Missing emails

Something strange seems to be happening with my email.
1. I am not receiving some emails which I know were sent to me by certain people (because they confirmed so, and the email address was correct, they had sent to a group of persons, including me, but I only received a 'reply all' email from one of the other recipients
2. I sent an email to a friend on Tuesday night and he didnt receive it.  I checked and it was sent, in fact I received the cc copy.  He checked and it didnt go to spam etc.

My email system is:
- I have set-up Google G Suite to receive my emails and synchronise them with MS Outlook on my PC.  (The email arent showing in GMail or on MS Outlook)

Does anyone know what the problem might be, and/or what steps should be followed to identify the problem?
gh_userAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You said emails you sent out were not going to spam on the other end.

Did you check Gmail's spam quarantine?  You said the emails were not in Gmail or Outlook. I would start there.
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Thanks John.  Have checked GMails spam folder.  Not there.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The sending domain may not be acceptable to Gmail.  Since the emails are not anywhere, that is now the likely reason.
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gh_userAuthor Commented:
Hi John, can you elaborate and make suggestions to check/address
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You would have to ask Gmail Support
gh_userAuthor Commented:
OK.  Am checking it with them.
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Hi gh_user,

Another test you could do to troubleshoot this issue is in Outlook when composing or replying to an email, click the Options Tab and place a tick in "Request a Delivery Receipt" - All email servers honour such a request and will return a successful delivery (or relay) receipt if it hits the recipients server. See below;

Delivery Receipt in Outlook
If the email hits the recipients email server, a short email notification will be sent back and I've found these to arrive almost immediately. That will at least tell you that your email is reaching the recipients' email server and assist with further troubleshooting.

On the Gmail side, it appears you won't be able to do the above unless you subscribe to G-Suite. Doesn't seem to be available to Free Gmail accounts.

Reference: https://support.google.com/a/answer/1385059?hl=en

I hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Just further to my last, sorry I didn't notice this before;

My email system is:
- I have set-up Google G Suite to receive my emails and synchronise them with MS Outlook on my PC.  (The email arent showing in GMail or on MS Outlook)

Given that you have a G-Suite account, look here to find out how to turn on Delivery Receipts for emails that you send from Gmail.

https://support.google.com/a/answer/7486021?hl=en

I hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I guess you should take over the question since you ignored my comments
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew.. Thanks for your comments.  My main issue that I dont know how to resolve is not receiving some emails.  


Hi John...Not sure who your comment was addressed to, as I have followed your recommendations so far
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Hi gh_user,

My main issue that I dont know how to resolve is not receiving some emails
Yep, I understand that, however, in order to troubleshoot something like this, you'll first need to track down what's happening and when. My instructions were in reference to this particular comment in your question.

2. I sent an email to a friend on Tuesday night and he didnt receive it.  I checked and it was sent, in fact I received the cc copy.  He checked and it didnt go to spam etc.

The purpose for requesting Delivery Receipts is not to track successful sends, rather when one fails, then you have a trail to follow. For example, you send your friend an email and he doesn't get it - the delivery receipt you get will identify if your email is, in fact, reaching the recipients' mail server or not.

If no delivery receipt is received for an email you've sent, then you know to start looking for problems with your own SMTP server and it would be time to contact (in your case) Gmail support. Contacting them now with the information you've described here is likely to just get an answer like it's working fine now so there isn't a problem :)

To troubleshoot the other way, (Ie: you're not receiving some emails) your friend would need to also enable Delivery Receipts on emails he sends to you and then does the same thing at his end when an email is sent, but not received by you. Make sense?

Intermittent problems like this are very difficult to nail down, so you have to start with the basics. The way I've suggested troubleshooting this issue is the same way that I would start to create an audit type trail of every email sent and then keep an eye on which ones are delivered successfully, which ones fail, and then try to determine for what reason. That is the starting point of the troubleshooting exercise.

I highly doubt it has anything to do with your own G-Suite email account - if there was a problem there, then all sent emails should fail.

I hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Just further to my last, the email you sent that your friend didn't receive but you did via CC would be a perfect example of when a Delivery Receipt would give highly useful information for troubleshooting as it would identify that you got your copy and should also contain information as to how far the original (To: field) got. That would give a starting point to know where to look for the problem.

Hope that makes sense?

