Troubleshooting Issues with Your AOL Email

AOL mail fails to log in, send messages, or receive messages either because your network configurations are not set properly or when the service is down at the backend servers themselves. As a competitor of Gmail and Outlook, AOL is a free email service which is owned by a division of Verizon communications. AOL is popular in certain niches and is fast gaining popularity because of its simplicity and effectiveness.

AOL Mail not Working

We came across numerous instances where the AOL mail was not working as expected. Either the users could not connect to the AOL service or they were unable to send emails from their account. In this article, we will discuss all these types of issues, talk about their causes, and then proceed with the solutions to solve them.

What causes AOL Mail not to work?

There can be many instances where the AOL mail might not work ranging from connection issues to your account ones. Here are some of them:

  • Filters: If you have set specific filters in your inbox, it is possible that the email which you are expecting to receive is filtered out. Removing the filters or checking the filters boxes here helps.
  • Spam folder: AOL, like other email service providers, have a spam folder mechanism which moves unwanted mail to the spam folder and you don’t get notified.
  • Delivery delay: Even though this is rare, there are occurrences where the mail you are receiving is delayed because of heavy internet traffic, issues in mail servers, or because of routing problems.
  • Browser settings: Another issue which we came across was where because of misconfigured web settings, the AOL mail application in the browser was experiencing issues displaying images. Resetting the browser images helps here.
  • Account deactivation: AOL has laid out some guidelines on how your account will get deactivated automatically. If your account is in the process of deactivation, you may not receive emails.
  • Third-party email client: Another reason why users have problems accessing/receiving emails is because they are using third-party email applications such as Outlook. If there is some issue in the settings, Outlook will not notify you and you will receive no emails.
  • Slow internet speed: The main website of AOL consumes a decent amount of internet traffic. If you are experiencing slow internet access, you will not be able to access AOL at all.
  • Browser cache: Another common issue why users don’t get their AOL to work is because the browser cache is hoarding outdated/corrupt information. Clearing the cache helps here.
  • Firewall: Firewalls are designed to block internet access of anything that doesn’t go with their rules that are defined. To troubleshoot, disabling the Firewall will help here.
  • Protected mode: Protected mode is enabled by default in Internet Explorer. If you are using IE, it is best that you disable protected mode and then try accessing the mail server.
  • Pop-up Blocking: Last but not least, pop-up blocking and ad-blockers are known to cause issues with AOL. This is a known cause and disabling these extensions work instantly.

Before we start with the troubleshooting process, make sure that you have your complete account credentials as we will be logging into AOL numerous times.

Pre-requisite: Checking Internet Connection

Before we start with the solutions, you should make sure that you have an active internet connection. An active connection means that you are not using public internet. Try using other websites on the internet and make sure that the data transfer is smooth.

Note: You can also try using a mobile hotspot for the troubleshooting process.

Solution 1: Removing Filters

Before we try other technical solutions, we will first attempt at removing filters from your mailbox and then see if you are able to receive the incoming emails successfully in your inbox. Filters are present in almost all email clients and allow you to separate emails based on their characteristics. If you have filters turned on, only the filtered messages will reach your inbox.

Removing AOL Filters

If you have any custom filters, try to remove them and see if this works. Furthermore, you should also check the filter inboxes and see if the email you are expecting is present there.

Solution 2: Checking Spam Folder for Incoming Mails

If you are expecting an email but it doesn’t arrive, you should check the spam folder of AOL. Every mail host has their own algorithms which filter the incoming emails and if they think it is automated and promotional, they will move it to the spam folder instead of your inbox. Sometimes a false positive occurs which causes valid emails to be filtered to spam.

  1. Log into your email account in AOL.
  2. Now, click on the Spam icon present on the left side of the screen.
    Checking Spam Folder
  3. Check if the email which you are expecting is present here.

Solution 3: Checking for a Deactivated Account

AOL, like other email hosts, have a policy for deactivated accounts. If your account fulfils any one of the following conditions, it will be queued for deactivation which will cause it to be erased after a while:

  • You have requested the account to be deleted/deactivated
  • You have violated the Terms of Service of AOL
  • You haven’t signed into the account for the past 12 months

If you fulfil any of this criteria, you should check with AOL support to make sure that your account is not in the queue for deactivation. While your email account is in the queue for deactivation, you might not receive emails and the account will go into a stale state.

