When troubleshooting email problems it’s important first to separate them into two categories:
Receiving and Sending. There are two different services/servers responsible for each. Normally SMTP is used to send emails and POP to receive. There are other services like IMAP that can do both.
After you composed a message and hit send it will be attempted to get delivered by the Email server. It’s important to look for error messages that will then be used by a technician to troubleshoot and fix the issue. For example there might be a message that the password is incorrect or the server is not responding. Such a message needs to be copied and reported to the technician. Sometime there might be an issue with attachments. Some servers limit their site but there might also be a size limit set by the application you are using to send your emails from, for example Outlook. Try sending a smaller attachment and see if it goes through. Finally, there might be a file type restriction set by antivirus software that restricts certain file types for example .exe file as they might contain viruses. It’s important to document your issue in great detail as it will help to get it resolved quickly.
Specifically when sending emails from home there might be a port restriction set by your Internet Hosting Provider. Read more about it here: Alternate SMTP port.
In some cases if your account or the server where your email account is located sent some spam your sending IP address might be black-listed. You can find this out by going to: Is my site’s IP clean? Type in your domain name or the IP address of where your site is located. To find out your site’s IP address type the following from command line or shell:
This will give you the real IP address of your site.
In some cases if your email service is separate from your web hosting you need to find out the hostname or the IP address of your mail server. This is something you can easily retrieve from your email configuration in Outlook or any other program you are using to check your emails.
Troubles receiving emails can be related to your domain’s MX records, incorrect logins or the POP server being down. Below are the steps to take to check for server availability.
Check for connectivity:
Open up your computer’s shell (Mac or Linux) or command line (Windows) and type the following command:
telnet YourEmailServeraddress.com 25
This command should display a message from SMTP (sending) server you are trying to connect to. If you are not seeing a message that you got connected try port 587. If this doesn’t work the server might be down or your IP got blocked by the server’s firewall. Go to Find My IP address to find your current IP address and provide it to your tech.
If you can’t receive emails, do the same thing for your POP server but use port 110 at the end.
Who hosts my emails?
Sometimes there’s a need to find out where your email service is hosted. Open up mytoolbox.com and type in your domain name. It will display your MX records from which you should be able to figure out where your email is hosted.