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How do I temporarily redirect incoming exchange email to another server?

Posted on 2007-04-05
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Next week I am preparing to switch my method of receiving incoming email from Exchange Pop3 connectors to directly receiving mail at my local Exchange server.
However, I have to shut the server down this weekend due to maintenance on the building. This has got me thinking. In situations like this, is there a seamless way to temporarily redirect mail back to my domain host mail servers until my exchange server is back up?  If not will all my incoming email be bounced back to the sender?
Thx.
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Question by:ArkAdmin
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Stacy Spear
ID: 18860588
If you don't have an alt MX host, then yes they will bounce. I have successfully in the past setup a Linux server, then at the firewall redirected SMTP traffic there. While it was setup to send mail to Exchange. I canceled delayed deliver notifications and set the time out to hard bounce to 3 days. Figuring if the mail was down that long I'd be fired anyway!

Fairly easy, search for sendmail or postfix mail relay exchange server at google/yahoo/whatever.
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Author Comment

by:ArkAdmin
ID: 18860801
I think I can arrange for an alternate MX host with my domain hosting company. I presently have pop accounts configured there already.
How exactly would this work? How would an email that bounced from the first MX host know to try a second?
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Stacy Spear earned 250 total points
ID: 18860958
It wouldn't bounce, if it can't contact one, it tries the others based on priority. After the last one fails, then a properly configured server will not bounce it still. It will keep trying at its retry intervals until the message times out. During that phase, the sender will get the delayed delivery messages, and then finally the hard bounce NDR. Some systems will kill a message after just a few hours, while some will try for a week or more.

Tell the ISP to add their mail server to your MX at a higher cost than what your current server is.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 250 total points
ID: 18861681
ArkAdmin,

What I do for my own server is to use a catch-all POP3 account as the backup MX.  (Even though secondary MX servers are no longer thought of as a good idea because spammers will target them).

Even so, it's quite easy to do... then you can just enable the POP3 Connector on the server in addition to SMTP to download any messages that would be at your ISP's POP3 server.

If you want to take a look at how my MX records are configured, (http://www.dnsreport.com/tools/mail.ch?domain=techsoeasy.com) you'll see that my primary server (sbs.techsoeasy.com) has a preference of 0, while my secondary MX server (very.netsoeasy.com) is set at 20.  You'll also see on that report how the preferences work.

This would generally be configured wherever your Public DNS Zone file is, and having a second MX record is quite common, so there shouldn't be any problem in setting it up.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:ArkAdmin
ID: 18876032
TSE, How do I create a DNS report like yours? Is this created automatically or do you enter the explanation comments yourself? thx.
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Expert Comment

by:Stacy Spear
ID: 18876328
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Author Comment

by:ArkAdmin
ID: 18876585
Let me know if I should open a new question...

My domain host doesn't seem to understand what I am asking them to do.
Here is what I have asked them:

I need to arrange to have an MX record configured to point to my exchange server, home.arkengineering.net, 74.239.63.217 with preference ‘0’.
In addition I need to have an alternate MX record configured to point to mail.arkengineering.net, 66.226.64.21 with preference ‘20’.

This is how my DNS report currently looks.
http://www.dnsreport.com/tools/mail.ch?domain=arkengineering.net

Aplus.net seems to offer pretty comprehensive services otherwise, Do I need to find another host?
Thanks.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Stacy Spear
ID: 18876941
Seems like a straightforward request to me. Change the preference to 10, not 0. Preference must be 1 to 99.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 18887979
The preference can most definitely be 0.  

No, you don't need to find another host.  You need to have them add a HOST A record for home.arkengineering.net pointing to 74.239.63.217 along with the MX record pointing to home.arkengineering.net.  MX records are a two-part process because they cannot point directly to an IP address.

Then, there should be another HOST A record for mail.arkengineering.net pointing to 66.226.64.21 which you can then have the corresponding MX record with the preference of 20.

FYI, you don't need to append the URL of www.dnsreport.com to create your report, just go to the site and plug your domain name into the appropriate box and press enter.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Stacy Spear
ID: 18888322
I still wouldn't put my preference at 0, Jeff is right, it can be 0 to 65535. What if you need to temporary change mail routing, 10 would make it easy to add lower ones.
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