Sunny Li / 7.28.2023Home / Email Security

Gmail account not receiving emails—top 8 solutions

Is your Gmail account not receiving emails? Our in-depth troubleshooting guide will help you fix this annoying issue with eight practical solutions!
From email filters and spam settings to server issues and incorrect forwarding, various factors can disrupt the traffic in your Gmail account. Many users face this frustrating issue and can’t receive email messages, as Google struggles to maintain consistent service despite being a tech giant.This in-depth guide will teach you about:
  • The most common causes of your Gmail account not receiving emails
  • Quick fixes for the potential issues
  • Alternative email services that offer stability
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What to do if you are not receiving emails—8 practical tips

While there are various reasons behind this problem, here are some simple solutions to get your inbox functioning again:
  1. Check if Google is down
  2. Inspect your internet connection
  3. Check if your storage is full
  4. Check the email app, folders, and filters
  5. Inspect your POP/IMAP settings
  6. Rule out domain and account issues
  7. Disable your antivirus program
  8. Migrate to a new email provider

Check if Google is down

Google provides one of the more stable email services, with servers rarely experiencing unplanned downtime. Still, Gmail and other Google Workspace apps occasionally run into unexpected difficulties or prolonged maintenance.If that happens, the only solution is to wait for Gmail to resume working, as the problem isn’t on your end. Google regularly updates its Workspace dashboard, where you can see the current status of all its services, including Gmail.

Inspect your internet connection

If Google’s servers are up, the connectivity issue could be on your end. If you’re on Wi-Fi, check your:
  • Router
  • Internet speed
  • Devices
If the router is currently on, your internet speed might be sluggish, or you might have experienced a momentary outage. Use an internet speed test website to check the stability of your connection. Your device might also be the culprit, so check your emails on another phone, tablet, or computer.If you’re not on Wi-Fi, check your mobile plan to confirm you haven’t run out of mobile data. Your phone carrier probably maintains a mobile app where you can see such details, or you can enter the appropriate pound code and receive a notification.Regardless of the potential issue, try resetting your internet connection—solving your problem might be as simple as that.

Check if your storage is full

If you’re actively using Google Photos and Drive to back up pictures and other files, you can quickly burn out your storage. All Google Workspace apps use the 15 GB of storage you get with a free Gmail account and up to 30 TB with one of Google’s paid plans.Once you reach your storage limit, all incoming mail will return to the sender. It might be the reason your Gmail account isn’t receiving emails.
Source: ScreenshotYou can see how much free space you have in the dashboard of your Google account. If low storage is the issue, you have two options:
  1. Delete some files
  2. Upgrade to a higher Google Workspace subscription
If you choose the first option, delete larger files from your Google Drive and Google Photos. Videos and other high-resolution visuals can quickly eat up your 15 GB of free space.

Check the email app, folders, and filters

Gmail protects users from spam with notoriously aggressive email filters, which can mislabel some of your incoming messages. Before ruling out this option, check the following folders in Gmail:
  • Spam
  • Trash
  • All Mail
You can find Gmail’s folders in the left-hand sidebar. If your missing emails haven’t ended up in Trash or Spam and don’t appear when you go to All Mail, they probably haven’t arrived yet.
Source: Gmail screenshotGmail also lets you create additional filters and block specific contacts from sending you emails. You might have accidentally marked someone’s emails as spam in the past or added them to your block list.To check if this is the case, follow these steps:
  1. Open Gmail
  2. Navigate to your Account Settings
  3. Click on See All Settings
  4. Open Filters & Blocked Addresses
If any contacts are mistakenly on this list, remove the associated filters and ask them to resend the emails. You should then receive their messages without problems.An outdated Gmail app on your smartphone or tablet might also be causing the issue. Go to Gmail’s page on the Google Play store to see if you’re running the latest app version, and update if necessary. After that, re-log to your Google account on all devices, and reinstall the Gmail app.

