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June 25, 2008

Gmail's Limitations for Sending Messages

It's likely that a normal Gmail users didn't notice that Gmail has a lot of limitations for sending messages. Here are some of them, as mentioned in a mail from Google:

- 500 messages per day (i.e., you can hit 'Send' a maximum of 500 times)
- 500 unique recipients per message
- 2000 total emails per day (for example, you could send one message to a group of 500 people four times)

In addition to these limitations, "Google will temporarily disable your account if you send a message to more than 500 recipients or if you send a large number of undeliverable messages". According to the help center, you can only send a message to up to 100 people at a time if you use POP or IMAP.

Google explains that these restrictions were created to fight against spam and to prevent abuse. The same rules are enforced for Google Apps users, as well.

Om Malik thinks that "500 messages are nothing in this day and age, especially if you are in the information business as I am" and wonders why Google doesn't list all these restrictions.


  1. "500 messages are nothing in this day and age, especially if you are in the information business as I am"

    500 messages per day should be more than enough, even for somebody whose only job is to write emails. It's not enough if you want to send massmails etc. but for that you reaaaaly should pay a little money and get it done profesionally/legally.

    You will find limits like these on every mailservice. Some invest the manpower to check your account when you hit the limit, some don't, but all monitor and limit you.

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  2. If someone in the information business can't bother spending a few dollars a year for a not-for-free service, they have some serious issues in my opinion.

  3. So let me get this straight, some guy is running a business on a free email system and then complains that he can't send more than 500 emails per day. He can only be spamming; you cannot write 500 meaningful emails in a working day.

    1. Yes you can when 1K neighbors sign up for something and you want to send out Thank-You notes.

  4. I really don't care what Om Malik thinks - and I'm not really convinced that you do either, or you'd have addressed his criticisms directly.

    Google is way too easy for spammers to use and misuse - even with the petty restrictions you cite, a spammer with 40000 gmail accounts will be happy, and will continue to fill my spam folders.

    Gmail for private individuals should be much MORE restrictive - but hopefully more intelligent restrictions.

    Gmail for business is a different animal, and there should be different rules (Duh!), and more intelligent implementation and MUCH more intelligent policing.

    Google will never, ever, satisfy the Om Maliks of this world, and should not try - but they should employ fewer geeks and more real world people to implement the geek ideas.

    We don't want *clever* gmail - we want *fully functional* gmail.


  5. Its free.
    Its simple.
    If you dont like the rules: Go elsewhere.

  6. Claiming to provide "unlimited" service is dishonest.

  7. As for receiving messages I guess there are no real limitations. I've been sending more than 3.000 mails in a few minutes to my Gmail account and my account was locked for about five minutes but then everything seemed to be just fine.

  8. Finally! I had a discussion about this a few weeks ago, and interpretations of the ambiguous help page varied a lot (as can also be seen in the thread you linked to).

    I am glad there is finally some clarification on this issue. Thanks for spreading the good news :)

    Let's hope they update the help page to make it more explicit.

  9. Thats why there is Instant Messenger like Gtalk, YM and Windows Live Messenger to cope this problem. And there is also Microsoft Office Groove to handle such problem.

    For a normal user like me, I think Gmail are the best email, at the moment.

  10. I agreed with these rules! 500 messages per day, it's enought for a personnal use. If you need more for your job, buy another soft!!!!

  11. To hit send 500 times a day is almost impossible. At 30 seconds a send that is over 4 solid hours. Of course, most emails take way more than 30 seconds to read, reply and send. If you are using Gmail as a professional you should be using Google Apps Premier.

  12. I think if you're sending out hundreds of emails, you should set up an email list on Google Groups or some other service. Then you can just email one group, and it's sent to all recipients. If you're attempting to email hundreds of people using their individual emails, it's not only stupid, it's a waste of time. Set up various email groups and you've got only a handful of emails to remember.

  13. I ran up against one of these limits just last week, for the first time, as I experimented with some complex email forwarding to pass mail through multiple spam filters in different accounts. Anywho, it turned out that GMail has a filter forward idiosyncrasy that lead me into a forwarding loop. My bad. I quickly ran into one of these limits (which is good). What was really bad was that I was shut out for the day. No way to recover access and trouble shoot the problem or send normal mail after its resolution. That's the real problem with Google's hard-and-fast automated rules like this: "Nobody Gets in to See the Wizard. Not Nobody, Not No How"

  14. Those limitations sound fair enough.
    And if you want more, spend a few bucks.

  15. Frankly, IMHO, the numbers should be
    50 max msgs/day
    30 max unique recips/msg
    100 max emails/day
    1000 max emails/month

  16. A businessman will use a business mail, not a free one.

  17. All the people who mention in comments above that businesses should not use free email, please remember that the same limitations apply to Google Apps, and that Google Apps is not free for most profit-making businesses.

