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HTTP Error 404 after logging in to Exchange 2003 OWA at Frontend Server

Posted on 2007-10-17
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I am trying to setup Exchange 2003 OWA in FE/BE environment.  Everything works fine when I access OWA directly to the BE server.  When I hit URL for the FE, same thing, the OWA login page shows up.  However, after typing in my username and password, I get 'The page cannot be found', HTTP Error 404- File or directory not found.  It seems that the FE is not communicating right to the BE mailbox.  The local path value in the virtual directory of Exchange in IIS is \\. \BackOfficeStorage\abc.com\MBX.  Is this correct?  Please help.  Thank you in advance.
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Question by:hoggiee
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by:Sembee
ID: 20091773
The first thing to check is a version mismatch.
The frontend server needs to be the same or higher version of the backend.

Therefore on both servers look in \exchsrvr\exchweb\ at the versions. The highest version should be on the frontend server or on both the backend and the frontend. If it is on the backend then you need to update the frontend.

Simon.

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by:hoggiee
ID: 20091813
Yes.  Both FE and BE have exactly the same version number.
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by:Sembee
ID: 20091945
Is there anything between the frontend and the backend?
Has it ever worked?

Simon.

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by:hoggiee
ID: 20092113
My initial plan was to move the FE to DMZ but currently they are in the same LAN segment just to make sure the OWA works in first place.  This is the first time I am trying to setup OWA in FE/BE environment, so it has never worked before.  Before one of the servers was changed to FE, the OWA on each was working fine, I could access, sent, and receive mails as normal.
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by:Sembee
ID: 20094146
Why do you want to put the frontend server in the DMZ? Do you think that will improve your network security?
Frontend servers should not be deployed for security reasons - they are for load and single point of entry only. If you want to put something between Exchange and the Internet then you should use an ISA server.

Do you have an SSL certificate on the backend server? Do you have require SSL enabled on any of the virtual directories on the backend server?
Does the URL stay the same in the browser, or does it redirect?

Simon.

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by:hoggiee
ID: 20098309
My boss is just over-worried of the security issue in implementing a direct access to the backend server, therefore he needs a frontend in the DMZ.  Currently both FE and BE are still in the same LAN segment for testing purpose.
Both FE and BE servers have SSL enabled, and they are access via https://fe_server/exchange and https://be_server/exchange, no problem.  At the FE server, after I key in the username and password on the OWA login page, I get  'The page cannot be found', HTTP Error 404- File or directory not found.  Any ideas?
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Sembee earned 2000 total points
ID: 20104932
Ask your boss how putting an Exchange server in the DMZ improves security. An attacker compromises the frontend server and they can walk straight in.
This blog posting of mine from last year covers why it is a bad idea in more depth.
http://www.sembee.co.uk/archive/2006/02/23/7.aspx

No one has ever given me a good reason for putting Exchange in a DMZ.

You should not have SSL enabled on the backend server, nor any require SSL options on the backend server. The internal traffic goes over port 80.

Simon.

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