Things To Check If A Recipient Does Not Receive Your Email

Did a friend or colleague tell you that he or she did not receive an email that you sent? If so, here are the initial steps that you should take to identify the reason for this. The problem could be on your end or on his or her end so let’s start by trying to figure this out.

Typically, if the problem is on your end then you’ll get an email notifying you that the email was not delivered. These emails are typically not very easy to interpret, but hold onto this email since it often includes helpful clues. These emails often indicate if the delivery problem is temporary or permanent. If it’s permanent then show this email to your IT person so he or she can interpret for you. Perhaps it is as simple as you made a typo in the recipient’s email address. Or, perhaps your mail server has been blacklisted. If the problem is temporary then wait a few more hours to see if your email can ultimately be delivered. If your email isn’t bounced back to you, then the problem is most likely on the recipient’s end.

You may not be able to solve the problem, if it’s on the recipient’s end, but here are some suggestions that you can make to the recipient.

  1. Ask the recipient to check his or her junk folder to see if your email was marked as spam and thus not placed in his or her Inbox.
  2. Ask the recipient to add your email address to his or her whitelist.
  3. Ask the recipient to contact his or her IT person. The IT person can further investigate spam filters and/or firewalls to see if the email was identified as spam and thus never delivered.

Here are some work-arounds that you could try until the root cause of the email delivery issue is identified and the problem resolved.

  • Re-send your original email, but remove any attachments and remove your signature, if you have one.
  • Send a new test email. Keep it very short and don’t include any attachments or your signature. See if any emails from you can be delivered to the recipient.
  • Ask one of your co-workers to try to send an email to the recipient. Here we are trying to determine if the recipient can get any emails from your company’s domain name.
  • Send an email to the recipient from one of your other email accounts. For example, try your or account.

Conducting these tests and following these recommendations will lead to a solution in most instances. Over the years, I have encountered some more complex email delivery issues that have required the collaboration of technical staff from the companies that manage both the sending and receiving mail servers, but complex issues like this are the exception to the rule.


  1. The company I do business with, all of a sudden, can’t receive my emails. They can receive my gmail emails but can’t receive my outlook emails. My web server is Go Daddy.
    Is the gmail on a different server?
    It has been almost 4 weeks since the other person’s IT people have been trying to fix it. No luck yet. They say a hand full of people like me can’t receive our emails. No one else has a problem receiving my email. Just this one company I work with. It just started 4 weeks ago after they said the owner was getting bad emails sent to him and they did something to stop it. I just got caught up with it and now, am not being able to send business to them.

  2. Hi Glenn,
    As my article suggests, please ask the recipient(s), who don’t receive your emails, to add your email address to their Safelist (sometimes called a whitelist). This tells the recipient’s mail server to trust emails sent by you. This might resolve your issue.
    When you send emails to these recipients are your emails bounced back and returned to you? If so, these bounce back emails list the source of the problem. If this email can’t be understood, please forward it to one of your IT staff. On the other hand, if you don’t get your emails returned to you then it would seem that your recipient’s email server is erroneously identifying your emails as spam and deleting them. If this case, you could contact the support staff for your Outlook email account to try to figure out why your emails might be identified as spam.

  3. Dear Mr. Hannon,

    I’ve tried all the above tips, and the recipient is not receiving any of my emails. I’m completely baffled as to why that’s the case. (I have Gmail and, the other recipient has Outlook/Hotmail.) Any further tips you would be able to suggest, would be very highly appreciated.

    Thank you very much, and Happy New Year to you!

    • Hi Dave,
      I’d suggest you open a support ticket with your email provider, Microsoft. Your friend using Gmail could do the same. It’s tough for me to guess what the problem is, but hopefully Microsoft and Google’s support teams can help. Perhaps you could establish a relationship with a support person and then send a test email to your Gmail friend and to the Microsoft support tech. Then the Microsoft support tech can trace the email as it moves through their email system and gets handed off to Google’s Gmail system.

