How To: Choose and Set Up Hosted Exchange on iPhone ActiveSync

For most of us today, email is a major part of our lives. Whether it be for business or personal reasons, one thing we all look for in an email service, especially if we are paying for it, is reliability. So what if you're not having the best of luck with Apple's MobileMe service or any other IMAP alternatives? Maybe it's time to consider a hosted Exchange account. Not familiar with Exchange? Then be sure to check out Rene's excellent article from a while back, Walkthrough: Exchange ActiveSync On Your iPhone 2.0. That article can give you a great understanding of exactly how Exchange works on the iPhone.

Don't have a corporate solution or your very own Exchange server, though? No problem! I'm going to be giving you some very reliable hosted Exchange services as well as some tips on getting it up and running for the flawless email you have been seeking!

More after the jump!

Finding the right service for you

The first step in setting up a hosted Exchange account is finding the service provider that best suites your needs and that is reliable. A good place to read some reviews for all of the services available to you is If those service providers seem like overkill to you and you do not want to spend any money take a look at this article, Want Exchange Activesync for FREE?

Now instead of me going through that whole list, let me just jump to my personal favorite and the service that I recently started using, Sherweb. For $8.95 a month ($107.40 a year -- competitive with Apple's MobileMe pricing!) here is what Sherweb offers you:

A few main reasons I switched from a MobileMe account to Exchange is due to the fact that I could not sync all of my data with a Windows Mobile device along with my iPhone. The second reason being that a lot of my mail was never reliably pushed to my phone with MobileMe. During the past two months of using Sherweb, however, I've experienced nothing but top notch service. There was one one night when I had a single hour of downtime that was announced well ahead of time, and that was not a issue at all. More importantly, I get every single email sent to me on time with no issues what so ever.

So whichever provider you choose, choose wisely. You want to make sure you select the provider that can increase efficiency and productivity for your business or pleasure. For me it's Sherweb (and no, I do not work for them or know anyone that does.)

Setting up Hosted Exchange on the iPhone

Setting up your Exchange account is relatively simple process on the iPhone. Just follow the below steps. Please note that the server information that I have filled in is for Sherweb members only. Check with your host for their specific settings.

WARNING - Before you set up your Exchange account, please know that any contacts and calendar events currently on your iPhone will be erased. They will be replaced with what is in your Exchange account. So please make sure that you transfer all of your data to Exchange before going through the setup process on your iPhone.

First, from the device’s main screen, go to: Settings ->Mail, Contacts, Calendar ->Add Account -> Microsoft Exchange.

Under account info, in the Email address box, enter your hosted Exchange email address.

Leave the Domain field blank (unless your specific hosted Exchange provider tells you otherwise).

In the Username box, type in your email address. This needs to be the main email address for your account (i.e. the one you are using when logging into Outlook Web Access).

In the Password box, type in your account password.

Tap on the Next button at the top of the screen.

NOTE: Your device may fail stating "Unable to Verify certificate." If this is the case, tap Accept.

A box labelled Server will appear. Enter: (or the server name of your specific hosted Exchange provider)

Tap on the Next button at the top of the screen.

The device will then verify the server saying "Account has been verified."

A new screen will appear asking you to "Select info to synchronize using Exchange." It will display Mail, Contacts and Calendars. Turn the features ON if you desire to have them synchronized with your Exchange account. Once satisfied, select the Save button.

You will then be taken back to the default Mail, Contacts and Calendar screen. You can adjust the mail settings preferences here as you wish.

By default the iPhone will only sync the last 3 days of mail. To sync older messages, Please do the following:

Go to : Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar.

Tap on the Exchange account. Tap on Mail days to sync and select from No Limit (which will sync all messages) to 1 Month.

Congratulations, you have just successfully setup your very own Hosted Exchange account! Enjoy the most reliable email you can have on your iPhone!

(Thanks to Cory for introducing me to Sherweb!)

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Reader comments

How To: Choose and Set Up Hosted Exchange on iPhone ActiveSync


yeah UM or you could do a solution that is exactly FREE = Yahoo or mail2web. both offer hosted exchange email at no charge. is it perfect? NO, but pretty close and not worth the $100+ for anything else annually.

