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How to fix the Alerts issue with Default Zone URL

I am sure, a lot of people have this issue or face it. As a couple of service applications required the NT Auth in default zone of the web application, i.e., the search is big of them. I setup a Web App with two zones

  1. Default Zone with NTLM
  2. Intranet zone with FBA/ADFS authentication


Now we encounter an issue, When I setup a document library and configure the Alerts on it. I get the welcome email which is using the correct zone(intranet) URL but once I upload / delete /edit documents I got the alert but, this time, it is using the default zone URL. Even workflows using the same default zone URL.

This is the expected behavior for SharePoint alerts and has been the behavior since Alternate Access Mappings was introduced. Because SharePoint doesn’t know the appropriate zone context for the user receiving the alert, it defaults to using the Default zone.


I found a couple of workarounds, I.e. configure the dual authentication in default zone, it will just give an extra click for the user, or you can customize the login URL to bypass the NT auth. Or use some custom code etc. But in my case, these did not work.


Finally, I found an article on the Technet about Configure external access for mobile devices in SharePoint 2013. This article talks about the how to make SharePoint sites available for mobile devices when the devices are used outside the corporate firewall.  But we are in the same Intranet Zone, but how can this benefit for us,

A cross-firewall access zone is used to generate external PC and mobile URLs in mobile alert messages and enables users to send an externally available URL when they click the E-mail a link or Alert Me button on the ribbon.

So easy steps are

To configure a cross-firewall access zone

  1. Verify that you have the following administrative credentials:
    • You must be a member of the Farm Administrators group.
  2. In Central Administration, click System Settings.
  3. On the System Settings page, under Farm Management, click Configure cross firewall access zone.


  1. On the Cross Firewall Access Zone page, in Web Application, in the Web Application list, select the web application that is published across the firewall.
  2. In Cross Firewall Access Zone, in the Zone selection for cross firewall access list, select the zone that is published across the firewall.


Hey its worked. How simple it is. I can’t believe it. Now when you send the alerts, it will use the correct url.


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4 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    Thank you so much for this! Worked like a charm.

    We’ve logged tickets with Microsoft and they’ve had no fix for us. This is a huge issue for us since alerts are incredibly important for us to roll our our team sites.

  2. Disco says:

    Absolute Legend. This worked straight away. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    There are so many people saying this cannot be done without changing the Default Zone URL when I came across this fix I was so happy.

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