4 Things You Can Do To Prevent Panic When Gmail Goes Down

George Root 12-02-2014

Does the world really end when Gmail goes down?


It is pretty easy to take Gmail for granted because, like Microsoft Windows or that stray eyelash you can’t seem to get rid of no matter how many times you gouge your own eyes out, it is always there. But when Gmail goes down, it seems like the whole world just stops. Twitter is instantly abuzz with people panicking that Gmail is down and they don’t know what to do. Instead of panicking, here are some things you can try that may make you feel better when Gmail is out of sorts.



You do know that Gmail will eventually come back up, right? Google has around 425 million users on Gmail (and counting), and many of those users are businesses. The last thing that Google wants is half of a billion people angry at one of its premier services. When Gmail does go down, it is usually not down for long. So maybe the best approach is to just wait for it come back up. You could entertain yourself by watching Twitter freak out about Gmail, or start your own post on Facebook about the Gmail outage.

Before you start posting about Gmail’s demise on social media, you may want to take a closer look at your Internet connection Network Problems? 7 Diagnostic Tricks and Simple Fixes Network problems must be diagnosed before they can be resolved. This article covers seven simple tricks for fixing your network. Read More . If no one on Twitter is panicking about Gmail being down, then it could just be you. Check to see if Gmail is down before you start commiserating with others online. It could very well be that your computer has lost its Internet connection, or you may have an issue with your anti-virus or firewall software that is preventing you from getting to Gmail.

If it is your Internet connection, then try the old reliable “turn it off, turn it on” approach Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? "Have you tried rebooting?" It's technical advice that gets thrown around a lot, but there's a reason: it works. Not just for PCs, but a wide range of devices. We explain why. Read More with your Internet router. You would be surprised at how often that works. If all else fails, contact your Internet service provider and let them know that your Internet connection is acting strangely and you need help.


Access Gmail Another Way


The main Gmail user interface is not the only way that you can get to Gmail. When the Gmail website is down, it’s doesn’t mean the entire Gmail service is down. One good alternative is to use the Gmail mobile app and see if you can still get your messages that way. Sometimes, the mobile version of Gmail will still operate when the website user interface is down.

If the website interface is down, but the service is still operating, then you may be able to access your Gmail through something like Microsoft Outlook or Windows Live Mail. If you have another email service that you use, then try to have your Gmail diverted to that service while the main Gmail interface is down. It sounds like a really strange idea, but it actually works.

Gmail has a plain HTML interface that you can use to access the service when the pretty pictures and fancy features don’t work. You can bookmark the Gmail HTML page and then give it a try when the full interface is not working. The HTML version is really stripped down, but it is better than not having any Gmail at all.


Give Google Takeout a try and see if that helps. Google Takeout is a service to save your Gmail data offline How to Download Your Gmail MBOX Data and What to Do With It It's easy to download a copy of your Gmail data using Google Takeout. Here's what you can do with this backup of your emails. Read More or on another online service. When you initiate Takeout, it mirrors your Gmail and puts everything into a separate file that you can take wherever you want.

Have A Backup To Your Gmail


Gmail is not the only email service on the Internet, you know. There are plenty of free email services 6 Most Popular Email Providers Better Than Gmail and Yahoo Mail Each free email provider listed here offers different benefits and all of these email services are popular choices. Read More you can use as a backup in case Gmail goes down. Your Internet service provider probably gave you an email address when you signed up for your service that you can use in a pinch. All you need to do is make sure that your backup email service has all of your Gmail contacts in it.

When you click on the “contacts” portion of your Gmail account, click on the “more” option and you will see the ability to export your addresses to a .CSV file Quickly Edit CSV Files With Advanced Find & Replace Tools in Notepad++ Notepad++ is an extremely powerful (and free!) text editor. Its find and replace tools can do everything from a simple search and replace in a single file to a regular expression-based search and replace across... Read More . It is best to use the .CSV export function that allows you to put your contacts into Outlook or any other email provider, because that will make your list easier to transfer. It will give you a file that you can import directly into a different email service. Be sure that you update your contacts with your other email service every once in a while so that you always have your complete list of contacts.


