Email Troubleshooting - Missing Emails

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  • Applies to: VPS Hosting
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: None


This article covers several causes for missing email and links for instructions on adjusting your spam filter (a common reason for missing emails).


You suddenly notice a large chunk of emails missing from your inbox.

Likely cause: Have you recently checked your email from using POPPOP on a computer or mobile device other than your normal one? If so, you may have accidentally downloaded the emails to that machine, pulling them off of the server.

Solution: Set up an IMAP account on that same device, then drag and drop the emails from the POP inbox to the IMAP inbox. This should sync them up with the server again. Finally, disable or reconfigure the POP inbox so it leaves a copy of each message on the server.

Folders from one email client are missing in webmail or a second email client.

Likely cause: There are two possible causes of missing folders. The first is that your normal email client is a POP client, and folders other than the inbox are only on your local machine - they were never created on the server. The second is that you are using an IMAP client normally, but you haven't subscribed to the additional folders in your webmail or new email client.


  1. Make sure the folders are actually IMAP folders. If they aren't, you may need to recreate them in your original email client.
  2. Subscribe to the additional IMAP folders in your new email client. Check your email client's documentation for specific instructions.

Specific email(s) are never received.

Likely cause: The email may be triggering a spam filter.


  1. Check your Spam folder. If you haven't subscribed to your Spam folder locally, you can check in webmail, at
  2. Check with the original sender to see if they received a bounceback. If so, take a look at the Email troubleshooting - bouncebacksEmail troubleshooting - bouncebacks article.
  3. If you can't locate the message anywhere:
    • Submit a support request in the (mt) Media Temple AccountCenter. You must include all of the details mentioned here.
    • Check your mail log(s) for further insight. For instructions on how to do that, please click here.

Emails to Yahoo or Hotmail disappear for a few days.

Likely cause: Some large mail providers implement a process called "gray listing" which delays suspicious emails for a few days. The emails will eventually be delivered, but it may seem like they've gone missing at first.

Solution: You should check to make sure that nothing in your email content might trigger a spam filter. Unfortunately, without a solid bounceback, (mt) Media Temple cannot do anything concrete about delayed email.

Spam filter settings

If you've discovered that your spam filter is either flagging desired messages, or letting spam through, please see these articles for adjusting your spam filter settings:

Third-party hosting

If you don't host your mail through (mt) Media Temple, you will need to disable the email service for that domain on your server. Otherwise, other domains that are hosted on that server will try to send to your (mt) Media Temple mailbox, rather than your live third-party mailbox. To see whether you are hosted with (mt) Media Temple or not, check your MX record settings here:

If you determine that you are hosting your email elsewhere, follow these steps to disable the mail service for your domain:

See also

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