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Just a few common ones – if you don’t find yours here, remember that the Web is full of pages like this that you can find if you describe your difficulty to a search engine.  We may also update this page if you ask nicely.

Failing to connect to server

If this happens when you are using Webmail, then it is likely to be outside your control.  If you can reach other web pages, but the Webmail page does not load, or displays an error, then the problem is with your provider and you can only wait for it to be fixed.

If you are using a local Client program that has normally worked in the past, then is there something different about your Internet connection?  Many public WiFi connections allow access to Web pages but block the SMTP, POP, and IMAP protocols that mail Client programs use, so if you are using one of these, your problem might be temporary – you could try using the Webmail instead.

If you are setting up a local Client program, and you are sure that there is no restriction in your Internet connection, then difficulty connecting to the servers might be due to the name of the server being incorrect.  Client programs try to guess the correct server names, and their guess can be wrong.  If you suspect this, then find where you can edit the server names, and check that they are correct.  Look also at the port settings and the encryption method, if any, and confirm that these are set according to your provider’s recommendation – you will have to find the provider’s help pages.

Some incoming mail is missing

Many Client programs can be configured to delete emails from the server after they have been downloaded, or if they are older than a given number of days.  This is often the default behaviour, and it is always better to turn it off so that you retain safety copies of incoming mail on the server.  If you are using email Clients on more than one device then you should definitely ensure that you turn this deleting behaviour off on all of them; otherwise, you will eventually find that if you don’t use one of your devices for a while, another device might already have deleted mail that this device has not yet seen.

A further problem caused by local Client programs removing mail from the server is that the removed mail will no longer show up in the Webmail interface, if you use it.

Some outgoing mail cannot be found

When you use more than one device, you need to manage your own sent messages, as there is no standard for keeping outgoing mail.  When your Client program sends mail, it will keep a local copy; but your outgoing mail server (SMTP) merely sends the mail on to its destination.  As a result, you will only find the outgoing message stored on the device from which you sent it.

If you want to be able to see all of your outgoing mail on all of your devices, then the best workaround is to send a blind copy (Bcc:) of every message to yourself, so that the messages will later be received by the other devices.  With some email Clients, you will have to remember to do this each time, but a program like Outlook will let you do it automatically – you can define a “rule” that is applied to all outgoing mail, and will send a blind copy.

This is one reason why you might prefer to use Webmail, because if you use Webmail on all of your devices you will always be seeing the same (Web-based) client, and there should be no difference between devices.

Sealand is very pleased to be a supporter of the Open Document Foundation, Linux Mint, and the Lancing and Sompting Churches’ Food Bank.

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This page updated 29 June, 2023.  Please double-check any information before you use it.

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