Redirecting OWA Urls in Exchange 2010

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One of my colleague (an EV Expert) asked me about the steps to redirect OWA url in Exchange 2010 and hence the post.

We have done it in all versions of Exchange to make it easier for users to use OWA. All they need to type in is email or mail (whatever you have set) and the browser will be redirected from http://email to (/exchange in legacy systems).

Things are easier in Exchange 2010, with the new version of IIS in 2008 R2. There is an option named “Http Redirect” which we will use to accomplish the task. Launch IIS Manager on the CAS server and navigate to “Default Web site”. Double click on “Http Redirect” under the IIS section on the right hand side.

Def Website Http Redirect Option

Check the box for redirection and type in the url you want it to be redirected to. Make sure you check the last option as well. Click on “Apply” button on the top right hand corner.

Enable http redirect on default website

IIS will push down this setting to any virtual directory underneath it, which doesn’t have the same setting explicitly defined. Hence, we need to remove the redirection from aspnet_client, autodiscover, ecp, ews, microsoft-server-activesync, oab, powershell and rpc.

Select each of the virtual directories and clear both check boxes (as in the screenshot below) & apply.

Http redirect options in other vdir

The legacy directories – exchange, exchweb and public should redirect to /owa. This is the default config, but do check. Don’t check the last option for these directories (see the screenshot below).

Http redirect on legacy vdir

Next step is to disable the “ssl requirement” for the default website. Otherwise, when a user tries to connect using http://email, an http error will be displayed. This basically means that the user is trying an http connection to a site that has https enforced.

Select the “default web site” and double click the “ssl settings” under IIS section. Uncheck the box”Require SSL” and click the apply button on the top right.

Require SSL turned off for default website

Like the redirection settings, IIS will push this setting down to the virtual directories which doesn’t have this option explicitly defined. Hence, we need to check the “Require SSL” box for the virtual directories – autodiscover, ecp, ews, microsoft-server-activesync, oab, owa and rpc.

SSL required for vdir settings

Don’t make changes to any other directories. Do an iisreset from the command prompt. Perform the same steps if you have more than one CAS server.

Your users will be redirected to the correct url from now on Winking smile

Check Pat Richard’s article if you want the process to be scripted and Henrik Walther’s post for a related OAB issue once the redirection is in place.

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About the author: Exchange Architect, Blogger, Husband & Dad. I have been in IT for the last 11 years, with Exchange Server becoming the prime area in the last few years. I am active on TechNet forums & Experts Exchange.

16 comments… add one

  1. Thanks for the link to my script. Just as an added note, my script does also resolve the OAB issue that Henrik mentions.

    Thanks again!

    1. Rajith Enchiparambil

      Thanks Pat. Keep up the good work…

  2. Matthew

    Such a helpfull tutorial as always, thank you

    1. Rajith Enchiparambil

      Thanks Matthew.

  3. Robert

    I recall Exchange SPs or updates that arbitrarily changed the IIS Settings so be sure to record any changes you make and re-verify them after running a SP or update.

    1. Rajith Enchiparambil

      Thanks for the tip Robert. You never know what a SP will do to the machine!

  4. Quimby

    Isn’t “require ssl” for OAB wrong? At least in the default configuration this is not checked according to this:

    1. Hi Quimby,

      OAB doesn’t have SSL enabled with the default certificate. Once you have an internal/3rd party cert with the OAB urls on it, use SSL.

  5. Neil

    Hi…Thanks for making the article as clear as possible.

    I am however one of the ones who followed this article precisely and have also done the OAB bit that still has a residual issue.

    I am migrating from Ex2003. The redirection works fine, however any migrated users get an “An unexpected error occurred. Your request couldn’t be handled” error when trying to navigate between the sent and inbox folders or when trying to compose a new message.

    this is fixed if I “uncheck” the redirect in HTTP Redirect section of the owa vdir but that causes the setting to be unchecked in the Exchange, Public and Exchweb vdirs which breaks OWA for legacy users.

    Any feedback which helps resolves this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

      Is it happening for all users Neil? Did you try a different browser?

    2. DP

      I had the same problem. I worked with microsoft and I found this article that helped.

      After I was done I also had to edit the web.config in the following directory “C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV14ClientAccessOwa”.

      Delete the following line “” almost at the end of the file.

      1. DP

        This is the line I deleted. My post was misunderstood.

        httpRedirect enabled=”false”

  6. Eatsam

    Hi Rajith,

    We are using Exchange 2010 and having problems with internal OWA, sharing calendars and setting automatic replies.

    I am unable to access internal OWA. cannot locate in outlook 2010 account settings.

    Automatic replies show the error message “your automatic reply settings cannot be displayed because the server is unavailable, please try later”.

    I am unable to share calendars to other users. When I try to share the calendar it gives an error message “error while preparing to send the sharing message”

    Also Auto configuration unable to determine the setting when I do Test email auto configuration.

    1. Rajith Jose Enchiparambil

      Hi Eatsam,

      This means that all the Exchange urls are not configured properly. Configure them and make sure that the urls are covered by the internal Exchange certificate.


  7. Hi,

    We have Exchange 2010 running in environment, Keeping Active sync and app dependency we have planned to use same OWA url in Exchange 2013.
    Please suggest me how to achieve this and what are all changes i need to do on Exchnage 2010 & 2013…. Any challenge if any ?

    1. If they are in the same forest/domain, have the certificate in 2013 CAS servers, re-point DNS record to 2013 CAS and things should be fine.

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