An email i sent was delayed or didn’t arrive

Google”s Gmail is a fast, free and reliable service for sending and receiving email messages, but some conditions can cause a long delay when sending email. This is especially the case for email messages that include large attachments. It may be possible to speed up your Gmail by changing some of your email settings.

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Gmail has two modes of operation. The first is through its Web interface, where the display of messages and the composition of new email is done through a Web browser. You can also access Gmail from a dedicated mail application, such as Outlook on Windows or Mail on Mac OS X. In both cases, the speed of sending messages will be dependent upon the speed of your Internet connection, but changing some settings in your browser or mail application may increase this speed.

Including attachments and images will slow down the sending of email in all cases, because these files are much larger than the text in an email message. Most email messages are only a few kilobytes or less, because each character of an email message is a single byte of information. But images are regularly in the tens to thousands of kilobytes (over a thousand bytes each), and an uncompressed attachment will be slightly larger than the file you are attaching. Attachments and images must both be uploaded to Gmail along with your message, so you can speed up outgoing messages by using fewer or smaller images, or by forgoing the use of attachments. For example, if you upload files to Dropbox instead, you can send links to these documents, which are much smaller than the attachments themselves.

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When you send a message over Gmail using the Web application, Gmail provides prompts to let you know when the email has been sent. Sometimes, an email may be sent more quickly than it appears to be, if there is a delay in reloading the part of the page that changes the “Sending…” message to the “Sent” message. You can check whether an email has been sent by checking Gmail in another browser window and clicking on the “Sent Mail” label.

If you are accessing Gmail through a dedicated email application, changing some of your email settings may increase the speed of sending messages. Gmail provides multiple methods of authenticating with the service (which is the technical term for logging into your email), and some alternate methods may allow for faster connections. Check the Google documentation for problems sending mail, and try changing some of these settings, especially those regarding secure email connections. Note that an insecure email setting may be faster, but as implied by the word “insecure,” can also make your email visible to other people on the network while your message is on its way to the Gmail servers.

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Ellis Davidson has been a self-employed Internet and technology consultant, entrepreneur and author since 1993. He has written a book about self-employment for recent college graduates and is a regular contributor to “Macworld” and the TidBITS technology newsletter. He is completing a book on self-employment options during a recession. Davidson holds a Bachelor of Arts in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.

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