What is Microsoft Exchange Server? Microsoft Exchange Server is a mail server and calendaring server developed by Microsoft. It runs exclusively on Windows Server operating systems.
The first version was called Exchange Server 4.0, to position it as the successor to the related Microsoft Mail 3.5. Exchange initially used the X.400 directory service but switched to Active Directory later. Until version 5.0, it came bundled with an email client called Microsoft Exchange Client. This was discontinued in favor of Microsoft Outlook.
Exchange Server primarily uses a proprietary protocol called MAPI to talk to email clients, but subsequently added support for POP3, IMAP, and EAS. The standard SMTP protocol is used to communicate to other Internet mail servers.
Exchange Server is licensed both as on-premises software and software as a service (SaaS). In the on-premises form, customers purchase client access licenses (CALs); as SaaS, Microsoft charges a monthly service fee instead.
What is Microsoft Exchange Server?
Microsoft Exchange is an email service offered by Microsoft that’s most often used by businesses and academic institutions. It’s a highly scalable solution that can support a huge number of users, and is designed from the ground up to keep email in sync between the server and end-user clients. Exchange delivers not just email but also a global address book of contacts, calendaring, meeting scheduling, and task management.
How Microsoft Exchange works
Microsoft Exchange relies on the use of an Exchange server — a computer on which individual users’ Exchange accounts are configured. An organization can maintain its own Exchange server or rely on Microsoft to do that via the cloud using a Microsoft 365 account.
When you use a Microsoft Exchange account, email messages — along with calendar information and other Outlook details — are generally kept in sync between your Outlook client on a computer or mobile device and the Exchange server.
This most often happens using a technology called Exchange ActiveSync. ActiveSync keeps all the Exchange data synchronized between devices, so when email is replied to, deleted, or moved on your computer, for example, that change is immediately made on the Exchange server as well, and then synchronized with any other devices you might use, such as Outlook on a mobile device.
ActiveSync isn’t the only option, though; an organization can choose to manage its email using IMAP or POP as well. IMAP is very similar to ActiveSync in that it keeps email messages in sync between the Exchange server and clients, though POP works differently — it downloads email from the Exchange server to a single computer and does not keep the two devices in sync. It’s not commonly used for Exchange systems.
How to find your Microsoft Exchange details
You can find out if you’re using an Exchange account by checking your Account Settings in Outlook. To do that, choose “File” and then click “Account Settings.” In the dropdown menu, click “Account Settings.” You’ll see a summary of your configured email accounts with an indication of which ones are using Microsoft Exchange.
In addition, you may be able to access your Exchange email in a web browser. Called Outlook Web Access (OWA), the link for this webpage is in Outlook’s account settings. At the top of the page, click the account dropdown and choose an Exchange account. You should see a link to access the account on the web.
As a general rule, as an end user you don’t need to know many details about how Exchange is configured to set it up or to use it. Your IT administrator should provide an email address and password; to get started, you simply add the email address to Outlook and your email client should determine it’s an Exchange account and configure it automatically for you.
What is an Exchange server and how does it work?
A Microsoft Exchange server is effectively an organisational hub. Favoured by academic organisations, and businesses of all sizes, it allows for the storage and organisation of large amounts of email contacts which, for most businesses, is an undeniable godsend. Not only this, but an Exchange server comes with plenty of other advantages, like enabling users to manage tasks, create schedules and edit calendars.
Exchange email works by using an Exchange server to ensure that any local actions taken on a device, such as sending an email, are then replicated on the corresponding server so that everything stays up to date.
Key Advantages of MS Exchange Servers
Exchange servers make working as a team seamless. This is thanks to Exchange’s synchronisation across shared folders, documents, and mailboxes. This allows teams to collaborate effortlessly, staying connected no matter where they are, or what device they’re using. A simple way to take your projects to the next level.
As your business grows, so too can your MS Exchange experience. It’s easy to add more mailboxes to your exchange email hosting, including our standard email options for businesses on a budget. Plus, these mailboxes can be accessed from anywhere, on any device.
Exchange is extremely secure, with built-in security defences that prevent threats from getting into your inbox and causing damage. It also prevents data leaks, and archives sensitive information whilst following all governmental regulations.
One concern with free email packages is that your data may be sold onto third parties. With exchange email, your data is kept safe and secure, with spam filters and antivirus protection also included. So your data will be safe as houses.
Email should be accessible to everyone. That’s why MS exchange comes with a variety of accessibility options built-in. These include text-to-speech, keyboard shortcuts, and more. The same goes for the Microsoft Office suite of products.
Is Exchange Email right for me?
Now that you know what an Exchange server is, the next question to ask is, is Exchange Email right for my business? Hosted exchange email has plenty of benefits to offer, making it perfect for busy organisations of any size. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with the Microsoft 365 suite. Buy now, and get Exchange Email for £1 for the first 3 months.
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