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How To Configure a Smarthost on Exchange 2003

How To Configure a Smarthost on Exchange 2007

What if you don't use Exchange as your in-house
Mail-server?

How to Create a Sender Policy Framework (SPF)Record to Authorise our Servers to send out your Company's Email

 

How to Configure Microsoft Exchange to use
the Arrowmail Smarthosts


Arrowmail has 3 separate smarthost mail-servers and, luckily, both Exchange 2003 and 2007 know how to make use of multiple smarthosts for redundancy and load-balancing.
This means that if one of our smarthosts is very busy, has failed or is undergoing maintenance, your Exchange server can continue to send out emails, uninterrupted.

In Exchange 2003, it's possible to configure a smarthost on the Default SMTP Virtual Server but, if you do it this way, you can only set a single smarthost.
You must, therefore, use an SMTP Connector for your outgoing emails which does allow multiple smarthosts to be specified.

For Exchange 2007 there's only one way to configure a smarthost which is on the Send Connector.

For simplicity, the instructions on this page assume that you only have one Exchange server in your organization.
If you have multiple Exchange servers, there are a few minor differences which we'll be happy to advise you about.



 

What makes our Smarthosts so smart?


How To Configure a Smarthost on Exchange 2003


Open Exchange System Manager and click on the + next to Connectors to see if you are already using an SMTP Connector.
SBS2003 comes with a pre-configured SMTP Connector as shown below:-


 
SBS 2003 comes with a pre-configured SMTP Connector  


If you need to create a new connector:-
Right-click on Connectors and select New - SMTP Connector...

If a SMTP Connector already exists, right-click on it and choose Properties


 
Create a new SMTP Connector

If you only
have one
Exchange server, it's unlikely
you'll need more than one
SMTP Connector.

Multiple
SMTP Connectors are used to
send certain emails via different routes.



The SMTP Connector - Properties page opens which has 8 tabs.
(There could be a 9th tab called Security if you've previously enabled this tab by a Registry change, but, in any case, there's nothing to configure on this tab.)

We'll start on the General tab where there are 3 things to configure:-

Name Call it what you want, but "All Outgoing Email" is a good name.

Smarthosts Select "Forward all mail through this connector to the following smart hosts" and enter Arrowmail's 3 smarthosts, separated by semicolons.
The full string to enter is:-

smarthost1.arrowmail.co.uk;smarthost2.arrowmail.co.uk;smarthost3.arrowmail.co.uk
"Copy and Paste" the above line into your SMTP Connector if you like.

Bridgehead  
Server
This is your Exchange server.
Click Add... and there will only be one option.

Add the smarthosts to the General tab of the SMTP Connector

If you're editing an existing SMTP Connector it will already have a name which can't be changed here.

If you want to rename the connector,
close this page, right-click on the SMTP Connector and choose Rename



Go to the Address Space tab.
Click Add... and select the default options which are:-
Type = SMTP
Email Domain = *
Cost = 1
Connector scope = Entire Organization
"Allow messages to be relayed to these domains" is not selected


 
Create an Address Space entry which encompasses all outgoing email  


Go to the Advanced tab.
Click on Outbound Security...
Select Basic authentication (password is sent in clear text) and then Modify...
Enter your username and password for the Arrowmail Smarthosts.

If you would like all messages, sent from your server to our smarthosts, to be encrypted then select TLS encryption:-


 
Enter your username and password for the smarthosts and you can also enable TLS encryption

The Arrowmail smarthosts require authentication and support TLS encryption.

We will issue you with your own username and password
which will be the same for all 3 of our smarthosts.



There's nothing to change on the other 5 tabs, but we've shown what they should look like, anyway, so you can check that nothing's been changed.

The Connected Routing Groups tab:-


 
Nothing to do on the Connected Routing Groups tab

Not much going on here!




The Delivery Restrictions tab:-


 
These are the default settings for the Delivery Restrictions tab  



The Content Restrictions tab:-


 
The Content Restricitons tab - the default is to have no restrictions  



The Delivery Options tab:-


 
The Delivery Options tab - nothing special here  



...and finally, the Details tab:-


 
The Details tab - you can enter some useful notes here if you don't have a life  


Click OK and close Exchange System Manager.

In order for the new settings to take effect, you need to restart the following services:-
Microsoft Exchange Routing Engine and
Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP).

Rebooting the server will also enable the new settings, if this is easier.

