Why Doesn’t Email Show Up in My Inbox When Someone Sends to Me?
Have you ever noticed that you are not receiving emails in your inbox?
This can be a hugely frustrating and often self-inflicted problem, but it is very common. That is why we’re here to help you troubleshoot the potential reasons why and solve the mystery of your invisible inbox.
What your email service needs to set up
When you are setting up your new email with a private email service provider like KloudEmail, there are a few important settings that you will need to check over in order to avoid the dreaded invisible inbox.
These settings should be quite clearly visible from within your settings window and the important ones to look out for are:
We’re going to take a look at each of these settings in more detail and offer some real-world insights obtained from our customers over the years. No doubt you’re going to find that some of these stories will resonate with your own experiences!
What does POP and IMAP mean?
POP and IMAP are methods for accessing email and they are two acronyms that you are probably going to see appear quite often if you ever add a mailbox or troubleshot any email problems online, or even just in this article.
So before we go any further, let’s give a brief explanation of what each means.
Widely used in the 1990’s and early 2000’s POP stands for Post Office Protocol and it was designed as an action to easily access a remote email server.
What it does is download emails from your provider’s mail server, and then mark them to be deleted. This basically means that you are only able to read these email messages in this specific email manager and on the computer where it was set up.
Because of how this is set up, the result is that you are not able to access any previously downloaded emails from any other device, email client, or even using webmail. The reason POP isn’t used near as often anymore.
In short, if you have POP set up on a specific device with a specific provider, it is fixed there and untouchable by any other means. The latest version POP3 is found on virtually all email clients and servers if you wish to use it.
IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol, and it was designed specifically to remove the limitations of POP.
This means that with IMAP, you can access your emails from any client, on any device, including webmail logins. Your inbox will always appear the same on all devices you use to read and send email.
The one thing to note about IMAP is that if your email is being stored on the provider’s server rather than locally, you may experience limits on email storage as with any mailbox.
Which is better for me, POP or IMAP?
If you want the ability to access your email from multiple devices, such as a tablet, desktop, and mobile, IMAP is the better option for you. This also means that if your device fails, the messages are stored on the server so they are not affected.
POP allows for a much faster experience because attachments are already downloaded and you will require far less server storage space because all of your emails are stored on a local machine. Only use POP if you are checking email only on one device.
Troubleshooting your disappearing emails
There are a number of common problems that people experience that result in emails seeming to disappear or not appearing at all in your mailbox. Fortunately, we have been in the business for quite a long time and have seen it all!
So here are a few genuine stories from our clients to remind you that you’re not alone and that there is always a surprisingly simple solution.
A Mail Exchange record—or MX Record for short—makes up a part of your DNS (Domain Name Server) record and it dictates which mail servers for your domain will accept incoming mail and where emails sent to your domain need to be routed to.
Your MX Record needs to point to the current location of your email server otherwise mail will not be received into your inbox.
We had a client purchase our Customized Email Service, and they kept their DNS with a third-party service. The provider of that DNS service unfortunately didn’t bother changing the MX Record to point it in the direction of his active email service.
What was the result?
Every time someone sent him an email, they would bounce right back to the sender!
The moral of this story is that the little things matter. That is especially true for your DNS when we are talking about email and websites.
If this is all sounding like a foreign language to you, that’s OK! The best thing you can do is get help from someone that understands DNS routing, and the easiest way to do this is to contact your service provider for help.
Email rules and filters
When you use an email manager—such as webmail, Outlook, Apple/Mac Mail, Mailbird, etc—on a laptop, desktop, or any other device, there are a number of rules and filters that are often set up and forgotten about. These filters can divert any email that you receive to the inbox.
Depending on how the mailbox owner sets up the filter, the email can also be moved to another folder, forwarded, or even deleted.
One of our clients had several computers located in his office but he worked mainly from home. He explained to us that he would receive emails from a certain person/email address and then they would instantly vanish from the mailbox!
After over a year of KartHost Customer Support desperately working with the client and pulling log reports showing emails were being delivered, he finally realized he had been leaving one of his work desktop computers on and running the entire time with the email manager app active. This meant that the email manager had been operating constantly!
