Designating a Front-End Server


Topic Last Modified: 2005-05-13

When you configure a server to be a front-end server, you are typically dedicating the server to receive requests from messaging clients, such as HTTP, Internet Message Access Protocol version 4 (IMAP4), and Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3), and to relay client requests to the appropriate back-end server.

The services that an Exchange front-end server requires depend on the protocols that you use on the server, and whether you will be making configuration changes after the initial setup. The following table lists which Exchange services are required for each protocol or tool that an Exchange front-end server uses.

Services required on an Exchange front-end server

Protocol/tool on server Services required


Exchange POP3 (POP3Svc)

Microsoft Exchange System Attendant (MSExchangeSA)


Exchange IMAP4 (IMAP4Svc)



Microsoft Exchange Information Store (MSExchangeIS)


Exchange System Manager


Routing Engine

Microsoft Exchange Routing Engine (RESvc)

The routing engine must be running on all Exchange servers, both front-end and back-end servers.


Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) must be enabled on a server during upgrades.

You can disable this protocol if you are not offering it to your users.

For detailed instructions on designating a front-end server, see "How to Designate a Front-End Server" in Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange 2000 Server Front-End and Back-End Topology. After designating a server as a front-end server, remove any nonessential components or disable any unnecessary services on the server. Removing these components or disabling these services allows the front-end server to relay client requests more efficiently and improves security by reducing the number of services or components that are vulnerable to attack. In particular, you can remove public folder stores and storage groups from an Exchange front-end server. Also, if your front-end users are not sending mail using SMTP, you can remove mailbox stores from the front-end server.

To stop or disable services, use the Services snap-in in Microsoft Management Console (MMC).