Microsoft Exchange Server predicament

Posted on 2006-06-10
Last Modified: 2010-03-06
Just contacted by a new client who had another consulting company setup their Windows 2003 SBS.  They had configured each user's Outlook with 2 accounts: the POP3 account for external mail to their external email host as "default" and the Exchange server account for local mail as the 2nd account.  They configured the internal domain with a ".local" top level.  Mail is being returned at times with #5.7.1 - (meaning unable to relay)  and also "unknown domain .local".  The consultant claims the email was working both internally and externally for everyone before she left.  I don't know how she was getting everything to work in this setup because if you make the external POP3 acct the default then all mail will get routed to the external email host and the local mail will get dropped as unroutable.  If you make the Exchange acct the default then all mail will route locally and the external mail will never get out to the POP3 host.  I don't think it was really all working for everyone.  The next thought would be to only set up the Exchange acct in all users' Outlook, and configure a POP3 connector on the Exchange server.  This would work, but the problem is when all external mail reached the POP3 email host they are unable to translate from the ".local" to the "com" domain for the client so external mail would get blocked by recipients. the reasons to use Exchange is ease of use with Internal email for clients, storage of all email on the Exchange server(without having to resort to .pst files locally) and more importantly shared calendars. For this reason alone I am trying to preserve Exchange.  I'm pretty much left with nothing but teloing them to bring the email server inhouse and get a static IP unless someone can come up with other suggestions.  Any thoughts are appreciated!!
Question by:071171
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Expert Comment

ID: 16879924
I hope I understand your problem correctly, but I think you're there already. If you configure the Exchange server to receive .com as well and have these accounts configured on the server, Exchange shouldn't have a problem at all getting the mail to the correct mailbox. You should make the .com primary email address and that will be used as sender address as well. .local is then simply not used anymore for email.
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 16881022
This sounds like you are over complicating matters greatly. It is perfectly possible to run Exchange with both services, some care has to be taken with the setup, that is all.

You don't need a static IP address to run Exchange. I have it running on a number of sites with a dynamic IP address and it works fine. (

Ideally you should be running with Exchange looking after all email. That is what it was designed to do and how it works best. I can provide a counter argument to almost every reason to use POP3.

If the client wants to continue to operate in the current manner, then you should configure the Exchange server as if it was responsible for all email. That includes adding the external domain to recipient policy, configuring an SMTP Connector to send email via the ISPs SMTP server ( etc. Make sure that all user accounts have their default email address as the correct external email address.

With the way things are currently set, if the recipients are mixed - some external some internal, then all email will go via Exchange. The internal recipients will get the message correctly but the external recipients will either get the message with an invalid reply to address, or their server will bounce it because it isn't valid.

By setting up Exchange correctly, if email does go out through the Exchange server, it will be delivered correctly and the recipient can reply to it.


Author Comment

ID: 16881372

The problem is if you get rid of the Exchange server account out of each user's Outlook setup, then they won't be able to send internal mail to each other unless they use the full external domain of the internal recipients.  While this would work, they would exclude them from sharing their calendars.
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Author Comment

ID: 16881403
Sembee -

With regards to using a static IP address, I was talking abouot an instance when you are actually hosting the email as opposed to having an external provider host it for you.  In that case, you would want to have a static address for your email server.  I don't want to have to get to that point for the client.  In the current scenario, if I switch to having all mail routed through the client's Exchange server then using the POP3 connector, all external mail gets to the client's mail host.  But, it all gets there with the ".local" domain as the sender.  How can I get that senders' domain to translate into the correct external ".com" domain so that external mail doesn't get bounced by external recipients? I'm not an expert but I have spoken with those with considerably more knowledge and have reached an impasse. Can I set up a policy in Exchange that does this translation because it must be done.
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 16881421
You do not have to have a static IP address to host your own email. I ran an Exchange server at home for four years until I was able to ditch the ISP. That was on a dynamic IP address. You just have to take a few extra precautions and use a dynamic DNS providers. It works very well.

I explained in my answer above how to get email to leave the client with the correct email address.
As they are using SBS, you will need to run the Internet Mail wizard (or whatever it is called) to reconfigure the Exchange server with the external domain name. Do not attempt to reconfigure it yourself as that will break everything. The trick with SBS is to use the wizards for everything.

Having email delivered directly is so much better than using the POP3 connector.


Author Comment

ID: 16882952
Sembee -

Bear with me - I am knew to the Exchange server setup. I should configure SMTP connector to the ISP's SMTP server - not the email host's SMTP server? Also, on the Outlook setup for clients, wouldn't I still need the POP3 external account configured as well as have the Exchange acct? otherwise, I could just have the Exchange acct setup on each Outlook client and configure the POP3 connector for the users on the Exchange server instead?  I'm sure I'll have more questions - I appreciate the patience.  Most books i've found deal with the basic setup and real-world scenarios.
LVL 104

Accepted Solution

Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 16889916
For outbound email you can use either.
I tend to suggest the ISPs SMTP server as it is not unusual for users on a dynamic IP address to be unable to connect to remote SMTP servers. Not many hosts provide SMTP services these days - they tell you to use the ISPs SMTP Server for that very reason.

As for the POP3 accounts, that depends on what you are going to do for email.
If you are going to have email delivered directly by SMTP, then the POP3 accounts in Outlook will not be required. You will need to keep them in place for at least 48 hours after the DNS changes have been made while propagation takes place.

The POP3 connector is a horrible thing, and if you can get away from using it you would be well advised.


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