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Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy is the founder and President of BinaryWave, a leading provider of operational intelligence solutions for Microsoft SharePoint. Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy has worked with SharePoint Products and Technologies since 2001 as a consultant, administrator, architect, developer and trainer. he is an advisory committee member of the Dallas/Ft. Worth SharePoint Community group and participating member of user groups throughout the United Kingdom. Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy has authored numerous articles on SharePoint, speaks at user group meetings and conferences around the world, and publishes a popular SharePoint blog at http://www.sharepointcowboy.com. Presentations by Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy Webinar - Migrating Legacy On Premise Solutions to SharePoint Online and Windows Azure featuring Eric Shupps Who are you and what do you want - Working with OAuth in SharePoint 2013 SharePoint is Talking Are You Listening? Eric Shupps SharePoint 2013 Performance Enhancements Taking Advantage of the SharePoint 2013 REST API Eric Shupps on Improving Performance with New Features in SharePoint 2013 SharePoint 2013 New and Improved Migrating Legacy On Premise Solutions to SharePoint Online and Windows Azure Eric Shupps Presents SharePoint 2013 Real World Help Desk App End to End Windows Azure Apps for SharePoint 2013 Eric Shupps Demonstrates Customizing the Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint Deployment Process Introduction to SharePoint Development SharePoint 2010 Unit and Integration Testing with Eric Shupps Building Enterprise Records Management Solutions for SharePoint 2010 Taming Information Chaos in SharePoint 2010 SharePoint 2010 Performance and Capacity Planning Best Practices Building Dynamic Applications with the SharePoint Client Object Model Articles by Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy Eric Shupps' Ten Steps to Optimize SharePoint Performance Webcasts by Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy Secrets of SharePoint Part 5: Configuring Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Optimal Performance Creating End User SharePoint Solutions for Performance and Scalability SharePoint 2010 Performance Enhancements for Administrators by Eric Shupps Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for the ASP.NET Developer Eric Shupps on Following Best Practices and Avoiding Common Errors with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Development Eric Shupps - SharePoint Performance and Capacity Planning Essentials Troubleshooting Common Performance Problems in SharePoint 2010 Videos by Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy Channel 9 Interview with Eric Shupps SharePoint TechTalk with Eric Shupps - Different Views on Social Computing SharePoint Post-Deployment Planning and Management with Eric Shupps SmartTrack for SharePoint Feature Overview SmartTrack for SharePoint Podcasts by Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy SharePoint Pod Show - Design for Performance (Eric Shupps) SharePoint Pod Show - Test Driven Development with Andrew Woodward and Eric Shupps eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy Run As Radio - Eric Shupps Improves SharePoint Performance
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December 20
SharePoint 2010 Anonymous Search Results

I recently ran into what should have been a well-documented and easily corrected search issue in SharePoint (2010 but the same could be said for 2007). The basic scenario was a public-facing publishing site with an extended zone for anonymous users (the default zone was configured for NTLM). Search worked find for authenticated users but wouldn't return any results for anonymous users. At first, I thought that it might be related to the search results page inheritance issues, which plenty of people have mentioned (a quick Bing of the issues returns a bunch of results – see here, here and here. I even touched on this myself for WSS way back in 2007 here). Nope, that wasn't it – the user was simply dropping the search web parts onto a standard web part page so the search results page wasn't even involved. Next, I figured it had to be a configuration error on the site, so I checked to make sure 'Indexing ASPX Page Content' option was enabled (as shown here). That wasn't it either. Perhaps it was an issue with permissions? Nay – all documents were available to anonymous users and they were able to retrieve them directly from the source lists.

After Binging around for a few hours and trying a dozen different possibilities, including all sorts of content source and scope configurations, we finally threw in the towel and opened an incident with Premier support. While discussing the issue with our case manager, we tried, almost as an afterthought, enabling anonymous in the Default zone. Voila! After a full crawl search results starting showing up for anonymous users. I seem to remember reading about this somewhere but discarded it as not being relevant; after all, the whole purpose of extending the web app into a new zone is to avoid having to allow anonymous access in the default zone. But that's what finally did the trick.

