Troubleshooting Email Problems

Almost all email problems that you will encounter are caused by one of two things: the message was sent to an invalid address or the message was captured by a spam filter.

Invalid Email Addresses

There are two parts to an email address - the recipient's mailbox identifier, which precedes the "@", and the recipient's domain, which follows the "@". The system can ensure that the value entered into an email address field takes the form someone@somewhere.something but it cannot ensure that the address is valid. Our email server may or may not be able to determine whether the address is valid when it attempts to send the message. If the domain portion of the address is invalid, for example, the server may not be able to find another email server that will accept the message for delivery. In that case the message is never sent and the system sets the Email Failed setting in the applicable user's account (i.e., document owner or contributor) to Yes. If it is the mailbox portion of the address that is invalid, however, an email server may accept delivery of the message only to discover upon further processing that it does not have a mailbox that matches the address. In that situation our server considers the message delivered - a contributor's account is marked as "notified," for example.

Bounced Email Processing

When a server receives an email message that it cannot deliver to a mailbox the server "bounces" the email, meaning that it returns a non-delivery report containing the original message, along with the errors the server encountered, to the sender of the message. In our system messages are always sent from your email account and therefore the non-delivery report will ultimately be forwarded to your site's support contact. We recommend the following actions based on the type of recipient:

Applicant - an applicant's email address is stored in their user account and the applicant typically has permission to edit their account information. If you have another means to contact the applicant, they should be notified that their email address is invalid and that they will not receive any notifications regarding their application until the situation is remedied. If the address is not corrected it will not impede the application processing but could become an annoyance for you since you will continue to receive a non-delivery report for every message sent to the applicant. You may have to assist the applicant in correcting the address if their user type no longer has permission to log in to the site.

Contributor - this is the situation you will face most often. Applicants may have misspelled the address and sometimes they even guess at an address. The application normally cannot proceed without the contributor's input and there may also be the prospect of a looming deadline. The first step is to set the Email Failed setting in the contributor's account. That will cause the "Failed" status to be displayed on the contributor field in the document.

If the applicant cannot submit the application unless the contributor's form is completed, setting Email Failed should be sufficient. When the applicant corrects the email address and saves the form the message will automatically be re-sent.

If the applicant no longer has the ability to modify their document, you will either need to return the document to an editable state (by un-submitting or rejecting the document) or correct the address yourself.

Spam Filters

IT organizations usually process all incoming email messages through a spam filter. One validation that most filters employ is matching the from address in the message to the actual sender of the message. If you are have defined a from address in your messages, that could be enough to cause a spam filter to block all messages sent by your site. If using the default from address does not solve the issue, you will need to work with your IT organization.

Also see:

Defining the Message Content

Modifying Accounts