When the page being requested has never been published…
I’ve run into this twice in the last two weeks. Someone has a site page, and they’re trying to get it all pretty-fied for some go-live event. They set the default access to reader, and a smaller number of people to contribute. The contributors can see the person’s online work just fine. Yet, all the people who come in as readers get access denied.
In both of my cases, it was because the page destination in question had never been published to the site as a major version. Looking at the page history, it started as .1, and was up as high as .15, but never was there a 1.0 of the page. As such, people with read access were meant to revert back to viewing the last major published version. Except here… where there *was* no major version to revert to.
The answer was to have the page editor go ahead and publish something out there so that everyone would get the default level of access they should have. Then once they get the page finally cleaned up, they could then publish a major version (version 2.0) that everyone would start seeing.
The whole situation makes sense, once you figure it out. But if you’re simply looking at permissions (and even more so if you’re an admin and can see the draft pages with no issues), it take take a short while to finally figure out why the behavior of the page access seems a bit off.