Handling Autodiscover error messages

Exchange

Learn about the different types of Autodiscover errors and what to do with them.

Last modified: January 08, 2014

Applies to: Exchange Online | Exchange Server 2013 | Office 365

Autodiscover enables your applications to retrieve configuration information automatically, and it works great. However, things don't always go according to plan. Let's look at the common errors that might occur and how you can handle them to minimize the need to prompt your user to manually configure your client.

The first type of error you might encounter when sending Autodiscover requests is the HTTP status. If the HTTP status in your response is anything other than 200 (OK), the response payload doesn't contain the Autodiscover response you were looking for. For simplicity, we can group non-200 status codes into three categories.

Table 1.  HTTP status codes

Status code

Type of error

To handle…

301 or 302

Redirect error

Resend your request to the URI contained in the "Location" HTTP response header. For details, see Handling redirect errors.

401

Unauthorized error

Because the Autodiscover process involves trying multiple potential URLs, you could get this on one URL only to have the next one accept your credentials. For this reason, you shouldn't consider a single 401 error to indicate that the credentials are invalid. However, if you receive 401 errors from multiple URLs, you might want to prompt the user to reenter their password (if possible).

Any other non-200 status

Invalid Autodiscover endpoint error

Consider the URL that returns any other non-200 status code to be invalid, and continue trying the next URL in your list.

Even if you get a 200 (OK) status code after sending an Autodiscover request, that doesn't mean that the server sent the information you need. The 200 status only means that you have an Autodiscover response, and that response might contain an error within the payload. The location of the error information differs depending on whether the format is SOAP or POX.

SOAP Autodiscover errors

For SOAP Autodiscover, the response can contain one or more ErrorCode (SOAP) elements, in different places. Typically you can expect one as a child element of the Response (SOAP) element, and one as a child of each UserResponse (SOAP) element in the response. You might also encounter one as a child of a UserSettingError (SOAP) element, if one is present. The context of the error depends on where the ErrorCode element is located, as follows:

  • As a child element of the Response element, the ErrorCode element represents an error that applies to the entire request.

  • As a child of the UserResponse element, it represents an error that applies just to that specific user.

  • As a child of a UserSettingError element, it represents an error that applies to a specific setting that was requested.

Let's take a look at an example of a response. In this example, the ErrorCode element under the Response element has a value of "NoError", which indicates overall success. However, the ErrorCode element under the UserResponse element has a value of "RedirectAddress", which indicates that an error occurred for that particular user.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<s:Envelope xmlns:s="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/" 
    xmlns:a="http://www.w3.org/2005/08/addressing">
  <s:Header>
    <a:Action s:mustUnderstand="1">http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/Autodiscover/Autodiscover/GetUserSettingsResponse</a:Action>
    <h:ServerVersionInfo xmlns:h="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/Autodiscover" 
        xmlns:i="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
      <h:MajorVersion>14</h:MajorVersion>
      <h:MinorVersion>3</h:MinorVersion>
      <h:MajorBuildNumber>136</h:MajorBuildNumber>
      <h:MinorBuildNumber>1</h:MinorBuildNumber>
      <h:Version>Exchange2010_SP2</h:Version>
    </h:ServerVersionInfo>
  </s:Header>
  <s:Body>
    <GetUserSettingsResponseMessage xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/Autodiscover">
      <Response xmlns:i="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
        <ErrorCode>NoError</ErrorCode>
        <ErrorMessage />
        <UserResponses>
          <UserResponse>
            <ErrorCode>RedirectAddress</ErrorCode>
            <ErrorMessage>Redirection address.</ErrorMessage>
            <RedirectTarget>elvin@mail.contoso.com</RedirectTarget>
            <UserSettingErrors />
            <UserSettings />
          </UserResponse>
        </UserResponses>
      </Response>
    </GetUserSettingsResponseMessage>
  </s:Body>
</s:Envelope>

The ErrorCode (SOAP) article contains a full list of possible errors. Most of these indicate an unrecoverable error, but a few warrant special handling.

Table 2.  SOAP Autodisover ErrorCode values

ErrorCode value

To handle…

RedirectAddress

Restarting Autodiscover with a new email address with the email address in the RedirectTarget (SOAP) element.

RedirectUrl

Resending your request to a new URL to the URL in the RedirectTarget element.

ServerBusy

Retry this URL after a small delay. You might wait a set amount of time or simply move this URL to the end of your list of URLs to try. If you receive this error multiple times from a URL, you should consider the URL to be invalid.

POX Autodiscover errors

The POX Autodiscover service reports errors a little differently. Non-recoverable errors are contained in the Error (POX) element. The ErrorCode (POX) article contains a full list of possible error codes.

Redirect errors are contained in the Action (POX) element. Any value of the Action element other than "settings" indicates a redirect error.

Table 3.  POX Autodisover ErrorCode values

Action value

To handle…

redirectAddr

Restarting Autodiscover with a new email address with the email address in the RedirectAddr (POX) element.

redirectUrl

Resending your request to a new URL to the URL in the RedirectUrl (POX) element.

In this example, the Action element has a value of "redirectAddr", which indicates that a new request should be sent with the new email address contained in the RedirectAddr element.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Autodiscover xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/autodiscover/responseschema/2006">
  <Response xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/autodiscover/outlook/responseschema/2006a">
    <Account>
      <Action>redirectAddr</Action>
      <RedirectAddr>elvin@mail.contoso.com</RedirectAddr>
    </Account>
  </Response>
</Autodiscover>

You can handle redirect error scenarios in two ways:

  • By restarting Autodiscover with a new email address.

  • By resending your request to a new URL.

Both scenarios require some validation before proceeding.

Restarting Autodiscover with a new email address

When you get a new email address in an Autodiscover redirect response, first verify that the new email address that was provided in the redirect error response is not the same address that you sent in the request that resulted in the error. If it is, you should not restart Autodiscover and instead consider the URL that generated the response to be invalid.

If the new email address is different, discard your existing list of potential Autodiscover endpoint URLs and generate a new list based on the new email address.

Resending your request to a new URL

When you get a new URL in an Autodiscover redirect response, you should first validate the URL as follows:

  • Verify that the URL is an HTTPS URL.

  • Verify that you have not received an error from this URL with the current email address before.

  • If applicable to your application, inform the user of the redirection and get their permission to follow the redirect.

  • Send a request to the URL and verify that the SSL certificate presented by the server is valid.

If the URL passes validation, resend the request to this new URL.

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