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Share a space externally with anonymous access

Giving anonymous users access to your space lets you share the content in it externally with anyone who might need it, inside or outside your organization.

Anyone on the internet will be able to find and access

When you make your content available to anonymous users, this means anyone on the internet. The anonymous access feature can’t accommodate sharing with some anonymous people and not others. It’s all or nothing.

If anonymous users have access to your site (managed in global permissions) your content will be indexed by search engines. In other words, your content will show up in Google searches.

To learn more about anonymous access, what exactly an anonymous user is, what happens when anonymous users have access to your site, and how to enable it for your site, see Share your site externally with anonymous access.

When would anonymous access be useful?

Using anonymous access to share externally is best when you want to share a lot of content with nonspecific people (aka, anyone on the internet).

Examples of this kind of content could be:

  • a publicly available roadmap

  • an open knowledge base

  • support documentation

Decide what anonymous users can access

Anonymous access to content can be controlled at different levels:

  • Site – At the site level (in global permissions), the Confluence admin or site admin decides whether to grant anonymous users any access to the site.

  • Space If anonymous access is allowed at the site level, it’s then up to the space admins to decide whether they want to grant anonymous users any access to their space. If space access is granted, then anonymous users will have access to all pages in the space, unless restricted on the pages themselves.

  • Page Anonymous users are restricted from viewing a page when a page’s access setting is Only specific people can view or edit. Or when one of its parent pages has been set so that only specific people can access, which means that view restriction inherits down to all of its nested pages.

Give anonymous users access to your space

Spaces have their own level of control for anonymous users that can be controlled independently of whatever access is granted at the site level. Unlike logged-in users who get access to everything unless manually restricted, anonymous users start with no access and must be manually given access.

Although space permissions can be granted to anonymous users at any time, anonymous access must be enable at the site level for anonymous users to successfully access the space.

Screenshot of the Anonymous Access section on the space permissions page

To give anonymous users space access:

  1. Go to the space you want to make public.

  2. Select Space settings.

  3. In the Space permissions card, select General.

  4. Select any Edit Permissions button.

  5. Scroll to the Anonymous Access section at the bottom of the page and check the box for all permissions you want to grant anonymous users. (To make the space view only for all anonymous users, only check the box under View.)

  6. Select Save all to apply the changes.

Space admins can grant anonymous users all the same permissions as regular users, except anonymous users can’t be admins of a space. For a list of all space permissions that can be granted, see Assign space permissions.

If anonymous users are granted access to the space, they’ll have access to all content within the space. To restrict them from a page, you can either change its page restrictions or hide it from the page tree.

Use anonymous access when the site isn’t public

A site is “public” when a site admin has granted anonymous users access to the site in global permissions, but anonymous access can still have useful functionality when the site isn’t public.

Use anonymous access as a shortcut to give bulk permissions

As a space admin, making sure everyone in your organization can access your space can be a tricky job. Because permissions are managed by granting or revoking permissions for individual users and groups of users, how easy a job this is depends on how your organization has decided to structure its groups — there might not be one group that represents everyone, or it may not be clear which combination of groups you need to cover everyone.

Instead, you can use anonymous access in a way that bypasses the need to rely on groups.

For this to be successful, anonymous users must NOT be granted access to your site. (This is managed by site admins in global permissions.)

For example, let’s imagine your space needs to be viewed by all licensed Confluence users at your organization, but only editable by your team. Instead of adding all the groups that need view access, you can just grant the View space permission to the anonymous users and Add permission to your team (either individually or as a group if it exists).

Because true anonymous users (anyone on the internet) are blocked from accessing your site, the definition of anonymous user changes to “anyone with licensed access”. Which means that, now, as long as the site-level anonymous access setting is disabled, anyone with licensed access to your Confluence site can view content in your space.

This can be a risky approach. If at any point true anonymous users are granted access to your Confluence site by the site admin, then your content could be exposed to anyone on the internet. And this could happen without warning.

Restrict access to individual pages for anonymous users

If anonymous users are granted access to the space, they’ll have access to all content within the space. To restrict them from accessing a page, you can either change its page restrictions or hide it from the page tree.

To restrict anonymous users from accessing a page:

  1. Open the Restrictions dialog by selecting the lock icon on the page.

  2. Select Only specific people can view or edit in the dropdown (if not already selected). This step will remove access for everyone but you.

  3. Add any licensed users and groups that should have access to the page.

  4. Select Apply to save the changes. Now, only the people and groups listed in the dialog have access to the page.

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