Come for the products,
stay for the community

The Atlassian Community can help you and your team get more value out of Atlassian products and practices.

Atlassian Community about banner
Community Members
Community Events
Community Groups

Why Would Search Tools Stop Working for External (Non Licensed) Users?

We have setup our customers to be able to view our system training and config knowledge without using a license - on Confluence Cloud. 

Everything has been going fine until the last few days, when I start receiving reports about the Global Search tool not populating with any suggestions. When testing this with an external (non licensed account) on 06 May, and then re-testing 10 May - I can confirm, the global search tool (top right hand of the page), as well as the Search macro, do not return any results.

Frustrating because this is now generating unnecessary noise from our customers?

Have I missed something about non-licensed users not having access to Search functionality?

2 answers

0 votes
Srinatha T Atlassian Team May 10, 2022

@Andrew Rose , You might want to vote and watch the below bug which was raised for this kind of issue. 

You might want to check on the work around mentioned on the same.


Srinath T

0 votes
Srinatha T Atlassian Team May 09, 2022

Hi @Andrew Rose ,

Welcome to Atlassian community. 

If the anonymous access is not enabled, the KB articles can't be seen by users who don't have confluence license. If its an internal knowledge base and your employees (without confluence license) needs access to it, you will need to enable anonymous access.

So it depends on how the unlicensed users are configured in the system.

I hope above info helps . Have a good day!


Srinath T

Hi Srinath
Can you clarify what you mean as "anonymous"?
In Admin > Space Permissions, external (non-licensed) users have been granted access to our KB content. They have been loaded as "Active User".
At the bottom of the Space Permissions page, there is an "Anonymous Access" area.
So are you suggesting that our Confluence site must have "Anonymous" enabled for external (non-licensed) users (their Groups) - for them to be able to view our KB content?

Thanks for your prompt reply

And then, if the site is opened to Anonymous access, which means "Anyone on the internet can access" ... in terms of security and protecting IP. Do the following layers of security still apply?

1. The content in each Space is still protected if the Anonymous access has not been activated.

2. If a Space does allow for Anonymous access, pages within that space can still be restricted by using the page restrictions: 
Only specific people can view or edit"

I am asking these questions by referring to the following article - but obviously, because of IP, I need to make sure I am getting it right:

Thanks for your time

Like Srinatha T likes this
Srinatha T Atlassian Team May 10, 2022

@Andrew Rose , yes enabling anonymous access will allow any one on internet. 

Basically below are the steps you need to follow. 

  1. Turn on Anonymous "Can Use" access in your Global Confluence permissions.
  2. You would then need to go into each space where you want none of the pages to be accessed by Anonymous users and edit Space Permissions, removing anonymous access.
  3. In the space where you do want them to access a few of the articles, you will need to add page restrictions to the pages you do not want anonymous users to access. You can give the view and edit permissions to the confluence users group on the pages. So every page you do not want anonymous to access would need the restriction added to it.

I cant confirm on the security because once has to implement it carefully. You will have to test and test to make sure restricted content is not exposed, its tricky but should be achievable.


Srinath T

Like Andrew Rose likes this

Suggest an answer

Log in or Sign up to answer
Community showcase
Published in Confluence

An update on Confluence Cloud customer feedback – June 2022

Hi everyone, We’re always looking at how to improve Confluence and customer feedback plays an important role in making sure we're investing in the areas that will bring the most value to the most c...

197 views 1 3
Read article

Community Events

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find an event

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Unfortunately there are no Community Events near you at the moment.

Host an event

You're one step closer to meeting fellow Atlassian users at your local event. Learn more about Community Events

Events near you