SharePoint Online: How to Make a Site Collection Read Only using Site Policy?

Requirement: SharePoint Online Make Site Collection Read only.

How to make a SharePoint Online Site Read Only?
We have a business requirement to set a SharePoint online site collection into read-only mode, in order to prevent any further addition/modification of content but make the existing content available as read-only to the end-users. Unlike SharePoint On-premises, there is no UI to make a SharePoint Online site or site collection read-only. However, we can use site policies in SharePoint Online to make site collection read only.
You can set the SharePoint Online site collection to Read only using PowerShell, Refer my another post: How to Set SharePoint Online Site Collection to Read-only using PowerShell?

SharePoint Online: Make a Site Collection read only using site policies
Here is how to use SharePoint site policies for SharePoint Online to make site collection read only:
  • Navigate to the site collection that you want to make Read Only >> Click on Settings Gear and then Site Settings Menu item.
  • Click on "Site Policies" under Site Collection Administration. 
  • Create a new policy by clicking "Create" link
  • Provide a Name to your Policy, say for e.g. "Read only", optionally the Description. Set the following options and click on "OK" to create site policy:
    • Do not close or delete site automatically
    • Check the option "The site collection will be read only when it is closed"
      sharepoint online make site read only
This will create a Read only policy. So now, We have defined the site policy which will not close or delete the site automatically but will set the site to read-only mode when it is closed.
If you don't see the "Site Policies" link under "Site Collection Administration" group of the site settings page, Head-on to Site collection Features >> Activate "Site Policy"!

Apply the policy and close the site:
Now the next step is to apply the policy and close the site.
  • Go to Site Settings >> Click on Site Closure & Deletion under Site Administration
  • Select the Site Policy you created in the previous step and click on Close this site now. (At times, You may have to select the policy and Click OK and then visit the "Site Closure & Deletion" page again to click "Close this site now" button)
    sharepoint online make site collection read only
That's it! Now you can see your site is set to read-only mode with a notification at the top saying the site is read only!
how to make sharepoint online site read only
You can clear read-only mode and make the site editable by re-opening the closed site again, so that its available for users to add and update.  To apply site policy using PowerShell How to Apply Site Policy in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?


  1. I am not able to unlock the site as I am not the primary site collection administrator. The Primary admin has left the company. Although I am a site collection administrator I cannot unlock the site. Any suggestions?

    1. Use PowerShell or Admin Center site to add yourself as Site collection Administrator!

  2. I am a site collection administrator, however, I am not able to unlock the site. Also, the primary site collection administrator has left the company and I am not able to update that too in the SPO Admin Portal. I receive Access denied when I visit the site. Any suggestions??

    1. Add your account as Site collection Admin to the particular site from SharePoint Online Admin Center or using PowerShell!

  3. Does this works only for Site collection or even for sub sites?

    1. Site policies are scoped at site collection level!

  4. Hi. Do you know how the same policy can be created using PowerShell?

    1. There is no way to create site policy using PowerShell as of today! However, You can Create it in the content type hub manually and apply the policy using PowerShell How to Apply Site Policy in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?

  5. Good morning, Is possible Hide the yellow banner with contains information about read-only?

  6. Hi , thank you for your work and its helping so many people around the world!!

    is there any way - we can do the bulk sites read only using PowerShell script for on-premises sites like 2010 ,2013 etcc
    thank you !


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