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Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016

After installing and configuring Exchange Server 2016, the next step is to test the mail flow. In the previous article, you learned how to test internal mail flow in Exchange Server 2016. In this article, you are going to test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016. Do you have another version of Exchange Server running in the organization? Don’t worry; testing the inbound mail flow will work the same with other Exchange Server versions. In the next article, you will test outbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016.

Prepare the test email account

Start Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Web Access (OWA) of the Exchange Server 2016 on-premises. In my example, we will use Microsoft Outlook. Log in with a test user.

Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016 Outlook

Now that we logged in, we can start testing the inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016.

How to test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016?

Most of the engineers create an email account on Gmail.com or Outlook.com. After creating a Gmail account, you log in and send an email to the email address hosted on the Exchange Server 2016. If the email arrives in the mailbox, all is working fine. If not, you will troubleshoot to fix the issue.

Unfortunately, this is not the correct way of testing. Microsoft provides a web-based tool to test the inbound SMTP. The test tool is called Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer, and we recommend you to test the inbound mail flow with it.

Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer (ExRCA)

Why we recommend the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer:

  • External mail provider doesn’t give you a guarantee that it’s working fine at that time of testing
  • External mail can have a delay that’s not associated with your infrastructure
  • Useful when diagnosing problems as it shows a test detail

Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016

Go to Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer, also known as ExRCA.com.

In the left menu, click on Exchange Server and follow with Inbound SMTP Email. You can also go directly to Inbound SMTP Email.

Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016 Inbound SMTP Email

Enter the email address that you like to test the inbound mail flow on. Fill in the captcha and click Perform Test.

Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016 inbound SMTP email test

Testing is being performed. This will not take long.

Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016 test being performed

Testing is finished, and it’s showing connectivity test successful with a green checkmark in front. Inbound SMTP mail flow was verified successfully.

Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016 connectivity test successful

Click Expand All if you like to see more details regarding the inbound test mail flow. You can see that the test email message was delivered successfully.

Test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016 expand all

An email is being sent to the mailbox of the user. If you have more than one MX record configured, the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer will perform the same test for all of those MX records. You will see multiple emails arriving in the inbox, one per MX record. EXOIP only has one MX record, so only one test message arrived.

Inbound mail flow is working successfully. Did the testing work for you?

Read more: Exchange 2016 internal mail flow not working »

Conclusion

In this article, you learned how to test inbound mail flow in Exchange Server 2016. Use the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer and test the inbound mail flow. The test will not take long, and a green check mark will show up if the test was successful. Check the details if you want more information regarding the test. Also, an email will be sent to the mailbox that you used for testing.

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ALI TAJRAN

ALI TAJRAN

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 »

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