If you’ve created an email address in the past 20 years, chances are good you have used a webmail client. Popular services like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Windows Live Mail are all webmail services that allow users to visit a webpage, log in with a username and password, and access email messages hosted on the client’s server. Though web-based email is, by its nature, a simple no-frills service, it is not uncommon to run into issues when you are trying to access your email through a web browser. Try these troubleshooting steps to solve your issue, if you can’t log in or are seeing some strange behavior on your screen.
Make Sure You are Still Connected to the Internet
If your email won’t load, try going to another website. If that website doesn’t load, you may be disconnected from the Internet. If you are using a wired connection, make sure it is plugged in to your modem and your computer.
If you are using wi-fi, ensure that you are connected to your home network, and that you have entered your home security password correctly. If you still can’t access your Internet connection, call your Internet service provider for help.
Check the webmail URL
This may sound like common sense, but there are many “spoof” websites that are off by a single letter or digit and will try to use the username and password you enter to try to gain access to your real email account. If something on the page doesn’t look right, look up at your address bar and see if there is an incorrect character in the URL before proceeding.
Disable Add-Ons in Your Browser
Internet Browsers like Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox allow users to download add-ons that can make your browser run faster by disabling scripts, add-ons and tweaking other settings. While this can be helpful when you are just browsing the Internet, it can cause issues with authentication scripts and settings.
If you are using Internet Explorer, Microsoft has a simple “Fix-it” program that you can save and run to remove all your add-ons and restore your settings to default. Click here to download the program. If you are using Firefox, Mozilla recommends you click on the Help menu at the top of the browser and select “Restart with Add-ons Disabled”.
Add Email Website to Security Software Permissions List
Having Internet security software is a must in today’s world of malware and viruses. However, sometimes even the best virus software can incorrectly flag a webmail page as potentially dangerous. To fix this problem, open your security software and look for a setting that allows you to manually add webpages to an “allowed list” or “white list”. Once you have found this setting, carefully type the address of the webmail you are trying to access (so, if you are trying to access your gmail, you will need to type http://www.gmail.com) and then save the setting. Then restart your browser and try accessing your email again.
Make Sure the Date and Time on Your Computer Are Correct
You might wonder what the date and time have to do with your email, but Microsoft has identified a bug that makes your webmail run slowly or even crash if your date and time settings are not correct. In order to fix this problem, select Date and Time from the Control Panel list in Windows, and then Click “Change date and time.” You may then enter the correct values. Alternatively, you can go to the “Internet Time” tab and synchronize your computer’s clock with Time.com, or another official timekeeping service. Note: to use the Internet Time feature, you will need to connect to the Internet periodically for the clock to automatically update.
Check for Outages
If you have exhausted all your options and still cannot connect to your webmail, there may be a service outage. If you are using a large provider like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, you may see an error message indicating the outage. If you are using a smaller client (like one that is tied to your work or school) try contacting your system administrator and ask if there has been an interruption in service. If a problem is discovered, you can request to be notified when the service is running again, if you are expecting a very important email.
Using webmail is easy, convenient and best of all, it is simple to use. However, if you continue to run into problems, there are several things you can try to get yourself connected again.