How does permission levels work when webs do not inherit permissions? I have a site collection with 3 webs:


Each web has unique permissions. I also have a permission level called "Content Responsible" which grants (for testing purposes) all permissions. My problem is that if I create a group at LeafWeb and give it permissions from Content Responsible the users in that group do not have access to read the web. The permission level seems to be inherited because I'm unable to make any modifications to it at the LeafWeb and if I change what permissions are given at Root these changes can be seen at LeafWeb. What is happening here?

Edit: Basically what I want is to give a user more rights at a lower level than at a higher one.

This is what I do in code for the web:

SetPermissionLevelForGroup("admins", "adminLevel")
AddUserToGroup("user", "admins")

Edit: I've tried doing it trough the UI, but that does not seem to work either. Here's what I did:

  1. Create new web below the root web.
  2. Break inheritance from the permissions page.
  3. Create new group with "adminLevel" permission level.
  4. Add user to group.

The user still does not have access.

Edit2: Reverting to the default masterpage did not work.

Edit3: The groups I'm adding are actually SP groups with one AD group inside. Once I apply rights directly to the AD groups it seems to work down to Subweb as the AD groups get the correct rights, but the problem still remains for LeafWeb. How is this even possible?

  • sorry but not sure as what your trying to do here, If a user is within a group that has full control then he should be able to read "get access to that web" Aug 14, 2012 at 10:45
  • Are you doing this through code? Through the SharePoint User Interface?
    – Andy Burns
    Aug 14, 2012 at 11:42
  • I want to give a user "more permissions" at a web deeper in the tree than he has at the top. I'm doing it through code.
    – Thomas
    Aug 14, 2012 at 12:27
  • is your masterpage customized?
    – Mike
    Aug 14, 2012 at 13:47
  • @Mike Yes I have.
    – Thomas
    Aug 14, 2012 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


The problem was a combination of me not being rigorous enough during testing and overlooking some checked out pages and that my masterpage gallery did not inherit permissions at the site collection level. This resulted in the user not being able to view the frontpage (checked out and not published) and create pages which I mistook for not having any rights at all.

For future reference: SharePoint seems to report all libraries and other items that have unique permissions within a site if you open the Site permissions (_layouts/user.aspx) page. It seems it DOES NOT report whether the masterpage gallery has unique permissions.

Thanks to the guys who helped me debug the issue!

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