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How To Configure a Smarthost on Exchange 2007


If your Exchange Server 2007 is currently able to send emails externally, a Send Connector must already have been created and configured correctly on the Hub Transport server.
Configuring Exchange 2007 to use the Arrowmail Smarthosts, therefore, just requires you to modify the settings on this Send Connector.

For Exchange 2007, Microsoft has split up into separate roles, the various jobs that Exchange has to perform, with the implication that each role will be handled by a different server.
The Hub Transport role is the one responsible for sending and receiving external emails.
In the real world of small to medium sized companies, a single Exchange server is likely to be performing all the various roles.


 

Open Exchange Management Console
Click on the + next to Organization Configuration
Select Hub Transport and
select the Send Connectors tab:-


The Send Connector that specifies how external emails are delivered in Exchange 2007
 

(If you can't see all the columns shown above, click View - Add/Remove Columns...)

Right-click on the existing Send Connector, select Properties and go to the Network tab.
Select "Route mail through the following smart hosts:" and click Add:-


 
Add a smarthost entry on the Network tab  
 

 

Specify the first smarthost as shown below:-


 
Specify the name of an Arrowmail smarthost here  


Add all 3 of Arrowmail's smarthosts:-


 
Add all 3 Arrowmail smarthosts for redundancy and load-balancing  

Click Change... to set the authentication options.


Type the username and password we've issued to you below:-


 
Enter your username and password for the Arrowmail smarthosts  


There shouldn't be anything that needs changing on the other 3 tabs, but we've shown below, what they should typically look like.

The General tab:-


 
The General tab - specify the name of the connector, the DNS name of your public IP address and whether any logging should take place

The
Fully Qualified Domain Name(FQDN)
should be the DNS name of the public IP address your server operates behind.

Our smarthosts don't care what FQDN you enter, but if you're sending email directly, without using a smarthost, it's important to get this entry to match your actual FQDN


When you
need help
trouble-shooting smarthost connection problems, you can change the "Protocol logging level:"
to Verbose.




The Address Space tab:-


 
If this connector is going to send all of your outgoing email then the domain column entry should be an asterisk

The asterisk in
the Domain column indicates that all emails
will be sent through this
Send Connector




The Source Server tab:-


 
The Source Server tab is the name of the Exchange server that will be using this Send Connector

Notice, in the
Role column,
that this server is performing all the Exchange 2007 roles.




When you've finished, the Send Connector should look like this:-


 
This is what the completed Send Connetor should look like
     

The changes you've made to the Send Connector will take effect straight away without you having to reboot the server or restart any services.




What if you don't use Exchange as your in-house Mail-server?


Many mail-server programs, other than Exchange, can take advantage of multiple smarthosts. However, if the one you're using use can only be configured for one smarthost, you should set it to use:-

smarthost.arrowmail.co.uk

We will make sure that this DNS name is always pointing to a functional mail-server.

If your mail-server isn't able to authenticate to our smarthosts then, as long as you are using a fixed public IP address, we can allow anonymous access from that specific IP address.

 



How to Create a Sender Policy Framework Record to Authorise our Servers to send out your Company's Email


It's by no means essential, but if you use our smarthosts, it can help make email delivery more reliable if you create a special DNS record with whoever is handling the DNS for your domain name, which is usually your domain registrar.

This DNS record is to comply with the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) anti-spam initiative and it identifies our servers as being approved for sending emails from your domain.

It's a TXT record, which not all DNS servers or ISP control panels can handle, but if they can this is the record you need to add:-

mycompany.com.   IN   TXT   "v=spf1 include:arrowmail.co.uk -all"

This is how it should appear in your DNS Zone File, including the inverted commas, but with your domain name substituted for mycompany.com.

If you give us the logon details for your domain registrar's control panel we'll set it up for you.
If your current DNS servers can't handle TXT records you could move to DNS servers that can. This doesn't require you to change your domain registrar.
We can host and manage your domain's DNS for you if you like, and create the required TXT records, for £1.85/month - for details got to www.dnsmax.co.uk

You can check that your SPF record has been successfully setup by sending an email to:-
check-auth@verifier.port25.com
Make sure that the From address you use is covered by the SPF record, no need to put anything in the Subject Line or the body of the email.
You should receive a reply containing something like the extract below, which also checks out any other anti-spam initiatives such as DomainKeys, DKIM, and Sender-ID:-


 
The results of an SPF email checking system


The SPF system has not yet been adopted widely enough to be a reliable method for identifying spam but, when sending emails, it can tip the balance your favour, especially with heavy-handed anti-spam systems.

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