Regards, Andrew
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andrew.  I'm on to it.  An hour ago I contacted, but before I received your suggestions,  a work colleague who I knew who sent me emails I didnt receive.  I got her to resend email, and also copy it to my yahoo email address.  I didnt receive the email to either address.  Now I read your suggestions, I emailed her and cc all my alternative email addresses, including my wifes, and asked her to reply all and select the ‘Request a Delivery Receipt’ option.  She just phoned to say that she has done this, and she got a message back to say they had been sent but no delivery acknowledgement provided.  None of the cc email addresses received her email.  Hmm

Ive also emailed my friend who hasnt been getting my emails, and cc my wife. She received it, but my friend didnt.  I didnt get a "delivery receipt' message for the email to him.

It appears the issue arises with just particular people and their email addresses.
gh_userAuthor Commented:
I forgot to say my friend also sent me a test email but didnt get my reply, and I didnt get a "delivery Receipt'
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
I got her to resend email, and also copy it to my yahoo email address.  I didnt receive the email to either address.
Savvy thinking on your part to use another domain (yahoo) address for testing. That was going to be my next suggestion. With that said, the fact that the test email was not received by Yahoo or Gmail points to a problem external to Gmail and reinforces my thoughts that it's not a problem with your actual Gmail account.

I'm going to assume you don't have any filters set up on the Gmail or Yahoo sides to kill inbound mail that meets certain criteria? In the case you do, disable all (regardless of purpose) and test again.

she has done this, and she got a message back to say they had been sent but no delivery acknowledgement provided.  None of the cc email addresses received her email.  Hmm
That's normal actually. The term "delivery receipt" isn't actually very accurate, though that's what its referred to as, because it's often not sent by the final destination server as the response can come from an intermediate server processing the email as it travels through.

It's still useful in so far as it confirms that the email got to a certain point and I'd be curious to see the exact wording of that receipt if you can get your friend to forward it to you via some other email account. (Be sure to x out any identifiable information for privacy before posting the contents here if you get a hold of it though) Gmail support if and when contacted will also likely request that information too so the exercise wasn't a waste of time.

Ive also emailed my friend who hasnt been getting my emails, and cc my wife. She received it, but my friend didnt.  I didnt get a "delivery receipt' message for the email to him.

It appears the issue arises with just particular people and their email addresses.

If your wife's account is also with Gmail then that would explain her receiving it, as it doesn't go for a trip around the world to get to its destination - just delivered directly to her account on the same server, similar to how an on-premise Exchange server does it.

I suspect some type of blacklisting or generic spam filtering could be involved here, not necessarily set up by the senders or receivers, but being used by the Admins of email servers along the way, whether by email address or IP addresses in the email headers.

In the way of some historical information on your email accounts;

  • Has your email address ever been on any type of spam list that you're aware of?
  • Have you ever been infected by a Malware or Virus, and if so, what type and what did you do to remove it?
  • Has your address book ever been compromised to your knowledge?
  • Same three questions above for your friends' problematic email accounts that you are testing with.

  • Are you "ever" able to send or receive email to and from these people's accounts?
  • How long ago did the problem start? Just the past Tuesday or has it happened before? I realise this will be a hard one to answer, but do your best :)

If the above questions seem irrelevant to you, please bear with me - there is method to my madness :)  

I've needed to troubleshoot problems like this a few times over the course of my career so the more accurate historical information you can provide the better and will assist both me and other experts who may chime in to try and help. I've found the best way is to first nail down some type of pattern and gather as much info as possible before involving ISP's or Webmail support services.

I would also suggest opening a toss away email account at another email service you've not used before and test with that too, but at all times, enable delivery receipts and keep a log.

I forgot to say my friend also sent me a test email but didnt get my reply, and I didnt get a "delivery Receipt'
Again, good info but contradicts what happens when you "do" get a delivery receipt. With that information now at hand, I'd also contact G-Suite support and ask for their assistance. Be as thorough as you can with your explanation of what's happening.

Please provide the above requested info and I'll give it some more thought for you.

Regards, Andrew
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
gh_user,

Further to my last, another Expert who has considerable experience with G-Suite also suggested this to me as a course of action to track down the problem.

With GSuite, go to admin > Reports > Audit > Email Log Search https://admin.google.com/AdminHome?hl=en&fral=1#Reports:subtab=email-log-search  and you can look up if an email you sent bounced etc.

If nothing here works and he is on paid gsuite, then he can call and have their tech help solve too.
 

Suggest giving that advice a shot as well.

I hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew

Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate your help.
I was at another work location yesterday and so havent been able to get back to you yet.
I managed to meet with the work colleagues whose emails I havent been receiving.  Looks like its been happening since the beginning of Sept. I missed some key emails.  They gave me a copy of a delivery notice they received when we did a test.  I have attached with email details erased as you suggested.
I also did some further testing.  
I emailed them from a email address where I was working.  They received it and I received their reply.  Then I emailed them again, but put my normal email address in the cc, and asked them to reply all.  They received it, but neither email addresses received their replies.  I did this using my email address also, with the same result.
So have narrowed the 'receipt of email problem' down to emails from their company, where my normal email is one of the recipients.  Ive written a brief report on problem and sent it to these work colleagues to get their company's IT people to look into it also, as I'm not having any problem from other organisations.

I have added some responses in (  ) to your questions below:
Has your email address ever been on any type of spam list that you're aware of? (No, not that I am aware of)
Have you ever been infected by a Malware or Virus, and if so, what type and what did you do to remove it? (No, not that I am aware of)
Has your address book ever been compromised to your knowledge? (No, not that I am aware of)
Same three questions above for your friends' problematic email accounts that you are testing with. (I dont know)
Are you "ever" able to send or receive email to and from these people's accounts? (I can send emails to them, but dont have access to send from them)
How long ago did the problem start? Just the past Tuesday or has it happened before? I realise this will be a hard one to answer, but do your best :) (Since beginning of Sept 18)

Hope this helps
Delivery-Notice-Receipt.png
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Hi gh_user,
Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate your help
No worries. Having gone through this myself a few times over the years, albeit on behalf of some of my clients rather than having the problem with my own emails, I can appreciate how frustrating and counterproductive it probably is proving for you. I'll do what I can think of to help you to resolve it.

I have attached with email details erased as you suggested
Thanks for doing that. The Notice Receipt you attached is actually quite revealing, in that it confirms that emails are getting out, but not reaching the destination server. That being the case, I would definitely involve G-Suite Tech Support at this stage, per the suggestion given in my last comment.

I emailed them from a email address where I was working.  They received it and I received their reply
emailed them again, but put my normal email address in the cc, and asked them to reply all.  They received it, but neither email addresses received their replies.  I did this using my email address also, with the same result.
Good testing, which shows more compelling evidence of a blacklist being in effect here. Ensure you give this information to G-Suite Tech support as well.

as I'm not having any problem from other organisations
Which confirms it's unlikely to have anything to do with *your* Gmail account, but a problem from the other end(s). It's possible Gmail has put *their* addresses on some type of block list, but only they could answer that.

Thanks also for answering the questions I asked. Your answers confirm that the troubleshooting path I was thinking of asking you to go down is now not necessary.

With all the information thus far, I strongly suspect that the problem is with the problematic domains and not your end. I will be interested to hear what G-Suite Support have to say about this.

Good luck. I'll keep monitoring and thinking about this and will post again if I can think of anything else to try in the meantime.

Regards, Andrew
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andrew

The only thing that has stopped me following up Google G-Suite is that both yahoo and Microsoft exchange (used by work) didnt receive their emails when my normal email is added to the cc list.
But are you saying that all these platforms might be using some common blacklist that stops them receiving emails that are sent to or cc to my normal email?
gh_userAuthor Commented:
In regards to my question..that cant be as emails to my normal email are received from other sources.  So why bother Google G-Suite (who by the way have responded with a list of information required that I didnt quite understand..so I havent replied to them yet)
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
But are you saying that all these platforms might be using some common blacklist that stops them receiving emails that are sent to or cc to my normal email?

My suspicion is that there a blacklist being used between them and you, to do with your email address. They will need to contact their system administrator to check what the problem is. The emails are clearly leaving your mailbox and leaving their mailbox as well, however, your email address is clearly triggering some type of block along the way. I can't think of another explanation.

The reason to go to G-Suite support is to ensure there isn't any type of filter solution being employed at their end which includes "their" email addresses. Both of these things need to be ruled out. G-Suite support may also suggest some other tests to nail down where the block is occurring.
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
(who by the way have responded with a list of information required that I didnt quite understand..so I havent replied to them yet)
As I wrote at the start of a recent article here, Google's G-Suite technical support leaves a LOT to be desired, so I can fully sympathise with you, but you may need to persist with them. Are you able to share what they sent you? Perhaps we can make sense of it.
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Sure.  Here is what was asked of me:

To help me investigate your situation, please send me the full email message headers from a message which was affected by this issue within the past five days. Headers contain information such as to/from and SMTP message-ID that can help us solve your issue. These headers should be takes either from one of the recipients in the group where you were included or from the sent message that was sent to the group (first option is more preferable).