      Just as an illustrative example, I once had a client whose email provider was Rackspace. Emails he sent to a friend, using Earthlink, were not delivered. We ultimately figured out that my client’s rural Oregon Internet provider was assigning my client’s home router IP addresses that had been mislabeled as belonging to the Philippines. Earthlink had seen spam coming from people in the Philippines so they were rejecting (deleting) all emails from a range of Philippine IP addresses. My client in Oregon accidentally got caught up in this. Earthlink fixed the misconfiguration on their end and then my client was able to email his friend using Earthlink. I could only solve this problem by working with an Earthlink support person.

  4. Not useful in the context I want. I think the recipient has received it but want’s me to believe he/she hasn’t for some reason. As so many M.P.s seem to be getting ‘caught out’ by either messages they have sent or received and been unable to deny it I thought there must be a way to check. In the old days when I used to use ‘Pegasus Mail’ I swear it had a sent time and received time. Any comment?

    • I have never used Pegasus Mail so I don’t know what features it did or didn’t have. Typically the email system does not let the sender know when or if the email was received or read. I am aware of some proprietary email systems that did include a way to let the sender of a message know if and when the recipient read the message.

  5. I have a Comcast-based email recipient who cannot receive new original messages from my Outlook account, but receives all responses to her original emails to me. So, I can’t send a new email, but I can respond to one of hers and she gets it.

    Any thoughts?

    • Hi Kelsey,
      Yes, this is an interesting situation. You can send replies to a person’s Comcast email address but you can’t send new emails to this same Comcast address. This makes me wonder what is unique or different about new emails that you send? Do “new” emails contain a signature , for example, which include a web link? If so, remove the signature and see if your new emails can be delivered. All the best.

  6. I’m new to this but this is whats happening to me just about every time I Email a company that I’m having a problem with. It comes back with a delivery stating it’s temporary but it never goes thru. Pictures of a damaged item taken with 2 different smart phones are also coming back the same way. The company is putting this on me. I gave this some thought and decided to look it up. This hasn’t happened with any one else that I email and I’m positive the Email is right.Thanks for your informative article.

  7. I do this step and recipients receive it.

    Send a new test email. Keep it very short and don’t include any attachments or your signature. See if any emails from you can be delivered to the recipient.

    What will be the cause? I’ve been using the same signature for a years. I also try to write long email and recipients not receive it again.

    • Hi Fadzli,
      I’m pleased that your recipient was able to receive the test email that you sent, which did not include your signature.
      Does your signature include a link to a web site? If so, it’s possible that the web server that hosts the web site has been blacklisted. This could cause your recipient’s mail server to reject your email since you’re sending a link to a web server that has been blacklisted. Please check with your web hosting company to see if the web server has been blacklisted. Once the server is no longer blacklisted then your signature will no longer cause this problem

  8. Hi, I too face this same problem.

    We are using Yandex Business Email. We are receiving client emails ( But when we reply to that email, they are not receiving our email.

    But the email which we sent is delivered from my end. What do I have to do now? What could be the issue?

    • Abdul,
      I suggest contacting the support team for Yandex Business Email. Since they provide you with your email service, hopefully they can help you figure out what’s happening to the emails that you’re sending to your client. Additionally, you could contact the support team for the company that provides email service to your client. Good luck

  9. Hi Tim,
    Since a couple of months, some of my e-mails don’t arrive. I don’t get a service message and the e-mail appears under Sent messages. It is only until I get called or mailed by the recipient that they were expecting something that I discover the error. When I resend it (by forwarding the same e-mail), it does arrive. And all following new e-mails also have shown to arrive. There are now 4 different recipients from two different companies where this problem occurred. I use a gmail-account with the Outlook client and they probably have Office 365 with business Outlook accounts.
    It is really frustrating that e-mailing is not reliable any more. And asking all my clients to whitelist my e-mail address seems a little unprofessional. I am willing to change my e-mail provider and/or client. What is the best solution you think?

    • Hi Eline,
      I understand your frustration. Email is a essential communication method for most businesses. That’s why I always think it’s worthwhile to pay for one’s email account. In other words, I don’t recommend recommend using a free Gmail account for one’s business email account. The primary reason for my recommendation is that there’s no way to contact anybody at Google for technical support issues regarding a Gmail account. Thus, we can’t figure out why some of your emails have not been received by the recipient. There are many quality paid email hosting companies that one can chose from, including Google. Briefly, I tend to recommend that every business register a domain name using a company like and then signing up for email hosting using Google Workspace or Microsoft365.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.