Unfortunately, “not working” doesn’t give your provider much to go on to figure out what is going on.
E-mail isn’t always instantaneous. Nor is it as zippy as you may like 24/7, 365. There will be hiccups or slowdowns.
Sometimes there are geographic issues that cause a certain area of the pipeline to slow. Say a backhoe hits a fiber optic cable in St. Louis. That could cause a domino effect and cause e-mail to take longer to get from point A to point B.
So let’s think through the troubleshooting process!
How do you determine what, if anything, isn’t working? First, wait 30 minutes or so to see if the issue resolves itself. If your e-mail is still “not working”…
- Are e-mails bouncing back or you are getting error messages? Both will tell you exactly what the issue is to investigate.
- If you just setup a new e-mail account in your software, the very first thing to do is to verify that your settings are exactly as they should be. Are your incoming and outgoing mails servers noted correctly as advised by your provider? Check that you have the correct port and account type (POP or IMAP) designated in your settings. If you are sure your settings are correct, move on to #3 or #4. Incorrect settings are usually the culprit for new setups.
- If you can Send e-mail but cannot Receive e-mail and your settings are correct, you need to contact your incoming/server provider. This would be your ISP or your website host. They will verify your settings with you first to eliminate that being the issue.
- If you can Receive but you cannot Send, your e-mail program should be throwing an error message when you cannot send. What is that? You then should contact your ISP connectivity provider as it is the OUTGOING server (SMTP) that may be having issues.
Patience is a Virtue
Most of the time if you wait a bit instead of panicking things do clear up. It is always a good idea to check your ISP’s connectivity provider or webhost’s “Network Status” page to see if they are aware of any problems or issues that may be causing network delays of e-mail delivery before you jump to change any settings.
Once you determine who you should contact (your hosting provider or ISP) you need to provide the detailed specific error message (word for word) that you are receiving when you go to send or check e-mail. This error message will indicate exactly where the problem resides and is imperative to determining if there is anything anyone can do about it.
Your service providers will most certainly appreciate you providing as many details as possible when you contact them with problems. Including error messages and the specific settings you currently have in place. “Not working” is really of no help at all.