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On one of our Sharepoint 2010 site collection we would like to disable access requests on a few hundred sites, and looking for a client-side solution to do this. I understand that CSOM does not support this. I checked the Web Services documentation, and under "Permissions" I did not see any suitable method. Can this be found somewhere else, or do I really need to run a script like in powershell on the server?

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I don't think you can do it on client side, but using powershell it is quite easy

Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

$WebAppURL = "http://your-web-app-url.com/" 



#Get all sites
$WebsColl = Get-SPWebApplication $WebAppURL | Get-SPSite -Limit All | Get-SPWeb -Limit All

ForEach ($web in $WebsColl)
    {
        if($web.RequestAccessEnabled -and $web.Permissions.Inherited -eq $false)
        {
            #Disable access request
            $web.RequestAccessEmail=""
            $web.Update()
            write-host "Access request disabled at site:"$web.URL
        }
    }

Read more: http://www.sharepointdiary.com/2014/11/manage-access-request-settings-in-sharepoint-2013.html#ixzz4WIFWoJUF

How to deny the requests access on a site collection

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