Enable Search for your Office 365 Small Business Public Site

If you are thinking about search-enabling your Office 365 Small Business public web site, you will find that the out-of-the-box configuration will not work properly. In an earlier post, I described how you can extend your public site by controlling list permissions for anonymous users and how to create a blog within your Office 365 Small Business site. This post will take your site to the next level by allowing visitors to search your website.

Getting Started

The default search center that is included with O365 is locked down for use by authenticated users only. If you log in to your website, you can see the default search implementation by going to http://<yoursite>/srch.

The 1st thing you will notice is that you are required to authenticate to use the enterprise search and your public site will not be searchable.


The 2nd thing you may notice is that the only content on a new site will be the content within your ‘TeamSite’ site collection. You can test this by searching for ‘wiki’ which will bring up the wiki pages that are included when the ‘TeamSite’ is created.

This won’t hurt a bit

To get search to work properly, you need to do what some may consider unthinkable. You must delete the default enterprise search site. The reason for this is by deleting and recreating your search center, your new search center will have the appropriate default permissions to allow anonymous users to use search.

  1. Login to your Office 365 account (http://portal.microsoftonline.com/) and click on ‘Team Site’

  2. Visit your default Search center by clicking on ‘Search’

  3. Click ‘Site Actions’ -> ‘Site Settings’

  4. Click ‘Delete this Site’

  5. Click ‘Delete’

    You will receive the following verification that the site was deleted

Re-create your Search Center

Now that you have deleted your default search center, you need to take the steps to recreate it.

  1. Now go back to your ‘Team Site’ (http://<yoursite>/teamsite) and Click ‘Site Actions’ -> ‘Site Settings’

  2. Click ‘Go to top level site settings’

    This will take you to your Root Site’s settings page.

  3. Click ‘Site Collection Features’

  4. Locate ‘Search Server Web Parts’ and click ‘Activate’

  5. Click ‘All Site Content’

  6. Click ‘Create’

  7. Click ‘Search’ -> ‘Basic Search Center’ and then choose ‘srch’ as the URL for your new search center.

    The site that you get will look familiar but will have a very important distinction as you will soon see.

  8. Using an unauthenticated browser, try to access the search page. You will find that it is accessible to an anonymous user!

  9. Try to search for ‘wiki’. You will find no results.

  10. Now try to search for ‘contact’. You should now see the default contact-us pages and any other applicable pages that are accessible anonymously in your result set.

Disable Preferences

Anonymous users will not be able to save their preferences for your search center, so you will be better off just disabling this feature. You must modify 2 pages (Default.aspx and Results.aspx).

  1. Visit your Search Center’s default page as your authenticated user (http://<yoursite>/srch/default.aspx)
  2. Click ‘Site Actions’ -> ‘Edit Page’

  3. Within your ‘Search Box’, click the context menu -> ‘Edit Web Part’

  4. Within the Web Part Properties (Miscellaneous Section), deselect ‘Display user Preferences link’ to make sure it doesn’t appear in the web part. Then click ‘OK’

  5. Repeat steps 2-5 for your Results.aspx page (http://<yoursite>/srch/results.aspx)


    You will now have a working search center for anonymous users without having to deal with authentication issues


Creating a usable Search Link

If you are using the default Office 365 publishing features for creating simple pages, you may be wondering how you can create an easy search link within your site navigation. Follow the steps below to give users an easy way to access your search center from your home page.

  1. Visit your Home Page (http://<yoursite>/) and click ‘Member Login’

  2. Click ‘Website’

  3. Click ‘Pages’ -> ‘New Page’

  4. Select ‘General’ then click ‘Next’

  5. Type ‘Search’ for the page name, and ‘Search’ for the URL and make sure ‘Show this page in the Navigation bar’ is selected.

  6. Select and Delete the text ‘Add your content here’.

  7. Click ‘Insert’ -> ‘HTML’

  8. Within the window, insert the following text and click OK:


    top.location = "/srch ";



  9. In the upper left portion of the page, click ‘File’ -> ‘Save and Publish’

  10. Using an unauthenticated browser, visit your home page. Notice the ‘Search’ on the navigation bar. Click ‘Search’.

  11. Your site visitor is redirected to your Search Center!

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