From time-to-time, you may encounter a problem which prevents you from being able to download or send your e-mail. This article will explore the most common reasons why this might occur.
1. Read the error notice generated by your e-mail software:
- While many of these notices a lot of technical jargon, they are useful in that they can point you in the right direction.
- Error messages will state whether the problem you are having affects incoming or outgoing mail. This is important to note as the problem that you are experiencing may be with either function or both.
2. Check your Internet connection:
- Your e-mail software relies on this connection in order to download and send e-mail. If your connection is down, you will not be able to connect to the server.
- To do this, check whether you can do a search via Google using a random query (e.g.: "Aztec hieroglyphics"). If you get results to your query, then your connection is working. However, if you receive any sort of error message then you will need to contact your Internet connection provider for assistance.
- If you make use of more than one Internet connection (e.g.: you normally connect via an ADSL account, but also have a 3G account), then you can also try and connect using the alternative account. This is useful in determining whether there is something which is preventing you from accessing your mail via an otherwise functional Internet connection.
3. Can you log in to webmail?
- One way to check whether the problem lies on your computer or not is to log in to your account online.
- If you are able to connect to the login page and access the account, then it means that something on your computer, network or between your internet connection and the server may be preventing you from being able to access your mail.
- You can log in to the webmail facility using here.
4. Are you being prompted for your login details?
- If your e-mail software constantly prompts you for the user name or password, then it means that you are able establish a connection to the server.
- There are several situations which could result in you being prompted for login details. A guide to troubleshooting this specific issue can be viewed here.
5. Confirm your server settings:
- Sending and receiving e-mail can only be done if your e-mail settings are correct as your e-mail software can and will only try to make a connection using the information which has been stored in your e-mail account settings.
- The steps required for checking your settings depend on the e-mail software that you use (e.g.: Outlook 2016 for Windows). This is due to each program having its own layout.
- Once you have confirmed which e-mail program you are using, you can use the guides located here to check your settings.
6. Do you make use of anti-virus software to scan your e-mail?
- Occasionally, anti-virus programs can interfere with your e-mail. This is because the anti-virus program is designed to intercept the send and receive cycles in you e-mail software in order to scan messages before they are sent or delivered to your Inbox folder. While this is usually not a problem, many anti-virus programs, from commercial products like Norton Anti-Virus to free programs like Avast!, have been known to interrupt these cycles and prevent mail from being delivered.
- You can confirm whether this is the case by opening your anti-virus program and checking whether it is configured to scan your e-mail. If it is, disable the mail scanning feature and then re-start your e-mail program.
- If your e-mail begins to function correctly, then you will need to leave the mail scanning feature off or re-install your anti-virus software.
- Remember to enable the mail scanning feature again, should this not correct the problem.
- If you are unsure how to do this, please refer your anti-virus documentation (often located within a Help section of the program) or check the developer's website for assistance.
Note: Do not disable the entire anti-virus program. The real-time scanning feature, along with other built-in processes, are needed in order to protect your computer from malicious software.
7. Is your firewall configured to allow your e-mail software to connect to the Internet?
- Firewalls are designed to protect you from both external and internal threats by allowing certain programs and features access to the Internet.
- If your firewall is not configured to allow your e-mail program to connect to the Internet, then you will not be able to send or receive e-mail.
- You will first need to establish which firewall software you are using. Many operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, include a built-in firewall. However, some anti-virus products (particularly those that are advertised as "internet security" programs) also contain firewall software which effectively replace the firewall built in to the operating system. This is often referred to as a 3rd-party firewall.
- The first step is to confirm which firewall you are using (if any). If you make use of anti-virus software then you should be able to see whether the program includes a firewall via the summary or settings page within the program itself. If you are not sure, then you will need to check the accompanying documentation.
- If you do not have a 3rd-party firewall then you should check the built-in firewall for your operating system.
Note: If you have gone so far as to disable your firewall to test your accounts, please remember to enable it again.
There are, of course, other issues which may prevent you from being able to send or receive e-mail. Should you find that none of the steps above correct the problem, please submit a ticket or contact us on 021 565 0018 for assistance.