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?


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: http://moens.ch/2012/05/31/providing-email-client-autoconfiguration-information/ (also available via archive.org)

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.


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

  • SRV records like _submission._tcp SRV 0 1 587 mail.example.com. 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?


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

  • 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 exchangeexchange.com/forums/t/551.aspx - 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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