Email: Where is it really stored?

Email seems to be an endless source of confusion and frustration for many people. One of those frustrations is being unsure of where your emails actually are. If you are using an email service like Gmail, most of the time you’re just accessing it from a web browser like Chrome or Firefox (hopefully you aren’t using edge, but that’s a different post). When you access your email from a browser, generally you have a direct look at what emails are in your actual mailbox.

Here is some clarification: When someone sends you an email, it gets routed to your email provider through the use of internet magic. Your email provider uses even more internet magic to drop it into your specific mailbox on their server. Now the email is accessible to you.

You can access this email one of two ways, you can log into a mailbox application on the web like gmail.com, or you can count on a program (called an email client) on your computer like outlook or a phone app to conveniently download it for you. Sometimes these clients delete the email from the online email server once it gets downloaded to your computer. This is so your email hosting doesn’t fill up, as the space is finite and extra space costs money. If that space fills up, you may stop receiving emails.

If you log onto your webmail and you don’t see emails that are in outlook you know you received, that’s probably why. Your email is still working, your emails did not disappear, just make sure you don’t delete any emails on your computer that you want to keep.

In the same vein, when you sent an email using your email client, the sent email does not typically get saved on your webmail. That’s because the client (outlook or phone app) saves it for you.

There are caveats, workarounds, and another one-million different ways to set up your email, but this is the way email is typically set up. The take-away here is that your email can be stored in at least two places when you are using an email client. If that’s a little confusing, we agree. However, we hope this clears things up a little bit for you.

Grey Goose Graphics is always helping our clients with their web and email solutions. Contact us for a free estimate on any web services today.