Resolving email problems

Email problems can be very frustrating.

Sending and receiving email looks easy but the process is very complex.

On the bright side, this makes finding a solution very satisfying!

The level of complexity means are many potential reasons why your email won't work.

For example:

  • incorrect email account settings,
  • changed email password,
  • email client software malfunction,
  • computer operating system corruption,
  • computer's firewall blocking email traffic,
  • ISP (internet service provider) blocking mail ports,
  • IP (internet protocol) address on a blocklist,
  • email message in breach of web host's email sending limits,
  • email content blocked by recipient server's spam filters.

Before contacting your hosting company's technical support, it is worth performing some simple checks. 

Example:

Is www.bbc.co.uk visible in your web browser?

Is your own website which uses the same domain as your email visible in the web browser?

You can send, receive and manage email without using an email client (like Outlook) when you visit the server directly.

To do this, visit:

https://webmail.YOURDOMAIN.

Did you attach the file the intended recipient tells you they did not receive?

Did you use the intended recipient's correct email address?

Did you forget to add a Subject line?

You may have entered details incorrectly when adding your email account to your favourite email client (example: Outlook).

Or the details you entered have since been changed because of software malfunction.

Has your IP Address been BLOCK LISTED?

Block listing occurs to protect the world wide web from the threat of spam activity.

If your IP Address has been identified as offering such a threat then it will have been added to a block list.

In such instances you should receive a bounce back error message - see next check point.

The dynamic address used to identify your computer on the internet.

"Every device connected to the public Internet is assigned a unique number known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address. IP addresses consist of four numbers separated by periods (also called a 'dotted-quad') and look something like 127.0.0.1."

https://www.whatismyip.com.

You can easily check whether your IP address has been blocklisted by visiting the links below:

https://whatismyipaddress.com/blacklist-check,

https://www.dnsqueries.com/en/check_banned_ip.php.

If you see your IP is listed then you can follow the instructions provided to have your IP removed from any one spam blocklist.

The following sections of our Common Email Error Messages article may also be useful:

Read more: Error 550: IP in XBL/SBL/PBL.

Read more: Error 550: IP in SCBL/RBL.

The Mail Server IP

It may instead be that the IP of the mail server used by your hosting account (the Mail Server IP) has been added to a blocklist.

If you have a Dynamic IP Address as opposed to a Fixed one, you can force the issue of a new IP Address by stopping and restarting your modem or router.

This should trigger the issue of a new IP Address by your ISP (internet service provider).

You can then retry sending an email.

If your IP is fixed then you would instead need to contact the appropriate blocklist to request removal of your IP Address.

Have you received any Email Error Messages?

The error message will usually indicate the root cause of the problem you are experiencing.

Send the error code to your hosting company technical support when you contact them.

Technical support will usually ask you to send:

  1. a copy of any Bounce Back Error Message you have received,
  2. the IP Address from which you are trying to send / receive email.

to be able to more quickly help resolve the problem you are experiencing.

You can quickly discover your IP Address by visiting the URL below: 

https://www.whatismyip.com.

Occasionally, technical support may ask you to provide a copy of the

full email headers

from the bounced back email containing the error message.

Here we tell you how to identify and copy full email header messages.

These can be useful when seeking help with resolving email problems.

To do so you have to identify what is called the raw message source.

1) Identify the raw message source.

Use the following keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + U

i.e. Press the Ctrl and the U keys together at the same time.

2) Copy the raw message source

Keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + C

Omit any content which you wish to keep private but not the bounce back error message.

3) Paste the raw message source into and email and send to technical support.

Keyboard shortcut:

Ctrl + V