Turn off access to the Exchange admin center

 

Applies to: Exchange Server 2016

Topic Last Modified: 2016-08-29

Learn how to disable access to the Exchange admin center on an Exchange 2016 server.

In Exchange Server 2016, the Exchange admin center is the primary management interface for Exchange. For more information, see Exchange admin center in Exchange 2016. By default, access to the EAC isn't restricted, and access to Outlook on the web (formally known as Outlook Web App) on an on an Internet-facing Exchange server also gives access to the EAC. You still need valid credentials to sign in to the EAC, but organizations may want to restrict access to the EAC for client connections from the Internet.

In Exchange 2016, the EAC virtual directory is named ECP, and is managed by the *-ECPVirtualDirectory cmdlets. When you set the AdminEnabled parameter to the value $false on the EAC virtual directory, you disable access to the EAC for internal and external client connections, without affecting access to the Settings > Options page in Outlook on the web.

Options menu location in Outlook on the web

But, this configuration introduces a new problem: access to the EAC is completely disabled on the server, even for administrators on the internal network. To fix this issue, you have two choices:

  • Configure a second Exchange 2016 server that's only accessible from the internal network to handle internal EAC connections.

  • On the existing Exchange 2016, create a new Internet Information Services (IIS) web site with new virtual directories for the EAC and Outlook on the web that's only accessible from the internal network.

    Note: You need to configure the EAC and Outlook Web App in the new web site, because the EAC requires the Outlook Web App authentication module from the same web site.

tipTip:
Having problems? Ask for help in the Exchange forums. Visit the forums at: Exchange Server, Exchange Online, or Exchange Online Protection.

Remember, this step disables access to the EAC on the server for internal and external connections, but still allows users to access their own Settings > Options page in Outlook on the web.

To disable access to the EAC on an Exchange server, use the following syntax:

Set-ECPVirtualDirectory -Identity "<Server>\ecp (Default Web Site)" -AdminEnabled $false

This example turns disables access to the EAC on the server named MBX01.

Set-ECPVirtualDirectory -Identity "MBX01\ecp (Default Web Site)" -AdminEnabled $false

To verify that you've disabled access to the EAC on the server, replace <Server> with the name of your Exchange server, and run the following command to verify the value of the AdminEnabled property:

Get-ECPVirtualDirectory -Identity "MBX01\ecp (Default Web Site)" | Format-List AdminEnabled

When you open https://<servername>/ecp or from the internal network, your own Settings > Options page in Outlook on the web opens instead of the EAC.

Choose either of the following options.

The default value of the AdminEnabled property is True on the default EAC virtual directory. To confirm this value on the second server, replace <Server> with the name of the server, and run the following command:

Get-ECPVirtualDirectory -Identity "<Server>\ecp (Default Web Site)" | Format-List AdminEnabled

If the value is False, replace <Server> with the name of the server, and run the following command:

Set-ECPVirtualDirectory -Identity "<Server>\ecp (Default Web Site)" -AdminEnabled $true

The required steps are:

  1. Add a second IP address to the Exchange server.

  2. Create a new web site in IIS that uses the second IP address, and assign file and folder permissions.

  3. Copy the contents of the default web sites to the new web site.

  4. Create new EAC and Outlook on the web virtual directories for the new web site.

  5. Restart IIS for the changes to take effect.

importantImportant:
When you install an Exchange 2016 Cumulative Update (CU), the CU won't update files in the new web site and virtual directories. After you apply the CU, you need to completely remove the new web site, virtual directories, and content in the folders and then re-create the new web site, virtual directories, and content in the folders.

You can add a second network adapter and assign the IP address to the second network adapter, or you can assign a second IP address to the existing network adapter.

The steps to assign a second IP address to the existing network adapter are described below.

  1. Open the properties of the network adapter. For example:

    1. From a Command Prompt window, the Exchange Management Shell, or the Run dialog, run ncpa.cpl.

    2. Right-click on the network adapter, and then choose Properties.

    Properties of the network adapter in Windows
  2. In the properties of the network adapter, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and then click Properties.

  3. In the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties window that opens, on the General tab, click Advanced.

  4. In the Advanced TCP/IP Settings window that opens, on the IP Settings tab, in the IP addresses section, click Add and enter the IP address.

    Advanced TCP/IP Settings window of the network adapter properties

Note: If you add a second network adapter, in the Advanced TCP/IP Settings window, on the DNS tab, un-check Register this connection's address in DNS.

