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Configuring OWA in Exchange 2003

Posted on 2007-03-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-18
We are currently using a single Microsoft Windows 2003 Standard Server in conjunction with Exchange Server 2003. Everything is working fine, but I have been asked to provide remote access for some users, to enable them to access e-mail when in other locations.
I have read about OWA, but have never set this up before. Does anyone know of any documents which provide step by step instructions suitable for first time users, like me?
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Question by:nigelbeatson
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11 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:e_vanheel
ID: 18799680
http://www.verisign.com/support/ssl-certificates-support/install-ssl-certificate.html

For help on installing a certificate so the email is secure across the web.  You don't need to purchase the certificate from Verisign, they just have good step-by-step documentation on how to do it.
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Assisted Solution

by:Sembee
Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 18801008
OWA is configured by default.
There is nothing to setup.
If you browse to http://servername/exchange then you should find that you can access OWA.

The only additional configuration that you should make is to add an SSL certificate as already outlined, which will make the server secure by not sending everything across in the clear.

Everything else is outside of Exchange -

- opening the relevant ports on your firewall (443 if you are using SSL)
- setting up a host name in your DNS for OWA. If you are receiving email directly by SMTP then you may already have a host name that you can use - mail.domain.com for example.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:nigelbeatson
ID: 18806610
wow, there are so many things here! Just to get things clear, firstly if we do not want to use SSL certificates, can we just access our existing server already by logging on using a browser pointed at http://ourservername/exchange?
For basic connections (without SSL) what port do we need to open up in our firewall?
I presume it would be a good idea to get this working first, before applying SSL security certificates.
If we do not purchase an SSL certificate, where do we get one from.
We do receive e-mail directly by SMTP, so what format does a DNS record need to be in for OWA.
It seems their is nothing to do on our server, other than opening up a port on the firewall, but what name do we use for our server? I am a little confused, as I am unsure how our locally named server would be visible for remote access. ie do we use the IP address, or the actual server name.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:e_vanheel
ID: 18807860
OWA is just a website.  You will need to insure that users can gain access via port 80.  

You will need to change your firewall so a user can goto a URL like: http://webmail.yourco.com/exchange and it will route / allow traffic to goto the internal address.

Once you have that working the only additional change will be opening port 443 for the SSL connection.
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Author Comment

by:nigelbeatson
ID: 18808029
Thankyou for your help. That seems to be a little clearer now, but what about the security certificates?
Do we need to purchase those, or are is there part and parcel of Exchange/2003 Server?
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Expert Comment

by:e_vanheel
ID: 18808360
You can purchase them from many vendors or depending on your environment create your own if you have a Certificate Authority (CA).  The easiest way is to just buy one.  They are not that expensive for a basic web server cert.

I would get the "un-secure" OWA working first.  You can purchase the SSL cert and just not install it until you have the rest working.
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18809102
I always recommend purchasing certificates for OWA. You don't have to spend US$400 with Verisign, you can get them for $20 a year from somewhere like http://www.certificatesforexchange.com, GoDaddy or RapidSSL (GeoTrust).

I also tend to suggest testing it inside on http first, but I never open port 80 to the world from an inside network - even for testing.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:nigelbeatson
ID: 18814833
Thanks Simon,

$20 per year sounds OK for the certificate, is that per mailbox, or can we use the same certificate for any remote user?

Your last comment confused me a little. How can we test it out thoroughly using http, if we do not open up a port in our firewall?
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LVL 104

Accepted Solution

by:
Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 18814889
SSL certificates are per server, not per mailbox.
You can test the functionality of Exchange on http inside the firewall. Browse to http://servername/exchange and see if it works. There is no reason why it shouldn't.
If it doesn't work inside then it will not work outside. Exchange doesn't care where you connect from.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:nigelbeatson
ID: 18815059
Thanks everyone for your assistance.
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