Help! won’t let me send messages!

We can thank the spammers and scammers for this one. Our Internet providers are trying to keep us safe and their networks free from attack and spewing spam messages to everyone, but in doing so, it makes it hard for us to send messages. These steps should minimize the problems you have sending mail when you are on a hotel or conference wifi network.


What is the problem?

When you are at work, your email sedning functions normally, but when you move away from work, the email refuses to go. It must be something wrong with your computer, right? Maybe, but maybe not. Most likely you are on a network that disallows Mail from being sent over the standard port. And not only does it not allow the standard port, it tricks into thinking mail is being sent (Connection Doctor works), but the messages really don’t go anywhere.

Your friend – Connection Doctor


If you are having Mail sending problems, the first thing you want to try is the Connection Doctor. Access this feature by choosing Window -> Connection Doctor. If you get green lights, that usually means things are working. But, if not, read on….

Standard Mail Client Settings


The screenshot above shows how probably 99% of all setups are configured. This is supposed to work everywhere. Well, everywhere but where you are right now, that is. Apple has done something nice for us here – attempts to send mail on port 25 (this is the standard port for all email traffic; unfortunately, it’s heavily abused by spammers and scammers), and if that doesn’t work, it tries port 465 and then port 587 (465 and 587 are “alternate ports” for email sending, and usually requires SSL to be enabled). The problem depends on HOW the network in your location is determining what you are doing on port 25. Getting really technical, it is possible to allow port 25 to be open to verify connectivity (what Connection Doctor does) but not allow mail to be sent. Quite simply, Mail THINKS it can send mail on port 25, but the mail server on the other side never sees the connection attempt.

How do I fix it?


Make one simple change, as shown in the red box. Rather than allowing Mail to figure out what port to use, force it to port 465 (or 587, your choice, and if one doesn’t work, try the other). You access this screen by choosing Mail -> Preferences -> Accounts -> Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP) -> Edit Server List -> Advanced.

Now that was easy, wasn’t it.

If all else fails?


Use your webmail interface! That’s why it’s there!

One Response

  1. You are my hero. I have been struggling with mail not sending anything out for like 4 months now. Thank you so much for posting this.

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