There can be many reasons beyond our control why after we send out an email, it might get bounced back to the sender or refused by the receiver. However, there are a few causes that the sender can easily check and correct. First, your browser’s spell check function does not usually work with the email address. Check the spelling of the whole email address. Look for letters that might actually be numbers like 1’s (ones), l’s (L’s), 0 (Zeros), and O’s (Oh’s). Also look for punctuation that you may have missed, like a period between first and last names ([email protected]). Finally, make sure that you have the address suffix correct. It is easy for our fingers to type .com out of habit when the ending is .biz, .net, etc.
Some other issues that might derail your email are: a) the attachment of a file that is too large, b) the attachment of a file that ends in a suffix considered suspicious by vigilant virus protection software or c) the filters that stand between us and the recipient. Most email systems have a hard upper limit on the total size of the files that can be attached to an email. Also note, the total size of an email includes the text, any images in the signature, the stationary, and any attachments. Check with your email service provider for the size limit on files you can send. Some providers (AT&T’s mail services for example) offer plugins that can be used to attach larger files or send them to an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server.
While these limits affect the outgoing side of your email, there may also be limits placed on the receiving end that will cause your email to bounce or to arrive with the attachments stripped away. Most email boxes have a size limit for individual pieces of incoming mail. If you are having a problem getting an email with attachments to a particular address, try sending it without the attachment as a test. If the test arrives it is likely that the attachment is causing the problem.
Another issue that can cause an email to bounce is sending it to a large number of recipients. The way to get around this is by sending the email “To:” yourself, but “BCC:” (blind carbon copy) everyone you want to receive the message. Each BCC recipient will get their own copy of the message and spam filters will skip the “too many recipients” check.
Finally, there is also a limit for the total accumulated size of all the email you have sent and received. When you approach the limit there will usually be a warning email sent by the system that indicates how much space you have left in your mailbox. At some point you will get a warning that you cannot send or receive any more mail until you make room by deleting or archiving older mail. If you delete email to make room, make sure you also empty your deleted items folder so that the storage space is actually freed up and made available again.
Using these tips, you can take control of the options available to successfully send and receive your mail.
This article was written by Al Grimm, Sr. Techinical Analyst at Nutmeg Consulting.