    Businesses do have mass mailing needs and using a Google Groups-like mailing list is not always suitable.

    Also, wouldn't it be extremely difficult for spammers to signup for Google Apps. And even if they did sign up, wouldn't it be impossible for them to continue using Google Apps for spamming?

    So, yeah, it does not make sense to have these limits at least for Google Apps.

  18. I think these are probably above the limits of other services such as Live and Yahoo, but of course I don't know. The reason they don't tell you this is the same reason that other services don't tell you they limit things. In this case most users won't be affected by this unless they're using Gmail as their company email with about 500 employees. In that case Google should offer them a package they can buy that offers much more, say 5,000 emails a day?, to the company who won't mind paying for that since it's otherwise perfect for what they needed.

    And the fact that Om Malik said it takes away logic for me. That man's all talk and rather stupid about things too. I don't understand how he is such a high authority on subjects like this.

  19. I'm tempted to suggest that each of us who disagree with Om on this send him 500 emails saying so but that would be childish and petty - wouldn't it...

  20. @Adnan

    Who ever said that Gmail was an unlimited service? It certainly wasn't Google.

  21. I would bet that Google has statistic to show such restriction will please 99% of Email (not necessarily Gmail) users, to keep balance between fighting spamming and the needs of legitimate users.

    To use a Web mail system to send massive Email is not professional at all. There are lots of free or commercial solutions for sending massive Email.

  22. "A businessman will use a business mail, not a free one."
    Not true. I am a business man. I pop all my mails to GMail as it offers some very neat features. I know several others that do the same thing.

  23. gmail is very fine like it is and any limitations we see are because of spamers. Analogous to all the inconveniences we have to put up with today because of criminals and terrorists.

  24. Are these limitations based on UI interaction restrictions? For instance, if I use Google Apps to automatically send out an e-mail when someone registers on my site, or forgets there password, perhaps purchases something, needs more information, subscribes to something...

    Based on these restrictions, it would not be possible to run nor wise to run any software that does send out e-mail to their customers automatically (as all valuable sites do).

    It would be best to show these restrictions up front to businesses or Universities that do use Google Apps, if only to ease some pain.

  25. Also, if you pay for premium services of Google Apps do these restrictions go away?

  26. I just realized how awesome Google is for this. Okay, first look at the link below:

    If you do run software like I mentioned, the best way to do it is by having a distribution list for sending e-mail. This way, you can stagger the e-mail and prevent yourself from reaching that limit.

  27. Yp.. to a certain extent the mail sending limit irks one a bit. But few years back wen Y! mail ruled the roost, the mail delivery to a person used to take lotta time.. But gmail right from wen it was instated used to deliver the msgs to the inbox the next instant. After that only Y! changed its whole setup and improved its service.

    And I think I shud be thanking the Google service for tht.. And i am not worried of the 500 msg limit.. If i hav to send more than that, i will create more accts and send the msgs from multiple accts

  28. I think people who are criticizing Om Malik for what ever he said are missing the point. I have read his post, and his primary concern was that he was not aware of this limit. His company has changed from another provider to google apps email not because its free, but because lot of his colleagues wanted to change for the features it provides. His concern was that had he known the limitations, he would have had the choice to make an informed decision.

    And some of us want to change to google apps email not because its free, but because it has a lot of feature. I know people who are shifting from commercial email providers to google apps. I wish google listens, puts up the limitations prominently and maybe increase the limits for google aps.

  29. For google apps, you have a quota of 2000 External recipients, so if you 10000000 mails to your same organization, doesn't count...

  30. Not only is this limit unknown to most people, and a painful surprise when you hit it, but additionally Google makes it even more painful by doing nothing to stop you from sending an email with 500 recipients from a web browser, and then locking out your account immediately after.

    From :
    Rule 2. If you access Gmail from the browser, you may not address an email message to more than 500 people at a time. Try adding any more recipients in the To, CC or BCC field and your Gmail account will get probably disabled for 24-72 hours. Error: "Gmail Lockdown in Secton 4"

    This description of the rule hits on the key point, but in my experience is somewhat inaccurate, in that I was locked out even though I met (not exceeded) the limit. I sent an email with exactly 500 and was subsequently locked out for 24hrs, presumably because I had sent other emails earlier in the day. Such a surprise lockout is terrible, especially when you are not even prevented from breaking the rules via a web browser! At the very minimum a warning should be given so that an uninformed user like myself (and most other Gmail users) are made aware of the limit. This leaves me extremely frustrated with Google!

    FYI I happen to have an email list with more than 500 people that are actually interested in my emails, so I don't think I count as a spammer. Arrrgggh. :(

  31. This sucks. They should clearly put these rules down for users to see. I had to google around to find the limit. And still i'm not convinced coz google dint tell this themselves.