DNS tab on Advanced TCP/IP Settings window
  1. Open IIS Manager on the Exchange server. An easy way to do this in Windows Server 2012 or later is to press Windows key + Q, type inetmgr, and select Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager in the results.

  2. In the Connections pane, expand the server, select Sites, and in the Actions pane, click Add Website.

    In IIS Manager, expand the server, and select Sites
  3. In the Add Website window that appears, configure the following settings:

    • Site name   EAC_Secondary

    • Physical path   C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary

    • Binding

      • Type   https

      • IP address   Select the second IP address that you added in the previous step.

      • Port   443

    • SSL certificate   Choose the certificate that you want to use (for example, the default Exchange certificate named Microsoft Exchange).

    When you're finished, click OK.

    Website properites for the secondary EAC web site
  4. Create ecp and owa folders in C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary.

    1. In IIS Manager, select the EAC_Secondary web site, and in the Actions pane, click Explore.

      In IIS Manager, select the new EAC web site in the Sites pane
    2. In the File Explorer window that opens, create the following folders in C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary:

      • ecp

      • owa

      When you're finished, close File Explorer.

  5. Assign Read & Execute permissions to the local security group named IIS_IUSRS on the C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary folder.

    1. In IIS Manger, select the EAC_Secondary web site, and in the Actions pane, click Edit Permissions.

    2. In the EAC_Secondary Properties window that opens, click the Security tab, and then click Edit.

    3. In the Permissions for EAC_Secondary window that opens, click Add.

    4. In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts or Groups window that opens, perform the following steps:

      1. Click Locations, and in the Locations dialog box that opens, select the local server, and then click OK.

      2. In the Enter the object names to select field, type IIS_IUSRS, click Check Names, and then click OK.

      Add permissions
    5. Back on the Permissions for EAC_Secondary window, select IIS_IUSRS, and in the Allow column, select Read & Execute (which automatically selects the List Folder Contents and Read permissions), and then click OK twice.

  • Copy all files and folders from the Default Web Site (C:\inetpub\wwwroot) to C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary. You can skip the following files that can't be copied:

    • MacCertification.asmx

    • MobileDeviceCertification.asmx

    • decomission.asmx

    • editissuancelicense.asmx

  • Copy all files and folders from %ExchangeInstallPath%FrontEnd\HttpProxy\ecp to C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary\ecp.

  • Copy all files and folders from %ExchangeInstallPath%FrontEnd\HttpProxy\owa to C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary\owa.

To learn how to open the Exchange Management Shell in your on-premises Exchange organization, see Open the Exchange Management Shell.

Replace <Server> with the name of your server, and run the following commands to create the new EAC and Outlook on the web virtual directories for the new web site.

New-EcpVirtualDirectory -Server <Server> -Role ClientAccess -WebSiteName EAC_Secondary -Path "C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary\ecp"
New-OwaVirtualDirectory -Server <Server> -Role ClientAccess -WebSiteName EAC_Secondary -Path "C:\inetpub\EAC_Secondary\owa"
  1. In IIS Manager, in the Connections pane, select the server.

  2. In the Actions pane, click Restart.

Note: To restart IIS from the command line, open an elevated command prompt (a Command Prompt window that you opened by selecting Run as administrator) and run the following command:

iisreset.exe /noforce

To verify that you have successfully disabled access to the EAC on an Exchange server, perform the following steps:

  1. Test your organization's internal and external URL for Outlook on the web. For example, if the external URL is https://mail.contoso.com/owa, and the internal URL is https://mbx01.contoso.com/owa use the following procedures to verify your configuration:

    • Verify that internal and external users can open their mailboxes by using Outlook on the web, including the Settings > Options page.

    • Verify that https://mail.contoso.com/ecp and https://mbx01.contoso.com/ecp return either of the following results:

      • 404 - website not found

      • The user is redirected to their Settings > Options page in Outlook on the web.

  2. Verify that administrators can access the EAC on the internal network based on your configuration selection:

    • Second Exchange server   If the second Exchange server is named MBX02, verify that https://mbx02.contoso.com/ecp opens the EAC.

    • New EAC web site on the existing Exchange server   If the IP address of the new EAC web site is 10.1.1.12, verify that https://10.1.1.12/ecp opens the EAC.

 
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