Ask the Expert

Setting up OWA in Exchange Server 2003

I am new to Exchange Server administration and have just set up an Exchange 2003 server. I have found suggestions for securing Outlook Web Access but I can't find out how to initially set up OWA and access it via the Web. Can you please help?

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Outlook Web Access is set up by default when you install Exchange Server 2003. You can verify that it is present by going into the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager and noticing the presence of the ExchWeb, Exchange and Public virtual directories under the Default Web Site.

You can check its functionality by opening http://<ServerName>/exchange in a Web browser. (Also try the secure connection by replacing HTTP with HTTPS in the URL.)

If you want to access OWA from the Internet, you need to use an IP address or a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), such as, instead of the NetBIOS server name in the URL. And if you have a firewall (which we hope you do), make sure to open inbound ports 80 (HTTP) or 443 (SSL) with proper translation to the internal address of your Exchange server.

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Related information from

  • Tip: Recreating IIS virtual directories for OWA in Exchange 2003
  • FAQ: Outlook Web Access issues
  • Learning Center: Troubleshooting Outlook Web Access
  • Learning Guide: Outlook Web Access administration
  • Reference Center: OWA tips and resources
  • This was first published in February 2007

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