Password protected sharing ArcGIS Online without organizational account

02-09-2015 11:12 AM
Status: Open
New Contributor II

What would really be beneficial to ArcGIS Online from my point of view, would be adding the possibility to share content with 'everyone' while using some form of basic password protection (password protected sharing for users without organizational account). Other cloud services (OneDrive for example) offer similar functionality. The lack of this functionality is pretty much what keeps me from using ArcGIS Online for sharing content.

If you utilize ArcGIS for Server to host your content on ArcGIS Online, you can secure the service on your server with one username and pass and share it out on ArcGIS Online.


+1 to this comment.  We'd be happy with even just a "security by obscurity" approach that only allows access to anyone with the link. As is it, the only way to share with users that don't have an organizational account is to make my content (and all the layer services) completely public AND indexed on AGOL.  Needless to say, this does not sit well with clients, and has kept us from using AGOL for anything meaningful. 



Hi Everyone,

If I'm reading your idea correctly and correct me if I'm wrong....

You want people in your workplace to be able to open a map without having to do the login, regardless of the sharing status of the layers?  This is what I would like to do?  

I want to do something similar but the last thing I want is for people to have to remember another username and password and have to log in each time they use the map.  I want my AGS Online map to just open like a Google Map and be able to use it right away.  Is that possible without making everything publicly shared?


Matt S.


Currently, no. That's what this thread is about, but I don't know how a user would be able to view non-public content without there being some way for the user to get past a gate-like a password.


I am happy to see this issue raised already as this is exactly the same problem I have been facing.

I want to be able to share certain content with public users but not make the data public. I thought perhaps if I made a group then I could invite public users to join my group, but that doesn't work either because public users cannot join groups made by organizational account users.

Thus, the only other solution that I could come up with is to somehow make the data accessible with a user name and password so that I could invite public users to collaborate but not make the data public. However, this option does not seem to be currently available. Perhaps there is a widget out there I am not aware of?


You can limit access to hosted feature services (just like with AGS/on-premise services) to specific, shared AGOL maps and applications, without users needing to enter a username and password, by using the method described here:

The downside is that I believe you'd need to update the password entered in each secured item's properties each time you change your password.

It would be much more practical if you could secure the hosted service using it's own token, rather than those of an AGOL account.

by Anonymous User

There is some new functionality for hosted layers that went out with the December release that may address some of the issues outlined here. You can now create hosted feature layer views. With these you could keep the source data shared internally with your organization for editing and create a public view with editing revoked. 

"If you need a different view of the data represented by a hosted feature layer—for example, you want to apply different editor settings, symbolize features differently, or share the data to different groups than the hosted feature layer—create a hosted feature layer view of that hosted feature layer."

Getting started with hosted feature layer views | ArcGIS Blog 

Create hosted feature layer views—ArcGIS Online Help | ArcGIS 


Sorry - is this issue resolved? I can't tell here.

I have been at the Fed GIS conference this past week and I have heard the issue come up a few times. It would be great if there was a way to share AGOL content (like a story map) to a private audience outside of my organization (like a client or local partner), but without making the content completely public. I realize that this is similar to the "reduced pricing for viewer only accounts", but in many sectors (like international development and non-profit), it is unrealistic to expect a local partner to pay for something that they are only going to view one time for just a few minutes.  


I tried the workflow to secure access to layers, but the option "a secure service was detected" does not come up! The service is not shared - it's private. So when I add it as a new web service where can I get that option and enter the credentials??


It might be that you are trying to secure the feature service itself, rather than a reference to the service's REST endpoint. The following might help:

1.      Create a "reference" item that points to the service's URL (i.e. REST endpoint).

a.      Get the service URL for the layer you want to provide access to by going to the layer's details page, then on the bottom of the page, copy the URL from the URL box. 

b.      Create a reference item by going to the Content page, and choose Add Item > From the Web > ArcGIS Server web service, then paste in the service's REST endpoint as the URL.

c.      For Username and Password, enter the name and password of an AGOL account that has access to the service.

d.      Choose the option to have the credentials stored with the service item.

e.      For Title, enter a name for the new reference item, enter tag(s), then click "Add Item"


2.      Enable only specific maps or apps to access the layer (optional)

a.      On the new item's Settings page, click "Limit Usage", and list the URLs of maps and apps authorized to access the item.

You will need to update the item(s) every time the account's password changes.

As far as ideas go.... Being able to invite social-media based AGOL public accounts to organizational groups, and then share specific apps/maps/layers with that group, would help a lot in some cases where we want to provide a map/app to some but not all of the public (and not go so far as using Hub). And this would provide an identity if they add/edit features in a crowdsource app. Some means for the public to automatically register their public account with a group would definitely help. Hopefully we'll see these types of capability soon.