Down and Out With Gmail

By  |  Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Gmail Sick[UPDATE AS OF 2:30PM TECHNOLOGIZER TIME: Gmail is back up, at least for me.]

Gmail is not feeling well today. I know because it’s the talk of Twitter. I know because an old Technologizer story happens to be Google’s first result for “gmail down.” Most of all, I know because both my primary work and personal e-mail accounts are on Gmail, and both are giving me an ugly Server Error right now.

I’m not sure how long this has been going on, but it continues as I write this, and it’s not a momentary blip–it’s an extended outage that appears to be affecting much if not all of Gmail’s users. I’m engaging in a little self-flagellation at the moment, since I’ve placed so much trust in Gmail (despite prior evidence it’s not perfect) that I don’t even use its IMAP capabilities to download mail via a traditional client. When Gmail’s not available, neither is my mail. (And important stuff it contains, such as the dial-in info for a conference call I’m supposed to be joining shortly.)

Sweeping Gmail blackouts remain relative rarities, but I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the service’s reliability recently. It often conks out on me temporarily, or behaves so slowly that it might as well be unavailable–and while the cause remains mysterious, I’ve experienced the same symptoms on multiple browsers on different PCs on a variety of networks.

Just this morning, I was soberly considering whether it was time to regretfully move on to something I might find less flaky. I’m still thinking that over, but today’s meltdown has convinced me that at the very least I need to be downloading my messages. I’m a mostly-happy Google freeloader, but the Gmail I’ve been using of late simply isn’t reliable enough to run a business on.

Which brings up today’s T-Poll:

Final note: Google has blogged about the downtime, and says that if you’ve already set up POP or IMAP access it should continue to work. It also says it’s looking into what’s going on and hopes to have more news soon. Once everything’s fixed, I hope very much that it errs on the side of telling us exactly what happened, even if it’s dry and technical…


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30 Comments For This Post

  1. AJ Says:

    Well, that’s cloud computing for you.

  2. Guus Brugman Says:

    When using igoogle with the Gmail gadget I can still read my mail, archive and reply is. Only labels aren’t available.

  3. Cdin Says:

    Yeah, found you RIGHT off the bat number uno on google.

    Wow that was a fast response from you… Evidently you’re really on top of your blog. Take a lesson, self.

    Guess you’ll have backup emails – I’ve got accounts with a bunch of different domain names and several servers. But gmail’s mail of choice and I recommend it constantly to EVERYONE.

    Will have to preface future references with “Be sure to backup onto your computer, and don’t be surprised if the Mighty Goog has Glitches. Comes with the territory of FREE…”

  4. Cdin Says:

    And totally agree with the cloud computing comment…

    didn’t some rather huge social network plummet into non-existence because their RAID and Cloud crashed?

    Forget the name…

    Duddly dum. No email… what to do.. what to do… pester innocent blogs…

  5. Cdin Says:

    iGoogle does NOT work for me.

  6. Alex Says:

    This also affects other 3rd party portals which use customized GMail for their customers. =(

  7. Cdin Says:

    maybe this is the moment to clean my room.


    okay! i’m outahere : )

  8. Emy Says:

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhh the pain! This is literally killing me, how am I supposed to know when my kidney transplant is ready?!

  9. Jim Parslow Says:

    Google Mail appears to be working if you use some 3rd party client and connect using their pop3 accounts.

  10. James Says:

    Google Offline (using gears) is easier than POP/IMAP for a local backup…

  11. robert grijalva Says:

    I do have other backup email addresses for this reason alone.

  12. Johnson Says:

    502 Server Error 🙁

  13. Yakov Epstein Says:

    You can still access gmail on a Blackberry

  14. Patrick Burks Says:

    Could this be a hacker attack did someone try to bring it down I keep getting 502 error. I guess I’ll go back to my backup. The old trusty yahoo account.

  15. person Says:

    stop pouting. GMail is free; and it has become a standard. If you are “running your business off it”; get outlook and download via IMAP. This isn’t hard, especially for someone who posts on a site with tech right in the name.

  16. Muzz Says:

    but you can’t on treo

  17. C Says:

    Well, I would be willing to pay, but then if they accepted money, they would have to be accountable to customers.

    I always download to T’bird, but I make a rule of checking on webmail first to get rid of any spam.

  18. CantBWhereIWantToBe Says:

    Damn gmail had to die now… Cant access the email which had address of my new office is… day 1 and thanks to Gmail, I will be late

  19. Will Says:

    IT’s WORKING! 5.16 pm I got my emails ok gotta go get em while I can! omg! omg!

  20. fjlj Says:

    confirmed it is back

  21. Jorge Says:


    i’m wondering if it is possible to do a local backup using POP/IMAP and still keeping all the info available on

    any one has a clue?

  22. CanBWhereIWantToBe Says:


  23. Andrew Edsor Says:

    I run two gmail POP accounts and one IMAP account via and the iPhone. I cannot remember when I last had a problem and they are cheerfully downloading and uploading umpteen times a day. Webmail is for kids 😉 I manually check each time I read one of your gmail tweets. Never had a problem yet.

    I’m going to regret writing this!

    Jorge, I think you should do a little homework on POP/IMAP accounts and gmail options!

  24. Scott Says:

    Huzzah, it’s back! Fortunately I was able to read my new emails on my iPhone while it was down, and access my old ones using Gears.

  25. infmom Says:

    Those of us who use desktop email clients had no Gmail outage today. It’s a lot more efficient to work with Eudora or Thunderbird (or whatever) anyway.

  26. Harsh Agrawal Says:

    Gmail down created a great trend on Twitter.. Even iGoogle was no working…Glad Its back now..Though I hope they will not come up with something like
    After Twitter Google got DDOS attack

  27. Jared Knight Says:

    Harrison Ford was super pissed about Gmail being down

  28. PissedOff Says:

    IS IT DOWN AGAIN? i cant get on

  29. Finn Jack Says:

    Gmail actually got down only in web services. In POP and IMAP Gmail service remains undisturbed. Even though the back up time is extended Gmail still provides a reliable service.

  30. Lloyd Lemons Says:

    I can’t believe people are complaining about a free service going down for an hour. You say it’s not reliable enough to run a business on? Then don’t ever try Comcast! It costs me $60 a month, and I’ve lost 12 days in the past two months. Now THAT’S too unreliable to run a business on.

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