I just switched from 1and1 hosted Exchange to Sherweb Hosted exchange and the difference is night and day. I was having random sync issues which I blamed on iPhone as I assumed "Exchange is Exchange" it had to the the phone. was the hosting provider. Everything syncs perfectly my battery consumption has dropped I get 2GB more storage than I had before (3GB total)
Sherweb is a bit more than some other providers...but the difference is well worth it. Good server side spam tech support responses.
If mail is critical to you...choose a provider carefully. You get what you pay for... The is a great site to check out the different providers. Sherweb is #1 and deserves it.

I can vouch for sherweb! It rocks, makes me wonder how I got around without exchange.

Wow I just want to have push notifications and email to my iPhone 3G. I do not want to pay anything because I do not believe that I should have to pay anything for services that we were supposed to have from day one.
I also want background notifications, but I guess I'm gonna have to jailbreak my iPhone 3G because it seems like Apple is never going to get that service out. Apple is really dissapointing me these days...
Thank God for the bloggers on the blog sites.

I don't think Apple ever promised us free push data on day one, they offered MobileMe for $100 bucks a year, and support for Exchange which either your company has already paid for and provides you as part of your employment, or you get for yourself either hosted or by running your own server (which can be fairly involved and requires licensing fees).
Even Microsoft is offering hosted Exchange now on subscription. I have Exchange at work, and I use MobileMe personally because I want the sync and remote access features it provides, which are highly valuable to me. My company pays for the former, I pay for the latter.
Push notification I want as well, and my guess is Apple got smacked so hard by MobileMe's abortive launch that they'll do anything -- even delay push notification -- in order to make sure they don't have MobileMe all over again.

One thing, if I have exchange through Sherweb or Mail2web, do I have to have the enterprise data plan or will it work with the more basic data plan?

Great! Thanks! One more thing, I keep reading something about exchange notifications not working? What is that all about? Does that mean I wouldn't get notified of new emails and/or calendar appointments as they come through via exchange?
Oh, and does exchange show the full html email like on my computer?
Thanks, I can't wait to get my first iPhone! This site is great!

I've set up my work's webmail on my iphone. It was quite simple just as you described it.
Now I'm trying to set it up in Mail on my macbook pro, but it asks for an incoming and an outgoing mail server which I don't know. Why did the iphone not ask for this info. Is there any way to determine what these are without calling my work's tech support centre?

Myself and technology are usually not very compatible. Especially set ups and installations. So setting up my work email on my iphone was bound for catastrophy. However your guide and links made it quite simple to do. So a big thank-you from me!

Thank you, great tip and suggestion on the provider. SherWeb is excellent. Signed up about a month ago and waited to test before I posted here. I have nothing but great comments about them. Service, uptime, support have been incredible. Btw, what really impressed me was the knowledge of their sales team, WOW!

Do you know if this will work the same with the upcoming iPhone 3G? Are there any other compatibility improvements that are being reported. Thanks for the great post.

I use a killer Microsoft Exchange Alternative on my iPhone 3Gs and it is the best thing I have ever done for myself!
My wife and son also use it and we keep our Macs, PCs, and our iPhones all syncd up no matter where we are. Email, Calendars, and Contacts. The service even has public folder support. The best part is the price. Only $5.99 per mailbox. The support is awesome to boot!
Check out

Last year we decided to move our inhouse Exchange server to a Hosted Exchange provider. We compared a lot of vendors line Intermedia; SherWeb; Apps4Rent and so on. These were my conclusions.
Sherweb was more expensive than Apps4Rent.
Intermedia charged even for syncing my iphones and windows phones.
Apps4Rent was cheaper than everyone. Also, with Apps4Rent there were no additional charges for syncing my iphone and windows mobile; for which Intermedia charged money.
We signed up with Apps4Rent and they have great service and no downtimes.

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Thanks for this great info. I'm new to iPhone and my company uses a hosted email exchange (GoDaddy).
After i sync my iPhone (OS 3.1) with my hosted email exchange, if I receive an email on my iPhone, will it also download on my MS Outlook?

My company has multiple hosted Sharepoint as well as Exchange 2007 accounts with Apps4rent. Their customer service is great and there is no problem with the Sharepoint sites. However I beg to differ about the Exchange, it runs slow many times and has regular downtimes, this happens with all Exchange accounts simultaneously. We are seriously thinking of moving to a better provider. Please suggest.

I am syncing on Exchange Server to my 4s. When I edit a contact from my 4s, it gets resorted in the Outlook on my desktop from Company Name to Last Name. Can this be avoided?

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