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.

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