Exchange licensing FAQs
Transitioning between Exchange Server versions
No, the Outlook client license was no longer included with any Exchange CAL after Exchange Server 2003, and must be purchased separately for Exchange Server 2019. The Exchange Server 2019 Standard CAL provides the rights to access e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks through either Outlook on the web, or through a mobile device via Exchange ActiveSync.
Server pricing and licensing
No. Both the Standard and Enterprise CALs can be used with either server edition.
One server license is required for each running instance of Exchange Server 2019—whether it is installed natively on a physical machine or a virtual machine. Learn more about virtualization support.
No. External users do not require CALs to access Exchange Server 2019; access rights to standard Exchange functionality by external users is included with the Exchange Server 2019 license itself.
Customers may still license Exchange Server 2019 with either per-user or per-device CALs. If several users share a desktop and do not individually access the Exchange server from other locations, such as their home PCs, then they can be licensed with one device CAL.
Yes. For more information, see Exchange Server 2019 Prerequisites.
Customers can get the In-Place Archive and In-Place Hold features through Exchange Online Archiving for Exchange Server, and they can get advanced security through Exchange Online Protection. All other premium features are only available in the Enterprise CAL or E-CAL Suite.
Yes. Customers are charged annually for subscriptions to Exchange Online Protection to protect their users from viruses and spam, and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in Exchange Online (collectively “Services”). Customers may also choose to purchase the Exchange Enterprise CAL without Services if they do not need DLP or anti-virus and anti-spam protection.
If purchased in Open, the Exchange Enterprise CAL is available either with or without Services. If purchased in Select, customers have two options. They can buy the License (L-only) and get the CAL without Software Assurance or Services. Or if they want Software Assurance (L&SA), they must also buy the Services.
Exchange Online pricing and licensing
Exchange Online is licensed via a subscription model in which each user needs a User Subscription License (USL). Three types of subscriptions are available: Exchange Online Kiosk, Exchange Online Plan 1, and Exchange Online Plan 2. These subscriptions can be purchased on their own or as part of an Office 365 plan that includes SharePoint Online, Skype for Business Online, and Office ProPlus.
No. Resource mailboxes, including Room Mailboxes and Equipment Mailboxes, are special mailbox types that are provided free of charge as part of Exchange Online. There is no limit to the number of conference room subscriptions.
No. Shared mailboxes don’t have login credentials, so they are only accessible by licensed users who have been granted delegate access (full mailbox permission, send as, or send on behalf of).
You must assign the shared mailbox to either an Exchange Online Plan 1 plus Exchange Online Archiving subscription, or to an Exchange Online Plan 2 subscription in order to enable In-Place Archive. A shared mailbox can’t be used to archive email for an organization, except for those messages that are sent from the shared mailbox or received by the shared mailbox.
You must assign the shared mailbox an Exchange Online Plan 2 subscription in order to put it on In-Place Hold.
Yes, these mailboxes require a subscription. The subscription type can be Exchange Online Kiosk or Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2.
No. For more information about Discovery Search Mailboxes, see Create a Discovery Mailbox to Store Search Results.
Public folder mailboxes are available to users with Exchange Online Plan 1 and Plan 2 subscriptions. They are not available for Exchange Online Kiosk users.
No. Using journaling, transport rules, or auto-forwarding rules to copy messages to an Exchange Online mailbox for dual-delivery purposes is not permitted. To preserve messages, you must put user content on In-Place Hold, or journal the messages to an external journal target.
There are no limits on the duration of retention policy. You can set the retention duration based on your business needs.
You have several options:
- You can export that user’s data to a PST file and store it on-premises.
- You can retain the data in that user’s mailbox by placing the user on In-Place Hold and marking the mailbox as inactive, as described here. It isn’t necessary to maintain a user subscription license for the inactive mailbox.
- If you have a hybrid deployment of Exchange Server and Exchange Online, you can migrate the mailbox back on-premises. Learn more about hybrid deployments here.
Exchange Online Kiosk is designed for users who require fewer messaging features because they do not have dedicated computers. The subscription provides 2 GB of mailbox space per user and web-based access through Outlook on the web. Certain features are disabled for Kiosk users, including inbox rules, public folder mailboxes, site mailboxes, shared mailboxes, and delegate access to other mailboxes. For more information, see the Exchange Online Service Description.
Yes, all Exchange Online subscriptions, including Exchange Online Kiosk, allow organization-wide capabilities such as In-Place eDiscovery, journaling, custom retention policies, and premier anti-spam and anti-malware filtering via Exchange Online Protection.
Users with Kiosk mailboxes are protected by the same uptime SLA and geo-redundancy protection as other Exchange Online mailboxes.
In order to place a Kiosk mailbox on In-Place Hold, you must upgrade it to Exchange Online Plan 2 or purchase the Exchange Online Archiving for Exchange Online add-on.
No. When a Kiosk subscription is assigned to a user, IM and presence integration in Outlook on the web are deactivated, even if the user has a Skype for Business Online subscription. In addition, because Exchange Web Services access to Kiosk mailboxes is blocked, calendar-based presence updates in Skype for Business will not occur for Kiosk workers, and e-mail OOF messages will not be displayed. Users who require these capabilities should be assigned an Exchange Online Plan 1 subscription.
Yes. In the Microsoft Online Services Portal, you can assign the user a new subscription and remove the old one. This will automatically update the user’s capabilities in Exchange Online. The procedure for purchasing new subscriptions and cancelling old ones varies; check your specific license agreement for details.
Yes. In the Microsoft Online Services Portal, you can assign the user a new subscription and remove the old one. This will automatically update the user’s capabilities in Exchange Online. For the smoothest transition, you should remove any In-Place Holds from the user’s mailbox prior to assigning them the new subscription. The downgrade behavior is as follows:
- Mailbox data: All data in the user’s mailbox and archive is preserved. If the user has a total of more than 50 GB of data in the primary mailbox plus the archive, the conversion will succeed, but the mailbox will be out of compliance from a licensing perspective until the excess data is deleted by the user.
- In-Place Hold: If the mailbox is on In-Place Hold, the hold remains in place. The mailbox will be out of compliance from a licensing perspective until the In-Place Hold is cleared. If you are using Directory Sync, you can clear the In-Place Hold by updating the user's Active Directory object, otherwise you must call support to have it cleared.
- Hosted voice mail: This feature is automatically disabled for the user as part of the transition.
- Mailbox size: If the size exceeds 2 GB, the action will fail.
- Inbox rules: Existing inbox rules are left in place but they are not editable. You can call Office 365 support and have them delete the user's rules on your behalf in order to bring the mailbox into compliance with licensing terms.
- SMS notifications: Existing SMS notifications are left in place, but new ones can’t be created. You can call Office 365 support and have them delete the user’s existing SMS notifications in order to bring the mailbox into compliance with licensing terms.
If you do not host any mailboxes on the servers used to connect to Office 365 you can license them using the Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW). The HCW validates your Office 365 subscription and installs the appropriate licenses on your servers.
You can use PowerShell to enter the new product key.
You can point your MX record to Exchange Online in a hybrid deployment. In this scenario, Exchange Online Protection (EOP) provides anti-spam and anti-malware filtering on inbound mail for the on-premises users, so these on-premises users require EOP subscriptions.