Enable Anonymous Access, SharePoint Server 2016

Security Management in SharePoint is divided into authentication and authorization. Authentication is the process of authenticating  SharePoint user credentials entered in the Browser against a trusted authentication provider like an active directory. Once authenticated, an authorization comes into play. Authorization is the process of checking, if the authenticated user has been assigned the required permission levels defined by SharePoint. The user can be restricted to use SharePoint site by assigning the different permission levels.

The permission levels in SharePoint provide an access control mechanism by which SharePoint content is limited to a certain set of the users, who have been granted the predefined permissions. SharePoint provides the set of permission levels, given below.

Permission Level Permissions
Full Control The users have full control of the site.
Design The users can view, add, update, delete, approve and customize the items.
Contribute The users can edit the items and delete the versions in the list.
Read The users can view the pages and the list item.
Edit The users can manage lists.
Limited Access Limited access is designed to work with the inheritance breaking situations, where the users will be assigned specific permissions to the child object like the list item. Limited access will be assigned to the users in the parent item say: list from where the permission inheritance was broken.

However, we can implement an anonymous access at the different levels like site and library by which an authentication is bypassed. In this article, we will see how to implement an anonymous access to the users. As you can see the user, given below, ‘SPAdmin’ has been restricted the access in the site, given below.

SharePoint 2016 site has displayed the error message “Sorry, this site hasn’t been shared with you”.

Let’s see, how to enable anonymous access for the user. Head over to the central administration and click ‘Authentication Providers’.

By default, SharePoint 2013/2016 creates a Web Application with the claims based authentication. Click ‘Default’.

Check the enable anonymous access check box.

Now, click Anonymous policy option.

Here, we can define the authorization restrictions, which can be assigned to the user. I am giving complete access by enabling ‘No Policy’ option.

Now, let’s define the anonymous access at the site level. From site settings, click Site Permissions.

Click Anonymous Access option from the ribbon.

Here, we can define the anonymous access at the site level or list level. Let’s select ‘Entire Web site’, so that the users have complete access to the site.

Now, a new ‘Anonymous Users’ item will be added to the site permission page.

Let’s head over to the SharePoint site, where the user had been denied access earlier. Now, the user ‘SPAdmin’ has been granted access to the site even without asking for credentials in the Browser.


Thus, we saw how to enable an anonymous access on SharePoint Server 2016 site.