E-mail intermittedly not sending when it says message was

Dec 3, 2016 4:23PM PST

Operating system: OS Sierra

The e-mail address with the problems is the one provided to us by our ISP, which is a small local Internet DSL service provider using AT&T's lines. It's called Great Lakes Internet Service (

Sometimes I forward e-mail from the glis e-mail address to my yahoo e-mail address. Often, there are no problems, and I receive the forwarded e-mail just fine. At other times, the forwarded e-mail does not arrive at all. The e-mail is not going in spam folders because I checked. The problem seems to happen in spurts, and they seem to resolve themselves. I never get the e-mails that I tried to send, but I receive new e-mail from the glis address.

My yahoo e-mail is not the only one that is affected by these problematic spurts. I tried e-mailing a gmail account during a bad time, and it did not receive the e-mail either. It also happens when e-mailing other people. They tell me they never received an e-mail that I sent them.

There is no way of telling on my end that an e-mail doesn't go through. From all appearances, the e-mail was sent. Mail tells me that it sent the e-mail. The normal sound occurs when a message is sent out. I check my sent folder, and the e-mail is in my sent folder. However, sometimes the recipient just doesn't receive it.

We have been having these sorts of issues since the end of July of this year. Our ISP moved to a different location in town, and I think they might have changed the way they did things. We have also been having intermittent Internet issues since that time.

The ISP did have some problems on their end that they fixed, and that made things a little better. We also changed our modem and router, but what we got may not be that good quality. We have to reset our modem and router at least once a week due to horrible connection speeds. When we reset them, it seems to fix things a bit, but there are sometimes still problems with speed.

Our ISP thought that our Internet problems may be with our phone lines. AT&T came out and did something, (I'm not sure what, as they never told us). That may or may not be true, as they told us it was our lines before they told us that they had problems on their end.

I have no idea if the Internet problems have anything to do with our e-mail problems or not.

We mentioned the e-mail problem to our ISP, and the technician told us that he didn't really know anything about that. He said that sometimes e-mails just get lost. He did indicate that some of their other customers had e-mail problems as well, so they were recommending that people use some other mail service.

I'd like to have an idea of what is going on, though. Is it the ISP? Is it our phone lines? Is it our router or modem? Is it something that just happens to everyone?

Anyone have ideas? Thanks.

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Clarification Request
Additional information
Dec 3, 2016 4:34PM PST

Sometimes when I try to forward e-mail to myself, it finally does get there, but it takes it an hour or more to arrive. Other times it never does arrive.

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I read all this
Dec 4, 2016 7:31AM PST

And it does not sound like your hardware or email app is the problem.

It's rough on some since the ISP email systems can be pretty junky and broken at times. Try it on Gmail next.

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Thanks for your response
Dec 4, 2016 8:28AM PST

So you think that the issue is the ISP's e-mail system? Yes, that very well could be.

I did try e-mailing myself at a gmail address during one of the problematic times. The e-mail didn't go through.

So, from your answer, it seems that our ISP is having problems with their own e-mail system? What types of problems on their end would cause this?

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There are so many reasons they have issues.
Dec 4, 2016 10:48AM PST

The most common is lost mail. With all the spam email which accounts for 60 and more percent of email traffic. A spam blast overwhelms the server and well, mail gets lost.

"Unsolicited junk mail accounts for 86 percent of the world's e-mail traffic, with about 400 billion spam messages sent a day, according to Talos, a digital threat research division of Cisco Systems"

There are folk new to email that think it should never lose a message. The newness wears off over time. Some folk don't get it and try to make legal cases over the loss. They are prime for some law firms to pick them clean. (Nope, you won't win this round.)

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I see...
Dec 4, 2016 3:11PM PST

Well, I am not exactly new to e-mail, however, this is the first that I've ever knowingly experienced an issue with e-mail. Could it have happened before and I just wasn't aware of it? Sure.

It is disappointing to find out that e-mail is not always as reliable as I thought it should be. I guess there is no way of testing to see if someone actually receives an e-mail, apart from actually asking them.

