I have the following:-

  1. a publishing parent site which have 5 sub sites.

  2. I wanted to define special permission on a sub site, so I access the sub site permission page and I stop inheriting the permission from parent site

  3. Then I define three new groups at the subsite level.

But I am wondering about the following:-

  1. Since I stop inheriting the permission from parent site and I define unique groups; why if I access the sub site permision I still can see the parent site security groups.

  2. If I access a parent site group, from sub site and I remove all the users , then these changes will also apply to the parent site although I have chosen to stop the inheritance. And also if I modify the parent group from the parent site the effect will apply to the sub-site although the inheritance was removed ???

Best Regards

1 Answer 1


To answer your first question -> All SharePoint groups actually live at the root of the site collection.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/products/default-sharepoint-groups-in-sharepoint-server-HA102772365.aspx (Look specifically for the text "If you are on a public website, you will see Members in your list of SharePoint groups. For example, if Contoso Retail is the name of the website, you’ll see Contoso Retail Members. This is also true if you are on a subsite that has unique permissions. As your site grows, you may notice multiple Members, Visitors, or Owners groups while looking in site permissions from your site collection root. Each group is prefixed with the name of the site, for example Contoso Retail Members, and Contoso Charities Members may both be present."

To answer your second question -> Because the SharePoint groups live at the root of the site collection, when you edit the membership of a group (even when you think you're in a subsite) you are actually editing that group membership for all site/subsites in that site collection.

  • so then what is the idea of stop inheriting the permissions in this case?
    – John Peter
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 14:25
  • 1
    Although the groups are stored at the root site collection, the actual permissions are set "per subsite" if you stop inheriting. Once you have stopped inheritance, you can specify specific permissions for each group for that subsite. You can think of inheritance dealing with permissions. Commented May 31, 2013 at 14:51
  • 1
    In other words, the groups are defined in one place, but breaking inheritance lets you change the groups/users who have access to sub-webs, libraries, items, etc.
    – lgaud
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 15:44
  • 2
    The message that SharePoint displays is absolutely correct. After you stop inheriting permissions from the parent site, the child sites are not affected by changes made to the permissions. Permissions are applied to groups. Group membership is separate from that. Commented May 31, 2013 at 16:02
  • 2
    When we have a subsite that is going to have different permissions from it's parent, we use completely different groups in the subsite & assign the appropriate permissions to those groups. (after stopping inheritance of permissions first) Commented May 31, 2013 at 16:06

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