Administrators most often access SharePoint using a browser application such as Internet Explorer. When you install SharePoint, the application creates administrative Web sites that you use to administer SharePoint.
Before you can access SharePoint via the browser, however, you have to follow a few steps to configure your browser. These steps are also necessary for your end users to access SharePoint using Internet Explorer at their desktops.
Browsers, such as Internet Explorer, are mostly used for accessing content from the Internet. As such, they’re configured by default to strictly limit the extent to which you can interact with the Web sites. When you want to use internal sites, such as SharePoint, you must configure Internet Explorer so that it isn’t so strict.
In order to access SharePoint with Internet Explorer, you must do three things, in this order:
- Add SharePoint’s Web applications to the list of trusted sites in Internet Explorer.
- Verify that the security level is set at the proper level for the Trusted Sites zone.
- Configure your browser to bypass a proxy server.
Internet Explorer uses security zones to organize Web sites as well as apply security levels to said sites. By default, all Web sites are in the Internet zone, which has a medium level of security. Although you can access SharePoint from this zone, you receive more prompts when doing so.
For this reason, I recommend that you add SharePoint to the Trusted Sites zone. Sites in the Trusted Sites zone have a low level of security - which means you don’t have to jump through so many hoops to gain access to them.
To add SharePoint to the Trusted Sites zone in SharePoint, follow these steps:
- Choose Tools => Internet Options in Internet Explorer. The Options dialog box appears onscreen.
- Click the Security tab.
- Click the Trusted Sites icon.
- Click the Sites button. A list of trusted Web sites appears.
- Clear the check box next to Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone. You can enable encryption using a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which would require users to access sites using the HTTPS protocol. A server or network administrator can determine the best approach for encryption.
- Type or paste the URL for the SharePoint site in the Add This Web Site to the Zone field.
- Click Add.
- Click the Close button to close the dialog box and then click OK to close the Options dialog box.
If you’re opening SharePoint on a computer running Windows Server 2003, you’ll likely encounter a message from Internet Explorer’s Enhanced Security Configuration. On servers, Internet Explorer is locked down even more than on clients.
When you attempt to access SharePoint on a server, you’re immediately prompted to add the site to the Trusted Sites zone. Don’t ignore this prompt! You must add the site to the Trusted Sites zone; if you don’t, you’ll be denied access. Click the Add button on the Warning dialog box.
You may also want to configure Internet Explorer so that it doesn’t prompt you for a username and password. Instead, Internet Explorer can use the username and password that you use to log into the network. The upcoming steps show you how you can set this value as part of the security level for the Trusted Sites zone.
- Choose Tools => Internet Options in Internet Explorer. The Options dialog box makes another appearance.
- Click the Security tab and then click the Trusted Sites icon.
- Click the Custom Level button. The Security Settings dialog box opens.
- Scroll down to the User Authentication section and select the Automatic Logon with Current Username and Password radio button.
- Click OK to close the dialog box and then click OK on the Options dialog box.
If your company uses a proxy server to access the Internet, you may need to configure Internet Explorer to bypass the server for local addresses. Otherwise, the browser attempts to detect the settings, which can slow down access to SharePoint.
To configure Internet Explorer to bypass the server for local addresses
- Choose Tools => Internet Options in Internet Explorer.
- Click the Connections tab.
- Click the LAN Settings button. The Local Area Network (LAN) Settings dialog box appears.
- Place a check mark next to Use a proxy server for your LAN.
- Select the Bypass Proxy Server for Local Addresses check box.
- Click OK and then click OK again to close the Options dialog box.