How Does an Exchange Server Work?

By Vee Enne

About the Microsoft Exchange Server

A Microsoft exchange server supports many functions such as email, calendaring and data storage. Exchange servers were first offered by Microsoft in 1993, and have become extremely popular.

When setting up an exchange server, it is necessary to create email accounts for each person who will be sending and/or receiving messages through the server. Each email account must be individually configured with permission levels, designating who is allowed what access to the server itself and how much control the individual has over her own emails.

Once users have been set up, the Administrator of a Microsoft exchange server must set up filtering options. Exchange servers offer robust blocking and filtering options in order to protect users from spam, viruses and other unwanted incoming email. Incoming messages can be blocked by IP address, which prevents any email from coming from a particular person. The Microsoft exchange server can also block incoming messages by recipient, which prevents any messages from being delivered to certain people as designated in the filter.

Once messages have been accepted by the exchange server, they are routed to the appropriate recipient. The Microsoft exchange server was intended to be used with Microsoft Outlook as the mail client of choice, but email can also be accessed using Microsoft Outlook Express or Mozilla's email client, Thunderbird, among others. Email can also be accessed using an Internet interface called Outlook Web Access.