Exchange 2016 OWA & ECP HTTP Internal Error 500

A company contacted us because they had run into issues with Exchange 2016 Webmail/OWA and the Exchange Control Panel (ECP). Both threw an HTTP 500 error.

Exchange 2016 had not been updated since 2017 and was still running on Cumulative Update 4 (CU4).

HTTP 500 internal server error

On the Exchange server itself, we saw more detailed errors:

Exchange Server Open Authentication (OAuth) certificate is expired, not present, or not configured correctly.

The event log showed:
Event ID: 1003
Source: MSExchange Front End HTTPS Proxy
[Owa] An internal server error occurred. The unhandled exception was: System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
at Microsoft.Exchange.HttpProxy.FbaModule.ParseCadataCookies(HttpApplication httpApplication)

Microsoft Docs suggests the following PowerShell solution:

New-ExchangeCertificate -KeySize 2048 -PrivateKeyExportable $true -SubjectName “cn=Microsoft Exchange Server Auth Certificate” -FriendlyName “Microsoft Exchange Server Auth Certificate” -DomainName “Your smtp domain here”

Take note of the certificate thumbprint!

Set-AuthConfig -NewCertificateThumbprint -NewCertificateEffectiveDate (Get-Date)
Set-AuthConfig -PublishCertificate
Set-AuthConfig -ClearPreviousCertificate

Restart the server, or run IISreset. Then wait for a few hours.

Despite waiting almost 6 hours, the problem persisted.

Another forum post suggested setting the Exchange server time zone to GMT (+-0)

After setting the server time zone to GMT and running all the steps above again, OWA and ECP started working again, almost immediately

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