissions” section.
  • On the “Permission’s-Page” click on the “Anonymous Access” tab. You will be provided with three options from a drop-down list.

The Options Include:

  • “List and Libraries” – To limit anonymous access only to “Lists-and-Libraries” on your site, select this option.
  • “Entire Web Site“- Choose this option if you want to enable SharePoint anonymous-access for the entire SharePoint site.
  • “Nothing”-Choose this option to prevent anonymous-access from being used.
  • For you to enable anonymous-access to your individual site choose “Entire Web site” option and click “OK” to configure the site.

Enabling Anonymous-Access to a SharePoint-App or Web Application

  • For you to enable anonymous-access to a SharePoint app go to the “Administrative Tools” of your SharePoint app
  • On the “Administrative tools” page “SharePoint-Central-administration-website-application”
  • Click on the “Application-Management”option from the “Central-administration” home page
  • When the “Application-Management” page loads, click option on the “Authentication-Providers”located at the “Application-Security” section of that page
  •  On the “Authentication-Providers” page make-sure the web application that is listed in the “Web-Application” box under the site-actions is the one that you would like to configure. If it’s not, click on the drop-down arrow option to select “Change-Web-Application”
  • From the “Select-Web-Application” dialog box, click on the web-application that you would like to configure for anonymous-access
  • On the “Authentication-Providers” page, click on the SharePoint-zone of the web-application that you would like to enable for anonymous access. All SharePoint-zones that are per-configured for the selected web-application are listed on this page
  • In the “Anonymous-Access” section of the “Edit-Authentication-page”, select “Enable Anonymous-Access”. After enabling the web application for anonymous access, click on the “save” option
  • After doing this simple procedure, you will have enabled anonymous access to your SharePoint web application

When you configure SharePoint for anonymous access, you will enable your users to easily access files and applications that are in your SharePoint site. By default SharePoint is not configured for anonymous-access settings and you have to configure the settings of enabling anonymous access to your site files, content and application.

Many companies like to enable anonymous-access for their sites and web-applications in order to allow different workers in the company to access and edit files uploaded to the company’s SharePoint website. When a SharePoint site is configured for anonymous-access, it’s very easier for external users to access the sites content and files.  SharePoint anonymous access is very beneficial and it helps large organizations to have a good interface and control over their SharePoint sites.

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Marissa Hart is the Lead Author & Editor ShareMe. ShareMe is a blog focused on SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online delivers the powerful features of SharePoint without the associated overhead of managing the infrastructure.