Granting Administrative Access in SharePoint 2016

By Rosemarie Withee, Ken Withee

You’ll find a number of different administrator levels in a SharePoint deployment. Administrators usually have full access over the area they’ve been charged with administering. The levels of administrators in SharePoint are

  • Server administrators: By virtue of having local administrator access to the physical server, a server administrator can do anything from the server console. Server administrators are usually members of the technical staff.
  • Service administrators: Administration of SharePoint’s services, such as Search or User Profiles, can be delegated. This allows administrators to specialize.
  • Site collection administrators: These administrators can access everything within a site collection. SharePoint allows you to appoint a primary and secondary administrator for each site collection, who both receive email notifications when the site hits its storage quota or is slated for deletion due to lack of use. Site collection administrators also manage all the features that affect the entire site collection.
  • Site administrators: Members of the Site Owners SharePoint group are the site administrators. If subsites inherit permissions, a site administrator has full access to each site.
  • App administrators: Permissions can be unique for an app, which allows for the delegation administration. Depending on the size of your department or team, you might have different people administer different apps.
  • Document/item administrators: For extremely sensitive documents and items, you can use unique permissions that in effect enable someone to administer just that document or item.

In Office 365, the server administrator role is replaced by the SharePoint Online administrator. Microsoft Online manages the entire infrastructure for you, so you just have to manage SharePoint Online.

The primary and secondary site collection administrators are determined at the time the site collection is created. Additional site collection administrators can be added to the site collection itself.

To set the site collection administrators for a site:

  1. Browse to the top-level site in your site collection.
  2. Open the Site Collection Administrators page by clicking the Settings gear icon and choosing Site Settings, and then clicking the Site Collection Administrators link in the Users and Permissions section.
    The Site Collection Administrators page appears.
  3. Add or remove users from the Site Collection Administrators box by typing in their names or deleting their names using the backspace key, and then click OK.
    Users are separated by semicolons.

Assigning users to be site collection administrators is one time when it’s acceptable to use individual user accounts instead of domain groups.