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dns host, mx record, cname, A record, dyndns, dynamic ip, router, sbs 2003, exchange....what the...?

Posted on 2006-11-12
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Ok, so I've got an ISP (Road Runner) that provides me a cable internet connection with a dynamic ip.  Then I've got a dns host (1&1) that provides me my public dns address.  Then I've got a sbs 2003 server on my lan that's got it's external nic plugged into a router and an internal nic plugged into a switch.  The sbs 2003 server is going to be used to host a company sharepoint site, an exchange mail server, and provide remote desktop, owa, rww and all that good stuff for mobile users.

This is my first time setting up a sbs 2003 server and an exchange server, so I'm a bit confused on how to get all of these things to work together.

I think I've got a level 100 understanding of all this and I'd like someone to help me take it to the next level and get this working.

So this is how everything is picturing in my head:

My ISP will provide me a connection to the internet with a dynamic ip.  I've got dyndns updater installed on the server and I've got an account with dyndns.org configured to resolve the dynamic ip my ISP provides to mycompany.dyndns.org.  I'm not sure if I should enable/disable wildcards and I'm not sure what to do with the mail exchanger setting.  What to do here?

My DNS host is providing me with my domain name, mycompany.com.  I'm not sure what other subdomain's I'll need and what the mx records or cnames or A records or any of those settings are for and how they should be used.  What subdomain do I need?  And what should be the configuration of those domains?

Also, should I create email accounts with 1&1 and then forward email to my exchange server?  Or should they be sent directly to the exchange server?

Also, should my incoming and outgoing mail server be my ISP mail server, 1&1's mail server, or should I use my exchange server to send them directly?

What's pop3 connector, do I need that?

Please, ask me for any additional information that may be needed.  I look forward to your advice!

Question by:vITComputing
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 17924575
First off, I would say that using a Dynamic IP address is *not* a robust approach.  Can you get the ISP to give you a Fixed IP Address?  This will head-off a lot of future problems.

Author Comment

ID: 17924585
What if I was able to get a static ip.  Still how would I configure everything?  Thanks for the advice. This is for a client of mine, so I'll see if they want to upgrade to a static ip.  I might get lucky and they'll already have one.  But I just want to be prepared for whatever I'm walking into.

LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 17924602
Having a Fixed IP has a big impact on how you set up the Mail side of things, so I wouldn't plan anything too far down the line here until you know the answer to the Fixed IP question.  Many ISP's will upgrade for nothing, one I have come across talked about closing the entire account and opening up a new one: which was purely for their convenience so they could handle the paperwork cleanly.
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Author Comment

ID: 17924610
Well I live in Hawaii, so there are limited ISP's.  The main one on our island is Road Runner and they only provide static ips for business accounts.  This is a business, so hopefully they have one.  But a lot don't...and before now, they didn't need a static one.  And business accoutns jump from $30/month for residential accounts to $90/month for business accounts.  I'm hoping for a static ip, but I also need to be prepared if they don't have one.

Could you give me an idea of the logic behind configuring and how email would get routed with a static and/or dynamic ip?  I'm still trying to understand the logic behind all of it.


Author Comment

ID: 17924867
Wow, I think I magically figured it out!  It works, but I'd like to know if there is a better way to setup exchange.

What I did was create a catch-all email address with 1&1.  It's named *@mycompany.com.

Then I setup the pop3 connector in sbs2003 to check that email account for any new messages and I routed the To or CC names with the name it's associated with in exchange.

I guess this works good, since my exchange server is connecting my domain host, instead of the other way around.  That way a dynamic ip doesn't really matter as much.

With this setup I was able to send and receive a test message to a specific mailbox on exchange, successfully!

So, is this the right way to do this?  I did notice that the most that I could check my hosted mail server was every 15 minutes, this can sometimes be a long time when you're expecting an email.  Also, it seems a little bit more of a "manual" process to route a users name in the To or CC lines to a specific mailbox.  But other than that, it doesn't look too bad.

Any advice?

LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 17924897
That is the way to do it if using POP for receiving emails.  

Sending emails to certain domains can be a problem: sending an email to an AOL account without it bouncing is the ultimate test.  

Author Comment

ID: 17924910
Well, that's the only way that I can figure out how to configure it.  I'm open to suggestions for a better way. But right now it's better to have it working at 70% ranther than not functioning at all.

Why would it bounce back with an aol account?
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 17924940
This is what AOL put in the handshake details of all messages being sent to AOL addresses:-

<-- 220-America Online (AOL) and its affiliated companies do not
<-- 220-     authorize the use of its proprietary computers and computer
<-- 220-     networks to accept, transmit, or distribute unsolicited bulk
<-- 220-     e-mail sent from the internet. Effective immediately:  AOL
<-- 220-     may no longer accept connections from IP addresses which
<-- 220      have no reverse-DNS (PTR record) assigned.

You can check the details to see whether the domain you are using is correctly set up here:-


Author Comment

ID: 17926636
So I did a bit more research about certain domains being a problem, like aol.

Will this solve the problem?  I setup the smtp connector to use my ISP's mail server.  I tried using my dns host's mail server, but it didn't like it.

Will this solve the issue?

It seems that I don't really need a static ip with how I've got it setup.  Is this right?  I thought that it would be a lot harder. Did I oversimplify things?

LVL 31

Accepted Solution

moorhouselondon earned 250 total points
ID: 17926692
It depends on your individual circumstances.  Without knowing the full details, it is difficult to comment.  In your circumstances it looks as if Roadrunner's SMTP server is what should be setup - but if you are sending using a domain bought through 1&1 (which Roadrunner knows nothing about) then the PTR details for that domain will not be automatically correct, which means that if you send to AOL, for example, from that domain, your messages may not get delivered.

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