Recently, I encountered a very frustrating issue with SharePoint 2013. I had a working web application and everything was running fine. After configuring a few sites in my web application I started getting emails from other users of the site saying that they were getting Access Denied errors whenever they tried to access the root site collection (ex. https://sharepoint2013/). I went to that path and was very surprised to find that I, a site collection administrator with Full Control permissions given through the web application user policy, was getting sent to the Access Denied screen as well. After looking around some more I figured out that only that root site path was throwing the Access Denied error, and that any other path (ex. https://sharepoint2013/default.aspx or https://sharepoint2013/main/default.aspx) was working as expected. I also was able to access Central Administration just fine.
It turns out this problem is a result of the Web Application Authentication settings getting corrupted and can be remedied by enabling and then disabling Anonymous Authentication. This recycles Web Application Authentication settings and clears out the corruption. To do so, follow these steps:
- Log into the SharePoint 2013 Central Administration site.
- Open Application Management.
- Open Manage web applications.
- Select the web application that has the problem and open Authentication Providers from the ribbon bar.
- Open the authentication provider zone that you are using (it is probably just Default).
- Check the Enable anonymous access option and then Save the Authentication settings. It can take a minute or two to save the settings, so after you click Save just wait for the Authentication Setting window to close.
- After the Authentication Setting window closes and you can see the Authentication Providers window again then try to access your root site again and now you should be able to get to the home page without any Access Denied errors.
- Now we don't want to leave anonymous access enabled so once again open the authentication provider zone that you are using and now uncheck Enable anonymous access and then Save the Authentication settings.
- You should now still be able to access the root site of your web application and the issue has been fixed.
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