Last week’s Gmail outage is just the latest in a long series of outages in our favourite webmail application, but you don’t have to let that stop you from accessing your email and getting things done.
Access Gmail Through Alternate Modes
Here’s a quick look at each alternate method, one at a time, from the simplest to the most complex. (The more complex solutions are often better long-term solutions, while the simpler solutions are probably the easiest if Gmail just went down and you haven’t already prepared for it.)
Try Plain HTML
Use Safe Mode
If you use a lot of different Gmail Labs features, you might find that some of them will conflict with each other, or possibly cause Gmail to stop working. You can use the Safe Mode link to disable all the Labs features and hopefully get Gmail back up and running again. Just visit this URL: http://mail.google.com/mail/?labs=0. Some people recommend using the older version or bypassing browser checking links, but they won’t let you access the Labs settings.
Use the Mobile Versions
Use the iGoogle Gadget
Use Gmail Offline Access
The biggest benefit in daily use is the Flaky Connection Mode, which is a hybrid between the offline and online modes, and makes Gmail response time much faster for everyday email tasks for those on slower connections. In this mode, Gmail effectively works like a desktop client.
Access Gmail Through IMAP / POP3
Setting up Gmail in Thunderbird has turned into an easy process, requiring only a few clicks through the account settings. If you are an Outlook user, you can follow a detailed guide I’ve written to setup IMAP in Outlook 2007. If you’ve got a mobile phone, the Gmail Help site has instructions on setting up just about any smart phone with IMAP access to your email.
Prepare For the Next Outage
We’ve got you covered with a number of methods for backing up your Gmail, starting with the really obvious solution of just using Thunderbird to backup your email with POP access, but you can backup your email with Fetchmail on Windows, Getmail on Linux, or the standalone Gmail Backup tool.
What email accessing workaround, if any, worked for you during the last Gmail outage? Let us know in the comments.
The How-To Geek nervously wore the letters off the F5 key during the last Gmail outage, and hopes it doesn’t happen again—Ever! His geeky articles can be found daily here on Lifehacker, How-To Geek, and Twitter.