Inspect your POP/IMAP settings

Gmail uses POP and IMAP protocols to download messages from email servers and display them in your browser or app. If your IMAP settings have been toggled off, the emails might have arrived in your inbox but aren’t visible on your device.To enable the protocol, follow these instructions:
  1. Open Gmail in your computer browser
  2. Open your account settings
  3. Go to See All Settings
  4. Find the POP/IMAP tab
  5. See if Enable IMAP has been toggled on

Rule out domain and account issues

If you’re using a custom domain in Gmail and you have a premium Google Workspace subscription, you might be experiencing one of the following account problems:
Type of account issueEffectSolution
Suspended Google Workspace accountEmails bounced back to the senderRenew the annual contract and check if monthly payments have been made on time
Domain host disabled accountEmails not routed from the domain to GmailCheck for payment issues with the domain host provider, renew expired domain
Incomplete domain registrationEmails not routed from the domain to GmailComplete the registration process and verify the address with the domain provider
If a managed hosting provider handles your domain, you won’t have to fix related issues yourself. Contact the provider and have them look into why your Google account is not receiving emails.

Disable your antivirus program

Some antivirus programs have email filtering options that may mistakenly mark a legitimate message as spam or a threat. To check if this is the case, follow these steps:
  1. Disable email filtering or the antivirus program temporarily
  2. Log out and log back into Gmail to refresh it
  3. Ask the expected sender to try again
Disabling your antivirus for long is dangerous because it creates an email security gap. Don’t forget to turn it back on after you’ve checked whether the email filters were the issue.If the email arrives after you’ve disabled the antivirus, the program has mistakenly registered the sender as a threat. Most antimalware programs with email filters allow you to create a whitelist with the email addresses of trustworthy senders. Add this sender to the list, and your antivirus will ignore their messages, letting them land freely in your inbox.

Migrate to a new email provider

If this issue with your Gmail account persists or reappears regularly, trying to solve the problem might not be worth it. While Gmail is generally stable, you shouldn’t have to spend so much time and energy on troubleshooting. Consider deleting your Gmail account and moving to another email provider.Reliability isn’t the only reason for a transition since Gmail doesn’t do enough to protect your email communication from cyber attacks. Your privacy is also endangered since Google and other major email providers have long misused user data for ad targeting and training machine-learning algorithms.Security-focused email services provide the same quality-of-life features as Gmail but without the glaring cybersecurity issues. Alternatives like Skiff Mail offer a stable, reliable service without compromising on security like Gmail.

Skiff Mail is a stable, security-oriented email service

Skiff is a steady email platform with an easy-to-use, modern user interface (UI). A free Skiff account lets you create up to four email aliases that help you manage emails from different sources and protect your privacy.You can use one alias for work-related messages and another for online registrations. Organizing your incoming mail this way can help you stay in control of your inbox contents and prevent you from losing important emails and documents.In Skiff’s streamlined UI, forwarding, security, filtering, and other options are available in one Settings window.
Source: ScreenshotThis clean setup provides an overview of any setting that could block an incoming message, reducing the risk of misconfigured options.Besides stability, Skiff Mail provides total email privacy and security through end-to-end encryption (E2EE).The encryption offered by Skiff is based on two keys:
Type of encryption keyFunction
Public encryption keyAutomatically created on the sender’s device and shared with each sent email
Private decryption keyAutomatically created on the recipient’s device and never shared with anyone
The encryption key scrambles your messages, creating a string of random characters unreadable to anyone but the recipient with the decryption key. Both keys are generated and stored at the device level, ensuring no one besides the intended recipient could read your emails—including Skiff’s team and unauthorized third parties.
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Skiff is a trustworthy alternative to Google Workspace

Switching to Skiff gives you access to an entire productivity suite that can rival Google Workspace. In addition to Skiff Mail, a free account gets you three E2E encrypted products, including:
  • Skiff Calendar—An encrypted scheduling app that integrates with Skiff Mail for a seamless user experience
  • Skiff Drive—Secure cloud storage with up to 1 TB of space
  • Skiff Pages—E2EE-enabled document editing platform that lets you create and collaborate on files securely
You can access all Skiff's products and tools using an Android, iOS, or macOS device, as well as your computer's web browser. The platform syncs your work on all devices in real time, allowing you to transition seamlessly from working on your computer to your smartphone or tablet.Besides security and ease of use, Skiff is fully committed to transparency. Due to its open source policy, Skiff's entire source code is freely available on GitHub. And if you're interested in learning how its encryption algorithm works, you can read more about it in this whitepaper.

Sign up and start receiving emails securely with Skiff

Signing up for Skiff is easy and only takes three simple steps:
  1. Go to the signup page
  2. Pick a username and password
  3. Start using Skiff Mail and other encrypted productivity tools
All Skiff products are available with the platform’s extensive free plan, but you can get more storage, custom domains, and aliases with one of the three affordable paid tiers.

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