Most of us have become accustomed to using email to send and received messages for business and personal use. Most of the time, those messages are received within a few seconds of being sent. However, some email may take a few minutes, hours, or even days to be delivered.

Most email servers will respond with a warning message back to the sender if an email hasn’t been delivered within a certain amount of time. As long as there’s not a permanent failure, the sever will continue to attempt delivery for several days sometimes giving the sender an update as delivery is attempted. If delivery times out, the server will send a failure notice back to the sender.

A variety of issues could cause the email to be delayed. Most of the time, the problem is a piece of equipment that is not functioning properly. The normal path for email once email is sent is for the sender’s server to get it, transfer it to the receiver’s server, and the receiver’s email device to obtain it from that server. Communication between the sender’s server and the receiver’s server can go through a couple of dozen hops, and any of these links can potentially fail and cause delay.

Even though we expect our emails to be delivered in a few seconds or minutes, it is acceptable that email may take several hours or days to be delivered. Email should not be used for critical or timely services such as requesting emergency help or even making a dinner reservation on the same day.  There are other methods that can be used in these cases.  Call us if you have a need for timely delivery of message.