Gmail without the cloud: tips for next time


Yesterday’s Gmail service outage is a hot topic on just about every news site right now. For so many of us that have always taken the reliability of Gmail for granted it was a real shock to lose all of the functionality of the web based system. Now that we’ve learned our lesson, here’s a couple of tips to help you out the next time there’s an outage.

Setup POP and IMAP access now

Your Gmail can be sent and retrieved via IMAP or POP. These protocols were still working through the outage yesterday but unfortunately you need to use the web interface to enable them. Even if you are not going to use a separate email client regularly, now is the time to set this up so it works for you during the next outage.

Use Offline Gmail

Yesterday’s outage prevented most users from even logging into the Gmail interface and when they could, the compose message feature was not functioning properly. Offline Gmail, a feature of Google labs, allows you to access the Gmail interface offline. This doesn’t mean that you will be able to send and receive during an outage because this feature still uses the web interface for that. What it does mean is you will be able to read emails that you have cached locally and compose messages to be sent as soon as Gmail is back online. Take a look at what Offline Gmail is all about and see if it will get you through next time.


  1. googfan says:

    I tried to buy something on craigslist yesterday… I lost the buy because of a broken server????

  2. VonSkippy says:

    You mean something that’s FREE for bazillions of people isn’t perfect? Shocking!!!!!!!

  3. Elvisthedj says:

    I was pretty surprised to see that there isn’t a “We’re sorry, try again later page” .. weird to me that I had to go to google, search for “gmail down” to learn about the outage.

  4. VonSkippy says:

    Google Apps Status Page

  5. tehsusenoh says:

    wierd. i didn’t even know that it was down! all i knew at the time was that people were really complaining (my google reader page was covered in gmail news). i was able to get new email, compose and everything.

  6. DU says:

    There was a gmail outage yesterday? Seriously, I didn’t notice anything and I was online all day. Well, except for a couple-hour meeting.

  7. GCL says:

    According to an article yesterday, Google was trying to upgrade a webserver. They actually miscalculated on the amount of time this would take.
    And @elvisthedj yes tere is just such a page. It is the one you see when trying to logon to your Google Mail page.

    The gang there builds their servers out of COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) hardware, so they need to keep tweaking it.

  8. zetsway says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is, it wasn’t down for a long time. It happens at work all the time.

  9. refujee says:

    or you could, you know… set up your own local email server.

  10. Sean says:

    I run my own mail server so at least when things go wrong I can fix them, and I have no one to blame but myself.

    Not the easiest route, but certainly the most educational.

  11. calebkraft says:

    I used to have my own email servers. I was hosting about 170 domains on them and it was a pain in the butt. Spam filtering never got up to snuff on my system and while I had windows servers (yeah, ew) I was constantly battling hacks. Things got marginally easier when I moved to linux, but never compared to google hosted services.

  12. AMediumPace says:

    I was actually logging into Gmail when this happened. I got the web interface for the login and my login was taking forever. Then I tried again and got the Google Error 502 page that looks like it was made in 1995.

  13. spacecoyote says:

    i wish people would shut up about “the cloud”. it doesn’t exist and talking about it won’t make it be.

  14. JAmes says:

    Is this really news? I mean I was on gmail all day and never noticed an outage, and even so it was for a short time. If it were for days I could see people moaning but for an hour or two? Really? WGAS?

  15. grovenstien says:

    gmail rocks! go gmail!

  16. esker says:

    People actually use that horrific web interface for Gmail? I thought people were sane enough to use IMAP or at least POP3.

  17. Iv says:

    A reminder of why data should not be located only in “the cloud” (aka on other peoples’ servers) is always good.

  18. medix says:

    you mean, we couldn’t just *do something else*??

  19. seapee says:

    Just the web interface was down, you could still access your email via imap or pop3….

  20. Chris says:

    Remember its still Beta

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