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FREE Exchange Hybrid license

When you migrate mailboxes to Exchange Online – Microsoft 365, you might want to add a new Exchange Server that will act as the Exchange Hybrid server. If you only migrate and remove the server or keep it only for management purposes, you don’t have to buy an Exchange Server license. Microsoft provides a free Exchange Hybrid license for Exchange Server. Let’s look at how to use the free Exchange Hybrid license and which Exchange Servers are supported.


We have two Exchange Servers running in the organization:

  • EX01-2019
  • EX02-2019

EX01-2019 has an Enterprise license.

Exchange Server Enterprise licensed

EX02-2019 is a new Exchange Server with no license. This means it’s in Trial.

Exchange Server trial enter product key

Let’s look at how to license EX02-2019 with a free Exchange Hybrid license.

Exchange Hybrid license support

The free Exchange Hybrid license supports the following Exchange Servers:

  • Exchange Server 2010
  • Exchange Server 2013
  • Exchange Server 2016
  • Exchange Server 2019 (Exchange Server 2019 CU12 or later)

Always configure the newest hybrid deployment version that’s supported in your organization as described in the following table:

On-premises environmentExchange 2019-based hybrid deploymentExchange 2016-based hybrid deploymentExchange 2013-based hybrid deploymentExchange 2010-based hybrid deployment
Exchange 2019SupportedNot supportedNot supportedNot supported
Exchange 2016SupportedSupportedNot supportedNot supported
Exchange 2013SupportedSupportedSupportedNot supported
Exchange 2010Not supportedSupportedSupportedSupported

License Exchange Hybrid server

The Exchange Hybrid license will retrieve from Microsoft 365 after entering the Microsoft 365 credentials in the Hybrid Configuration Wizard. Follow the below steps to acquire the Exchange Hybrid license.

1. Download Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW)

Download Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) from the following link:

Suppose that the Hybrid Configuration Wizard setup doesn’t download or can’t start. Read the article Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard can’t start.

2. Run Hybrid Configuration Wizard

We recommend running the Hybrid Configuration Wizard on the Exchange Server for which you want to get the Exchange Hybrid license. This will ensure that the correct Exchange Server is detected when the HCW runs.

Note: You don’t have to go through all the Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) steps to retrieve the Exchange Hybrid license and license the server. The first screen in HCW and signing with your Microsoft 365 credentials to retrieve the Exchange Hybrid license is all you need. You can go through the HCW another time.

  • Run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard
  • Click on Next
FREE Exchange Hybrid license Hybrid Configuration Wizard start

3. Get Exchange Hybrid license

The Hybrid Configuration Wizard will collect all the information in the organization and tell which Exchange Server is appropriate to use for Exchange Hybrid.

  • Click on License this server now
  • Sign in with your Microsoft 365 credentials
FREE Exchange Hybrid license license this server now

The license retrieval is successfully applied to the Exchange Hybrid server.

  • Click on copy product key to copy the key
  • Click on cancel to exit the HCW
FREE Exchange Hybrid license copy product key

The Exchange Server is licensed with a free Exchange Hybrid license.

4. Verify Exchange Hybrid license

To check that you successfully licensed the Exchange Hybrid server:

  • Sign in to Exchange admin center
  • Click on servers > servers
  • Select the Exchange Hybrid server
  • Check that it shows Hybrid Deployment Licensed
FREE Exchange Hybrid license hybrid deployment licensed

Exchange Hybrid License FAQ

If my organization is Hybrid with Microsoft 365 and I do not host mailboxes on-premises, do I still need to license Exchange Server?
If you do not host any mailboxes on the servers connected to Microsoft 365, you can license them using the Microsoft 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW). The HCW validates your Microsoft 365 subscription and installs the appropriate licenses on your servers.

If I have already licensed a server using a Hybrid key, and I want to re-license it with a Standard Edition key or Enterprise Edition key, how do I do that?
You can use PowerShell to enter the new product key.

If I have deployed multiple Hybrid Edition servers for redundancy purposes, can I get multiple Hybrid Edition server keys?
You can use the same key on multiple Exchange Hybrid servers.

If I have an Exchange Server Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition, do I need to license the Exchange Server with a Hybrid key to get the Hybrid functionalities?

