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Help! My Gmail Connection Is Slow!

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/26/2010

Connectivity issues when using Gmail in a browser are not uncommon - they can be attributed either to your type of connection, or which version of the Google Mail web app you are using.

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    Troubleshooting Google Mail Loading Issues

    Users of Gmail get the benefit of fast email direct to their browser, mail client or mobile device. It has become the most popular email solution in the world and now even rivals Microsoft Exchange for its flexibility (see my article Making the Decision - Google Mail or Microsoft Exchange? for more on this).

    However there are occasions when Google Mail is loading that your connection might seem slow. This might be down to your Internet connectivity – or it might be due to which version of Google Mail you’re using. Similarly, the Google Mail loading connection might stutter due to changes Google have made to their mail servers.

    Before proceeding, you should check the version of your browser – Gmail is really optimised for the most recent browsers, and while a layer of compatibility with older versions does exist, the best results can be gained from the “active content” version of the web application. You can check your browser version by going to Help > About – anything below Internet Explorer 6 or Firefox 2 should be upgraded.

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    Switching Between Active Content and HTML

    Troubleshooting Google mail loading/connection/internet issues Google’s use of “active content” – basically a way of updating your Gmail page without refreshing – can cause problems over some networks (home and business), particularly if this type of connection is blocked.

    The only way around this is to change the way in which you view your Gmail account. To do this, logout of Gmail, then close your browser.

    Next, reopen your browser, and go to - as the page loads you will notice a link at the bottom right of the page.

    The full text will read:

    Load Standard view | Load basic HTML view (For slow connections)

    By default, you are logged in to the “Standard view” – but with slow connections, you should click the Load basic HTML view option.

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    Loading Google Mail – Secure Connection

    It is also possible that your Google Mail connection is slow or unavailable due to a recent change to how Google authorizes your credentials.

    Up until recently, Gmail offered basic functionality for users to login to accounts with their email address and password – however this low level of authorization was not secure. Effectively, a malicious user could run software that sniffs for a user name and password sent without encryption to the Google Mail servers, resulting in your details being stolen and allowing someone else to easily login to your account and read your emails.

    Thankfully, Gmail now offers the possibility to login to your account via the secure HTTPS method – simply change the URL you use to login as follows:


    Notice the “s” after the “http” – this indicates the connection will take place over a secure, encrypted connection.

    Failure to resolve this issue using the methods above might well lead you to pursue other avenues to trace the fault. For instance, you may find that other web pages have performance issues – if this is the case, try focussing on your network hardware as a cause for these issues. Try reading our guide to Check the Speed of a LAN Ethernet Network for more information.