Setting the Message Hop Count

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1

When a message is delivered, it may be routed to a number of servers before reaching its final destination. You can designate how many servers the message is allowed to pass through. This is called the hop count.

After the hop count is set, the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server counts the hops listed in the Received lines of the message header. When the number of Received fields exceeds the maximum hop count setting, the message is returned to the sender with a non-delivery report (NDR).


You must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer to perform the following procedure or procedures. As a security best practice, log on to your computer by using an account that is not in the Administrators group, and then use the runas command to run IIS Manager as an administrator. At a command prompt, type runas /User:Administrative_AccountName "mmc systemroot\system32\inetsrv\iis.msc".


To set the message hop count

  1. In IIS Manager, right-click the SMTP virtual server, and then click Properties.

  2. Click the Delivery tab, and click Advanced.

  3. In the Maximum hop count box, type a value for the number of hops a message can take between the source and destination servers. The default is 15 hops.