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Why does my email box get full?

Each new email account is generally provisioned 1000 MB of space, which is enough for thousands of typical emails, and more than enough for the typical user. But if you leave a permanent copy of your emails on your mail server, eventually the inbox will become full and any new emails will be rejected. To understand how this can happen, a quick overview of how your emails reach you may be helpful.

Note: This article only applies to clients using our service for their emails.

How Does Email Work?

When an email is sent to any account at your domain name (e.g. info@yourcompany.com), it is first routed to our servers. Our server tries to find an inbox that matches at your domain name. If there is no inbox, or the inbox is full, the email is permanently rejected.

If there is an inbox that matches, the email message is placed in this inbox. The message stays in the inbox on the server until you delete it, and there are a number of ways a message can be deleted.

If you use software such as Microsoft's Outlook to send and receive email, emails in the inbox on your server are (by default) automatically deleted for you. When you ask Outlook to fetch your email, it typically does the following:

  1. Delivers a copy of the message to your inbox in Outlook
  2. Deletes the message from your inbox on the server

You can keep as many emails in your Outlook inbox as will fit on your computer! They do not count against the total space

Webmail works a little differently however. Webmail gives you a view of the emails on the server. If you view your e-mail on the server with a webmail account, however, you need to delete e-mails when you no longer need them. Otherwise they will remain in your inbox on the server indefinitely, using up space.

When Do Problems Happen?

Typically we find that inboxes become full under the following circumstances:

  • You have set Outlook to leave a copy of messages on the server
  • You use webmail to view messages on the server, but do not delete them
  • You receive/save messages with very large attachments and do not delete them 

For the remainder of this article we will cover each of these issues and how to avoid the problem.

Gmail (recommended solution)

You can eliminate your email quota issues interfering with your hosting disk space by using Gmail as your primary email client/app. With a currently free Gmail account you can get 15g of email space (with option to purchase more storage). This also replaces the need to use the webmail client and can be accessed from virtually any device on the internet. You can set you Gmail app to receive AND send email to/from the domain name email address so that it will not use you actual Gmail address in your communications.
refer to our Gmail configuration guide:

Outlook

The email messages that you read and store in Outlook are actually stored on your computer. By default, when you ask Outlook to fetch your messages, it deletes emails from the server for you. As long as you check your emails a few times per week, you should not have to worry about ever running out of space in your account.

Many people, however, like to check emails on multiple computers or devices. For example, you might choose to view emails on your computer when in the office, but also on your iphone. In this case, you need to configure Outlook to leave a copy of emails in your inbox on the server so that your iphone or other devices will have an opportunity to download them as well. To configure Outlook to leave a copy on the server, you typically use the Advanced tab in the settings for your account - but consult with your documentation for details.

By editing the delivery options, you can request that Outlook leave a copy of email on the server for a set number of days, and then delete the email either when that time has expired or when you delete the e-mail from your trash. We typically recommend removing email from the server after 7 days.

Note that once you have an email message in Outlook on your computer, it will stay there even if it is deleted from the server!

Suggestion: Make Backups

Remember... since Outlook and most email packages store messages on your computer, this is another good reason to backup your computer on a regular basis. If your computer is damaged, lost, or stolen, so are your email messages.

Webmail

When using webmail, unlike Outlook or other email software, you are actually viewing the messages in the inbox on the server - not on your computer. Webmail is recommended for temporary purposes - such as sending and receiving email when away from the office. But for day to day use, a proper package such as Outlook is recommended.

You can access your webmail the same as you would visit another website. Go to the following address, and then enter your email address and password to enter:
http://webmail.yourdomainname.com

Of course substitue your domain name - if your domain name is mybusiness.org, then you would access your webmail at http://webmail.mybusiness.org.

If you do choose to use webmail as your full-time email service, you must remember to delete emails on occasion to make sure you have enough space in your account.

Sending Large Attachments

Sending files and photos via email attachments is very convenient, but e-mail is not suitable for sharing large files. There is no faster way to fill your e-mail account than to have your colleagues send you massive file attachments, or to save your files in your e-mail account!

For files larger than 3MB, we recommend using a file sharing service. There are many good ones that are freely available, such as Drpbox. These services will store the files for you temporarily, and notify you via a small email where you can download the files.

Email Forwarding / Redirection

It is possible to have an email account configured to forward all messages to a different email account on a different domain. However, if using this arrangement you will still need to log into your email account on occasion to delete emails - otherwise your account will eventually run out of space.

Freeing Space in Your Account

If you do run out of space in your account, people will not be able to send emails to your account. There are two quick ways to remove emails from the server and free space in your account:

  • Use webmail to log in to your account and delete files
  • Change your Outlook settings and then download the emails from your account 

Refer to the instructions above for details on either solution.

Summary

  • Emails are sent to the server, and then delivered to your computer
  • Typically, you should use a program like Outlook and allow it to delete emails on the server after it has retrieved them
  • It is your responsibility to keep space free in your account
  • If using webmail, make sure to delete email occasionally
  • Encourage your colleagues to use file sharing services to send large files
  • Don't use your email account to store files - download them to your computer



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  1. Jay

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