What is Outlook Web App/Access (OWA)?

Outlook Web Access, Web App or simply just OWA, is a hosted exchange feature offered by almost all hosted exchange service providers. Outlook Web Access is an advanced web based email client, with a feature set comparable to the Microsoft Outlook desktop email client.

When making a hosted exchange comparison, against other web based email services such as Gmail, it is important to note that OWA is designed to be a full desktop client replacement, and includes calendar, contacts, notes and journal entries in exactly the same way Microsoft Outlook does. The functionality of the Outlook Web App far outstrips that offered by web based mail clients such as Gmail or Hotmail. Logging in to OWA for the first time, users will instantly recognize the very Microsoft Outlook like user interface. Indeed, Outlook is mimicked very closely.

Outlook Web Access offers hosted Microsoft exchange users the ability to access their exchange mailbox, in a familiar format, from anywhere they have access to a web browser. All Outlook functionality is included within OWA, including advanced hosted exchange functions such as collaboration, calendar sharing and public folders.

It is important to note that OWA is quite an internet intensive application, and users trying to access their hosted exchange mailbox across a slow internet connection may confront problems. In this case, the Outlook Web App is available in a low bandwidth version, but with much of the functionality removed.