Confluence: Mixing public-facing without login articles and internal content

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Can I access content in Confluence without having a License?


Server / Cloud


Confluence offers “anonymous access” which means the site visitor does not need a login and thus does not need to be licensed to view the content. To provide free access to your Confluence site, refer to how to set up public access to your Confluence. Unlicensed (free) Confluence users do not have permission to 'like' or 'watch' content.  Anonymous users will not receive any type of email notifications (comments or content edits) and cannot be 'mentioned' in content as they are anonymous and thus not recognizable in the system from another anonymous user.  But, you always have the ability to set any level of permissions anonymous users including commenting, editing, deleting, etc.

You can mix public content and content restricted to only logged in users in the same site.  Simply enable public access at the global level (Cloud or Server). Then decide which spaces will you allow anonymous access for. For example:

  • Public Space (Open to public access - anyone can see it without logging in)
  • Direct Customers (Licensed users only - locked down to only "direct-users" group)
  • Resellers (Licensed users only - locked down to only "reseller-users" group)

One way to take advantage of public access (no licensing cost) but at the same time not disclose your content completely to everyone on the internet is to use Confluence Server version of our software (self-hosted) and install it behind a firewall. This way external users will have to authenticate first to gain access to your network and only then they can access your Confluence content (publicly and without a license). 

An alternative way is to export the content to Word or PDF and provide the content to your external stakeholders without licensing them. This approach is void of the great Confluence collaboration features to allow your stakeholders collaboratively edit pages, provide inline or page comments, etc.

Public access can be enabled at each level and each page. If it is enabled at the Global level, it allows users to enter into your site without a login. You can always turn public access on/off at the space level to make it public/private. Within those spaces, you can also use page restrictions to restrict otherwise public content to only some or all logged-in users. Page restrictions allow you to control who can view and/or edit individual pages in a space. Restrictions are actually inherited, which means a restriction applied to one page will cascade down to all child pages. That way it reduces your need for managing permissions on a page by page basis but also has implications as you will not be able to make a page publicly access if it is a child of a restricted page.

Note: Jira Service Desk customers can access Confluence knowledge base without purchasing Confluence license.  Confluence licenses are only required for authors in the case of integrating with Jira Service Desk. See Use Jira applications and Confluence together

Additional Information 

  • For features and functions that are only available to administrators, refer Confluence Administrators Guide.
  • To configure security for Confluence, Click here.
  • To know how to import the content into Confluence, Click here.
  • For Confluence licensing and pricing details, Click here.
  • For getting started with Confluence, Click here.
  • For Confluence technical documentation, Click here.
  • Click here for recorded demonstrations.

Last modified on Dec 2, 2019

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