In that email manager, he noticed that there was a filter set up so that any time an email was received for a specific email address, it would be moved to another folder.
So what’s the moral of this story?
Email filters can be extremely helpful, but you should only ever set them up on the device that you use most often and NEVER on any other device.
Lurking old devices
It’s very normal for us to upgrade our mobile phones, tablets, and computers from time to time. The thing to remember is that when your old devices are reactivated, they will automatically connect to the mailbox without the mailbox owner (you) even realizing it!
One of our clients reported that sometimes emails weren’t showing up in his inbox and we couldn’t figure out why. It turned out that his kids had found his old tablet and turned it on to play around with it. That tablet still had his email account connected to it, and because it was set up as POP, it would use the local email client to retrieve email messages from the remote server. When they turned it off the emails stayed on the server as all his other devices were setup using IMAP (properly).
That basically meant that it would access his client’s mailbox and pop off all emails directly to the tablet, deleting them from the server. Once deleted from the server they were no longer visible to any other device.
It took a good while before our client found out what his kids had done and how it was affecting all of his emails.
The moral of this story is to ALWAYS remove apps from old devices.
Correct app configuration
Most of us access our emails regularly via a mobile device. Be it for business or personal use, there is no question that accessing it via your mobile is far more convenient and efficient. The only thing is that when setting up your email on your phone, it’s important to make sure that you are using the correct email application and have set up the appropriate mailboxes.
As is the case with most users, one of our clients did not have a full understanding of how email apps worked. She was using a free email service for a long time, and the service had its own email manager (application) which she had become very familiar with over time.
She set up a new email address using a different app, and then slowly reverted back to old habits of using the first app. The problem was that no emails were going through.
Sure enough, she had to go into the settings on her email app and set up the correct mailbox.
The moral is that yes, you can have multiple mailboxes set up on different email managers (apps). Alternatively, you can have ALL of your email mailboxes set up for use on the same email manager, or on several different email managers.
The important thing is that you need to remember how to set up your mailbox on your device, especially if it’s a smartphone!
FYI, we really wouldn’t recommend setting up your mailboxes across multiple email managers, mainly because it will lead to battery drain and make excess ‘calls’ to your actual mailbox
This can cause your mailbox to slow down from excessive use. It’s not so likely, but we have seen it happen before so keep it in mind!
Most email and webmail services will give you the ability to forward any inbound email that arrives in your mailbox. There’s also another option that retains a copy of that email in your inbox. If you do not select this option, your mailbox will remain empty.
We had one client who set up a mailbox for another one of their clients. As part of a mass marketing campaign, many people were set up to receive a copy of emails that would arrive in the said mailbox. Then, the client would be able to login into the mailbox to keep track of everything.
The only problem was that when the client logged in, they didn’t see any emails at all! Inevitably they started panicking because they assumed the email service wasn’t working and the campaign was a time-sensitive one.
The moral of this story is to make sure you understand the tools you are going to use to manage your emails.
An easy thing to remember is that only ONE tool will be the “master” and the other tools you use will be used only to read and send emails. And by tool, we mean your software or app of choice. So if you ever have any issues, always return to the master and you should be able to easily fix it.
If you’re trying to figure out which tool should be the “master” it needs to be the one that you will be using the most.
Email doesn’t need to be scary
Hopefully from these stories, you have found something that resonates with any problems you might have been having with the email services you are currently using.
You should bear in mind emails aren’t scary, and any problems you might be experiencing will almost always have a very simple solution. The key here is educating yourself and understanding the fundamentals of how the systems function. But when you need the experts to help you, it is as simple as opening up a KloudEmail Support Ticket in your account in the KartHost Customer Center.
We understand that email use varies hugely from person to person, business to business, and there isn’t really any one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why with our KloudEmail services, we offer a free consultation with you to determine which KloudEmail service best fits your needs (and wants). Then we set up everything accordingly for you, including your DNS records.
Not sure which questions we might ask? We have a list of questions that will help “Which KartHost KloudEmail service is right for Me?”
This way we can make sure that we can offer the best email service for you and we will always be here to help if you need us.
Now THAT is something you definitely won’t get from a free email service.