So what gives? To be honest, I really don't know. A content source using a restricted-privilege crawl account configured to index just the anonymous zone should, in theory, return results for visitors in that zone but it doesn't. The only way to make it work is to perform the crawl against the default zone with anonymous enabled. From a security perspective, this makes me very uneasy – I shouldn't have to open my zone to anonymous users who don't belong there. As a practical matter, the risk wasn't that great – only internal users could get to the default zone from inside the firewall and even if an anonymous user somehow slipped by, site and list permissions would block them from accessing any secured content. But it still doesn't seem right to me – it should work with the proper zone configuration. It may be a bug or they may be some reason why search works that way (the case is still open so if we find the answer I'll post an update). In any event, that seems to be the accepted workaround for the moment.

So for all those who posted to the forums with a similar issue, try enabling anonymous in your default zone and executing a full crawl. And don't blame me if the solution keeps you up at night – I'm just a messenger in cowboy boots J

Comments

Re: SharePoint 2010 Anonymous Search Results

This worked for me.  After enabling anonymous access in the default zone and then performing a full crawl search results appeared for anonymous visitors.  Thanks for the help this has kept me busy searching the net for a few days.
 on 12/26/2010 11:27 PM

Thank you

Worked like a champ for us as well.  Enable anonymous on the default zone and then perform a full crawl.  You saved us on this one! Thank you for your post!
 on 1/4/2011 8:42 AM

Didn't work for me

Hi I tried this approach and it didn't work for me. Is there anything else that might need to be set?
 on 1/6/2011 6:39 AM

Works, but...

Like you, I get the jitters enabling anon on the Default Zone, so under Anonymous Policy for the web application, I set the Default Zone to Deny Write Access for anonymous.
 on 2/21/2011 3:55 PM

Premier support

So did Premier support tell you? Did they confirm it as a bug? Is that by design (or even a feature? ;) )
 on 3/17/2011 12:57 AM

Nice one..

Finally a solution to this, cheers Eric and the above commenter for the tip on locking it down with the policy.
 on 3/21/2011 11:19 PM

Did premier ever resolve this?

We're running into the same issue except we're using NT authentication for the authoring zone of the application. Turning on anonymous for this zone dampens the user editing experience (when they go to the site, they're not authenticated). Did premier support ever resolve this issue?
 on 9/13/2011 9:02 AM

Just a followup to my premier question

Further testing reveals that anonymous access is required to be enabled on ALL zones - not just the default. This negates a possible workaround of having 3 zones: 1 for authoring without anonymous, 1 for crawling (the default zone) with anonymous, and a public-facing anonymous zone.

Yuck.
 on 9/13/2011 9:14 AM

Issue Fixed

This was a known issue with Sharepoint 2010 & has been fixed in  April 2012 CU KB 2598304

Rajan
 on 7/17/2012 5:38 AM

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This site is brought to you by BinaryWave in cooperation with Eric Shupps Eric Alan Shupps eshupps @eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy. We hope you enjoy the SharePoint-related content on topics such as performance, monitoring, administration, operations, support, business intelligence and more for SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 created by Eric Shupps The SharePoint Cowboy. We also hope you will visit our product pages to learn more about SmartTrack, Operational Analytics for SharePoint, SharePoint monitoring, and SharePoint administration, while also discovering great offers from our partners. Please visit the blog of Eric Alan Shupps, Twitter handle @eshupps, for more information on application development, the SharePoint community, SharePoint performance, and general technology topics. Eric Shupps Eric Alan Shupps eshupps @eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy is the founder and President of BinaryWave, a leading provider of operational support solutions for SharePoint. Eric Shupps Eric Alan Shupps eshupps @eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy has worked with SharePoint Products and Technologies since 2001 as a consultant, administrator, architect, developer and trainer. He is an advisory committee member of the Dallas/Ft. Worth SharePoint Community group and participating member of user groups throughout the United Kingdom. Eric Shupps Eric Alan Shupps eshupps @eshupps The SharePoint Cowboy has authored numerous articles on SharePoint, speaks at user group meetings and conferences around the world, and publishes a popular SharePoint blog at http://www.binarywave.com/blogs/eshupps.