On my sharepoint site collection I have enabled anonymous access for the "entire web site", and it is, indeed working.

However, I find that I cannot choose "Anonymous Users" and add them to any sharepoint groups.

  • Neither does "Anonymous Users" appear in the people picker (even by search).
  • Neither does "Anonymous Users" appear as any sort of user.

The only place I can find to configure permissions for Anonymous Users in in "Permissions" for the site, and I only get three options:

  • Entire Web site
  • Lists and Libraries
  • Nothing

So, it seems there is no way in Sharepoint Server 2010 to control access to individual pages and lists like you can for account-holding users. It appears you either get all or nothing!

Is it possible to refine Anonymous access?

1 Answer 1


You are correct in the option available to you out of the box.

If you are comfortable you can write an authentication provider that will logon with a dedicated user account instead of using IIS/Anonymous. Then you can grant access to that specific account to areas and items just like any other user account.

there are examples of how to create these custom providers on MSDN, CodePlex, and Community blogs.

  • So you mean to create an AD account and somehow make sharepoint consider it to be the "Anonymous User"?
    – bgmCoder
    Jul 13, 2013 at 22:03
  • Yes and No. You use an AD account, but you can create a custom authentication provider that "automatically" logs on everyone as that user. This then functions similarly to anonymous access, but you can assign rights to that user. It's a shared account instead of true anonymous access (at least in regards to how it works out of the box with IIS). Jul 13, 2013 at 22:36
  • "Custom Authentication Provider" - okay, I suppose that's the next step then. Thanks for your help, Mr. Shelby.
    – bgmCoder
    Jul 14, 2013 at 0:42

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