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Outlook and a number of other email clients now feature autodiscovery of mail server settings and it bugs me that I don't have this set up for our domains, but I'm not sure how to do it and a quick google hasn't turned up anything. I presume it's done with some kind of SRV record in DNS - is this correct and if so what's the correct format?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

I am sorry I might be late to the party here. If you are still looking for a solution, I spent a weekend figuring out how to provide Auto Configuration (autodiscover what Outlook 2010 calls it) for most popular email clients including iOS.

I wrote it all down in a blog post here: (also available via

Outlook 2010 actually does a combination of DNS lookup and XML config. It first does a SRV lookup for _autodiscover._tcp.<yourdomain> and then does an xml POST request to your autodiscover url and expects an XML response. My post contains samples of the XML response and a link to the full autodiscover xml Response spec on MS technet.

In short: You can provide full autodiscover functionality to your users even without Exchange server.

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Your blog is gone, is this post you mention available somewhere else? – Daniel Serodio Nov 18 '13 at 15:32

RFC 6186 describes how to use SRV records for e-mail services. Summary:

  • SRV records like _submission._tcp SRV 0 1 587 and _pop3, _pop3s, _imap, _imaps. (Last number is the port number.)
  • When offering both IMAP and POP, use the first number to show which is preferred (lower is preferable).

I don't know which MUA's already implement this. Maybe KMail. Thunderbird not yet?

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I think android does something like this... – Whisk Aug 19 '10 at 17:13

So far as I know, the (Outlook) feature requires Exchange 2007 or later.

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I don't think it's an exchange feature, because you don't have to put in the address of your mail server... – Whisk Aug 19 '10 at 16:59
Apologies - just found this - looks like it does use dns but is exchange specific... – Whisk Aug 19 '10 at 17:03
No worries, it wouldn't be the first time Microsoft had commandeered a bit of terminology and implemented it in a way that stomps all over someone else's standard. :/ – Kara Marfia Aug 19 '10 at 19:38
Yep, and again not for the first time it's one of those things that you wish the internet would manage to sort out a single standard for, but it never happens :/ – Whisk Aug 19 '10 at 22:22

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