SharePoint- Anonymous Access Quirks

 If you have configured anonymous access in your SharePoint site but you still get prompted to authenticate when you navigate to a list or library, well, join the club. The perpetrator is a feature called ViewFormPagesLockDown. To give user anonymous access to your list base as well as your list items, execute on your server: stsadm -o deactivatefeature -url http://ServerName -filename ViewFormPagesLockDown\feature.xml

Now that’s a pretty quick and easy fix but the tedious bit is the bit where you now have to go into each site and toggle anonymous access off and on again. If you have one site collection with sub-sites inheriting permissions from the parent then you only have to toggle the anonymous access in the top level site (Advanced Permissions – Settings – Anonymous Access: Toggle to ‘Nothing’ then repeat and set back to desired access) but if your sub-sites have unique permissions then you will have to do this for each site. This highlights a “best practice” technique for setting up your site structure in an anonymously accessible site. I suggest creating the entire site structure with all sites inheriting from the parent initially and setting up and testing anonymous access at this point. Once everything is working as expected, break the permissions inheritance and create site groups and add users then. This is also handy in ensuring your top level site groups have access across all sites for admins, governance groups and site collection approvers.

 

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