As soon as your Gmail goes down, send a message to all of your contacts using your backup account letting them know about your backup address while Gmail is down. It is best to send the email to yourself and then BCC your mailing list. As you get emails into your backup account, forward copies to your Gmail account so that they will be there when you go back to Gmail.

When Gmail is back up, send an email from your Gmail account letting everyone know that you are back on Gmail. It can be a little time consuming, but at least your contacts will know how to get hold of you.

Don’t Use Gmail


They say that the easiest way to avoid getting run over by a car is to not play in traffic. Well, then the easiest way to avoid disaster when Gmail goes down is to not use Gmail in the first place.


Check out your options and see if maybe there is something else out there that works better for you than Gmail. Maybe you don’t like the way Gmail archives your old emails, or you have problems creating folders to store your messages. There are other providers who have different ways of handling your email and you just may find one that you really like if you look hard enough.

Do You Scream When Gmail Goes Out?

Nearly half a billion computer users around the world utilize Google’s email service known as Gmail. When Gmail goes down, nearly half a billion people freak out and start looking for answers. If you rely on your email service to be up and running for business or personal reasons, then you will need alternatives when Gmail suddenly bottoms out.

What will you do the next time Gmail goes down? How will you survive? What steps can you take to make sure that your world does not collapse the next time Gmail disappears?

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. Brian Chapaitis
    February 17, 2014 at 1:37 am

    Well, I use Gmail all the time... all the time.... but via Thunderbird email client and POP service. Maybe the reason I have never seen GMAIL go down is because the engine is there, but the Web interface is not, as suggested in the article some of the time. Anyway, I only wanted to say that if the main engine is down for a bit... it doesn't stop me from reading my 50 emails a day, and working on those replies, locally. The replies eventually get to their marks, later, when I finally hit the "send" button.

  2. Ferd
    February 13, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I use GMAIL POP to send all my mail to Yahoo.
    At Yahoo I POP mail to my current FAVORITE Email account.
    Creates a lot of redudancy, for sure, but I'm never down, and backups often come in handy.

  3. James
    February 13, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Maybe not unproffessional - but doesn't fit the theme of your article. Instead you could have recommended everyone have a second email account with another provider like hotmail or yahoo as an emergency backup. All providers are going to be prone to outages but usually not at the same time.

  4. George R
    February 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Well...not only that. But what about when the actual Gmail service itself goes down? At that point, it doesn't matter how you access the service.

    • George R
      February 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks for the comments!
      I fail to see how it is unprofessional to suggest that using something other than Gmail is an acceptable alternative. We aren't promoting Gmail here! We are all about alternatives and solutions!
      Thanks again!

  5. DavidInArk
    February 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    When Google services went down recently, the issue affected ALL the ways one access GMail. It took Google nearly half the time it was down before they acknowledged that it was down. In fact, it took an effort on other monitoring/reporting sites before Google finally updated its own status pages. I think some of the tips here are valid. However, to tell people to NOT use GMail in an article about ways to access your GMail is unprofessional. As for offline/desktop clients, if the service delivering the mail is down, then the client is essentially useless. Just because you a mailbox at your doorstep, if the mail trucks aren't running, your mail isn't going anywhere. And, I agree with Peter: ultimately, there is no sure-fire way to avoid losing email/data.

    • George R
      February 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      But this article isn't about ways to access your Gmail. It is about what to do if Gmail goes down. Suggesting that Gmail is not the be all, end all isn't unprofessional. We deal in solutions here! That is what this is all about! Thanks for your comment!

  6. Peter
    February 13, 2014 at 7:52 am

    that's until your computer crashes or hard disk gets busted

  7. Marte B
    February 12, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    For pete's sake! Pick up your email with a desktop email client and you'll never see Gmail "go down."