To find this information in the Gmail web UI, please advise one of your colleagues to follow these steps:

1. Log in to Gmail account.
2. Select the conversation containing the message affected by this issue, and open the individual message, which can be either in the Sent Mail of the sender or the Inbox of the recipient.
3. At the top-right corner of the message window, click the down arrow next to 'Reply', or select 'More options'.
4. Click 'Show original'.
5. In your browser window, click 'File' and save the page as a text document (.txt). Don't copy and paste the contents of the page - make sure you use the 'Save' option of the browser.
6. Attach the document saved in step 5 in a response to this message.

To obtain headers from other webmail or email providers, please refer to this page: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=22454.

If you are unable to obtain the original headers, for some reason, please perform an Email Log search as documented at https://support.google.com/a/answer/2604578?hl=en, and copy/paste the search results into a message reply.


I have just emailed them and provided update of findings from yesterday and also advised them the following:
[indent]I couldn’t do the steps you requested as:
•      The emails haven’t been received and so couldn’t find them on Gmail
•      The colleagues work for my client and so not in a position to ask them to check their logs (But I have asked for their IT people to look into it and contact me on Monday so might have access)
I did an Email Log search but none of the missing emails appeared[/indent]
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Hi gh_user,
Sure.  Here is what was asked of me:
Thanks for that. I'll try and help to decipher what G-Suite support are asking for.

[G-Suite Support] - please send me the full email message headers from a message which was affected by this issue within the past five days.
You answered: The emails haven’t been received and so couldn’t find them on Gmail
What I would do here is to advise G-Suite support that you will ask the sender who's email you can't receive, to try and send an email directly to the support email address you're communicating with, which explains the problem and has the support instance case number in it. They will then have a troubleshooting path to go down and explore, whether they receive the email or not.

  • If they DON'T receive the email, then they can investigate why the Domain involved is unable to email the G-Suite support address. It would actually be ideal if that happened, because if they resolved why they couldn't be emailed by that domain, then that would likely also solve your problem at the same time.
  • If they DO receive the email, then they will have the header information that they're seeking.
  • Either way, what they're asking for makes perfect sense to me.

Be sure to ask G-Suite Support to confirm if they did or did not receive the email sent by the sender who's emails you can't receive, once you have gotten them to send one.

Make sense?

[G-Suite Support] - These headers should be takes either from one of the recipients in the group where you were included or from the sent message that was sent to the group (first option is more preferable).
This is similar to the earlier request, however, an easy way to satisfy this requirement is to get the other end to send you an email to an email address that you "can" receive their email from, then save that email with Header information (Ie: Save as an .msg file in Outlook) and file attach the problematic email to G-Suite support. That will give them some header information that they're looking for. You can then tell them that is an example email with headers that you can recieve at x@x address, but not at your Gmail address. Again, the more info you can give them, the better.

o obtain headers from other webmail or email providers, please refer to this page: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=22454.
Here they're just showing you a method of how to save the header information from an email on an email web client. May be useful when you perform the above exercise to a different email address that I just described.

[G-Suite Support] - f you are unable to obtain the original headers, for some reason, please perform an Email Log search as documented at https://support.google.com/a/answer/2604578?hl=en, and copy/paste the search results into a message reply.
You answered: I did an Email Log search but none of the missing emails appeared
To be honest, this request by G-Suite support doesn't make much sense to me either. It looks more like a generic canned passage of text that they send when troubleshooting email issues. I know what they're after (header information) but you'll need to get that to them using one (or both) of the methods I've described above. I would do both to try and speed up the resolution process.

I hope that's helpful?

Regards, Andrew
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andrew for taking time to explain.  I am waiting for the senders IT people to contact me so we can progress further.

In the meantime, Google came back with the following further advice.


Thank you for your message and for explaining the issue in detail.

Here are several my point on this issue:

1. If message cannot be found in Email log search report in means that message was not delivered to Google mail servers and there is an issue either with the sender or with your DNS hosting who are forwarding all messages sent to your domain to Google mail servers according to MX records they have.

2. If message cannot be received not only to your account but to gmail.com, yahoo.com and other account it confirms that there is an issue with the sender.

3. The sender is using MS Outlook to send messages, it may be a core of the issue so I would advise the sender to try to send a test message using web interface (web browser) so then we can exclude Outlook syncing issue or Outlook address book corrupted issue etc from the list of possible issue causing reasons;

4. Google does not have any blacklists except those which customer can set up in their Admin Console. I checked your Admin Console and I didn't find any rules created in your Admin Console to block any messages.

