Hosting of Exchange 2013 using WebsitePanel 2.1
I have handled an Exchange 2013 Hosting project for a hosting service provider. We have selected the free Exchange hosting solution named Website Panel for this. As the Exchange Server version is 2013, the only supported version of Websitepanel for Exchange 2013 is Website Panel 2.1 Beta. We are quite sure that the tool may have some bugs as it is still in Beta version.
There are many Exchange components can be provisioned through WebsitePanel for an Exchange 2013 project and some of the examples are:
- Mailboxes (management of mailbox plan, aliases, permissions and mobile devices)
- Shared contacts (management of mail flow settings)
- Shared Distribution list (management of aliases, mail flow and permissions)
- Accepted Domains
- Active Sync policy
- Resource mailboxes (management of permission)
The Exchange Server 2013 and WebsitePanel has built from scratch with the following specialties:
1. Two CAS Roles (Exchange 2013, Windows Server 2012)
2. Two MBX Roles (Exchange 2013, Windows Server 2012)
3. DAG between the two MBX for database high availability
4. CAS Roles are configured with DNS round robin for high availability
5. A dedicated machine to install Website Panel tools (Windows Server 2012)
Let’s have a clear understanding on the tool before we start. There are 3 components: Website Panel Portal, Website Panel Enterprise Server, Website Panel Server
Website Panel Portal – The component publishes the tool to internet
Website Panel Enterprise Server – We need to have an SQL database to keep the data and the component is installed at the server which host the database.
Website Panel Server – This is to be installed on all the Exchange Servers. This works as an Agent
I have distributed the software in the following way:
In a Dedicated machine: Website Panel Portal and Website Panel Enterprise Server
Exchange Servers (two CAS and two MBX servers. I guess, we can limit this to CAS only): Website Panel Server
Pre-Requisites configuration for the Dedicated Server which hosts Portal and Enterprise Server
1. Run the following script from the Elevated prompt of Windows PowerShell
2. Restart the server after completing the installation
3. Install SQL 2012 and SQL management Studio (SQLEXPR_x64_ENU, SQLManagementStudio_x64)
Download Link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29062
Important Hints :
- First install SQLEXPR_x64_ENU:
- Choose “New SQL Server Stand-Alone Installation”
- Choose Mixed Mode Authentication
- Proceed with SQLManagementStudio_x64 installation:
- Perform a New Installation of SQL Server 2012
- Restart the server if necessary
How to Install Website Panel 2.1 on the dedicated Windows Server 2012
Now we are good to start the Website Panel components Installation
I have used the Beta – 220.127.116.11 WebsitePanel Installer msi from http://www.websitepanel.net/downloads/
Install the file downloaded to make it available as a Windows Server 2012 App like this
Execute the ‘WebsitePanel Installer’ app and start the installation. Click on ‘View Available Components to see the components:
Remember that we need to have ‘WebsitePanel Portal’ and ‘WebsitePanel Enterprise Server’ to be installed on the stand alone server as we discussed above. Start with ‘WebsitePanel Portal’
Configure the portal url as shown below. Substitute the internal domain name, IP address etc. as shown. Make sure that you have created the corresponding DNS entries too (For eg. wpanel.domain.com A record pointing to 10.0.10.26 in your DNS)
Create an Active Directory account as shown. Here, I have created a name ‘WPPortal’
In the next step, as the Enterprise server is going to be the same server leave the url as it is
The steps are completed by creating an application pool creation as shown
The next step is installation of ‘Enterprise Server’ installation on the same server:
Website settings are as shown:
Next step is creation of an Active Directory object as shown below:
Databases settings are selected as shown below:
The user login name for the first time login for the tool is ” . Set a password in the following window:
Enterprise Server Pool has been created as shown:
We have finished the installation and configuration of required components on the WebsitePanel Dedicated Server in our scenario.
