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February 24, 2009

Gmail Is Down. What to Do?

The web interface is one of the ways to access Gmail and you can choose from many flavors of web-based Gmail. If the standard web interface doesn't load, it's a good idea to try the more secure SSL interface at https://mail.google.com or the basic HTML mode at http://mail.google.com/mail/h.

Gmail also offers other ways to read your email: you can use POP3 or IMAP in almost any email client for desktop or mobile phones. If you use Windows, you already have Outlook Express or Windows Mail, but you can install a better application like Thunderbird. Before opening a mail client and entering Gmail's settings, it's important to enable POP and IMAP from this page (Gmail settings/ Forwarding and POP, IMAP). POP and IMAP access is disabled by default and it can only be enabled from the web interface.

Gmail's web interface was down for more than 2 hours today. "If you've tried to access your Gmail account today, you are probably aware by now that we're having some problems. Shortly after 9:30am GMT our monitoring systems alerted us that Gmail consumer and businesses accounts worldwide could not get access to their email." The only way to access your mail was using a mail client, but the POP/IMAP access had to be already enabled from Gmail's settings page.

What can we learn from today's outage? It's important to know that there are alternate ways to access Gmail and you should enable POP and IMAP, even if you don't intend to use them regularly.

35 comments:

  1. if for personal computer, i always use local software to get emails from different agents.

    i use gmail interface just only when i am at the public areas or wanna save some files.

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  2. 1 - tale a big cup of coofee
    2 - subscribe a professional mail service if you really need it

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  3. Good advice Alex, lot of people panicked for no reasons and are calling it Gfail in Twitter. I have been using Gmail for the past 6 years seldom had any major problems with it. They could have used your suggestions instead of panicking.

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  4. I have IMAP enabled, but I wasn't be able to access Gmail this way too.

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  5. Forwarding did not work during the outage either.

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  6. All good points and now in Delicious for the next time Gmail becomes Gfail.

    However. It would have been nice to have:
    G-volk let us know that these alternatives exist.
    G-volk let us know what was going on.
    updates through Twitter (the @google account is there...)

    Communication please.

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  7. And yes I know this isn't an official Google blog - but they do monitor it. And using the Google Groups is worse than useless. I'd get more feedback talking to a tree.

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  8. did anyone test if gmail was still usable with gmail offline feature enabled? the tool is made so we can still email without internet and then sends the messages when internet becomes available.
    But i'm very curious what happens when you do have internet but gmail is down. does it still work, keep your messages in the outbox and then sends them when gmail is back online.

    this would make the outage less dramatic for me

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  9. Gmail offline is so buggy that I had to turn it off.

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  10. About the IMAP: when activated, can I download all my mails since the opening of my Gmail account ? And what about the mails I've sent, can I also get them back?

    Is there a way to make backup of mails in Gmail? Some sort of CVS?

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  11. No problem for me, I am Gmail-backup (http://www.gmail-backup.com/) user - all my mail is also on my laptop backed up.

    I use Gmail offline, but it shows me "error" page. So it is not very robust solution, although I am using it "offline" sometimes and it is handy.

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  12. I wasn't able to access gmail via imap for at least some of today, nor was the S60 gmail client able to access gmail, so it wasn't *just* http access that wasn't working.

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  13. Well if I can't access my mail on google, which is my significant personal and side-biz stuff then I get back to my real job and do other things. It's really not that bad when the 'cloud' goes away for a while, people understand and you have a chance to get a magazine out or something. If the net goes for 25+ minutes then you start thinking about ducking out for a haircut. My life didn't end with the lack of gmail, did anybody else's?

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  14. If you are going to enable POP mail it would be a good idea to run it from time to time, otherwise if you wait for months between times using it you might have to wait minutes to hours to get to your current messages when you finally do.

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  15. Here's the explanation for Gmail's outage:

    "Lots of folks are asking what happened, so we thought you'd like an explanation. This morning, there was a routine maintenance event in one of our European data centers. This typically causes no disruption because accounts are simply served out of another data center.

    Unexpected side effects of some new code that tries to keep data geographically close to its owner caused another data center in Europe to become overloaded, and that caused cascading problems from one data center to another. It took us about an hour to get it all back under control."

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  16. I could access my gmail trough the off line mode . Whenever there was a new mail, it automatically synced my mails. First time I actually used the off line feature.

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  17. How should we sign out from thunderbird. It doesn't contain that option.

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  18. Although
    - I could have other ways besides the on-line web interface to access Gmail,
    - Gmail is free and perhaps it is not a professional email service,
    - my life could perfectly continues without Gmail (if Gmail has some problems),
    I will be always be looking carefully if Google is showing respect to their clients by, not only solving but also explaining clearly what the truth is when problem appears, not only in Gmail but also in all other services. Otherwise, I think Google is digging slowly its own grave.

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  19. I agree.

    First, Acacio Cruz -Gmail Site Reliability Manager- talks about "We’re working very hard to solve the PROBLEM..." in http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/current-gmail-outage.html. The explanation posted there was insufficient.

    Then, he titles "UPDATE on Gmail" in http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/update-on-gmail.html. The explanation posted there was insufficient, too.

    Now, Alex Chitu tells us that Google says "Lots of folks are asking what happened, so we thought you'd like an explanation". If Google would think smart, then they would write "We owe you an explanation". Now, the explanation is sufficient.

    If Google were my customer and the situation were the same, Google would have ask me and I would have to respond its questions.

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  20. I have just noticed that I no longer can copy messages to the GMail servers using an IMAP client. The client (thunderbird) fails to connect when I give the copy command from another local folder. Copying between diferent GMail folders still works. Anyone else seeing this? Could it be related to the outage?

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  21. Hmmm... looks like tonight it's Google Calendar's turn to be down.

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  22. It's 2/27 7:50 or so and i can click to my g-mail inbox OK but no mail will open and i have an important piece of mail i cannot open and a box pops up and claims it is due to interconnectivity problems which is not true for everything else is smooth and fast -- if i could only mark/check a piece of mail for forwarding and have an address box only pop up so that could be sent to another box so google could fix the problem at their leisure. I went the html route via googles central help but it was the same thing. I can not understand all the stuff in the boxes above. I am a content-creator not a computer geek.

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  23. Backup gmail (including labels) regularly is necessary, free tool is available ( gmail-backups.com), but if you want to save your time by automating the backup jobs, check http://gmailkeeper.com

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  24. Gmail down again now! Well.. Google needs to do some thing about these outages..

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  25. yep. down it is..

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  26. Down for me too!! Was last week too for 5 hours

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  27. not working right now.....

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  28. What happened? Is it hackers? is it the MagicJack buy back offer letter?

    I NEED MY GMAIL

    (very sad)

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  29. Not working on Sept 24, 2009 either.

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  30. down again....most unreliable these days.
    wish Google would get it together!

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  31. Gmail not working. I tried from the morning till 7 PM, but nothing.

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  32. Has GFail returned?

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  33. Lesson learned the hard way you get what you pay for. GMAIL is FREEWARE and unstable.

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  34. Lesson learned the hard way you get what you pay for. GMAIL is FREEWARE and unstable.

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  35. Today 4 Sep 2011 I got sooo many troubles trying to open gmail to no avail.....

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