5. The possible reasons can be that the sender' domain is blacklisted by external blacklists such as SORBS or Barracuda, so they need to check it with their mail service provider or simply search for "blacklist check" in the search bar in internet and try different tools to check their sending IP and sending domain in the list of different blacklists

6. For us to be able to investigate the issue further, as I have already mentioned before,  we need message headers which have necessary info about how message has been sent, and Message ID which is generated every time when message is sent. I understand that it is not easy for you to get one but I even think that this can even be useless as if to consider all facts we have the issue is on the sender's side and they need to contact their mail service support team to resolve it. The fact that you can receive messages from all other sender's proves my guess as well.

I hope it helps. If you have any further questions feel free to let me know, I will be happy to assist.

Hopefully the senders IT team will contact me soon to see what they can do, plus help me action some of the requests from Google (and helpfully paraphrased by yourself)
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
If message cannot be found in Email log search report in means that message was not delivered to Google mail servers and there is an issue either with the sender or with your DNS hosting who are forwarding all messages sent to your domain to Google mail servers according to MX records they have.

2. If message cannot be received not only to your account but to gmail.com, yahoo.com and other account it confirms that there is an issue with the sender

That can be determined by the other end emailing G-Suite Support directly as suggested earlier.

3. The sender is using MS Outlook to send messages, it may be a core of the issue so I would advise the sender to try to send a test message using web interface (web browser) so then we can exclude Outlook syncing issue or Outlook address book corrupted issue etc from the list of possible issue causing reasons;

Have you tested that? Worthy exercise.

4. Google does not have any blacklists except those which customer can set up in their Admin Console. I checked your Admin Console and I didn't find any rules created in your Admin Console to block any messages.

That confirms the block is not happening at the google end.

5. The possible reasons can be that the sender' domain is blacklisted by external blacklists such as SORBS or Barracuda, so they need to check it with their mail service provider or simply search for "blacklist check" in the search bar in internet and try different tools to check their sending IP and sending domain in the list of different blacklists

That mirrors my thoughts as well, though it doesn't make sense that they can email you at a different non-gmail related account.


6. For us to be able to investigate the issue further, as I have already mentioned before,  we need message headers which have necessary info about how message has been sent, and Message ID which is generated every time when message is sent.

That makes perfect sense which I think would be helpful to be answered by the following two steps;

A) Getting the other end to try emailing G-Suite support directly as I suggested before - if that attempt fails, then the problem is definitely at their end or somewhere in between, which is out of your, or G-Suite's support control.

In that case, get them to save the bounce message (Delivery Receipt) with Headers as a .msg file (for Outlook) or whatever email client they're using and send it to you as an attachment. In turn, you would provide that same bounce message as an attachment to G-Suite support. Note that just including the text in the bounce won't help - they want the header information so that's why I suggest saving in .msg in Outlook, as that will retain all header info. Make sense?

B) Similar to (A) provide G-Suite Support with header information from an email they send you to an address where you "can" receive their emails, again, with all Header information.

I know it's a PITA trying to troubleshoot something like this, but if you persist, you "will" eventually resolve it :)

I hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Very helpful thanks Andrew.
Ive since paused actions on my side as I was able to receive two emails from the company 2 days ago.  Am chasing up their IT team to find out did they find the problem and if so what they did to resolve.  Stay posted.
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
I was able to receive two emails from the company 2 days ago
Stay posted.
Great stuff. I'll be looking forward to your update.
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Their IT advised a spam filter was the issue. They reset.
But problems started again.
Now it’s stopped.  So trying to find out what they done this time.
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
Their IT advised a spam filter was the issue. They reset.
I knew it! Thanks for confirming - you could have spent a month of Sundays trying to fix this from your end and gotten nowhere. As I said early on in this question, "I suspect some type of blacklisting or generic spam filtering could be involved here"

But problems started again.
Now it’s stopped.  So trying to find out what they done this time.
Now that you've confirmed the block was happening at their end, I'd say you're in pretty good shape :)

Good to hear!

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gh_userAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help Andrew.  I won’t sign off question yet just in case their IT guys provide some more info that helps.
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
No worries gh_user. You can continue to add comments after closing questions, but leaving it open until you're sure all is fully resolved is fine by me. Just glad we got to the bottom of it. I know first hand how frustrating a problem like this can be :)
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andrew.  Not having much success getting further feedback...smells like a cover up😀. So will close out question and add comment later if I hear more.  Thanks again for your help
gh_userAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andrew for su h detailed and patient assistance
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistCommented:
You're very welcome gh_user. Just goes to reaffirm that patience and persistence always win out in the end eh? :)
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