Now we have to install ‘Website Panel Server’ component on all Exchange Client Access Servers
Give Web Settings as below. Here we need to give the IP Address of the server with default port as 9003:
Create the associated Active Directory account, WPServer as shown:
Specify the password used for accessing the server from Enterprise Server Component:
Setup has completed as shown below:
Now we need to Check/Set some permissions on the Active Directory Accounts we created in previous steps:
a)Make Sure ‘WPServer’ account is a member of the groups: Administrators, Domain Admins, Organization Management, IIS_IUSRS
b)Also Make sure that – ‘WPServer’ account is a member of ‘Local Administrators’ group
Enable “Windows Authentication” For PowerShell virtual directory so that Website Panel Server will start service remote requests from Website panel Enterprise Server as below:
The remaining settings has to be done on the ‘Website Panel Portal’. Notice that a shortcut is already appeared at the desktop of the dedicated machine as ‘Login to WebsitePanel’ . Open in browser and give the credentials as shown. Remember that the user name is ‘ServerAdmin’
Now, go to the ‘Servers’ menu as shown:
Click ‘Add Server’
Enter the Server Name – A Friendly Name, Server URL – The Server URL you configured website panel Server, Enter the Server Password and click ‘Add Server’
Next is to setup the server hosting properties:
Give the root domain name:
Configure ‘Hosted Organization’ section and select ‘Exchange 2013’ service as below:
Tips to fill other settings:
a)Enter PowerShell URL – Make Sure that you have entered HTTPS URL (Eg. https://127.0.0.1/powershell)
b)If Database Availability Group is available, fill the name too . If DAG is not configured, leave it as empty
c)Enter Public Folder Server if available
d)Enter OAB Generation Server
e)Leave the HUB Role
f)Add the Client Access server
g)For SMTP Server, choose the Exchange Server IP
h)Enter Auto discover Details
Now we need to add the ‘Hosting Service’ as shown below:
Create an OU in Active Directory, with a meaningful name in which we are going to accommodate the hosted organizations.
Enter the domain controller names as well as the OU created for hosting purposes
Here we have finished the Configuration part
Now the system is ready to add a hosting plan for a Customer here:
Create a hosting plan as shown below:
Here we can configure the hosting space for the newly created ‘Test Plan’:
I am adding the domain exchangeonline.in here:
This will create an organization:
We may see the available options here:
Note: Before going to create a Mailbox, we need to have a Mailbox Plan in place. Thus create a mailbox plan first.
Now we are set to create the first mailbox
Have a nice experience with WebsitePanel
If you are looking for a nice GUI other than the Exchange EAC, we may install and configure websitepanel as an alternate too
Fell free to share your experiences, thoughts and of course the difficulties during the experience with WebsitePanel
15 thoughts on “Hosting of Exchange 2013 using WebsitePanel 2.1”
Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you
writing this write-up plus the rest of the site is also really
This was a major hurdle to get it all working properly with Exchange 2013.
There simply isn’t enough proper documentation included, thankfully you guys helped me out a lot but I still had major issues where I had to delete 5 lines from the web.config to get Hosted Exchange added.
Best of luck folks, it’s a fight to get it all working but the reward is a slick fast interface that’s “set it and forget it”
Thanks for the valuable comments ! Let me know if you still need some helps on the topics
Is it possible for you to upload the diagram of the infrastructure?
I’m busy setting up exchange but for resellin(multiple domains) so i want to know how many licences and staff do i need.
Thanks Mo for your interest in my article. Please contact me in my email address email@example.com so that I can help you better -Thanks, Manu
HI Manu nice article, i am planning deploy Hosted Exchange from scratch so i want to follow you article but how many servers i will need to install with DAG ?
Hello Ihsan, Great to hear that you are trying to follow this article. For a DAG setup, you need at least 2 Mailbox servers.
Let me know for any helps further too
Hello ManU, I have install one CAS server and one MailBox server but i think i did some thing wrong during Mailbox installation, in fect i am following one how to tutorial, I directly run the Exchange setup.exc after installing all roles and prerequisite instead of following the following steps ..
2..\setup /Preparead /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms /OrganizationName:”Enter Exchange Org Name”
3. .\setup /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
4. .\setup /Preparedomain /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
So my question is that will it work or i have to reinstall the MailBox role and to follow these steps ..
As you explained, you have already installed CAS role in other server. The mentioned 3steps are also been completed that time. These are the domain preparation steps and required to perform one time only per domain. So you can straight away start the mailbox role installation and no need for the 3steps to perform again
Let me know if you have further queries
Does Exchange multitenancy setup has to be completed before Websitepanel installation. I meant, dividing the exchange into virtual organization as mentioned in https://technet.microsoft.com/en-in/library/hh529948%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx. Or this software does virtual division of the tenants?
Keep functioning ,terrific job!