Silos in the form of a cylindrical metal shell are often supported on a ring beam which rests on discrete column supports. This support condition produces a circumferential non-uniformity in the axial membrane stresses in the silo shell. One way of reducing the non-uniformity of these stresses is to use a very stiff ring beam which partially or fully redistributes the stresses from the local support into uniform stresses in the shell. A better alternative is to use a combination of a flexible ring beam and an intermediate ring stiffener. Recent research by the authors has identified the ideal location of the intermediate ring stiffener to provide circumferentially uniform axial membrane stresses above the stiffener. To be fully effective, this intermediate ring should locally prevent both radial and circumferential displacements in the shell. This paper explores the strength and stiffness requirements for this intermediate ring stiffener. Pursuant to this goal, the cylindrical shell below the intermediate ring stiffener is analysed using the membrane theory of shells and the reactions produced by the stiffener on the shell are identified: These reactions are then applied to the intermediate ring stiffener. Vlasov's curved beam theory is used to derive closed form expressions for the variation of the stress resultants around the circumference to obtain a strength design criterion for the stiffener. A stiffness criterion is then developed by considering the ratio of the circumferential stiffness of the cylindrical shell to that of the intermediate ring stiffener. The circumferential displacements of the ring and the shell are found for the loading condition previously obtained to determine the required strength. A simple algebraic expression is developed for this intermediate ring stiffness criterion. These analytical studies are then compared with complementary finite element analyses that are used to identify a suitable value for the intermediate ring stiffness ratio for practical design. (c) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.