Site Collection permissions demystified

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Keywords: SharePoint, administrators, site collection

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The best thing about site collection administrators is that they can do anything in a site collection. It is also the worst thing. If a normal user is also a site collection administrator then they see everything in the site collection. This can present some problems if confidential material is kept on SharePoint. So to clarify when you need a site collection administrator I have compiled some information below to help sort things out.

Site Collection Administrators

  • Have full rights to all sites within a site collection.
  • Can view, add, delete, or change all content within a site collection.
  • Can add/remove users from any site.

Site Collection Owners

  • Site collection administrators
  • Only two (Primary and Secondary)
  • Added when site collection is created.
  • Modified in Manage Site Collection Owners page in Central Administration
  • Only site collection owners receive e-mail notifications for such items as pending deletion of inactive sites and quota limits approached.
  • Receives requests for site access by default but can be changed to be sent to someone else.
  • You can also use stsadm to change site owners.
    stsadm.exe -o siteowner -url URL [-ownerlogin DOMAIN\User_Name | -secondownerlogin DOMAIN\User_Name]

Things only a Site Collection Administrator can do

Change the following

  • Search settings
  • Search scopes
  • Search keywords
  • Recycle bin
  • Site collection features
  • Site hierarchy
  • Site collection navigation
  • Site collection audit settings
  • Portal site connection
  • Site collection policies
  • Content type publishing
  • Site collection cache profiles
  • Site collection output cache
  • Site collection object cache
  • Variations
  • Variation labels
  • Variation logs
  • Translatable columns
  • Suggested Content Browser Locations
  • SharePoint Designer Settings
  • Visual Upgrade
  • Help Settings
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