I’m so used to working with SharePoint in a network which has Exchange running that I’ve never really thought about working with Alerts without Exchange. I recently set up WSS on my home domain, and although I have Exchange on a Virtual PC it is never running 24/7.
Then I got to thinking: what if I pointed SMTP on the WSS box to the same address that I use for my e-mail accounts with my broadband ISP? Sure enough, it works! Maybe this isn’t news to many of you, but I totally never thought of it. Now I can create alerts anywhere and have these notifications arrive via my Internet e-mail accounts. However, if the users you’ve added to sites have Exchange addresses associated with their accounts, this is the address that will be used by default. You’ll have to go into the User Information page for the site and change them to use an Internet e-mail address.
For those of you not familiar with configuring SMTP, go into IIS and expand the Default SMTP Virtual Server. In the properties dialog, click the Advanced button on the Delivery tab and set the Smart Host to the SMTP address for your ISP, and add YOURSERVERNAME.YOURDOMAIN.COM in the Fully-qualified domain name box. You should also go to the Central Administration page and the “Security Configuration” -> “Configure default e-mail server settings” link. Set the Outbound SMTP Server value to the same thing, and have replies go to an Internet e-mail address as well (this is where bounces will be sent).
Having working alerts is pretty handy too for home WSS adoption; everyone has a family WSS site by now, right? I created a Family Workspace and created alerts for my wife and myself in a Calendar list. Now we both get notified when one of us adds a new event in our busy lives. Of course she insists on using her paper calendar in the kitchen instead… <sigh>