When Your Email Feels Like Snail-mail... | Chilliwack & Abbotsford IT Support

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Most of us have had “that” moment . You know the one. That moment when someone says to you “yeh, I’ll email it straight over to you”, and then you sit there … and wait… and a couple of minutes pass…which feel like an ETERNITY… and nothing pops up in your inbox. In those dreadfully, long, painful 2 minutes (well… it usually starts after a mere 20 seconds of waiting), a million thoughts pass through your head…

"Is there something wrong with my computer?"

“Did they actually send it?”

“Could it be a problem with my router?”

“Maybe I have a virus!!?!”

"Has the zombie apocalypse started and no-one has told me??!!!" 

Well, before you run off to bug your IT department with a frantic request to test your internet speed and perform a full computer diagnostic scan with a tracking program sent off to find where your rogue email has been intercepted (because… you know… you saw it on that movie once, so you think  they can do that!), first consider this. Whilst we do live in this high-tech world of faster communication, and most emails arrive at super speed without you thinking about it, there could be a heap of reasons as to why your one important email may be delayed.

In most cases, it is simply down to the route that your email has taken to get to you. Your email has had to travel a complicated journey. It has to leave the sender’s computer and email server, and then take a route that makes it pass through several other servers on the way. Each server receives the email, and then passes it onto the next. Who knows what else these servers are also trying to pass on at the same time as your email! Some work faster than others. Some are busier than others. And your email is competing for delivery space with millions of others, including the vast quantities of Nigerian princes trying to offer their wealth to those unsuspecting, lonely victims. (Yes… I am talking about those phishing schemes, not real actual Nigerian princes!)

In truth, email is one of the original, and therefore oldest, services used on the internet. When email was designed, we didn’t keep our computers connected to the internet 24/7. So, it is pretty resilient. If it hits a legitimate blockage, like a full mailbox, it’ll typically keep trying or just bounce it back to the sender.

However, if you REALLY have been a patient person, and your expected email has definitely not shown signs of arriving after a sensible amount of waiting time (actual, real, measured time and not the mysterious void of slowed-down time you can experience while waiting for a kettle to boil, when you are desperate for a coffee on a Monday morning!), we advise that you...

  1. Check your junk folder. The simplest term or word can make a filter think it is spam, and redirect it.

  2. Ask the sender to try again, checking the email address (a VERY common error, and it only takes 1 wrong character to mess up completely!)

  3. Check your internet connection.

  4. Try using a different provider/browser or an instant messaging service instead.