Enabling Anonymous Access to the Built-in Web App of Azure Open AI Service

Enabling Anonymous Access to the Built-in Web App of Azure Open AI Service

In the ever-evolving landscape of cloud services and artificial intelligence, Microsoft’s Azure Open AI Service stands out as a beacon for developers looking to integrate advanced AI capabilities into their applications.

One of the lesser-discussed yet powerful features of Azure Open AI is its built-in web app, which can serve as a quick and easy way to demo or test AI functionalities without the need for extensive coding or front-end development.

However, a common requirement, especially in the early stages of development or for showcasing purposes, is allowing anonymous access to this web app. This blog post delves into the steps and considerations for enabling anonymous access to the built-in web app of Azure Open AI Service, ensuring a seamless experience for users and developers alike.

Understanding Azure Open AI Service’s Web App

Azure Open AI Service offers a comprehensive suite of AI models, including those from OpenAI, such as GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), Codex, and DALL·E, under a managed service that ensures enterprise-grade reliability, compliance, and scalability. The built-in web app feature is a handy tool that lets developers quickly deploy a user interface to interact with these models, facilitating immediate feedback and iteration.

The Need for Anonymous Access

While the built-in web app is invaluable, its default configuration requires authentication, typically through Azure Active Directory (AAD), to access. This setup is ideal for maintaining security and control over who can use the AI services. However, there are scenarios where you might want to allow broader access without authentication, such as:

  • Demonstrations: Showcasing AI capabilities to stakeholders without requiring them to go through a login process.
  • Testing: Allowing testers to access the app freely without managing user accounts or permissions.
  • Public Engagement: Engaging with a wider audience by providing unrestricted access to AI-driven features or experiments.

How to Enable Anonymous Access

Enabling anonymous access involves a few key steps and considerations to ensure that your Azure Open AI Service web app remains secure and cost-effective. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Review and Understand the Implications

Before proceeding, understand the potential risks and implications of allowing anonymous access, such as increased usage that could impact your Azure billing and the possibility of misuse. Ensure you have monitoring and limits in place to avoid unexpected costs.

Step 2: Configure Your Azure App Service Authentication Settings

  1. Navigate to your Azure App Service: Go to the Azure portal, find your App Service that hosts the built-in web app.
  2. Access Authentication / Authorization Settings: Find the “Authentication / Authorization” section in the platform features tab.
  3. Disable Authentication: Switch off the App Service Authentication option. This action will remove the requirement for users to authenticate, allowing anonymous access.

Here are the steps along with screenshots:

First, go to the Azure OpenAI service, and select the model that you have deployed.


  • Click to go to “Azure OpenAI studio.”

Go to deployments.

Then click on “Open in Playground”


Deploy your web app (if not deployed already)

Once the web application is deployed, go to the settings, and select “Environment Variables.”

Add the following parameter:

Note: This is not recommended for production apps.

  • Add the following in the “environment variable” anywhere.


    “name”: “AUTH_ENABLED”,

    “value”: “false”,

    “slotSetting”: false


  • Next, go-to “Application Settings” and click on “Edit.”
  • Change the setting to “Allow unauthenticated access.”

Additional note:

In some Azure Linux based app service, does not come with the “environment variable option”. In that case, use the “Application Setting” option instead.

Step 3: Implement Rate Limiting and Monitoring

To prevent abuse and keep costs under control, implement rate limiting on your web app. Azure provides several tools and services that can help you monitor usage and set thresholds to prevent excessive use. Additionally, consider using Azure Application Insights to track user interactions and detect any abnormal patterns.

Step 4: Test Thoroughly

After configuring anonymous access, thoroughly test your web app to ensure that it behaves as expected. Verify that users can access the app without authentication and that all functionalities are working correctly. Also, test your rate limiting and monitoring setups to ensure they are effective.

Best Practices and Considerations

  • Use a Custom Domain: For a more professional appearance and to reinforce your brand, consider linking a custom domain to your Azure App Service.
  • Privacy and Security: Even with anonymous access, maintain best practices for privacy and security. Ensure that the AI models do not generate or expose sensitive information.
  • Cost Management: Keep a close eye on your Azure usage and costs. Set up budget alerts in Azure to notify you when usage approaches your budget limit.


Enabling anonymous access to the built-in web app of Azure Open AI Service opens up a realm of possibilities for showcasing and testing AI functionalities.

By following the steps outlined above and adhering to best practices, you can provide a seamless and unrestricted user experience while maintaining control over usage and costs.

As with any cloud service, continuous monitoring and adjustment are key to ensuring that your deployment remains secure, cost-effective, and aligned with your objectives.

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