External users cannot access Site Contents on a SharePoint online site in Classic View

Eric Shen 21 Reputation points

Recently, external users are getting a "403 Forbidden" error when they try to get to the Site Contents page on a SharePoint online site that is set to Classic View. They can get to the home page and other lists directly through the URL, but https://<tenant>.sharepoint.com/sites/<site name>/_layouts/15/viewlsts.aspx does not work. They were able to access it the recent past.

External users can access Site Contents if they are viewing the site in Modern view. However, we have some sites where there is also no way for them to switch from Classic View to Modern View. The site itself is set to Classic experience and the is no splnu cookie to delete (reference: 1000271169-cannot-see-links-exit-classic-experience-or-return-to-classic-sharepoint-

How can external users get to Site Contents in the classic view?

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  1. Elsie Lu_MSFT 9,621 Reputation points

    Hi @Eric Shen ,

    403 Forbidden means that the authentication was provided, but the authenticated user is not permitted to perform the requested operation.

    Under normal circumstances, permissions and views are not directly related. Per my understanding, the current situation is that external users cannot access a specific list set as a classic view, you could check whether the list can be accessed successfully when the list is set as a modern view.

    Have you changed the permissions of this list recently? And you could test which lists have permission issues.


    Regarding the clearing of the cache mentioned in the article, I can see it in my environment, you can check again:

    For more methods of switch to modern view, you could refer to:
    Switch back to modern view in SharePoint online
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  2. Eric Shen 21 Reputation points

    The "list" I'm trying to access is Site Contents. I don't see any way to change the permissions for Site Contents.
    Also, permissions have not changed on the site in a long time.

    Regarding cookies, SharePoint sites that default to classic experience do not set the splnu cookie

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  3. Eric Shen 21 Reputation points

    After some trial and error, I was able to get the external user to be able to see Site Contents in classic view by granting the user read permission to the App Catalog, which is in a different site. While this worked, this is not a viable long-term solution since it's not our policy to allow external users to be able to read our App Catalog.

    I'm hoping somebody from Microsoft can chime in to provide a better solution .

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