Redirect OWA Exchange 2010 & Exchange 2013 – The Cool and Easy Method

By Ace Fekay
MCT, MVP, MCSE 2012/Cloud, MCITP EA, MCTS Windows 2008/R2, Exchange 2007 & 2010, Exchange 2010 Enterprise Administrator, MCSE 2003/2000, MCSA Messaging 2003
Microsoft Certified Trainer
Microsoft MVP: Directory Services
Active Directory, Exchange and Windows Infrastructure Engineer & Janitor

Preface

Hey everyone, Ace here again. An issue was presented to me regarding the EMC and EMS would not open on a new Exchange 2010 SP3 installation. The underlying operating system is Windows 2008 R2 SP1. I could not figure out how to resolve this issue, and not to pat myself on the back, I usually and eventually resolve something or get really close, but I was no where near close on this one, other than knowing it was an IIS issue. I eventually called Microsoft Support to assist in this scenario, instead of wasting any more of my time or the customer’s valuable productivity on the issue. That said, this will be the first time in two years that I’ve needed to contact Microsoft Support.

During the course of the support call, we discussed various ways to redirect the Default Site access by simply typing in, mail.domain.com, and have it redirect to https://mail.domain.com/owa, thus making it easier for users to remember the short URL instead of having to remember the whole URL.

I was originally following Brian Desmond’s blog on how to configure the redirect, and it works great. I’ve used it for a half dozen customers without incident for the past two years. But after I saw this method, I was astonished at the ease of configuration, and it does not affect any subfolders.

The idea behind it is configuring the IIS 7 and 7.5 HTTP Redirect feature on the actual iisstart.htm file, and not for the actual Default Website. If you set it for the website, you must uncheck it for each and every sub web folder which is a pain in the butt to go through each one, and you may make a mistake that can render Exchange useless. Support call anyone? Smile

 

This requires the IIS HTTP Redirect feature installed under Web Role Services

If you don’t already have it installed, you will need to install the HTTP Redirect feature under the IIS Web Server Role Services. If you don’t have it installed, it’s a quick installation that does not require a restart.

Steps to install the HTTP Redirect Feature:

  1. Open Server Manager, and then expand Roles.
  2. Right-click Web Server (IIS), and then choose “Add Role Services.”
  3. Under Web Server section, scroll down to find and click to select the “HTTP Redirect” check box.
  4. Click Next to complete the installation.
  5. Click Close when done.

Steps to configure OWA Redirect in Exchange 2010 and 2013:

  1. Click on the Default Website
  1. Right Click Default Website
  2. Choose “Switch to Content View
    For the full image, click here
  • In the middle pane, you will now see a list of all the sub webs. You will also notice the iisstart.htm file.
  • Right-click the iisstart.htm file
    1. Choose “Switch to Features View
      For the full image, click here
  • In the left pane, you will now see “iisstart.htm” in the navigation tree
    1. Click on iisstart.htm in the left navigation tree
      For the full image, click here
    2. In the middle pane, either (either one gets you to the same place)
    1. Right-click HTTP Redirect, choose Open Feature
    1. Or
  • Double-Click on HTTP Redirect
  • Check the box that states, “Redirect requests to this destination
  • Type in OWA URL, such as https://mail.domain.com/owa
  • Click Apply
    For full image, click here
  • Open a command window, or if you already have a PowerShell window open, that will work, too.
    1. Type in IISRESET
    2. Hit <enter>
      You’re done!

    It’s that easy. And it will not affect any of the Exchange’s necessary subfolders, or any other part of IIS.

    Easy, wasn’t it?

    Exchange 2003 & 2007 OWA Redirect

    1. Navigate to c:\inetpub\webroot
    2. Right click anywhere in the middle pane
    3. Choose New -> Text Document
    1. Notepad will open
    2. Type in (you only need this one line):
    1. <% response.redirect(“https://mail.domain.com/owa”)%>
  • Then save the file
    1. Click Save As
    2. Type in “default.asp
    3. And yes, you MUST use the quotes so the system will not append “.txt” on the end of it and rendering it useless.
  • Click Save
  • Open IIS Management Console
  • If this is Exchange 2000 or 2003 on Windows 2000/2003, IIS6:
    1. Navigate to the Default Website
    2. Right click, properties
    3. Under Default Document, make sure default.asp is at the top of the list. If it’s not, use the arrows to move it to the top.
    1. Click Ok
  • Open the Command prompt
    1. Type in IISRESET, then hit <enter>
  • If this is Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008, IIS7:
    1. Navigate to Default Website
    2. In the middle pane, Double-click on Default Document
    3. Make sure default.asp is at the top of the list
    4. Open the Command prompt
    1. Type in IISRESET, then hit <enter>

           

    References:

    If you want to use Brian Desmond’s which works perfectly, too, and I’ve been using it for over two years without a hitch, here it is:

    Redirecting OWA URLs in Exchange 2010, by Brian Desmond
    http://briandesmond.com/blog/redirecting-owa-urls-in-exchange-2010/

    Microsoft’s KB on OWA Redirect:

    How to redirect requests from HTTP to HTTPS or to the OWA virtual directory in IIS 7
    Applies to Microsoft Internet Information Services 7.0
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/975341

    Simplify the Outlook Web App URL
    Applies to: Exchange Server 2010 SP3, Exchange Server 2010 SP2
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998359(v=exchg.141).aspx

    How to redirect an HTTP connection to HTTPS for Outlook Web Access clients and how to redirect the Default Web Site to point to the Exchange virtual directory
    Applies to Exchange 5.5,  Exchange 2000, Exchange 2003 (Just thought to throw this in here for anyone still on the legacy Exchange versions)
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/839357

    Other related links, just to get an idea what others have suggested, but I have not tried, so I can’t comment on them. You can try them at your own risk:

    HTTP to HTTPS OWA redirection.
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/exchangesvradmin/thread/73e2e794-c2ec-4bd2-9f55-bb47c605e200

    Set-Exchange2010RedirectSSL.ps1 – Redirecting the root web site to /owa and forcing SSL in Exchange 2010 4/28/2010
    http://www.ehloworld.com/186
    http://www.ehloworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Set-Exchange2010RedirectSSL.v1.31.zip

     

    Comments, corrections, concerns, and suggestions are all welcomed!

    Ace

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