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The top five reasons for delayed inbound email

Research just completed by SoftScan (opens in new tab), the IT security specialist, suggests there are five main reasons that inbound company email gets delayed, causing user frustration and a download backlog when the problem is cleared.

Stats (opens in new tab) from the firm's technical help desk shows that organisations altering their internal settings is the main reason, often preventing users from seeing their inbound email messages for up to 24 hours.

The second reason is that the email server has crashed, followed by the wrong firewall settings having been entered.

The fourth reason is that the mail exchange records have been changed incorrectly, whilst the fifth most popular reason is that the email server is running out of space.

According to SoftScan, even after the problem has been cleared, the backlog of email queued can take a while to clear because of the way the SMTP (opens in new tab) (simple mail transfer protocol) system works.

Each message, says the firm, has to have a `handshake' with the email server it is sent to and the server it is sent from, before it can be accepted by the destination email server. This can prolong the time even further before email messages get through to users.

"This issue was recently highlighted by an enquiry from a firm of solicitors whose email had been stopped by no fault of their own," said Phil Watts, SoftScan's UK MD.

"The IT director was completely frustrated that they couldn't access JUst two emails that were of critical importance to the business and had to wait until they were downloaded, along with the other two thousand messages queued, once the service issue was resolved," he added.

Good comments and good research guys, but what about the most common reason yours truly has come across with email being delayed - the email being spooled somewhere on the Internet.

It happens - on all eight of my mailboxes.

Yes, folks, I really do have that many mailboxes. There's a message in there - somewhere.

Boom boom!...