Recently I had my first experience with Microsoft Hosted Exchange. Overall the experience was very positive, can definitely recommend to anyone that is looking for a hosted email solution.
The client chose to go with the basic $4 per mailbox per month option. Signup process was very simple, the management website is also very easy to work with.
I have encountered a little difficulty with the DNS part. The way it works with Microsoft if you want to use email addresses for your own domain you can, but it’s a 2-step process. First they want you to verify that you indeed own the domain. To do that you either have to create a bogus MX record or a TXT record per their instructions. Problem was the existing DNS wouldn’t take the bogus MX record as the hostname wasn’t resolving. I have asked Microsoft for help and actually within a couple of hours got a call from someone in India that explained the entire process and its purpose to me in great details. Using their instructions I was able to get the TXT record created. That person called again the next morning to confirm that everything was working – I was very impressed with that level of customer service. Once verification is complete they will give you the real MX record values.
Webmail or outlook exchange client work without a hitch. One thing I don’t understand is why be so insistent on creating autodiscovery DNS entry if it doesn’t even work. When I tried to configure Thunderbird for IMAP access to this whatever the autodiscover pointed it to was wrong, had to obtain correct values from office365 website. Good news is at least they use valid certificate.