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Using cPanel as backup email server/ MS Exchange as primary

Posted on 2012-04-09
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Last Modified: 2012-06-14
Hello. I am setting up exchange for one of my clients and since their server is hosted at their office location I don't want to trust it with being the only mail server available.

I have a dedicated server with WHM/cPanel running at a datacenter which is far more reliable than the office location. I saw under cPanel/WHM that you can use it as a backup email server, but the documentation that I could find on this is a bit lacking in my opinion.

Has anyone used this before? From some documentation I get that if cPanel is setup as the backup it will wait for the primary mail server (exchange in this case) to come backup then it will deliver the mail to it. From other documentation I get that it will simply use the mailboxes on the server and never directly deliver email to the primary server.

Also, how to set this is up is also a bit confusing. I am aware that my primary server should have a priority of 0 and the back up of something like 10. However, I have 4 different setting types for the email server where MX records are set. These are automatic, remote, local, and backup.

So if I want to use the backup I assume I set the setting to backup then I set my exchange server to have a priority of 0 while the cpanel server has a priority of 10?

Having not tried this before and not wanting to risk having my clients not get email I would appreciate some feedback from people that have tried this before.

Thanks.
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Question by:Pawel_Kowalski
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chakko earned 500 total points
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I have set this up like you describe.

Your Exchange server MX record needs to be a smaller number value, you can use 0 if you prefer

Set it up as a backup configuration (the cPanel setting).

Then make some tests if you can (maybe off hours?).  I just blocked my Exchange server from the internet (any way you want to do that, just unplug the LAN cable from the Exchange server if you don't have any ideas, I changed my firewall setting).

Then send some test emails from Yahoo or other external place.  The mail should go to the cPanel server.

Then after you have sent some test messages, reconnect your Exchange server and wait for the mail to come in.  It may take some time, I would wait an hour or two at minimum.

Note:  I set this up on 1 linux hosting package and it didn't work.  It was a problem with that hosting - maybe their server was not setup properly.  So, I tried a different company, asked the sales people (in the chat window) what I wanted to do and confirmed that it would work).   Then setup what I wanted and the tests worked as expected.
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by:Pawel_Kowalski
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Awesome, thanks! So just to confirm cPanel will actually wait for the main exchange server to come back up at which point it will simply route the email to it? I don't need to have any user mailboxes set up on the cpanel end?
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