How to enable anonymous access in SharePoint 2013

In this post you will learn how to enable anonymous access to your site in SharePoint 2013. There are few situations where organizations want to enable the anonymous access to their site.

  1. Organizations who build the public facing site will need to enable some portion of content to external users who will be anonymous.
  2. One of the other examples we can think of is public users will submit the content from the public facing site and respective teams in the organizations will get the details and they can validate and approve the content so that will be available for everyone.

I have created a guide to enable anonymous access in SharePoint 2013, click the image below to download it :)

Let's go and check on site level if we can enable the anonymous access, see the below screenshot where we do not have any option to enable it. By default if you go to the site permissions section you will not be able to see any option for enabling anonymous access. To enable anonymous access to your site, you first need to enable the setting at web application level.

So we need to enable the anonymous access at

Web application level:

From central administration screen Go to [Application Management] [Manage webapplication]. Here you can select the webapplication that you want to enable the access to anonymous users. 

On the Ribbon control you have authentication providers. If you click authentication providers, it will show the different zones and their respective membership providers. In our case we have a default zone with claims based authentication.

Click on the default zone in above screenshot and it will show the Edit authentication popup screen from that check "Enable anonymous access" checkbox and click ok to save the details.

Site level:

Once you have enabled the anonymous access at web application level then you can do it at the site level.

Go to [site actions][site settings][site permissions] under "Users and Groups" click on anonymous access on the ribbon control.

By default setting will be set to Nothing.You can enable for Entire web site or lists and libraries.

Once you set the anonymous access to the Entire web site, then in the permissions details, it will show the groups as "Anonymous users" and permission level is for entire web site.

Now let's open the site to test it, you can see in the below screenshot we have not logged in with any user but still we are able to access the site.

List or library level:

We can enable access to anonymous users at the list or library level as well instead of the entire site. If you enable enable only for lists and libraries of site then you can see permission details as below screenshot.

If you check the list or library permissions you can observe that view items permission level has been assigned to the anonymous users. Refer  below screenshot.

Once you click on that you have option to either enable the "View Items" access or leave it as it is.


In this article you have learned how to enable anonymous access in SharePoint 2013 at web application level, site level and list or library level.

Don't forget to download the guide to enable anonymous access in SharePoint 2013 by clicking the image below

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About Author

Devendra Velegandla is a five-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award (2014-2019) for Office Apps and Services, Office Servers and Services MVP and  SharePoint Server. He received the MCC award for his contributions in Microsoft MSDN/TechNet forums. He loves sharing articles, videos, and tutorial on SharePoint and Office 365.