I could understand one or two e-mails not getting through every once in awhile. But most e-mails sent out throughout the span of several hours getting lost? I would think that that would indicate a possible problem somewhere, but maybe not. Maybe e-mail itself is just becoming less reliable than it used to be.

I am beginning to wonder just how reliable my ISP actually is. But maybe this e-mail issue is just out of their control as well. Maybe it is just the time of year. Maybe most ISP's experience problems with their e-mail around this time due to all the spam, as you noted that spam could cause problems.

Don't worry, I am not going to make a legal case over this at all. I am just trying to figure out if something weird is going on with my ISP -- is it reliable or is it something completely different.

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2 things.
Dec 4, 2016 3:17PM PST

1. When I see it fail all the time, I ask the email admins about blacklists.
2. When I see it randomly fail and it's in the sent box, it's still the ISP and the servers from here to there.

For example if I send a .zip or .exe to a company I write apps for, the email server eats the email without telling sender or receiver.

-> You only told me email. Not if you attached a file or something large. I've seen 2.1 megabyte emails drop over the internet. Text is usually fine as that's under the limits on almost all email servers.

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It is indescriminate
Dec 4, 2016 7:54PM PST

When the e-mails fail, it does not matter how big the e-mail is. I sent test e-mails to my yahoo and gmail accounts from my ISP e-mail. These test e-mails just said something like "test" in the message body and subject lines. The other messages to fail have mostly been just text.

A few had attachments on them -- 3 powerpoint files, or 1 Word article attached.

All of the failed e-mails fall into category #2 of the ones you listed above. All of them were in the sent folder, but were never received by the recipient. As I said before, the problem happens in spurts -- most of the time e-mails are received by other people just fine. Sometimes, however, the majority of e-mails sent out in a span of several hours are not received or are delayed.

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Dec 5, 2016 7:28AM PST

Word and PP files can contain macros and more. These also tend to be over the 2 megabyte line that you see dropped by some email servers.

I can't hold class on the old email system but it's a hodgepodge of systems with the email server owners setting the rules. And it's not a straight shot from your email server to the destination. Email can relay (not hold classes remember.)

Since it's in the sent folder, some server ate it. This is not telling us more than that but if it eats it with attachments, that's a sign.

-> This is why I tend to put such files in my Dropbox Public folder and send them a link.

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But that doesn't explain everything
Dec 5, 2016 12:45PM PST

If the Powerpoint and Word files are causing issues, then that doesn't explain why other e-mails do not go through.

Most of the e-mails that didn't go through had no attachments at all. Some just contained "test" in the message and subject lines.

It also would not explain why sometimes the e-mails with Powerpoint or Word files DID go through to the same e-mail addresses that didn't go through other times.

So a server somewhere is eating some of my sent mail -- regardless of whether or not it has attachments. The attachments cannot be the main cause of the problem because the problem occurs on messages without attachments, too.

I don't know what macros are, but the Powerpoint files that were sent out only contained words and pictures. They were powerpoints to contemporary worship songs for a church service. The Word files just contained text, nothing fancy.

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I won't be able to tell all.
Dec 5, 2016 1:04PM PST

Your email server owners have to find out what happened. I can only share the above, might add more stories but to me, it's not you.

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Thank you for your help
Dec 5, 2016 1:24PM PST

Thanks. I appreciate your response. Yes, the problem does seem to be on my ISP's email server.

It seems that they are the ones that are going to have to solve this, and to do that, they will have to admit that the problem is on their end, and then know how to fix it.

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A test
Dec 5, 2016 2:13PM PST

Run an internet speed test a few times per day for several days.
Write down the numbers you get.

When you get into one of these spurts where mail starts to vanish rerun the speed test......any change?

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Did you ..
Dec 5, 2016 5:55PM PST

Did you read the (possible) explanation and what was suggested in your thread at BC?

Perhaps one of our members has more to add, after reading the additional information. Confused

Best of luck!

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A quick read and
Dec 5, 2016 6:00PM PST

I see a lot of duplication of effort and ideas. My thought is that Arwen was looking for a fix. My answer to that is use other email services.

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