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Solving Gmail Connection Problems

written by: Brian Nelson•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 9/21/2010

Google Gmail is a great way to keep your email online and accessible from any computer with an Internet connection, but if you have Gmail connection problems your email can be locked away from you. Solving Gmail connection troubles is critical to your productivity.

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    Google Mail Connection Problems

    There are several different types of Gmail connection problems you can have depending upon how you use your Google account for email. Google Mail allows users to log into Gmail directly via a web interface using any browser. This is particularly useful for those who are accessing their Gmail accounts from a public computer connection or other shared computer resource. It also is a great way to reduce the number of applications and setting that have to be installed on a netbook computer, iPad, or other web-enabled device.

    For users with personal computers and Internet connections, or those who use a secure business computer, or more powerful laptop, a more permanent connection to Gmail can be made via a locally installed email client like Outlook which comes with Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Business Edition as well as other Office versions, or a smaller more focused email client like Zimbra or Thunderbird. These clients have additional connectivity issues that typically are a result of misconfiguration in either the POP3 settings or IMAP settings.

    You might be interested in the review of top email clients if you are looking to set up a POP configuration or IMAP configuration for Google Mail.

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    Solving Gmail Connection Problems

    Gmail connectivity for users accessing email through a web browser are easy to troubleshoot.

    First, be sure that you have a working Internet connection. Attempt to connect to big, well-known websites such as, google.com or cnn.com to ensure that they are loading. If not, then your problem is that your Internet connection is not working, not that you are actually having a Gmail connectivity issue.

    If you can connect to other Internet websites, but cannot get Gmail to load, try accessing it by directly typing both gmail.com and mail.google.com into your web browser. Although unlikely, there is a possibility that your client is having trouble resolving the Gmail email service address. If both of these connections fail, but other Google pages, such as Google Voice can load, it is possible that either Gmail is actually down, or that you have a Gmail based virus.

    If Gmail loads, but you cannot log in to your account, check to ensure that you are using the right username and password. Be sure to manually type them into the fields as your browser's Save Password feature may be having an issue. If this does not work, then you will need to follow the procedures to recover your username and password. This is why is is always a good idea to keep your alternate email address up to date on your Google Account to ensure that you can have a password reset link emailed to you.

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    Fixing Google Mail POP3 Problems or IMAP Issues

    gmail pop settings Most of the time, issues with Gmail connectivity from email clients is a matter of having improperly configured POP3 settings or IMAP settings. Review all of your Gmail POP3 configuration settings and IMAP settings, including verifying that you have enabled POP or IMAP on your Gmail account via Google's email settings webpage.

    If the settings are correct, be sure that your username and password are correct, especially if you have changed the recently. Many email clients save your passwords and send them automatically in order to log on to your email account. They might be sending the wrong password!

    If the above steps don't work, check and see if there is a firewall program blocking the necessary ports or protocols to access your Google email. For example, port 465 is used for Gmail. If it is blocked, you will either need to unblock it, or use one of the alternative ports allowed for Gmail connections.

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    Other Google Mail Problems

    The above steps should fix pretty much any true connection problem. If you are still unable to connect, chances are that there is an issue somewhere else that is causing trouble. Some corporate firewalls, for example, block access to Gmail for security purposes, or to ensure that employees are using company email systems exclusively.

    Also many ad blocking programs block a large block of Google.com addresses in order to block Google AdSense advertisements from appearing. Turn off the ad blocker and see if your connection works. If so, the ad blocker has gone too far.

    Use these tips to fix any Google Mail connection troubles you have and keep your Gmail up and running so that it is always ready to work for you.