I am new to the realm of Sharepoint. I am wondering if there is a best-practice for setting up user accounts for Sharepoint. We will be having employees of our company, as well as clients, sub-contractors, and 3rd parties all sharing documents via Sharepoint.

I am wary of setting up our Sharepoint server on our primary domain because of security concerns. But our primary domain is where all of our user accounts exist. So, either I have to maintain user accounts in two different domains, or I have to allow clients, sub-contractors and 3rd parties to have accounts on our primary domain.

How is this typically managed in real-world scenarios by veteran Sharepoint administrators?

Thanks for your help!

ps - I'd like to tag this with "user-administration" or similar tag, but am unable to because I am a new user.

1 Answer 1


You dont have to use AD DS with SharePoint. Form based authentication is another option, for example with SqlMemberShip-/SqlRoleProvider.

In SharePoint 2007 you need to either create a seperate site for this, or extend your existing site with a new zone for form based authentication, but in SharePoint 2010 you can run with two different authentications on the same web application.

Externals can then be assigned rights in a SQL database instead of being added to the AD.

  • I am running on SharePoint 2010. I would like to use Active Directory for our internal users. Can I use AD for internal users and form based authentication for external users? Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 21:54
  • Yes, in 2010 you can have both Windows Authentication (AD) and Forms Based Authentication on the same web application - your users will be prompted for which method to use upon accessing the site (and I believe you can customise the labels in the drop-down box, so it reads something other than just "Windows Authentication" and "Forms Authentication").
    – James Love
    Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 22:30
  • Anders, sorry, I tried to up-vote this answer and couldn't because I don't have 15 reputation yet, ha! At least I'll mark it as correct. Commented Dec 3, 2010 at 13:20

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