The Hybrid license will not give you extra functionalities. You can use the Exchange Server Standard or Enterprise Edition license.


You learned how to get a FREE Exchange Hybrid license for Exchange Server 2013/2016/2019. Download the Hybrid Configuration Wizard from Microsoft and run it on the Exchange Hybrid server. Then, sign in with your Microsoft 365 credentials to acquire the free Exchange Hybrid license.

Remember that for Exchange Server 2019, you need Exchange Server 2019 CU12 or higher. Otherwise, the Exchange Hybrid license will not download.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Add Exchange Online License to mailbox in Exchange hybrid. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.



ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. If I run HCW on a new unlicensed Exchange Server 2016, will it pick the same host as the optimal server?

    By default, If HCW picks an existing licensed server as optimal and not the new one (unlicensed) I deployed for hybrid, can I manually specify a new server using the “specific the server running ex … ” and will HCW offer me a free license key in this case?


  2. Hi there,

    Seeking your kind expert advice here. I am about to migrate our existing HCW server from 2013 to 2019, I am on a tight deadline, need to migrate the server ASAP, but the procurement of license of our new Exchange servers are sill in progress, my question is, if I run HCW in unlicensed trial version of Exchange 2019, it will stop me from continuing the setup/configuration? I just want to transfer the HCW and decommission the old server since the server has 180 days trial, this will work or not? Any issues with this? Do I need to wait and license our server before running HCW? Appreciate any advices. Thank you!

  3. Just curious about the Exchange 2019 install – Is there a recommended / best practice for what roles should be installed on this server for the free hybrid setup?

      1. Interesting… The charts for hybrid setups included 2013 and 2019 to get along, but during the setup of 2019 it didn’t see the 2013 exchange environment… Just going to have to look into that now.

  4. I haven’t been able to find a link to download Exchange 2019. I found a link to Exchange 2019 CU12, but it appears to be just the update, not the entire iso. Anybody know where to get a trial/eval download that we can license with the HCW?

    1. Each CU is a full installation of Exchange that includes updates and changes from all previous CUs. So you don’t need to install any previous CUs or Exchange 2016 RTM or Exchange 2019 RTM first.

      Download Exchange 2019 CU12 ISO image, and you’re good to go.

  5. I want to deploy the Exchange server 2019 on Azure Multi-tenant VM for the purpose of SMTP relay for applications which sends email and keep hybrid configurations.
    The user mail boxes are already hosted on Exchange Online (M365 E3/E5). Can this deployment be covered under the Exchange HCW license?

      1. Thanks for the confirmation.
        Can you provide a supporting document which says that HCW will be applicable on Azure Multi-tenant VM to deploy Exchange server without requirement of separate license.

  6. Hi,

    Thanks for the Note. Now we are planning to migrate from 2013 to 2019.

    And what are all the steps needed from certficate, relay, virtual dirtectory,

    We have migrated/ Planned for migration for Mbx, Pf


    1. The free Exchange Hybrid license works for Exchange Server 2019 CU12 or later (as shown in the article).

      Microsoft’s documentation is not up to date. Also, you can see in the HCW screenshots that it does not show Exchange Server 2019 and only shows Exchange Server 2010/2013/2016.

      Microsoft will eventually update the documentation and the HCW setup.

      1. OK, thank you so much for that. Another concern is Exchange 2019 has two kinds of product key (standard, enterprise), will the free license assigned by HCW will make the Exchange 2019 works as standard or enterprise version?

        Thank you so much !

        1. The Exchange Hybrid license will work the same as Exchange Server Standard or Exchange Server Enterprise. Only use the Exchange Hybrid for migrating mailboxes, SMTP relay, and management purposes. Do not host any mailboxes on it.

          You should consult Microsoft or your licensing specialist for guidance on whether you are licensed correctly. Microsoft changes licensing now and then, so it’s better to ask them.

          Suppose the Exchange Server is already licensed with a Standard or Enterprise license. In that case, you cannot license the Exchange Server with a free Exchange Hybrid license when running the Hybrid Configuration Wizard. Instead, you will have to enter the product key with PowerShell to license the Exchange Server with the free license.

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