  32. Any limit on file attachment sizes? I send out pdf attachments in the course of my job and find COMCAST broadband limits the size. It's a pain.

  33. 20 MB - limitation for attachments

  34. these limits must definitely be made clearly known to all users of Gmail or other Google Apps

  35. PatrynXX@gmail.comJune 24, 2009 at 7:04 PM

    Our local ISP just switched to gmail as it's core system. Presumably for bigger capacity. Well it didn't go over well with my dad. Who has 15 friends he sends email to. While using Outlook 2007. Done this for years. Well he switched and now can only send 6 to 7 emails a day. 15 people is not spamming. Really absurd. I don't run into the problem because I only have a couple of folks to send email to. and I've got alternative email addys. The spam thing is absurd because 100 emails max a day?? o_O Yeah maybe 8-10 years ago. But not today. Google probably should update this one. (of course the 500 makes more sense... think they are technically creating a monopoly by forcing people to use the website. ) And I don't usually speak ill of gmail.

  36. gmail is so annoying
    i email heaps in my google group
    and i got lockd out once
    and i could never post again

    i recieved an emails from google saying how i had posting to many emails in a day and i had been locked out and my account would reopen in 1 week- 4 weeks

    so i waited..>

    and its been 5 months now and it still doesnt work

    so i just made a new account
    and re joined my group


  37. I haven't sent any e-mails to more than two or three people at a time, and I rarely send more than 10-20 personal e-mails a day, yet my account has been blocked from sending e-mails - I received the "you have reached your limit" message - and no, the account wasn't restored in 24 hours.

    I may have to do as the previous person and simply create another account - it is annoying.

  38. I think for legitimate business purposes, especially for "email blasts" should be allowed. We have to make money and to do so these days requires us to send out emails to our customers. What? We can only have 500 customers? Google needs to relax the limits to say 2000 day. That would be more accurate to most business needs.

  39. Struggling to send new year greetings to 2580 contacts all are gmail, yahoo, hotmail??? should split in to 5 days I guess......

    Pain!! Wonder what google can do for these exceptions!...

  40. How the Internet has changed us. Not only do we expect everything to be 'free', but now also complain when it has limitaions!

  41. Wow and I thought Mac fanboys were culty. You google apologists have them beat hands-down. Enjoy the Kool-Aid guys, just don't try to drink more than 500 cups a day...

  42. Are these limitations always available ?
    I don't find the "2000 total emails per day" in the official Gmail's support...

  43. I was limited for 1.5 days from google after I sent a message to maybe 500 people (don't recall but have a list of over 1500 that want to receive information from me. I deleted my autoresponder yesterday as it wasn't suiting me and needed to send a message today to my list so I copy/paste 1/3 of list into bcc field and account was locked. I'm just glad that it was only 2 safelist attatched to the account and not my main account as it would have possibly caused me to loose 105 memberships at sites that send emails everyday if it bounces messages b/c of the lock.

  44. what are other cheapest services that will allow to send more and more emails per day?

  45. I work in show-biz and i need to send 495 emails / day ... i got locked twice for less than 20 emails with gmail... I have got my own .COM domains and my mails is through google.
    can someone tell me how can i send 495 automated emails?


  46. Mike,

    You have to trick the automated robot by creating your own automated robot.

    Put a timer on it that feeds x amount of emails per hour and leave it chugging away day and night.

    Or pay for a premium service. (Better way)

    I currently have 225 members in my database that I need to send notifications to. Not going to type 225 different emails to let everyone know that there is a new free workshop available to them.

    Nope. eBlast is the way to go in this case. Quickly outgrowing gmail though...

  47. Yeah I agree, 500 emails is nothing compared to the no of emails sent across servers these days.
    Thanks for the info by the way.

  48. how could i send to more than 100 recipients

  49. Wow the responses in 2011 are so much smarter than they were in 2008. To think someone might just have a need to email lots of people! From what I read, it sounds like you can send 2000 total emails per day, but people seem to have experience with getting locked out at around/less than 500. What's the deal?

  50. Never occurred to you that Google might have upped the limits in 3 years time?

  51. guyzz
    Please I want to know how can I send Unlimited e-mails using gmail account, because somebody here can do this

  52. I have a website that posts messages to users when they do certain actions. I'm willing to pay google to increase my limit that I keep hitting, but can't find a way to. Never good when a user has money in hand and can't find a way to spend it with their vendor of choice.

    Increase the limits or let me pay....please

  53. Hi,
    Can i send 500 emails per day from gmail account directly using chrome or mozilla browser.. Or i can send only 100 emails max per day.. can any one tell me

  54. No, seems nobody knows...

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