Solution 4: Checking for Downtime

Before we start tweaking other technical settings of AOL, you should make sure that the service isn’t down. Even giants like Microsoft or Google suffer from downtime every now and then because of either maintenance or when new features are being added.

Checking for downtime by Server

You can check websites like Down Detector or other forums such as Reddit and see if other people are experiencing the same problem. If they are, this is your cue that the issue is indeed genuine and there is nothing you can do except wait the issue out.

Note: AOL has also officially documented that users might face downtime when they are sending or receiving emails time to time. According to them, this issue is only temporary and is usually fixed within a few minutes.

Solution 5: Using AOL Basic Mail

AOL has also released a client which is light on the browser and doesn’t consume many resources.  This is helpful if you have a slow processor or have a very slow internet connection. The Basic version will remove all the extra functionalities and will be fewer graphics intensive.

You should log in to AOL Basic Mail and then check your inbox. If the website fully loads up, it leaves us with the conclusion that either your internet connection is slow or your processor is not strong enough to handle the normal website of AOL.

Solution 6: Not using Third-party Email Clients

Email clients such as Outlook provide services where you can link other email addresses instead of just Outlook domain to the application. This is very useful for businesses where you can handle all different email addresses on different domains under one application.

Disabling Applications like Outlook

Even though applications like these are filled with value for the consumer, they are known to cause issues especially if something is updated with your email address and the change is not reflected to the application. To make matters worse, if Outlook is not able to fetch emails, there may be times where you are not notified at all. Hence, we recommend that if you are using applications like Outlook, remove your AOL email from them and add them again (you can also open AOL in the browser to double-check).

Solution 7: Disabling Firewall

Before we attempt at disabling other mechanisms, we will first try disabling your Firewall and see if this does any trick. Firewalls on your computer are designed to block any ‘unwanted’ internet traffic. However, there are numerous instances where a false positive occurs which causes the Firewall to block verified traffic.

Disabling Windows Firewall

You can check our article on How to Disable Firewall and disable it temporarily. If you are using a third-party firewall, disable it as well. After disabling, restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved for good.

Solution 8: Disabling Ad blockers

Ad blockers improve the user’s browsing experience by blocking all the advertisements on the website you are visiting. Their mechanism includes intercepting all the incoming traffic and restricting some traffic which is only related to ads. These extensions might be a lifesaver for people who are annoyed but ads but prove troublesome in some cases. Here in this solution, we will disable the ad blockers from Chrome and then see if this fixes the problem.

Disabling Adblockers

To check your browser extensions on Chrome, type “chrome://extensions” in the address bar and press Enter. You can disable the ad-blocker extension by unchecking the “enable” option. This will automatically disable the extension from making any changes to your UI. Restart your browser and check if the search mechanism works properly.

Note: Try disabling every extension. This might help troubleshoot if any specific application is causing the problem.

Solution 9: Disabling Protected Mode

Protected mode is a feature of Internet Explorer which blocks request of some websites automatically to protect your computer. This mode might be good if there is some third-party malicious website but sometimes this mechanism blocks valid websites as well. Same is the case with AOL; we saw that disabling protected mode automatically unblocked AOL and its features and the users were able to access everything perfectly.

  1. Press Windows + R, type ‘inetcpl.cpl’ in the dialogue box and press Enter. Navigate to the tab of Security.
  2. Now move the slider down so the level of security is reduced and uncheck the option of ‘Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer).
    Disabling Protected Mode
  3. Press Apply to save the current changes and exit. Now restart the Internet Explorer and try accessing AOL again. Check if the issue is resolved.

Note: All your current windows will be closed when the explorer is restarted so make sure you have all the changes saved.

Solution 10: Clearing Cache in Browser

As our second last step before we attempt to completely reinstall Chrome is to clear the cache in your browser. Every browser maintains a cache which where it stores temporary information either requested by the website or by the browser itself.

If your cache in the browser is corrupt or is hoarding bad information, AOL might be laggy, slow, or may not open at all in your browser. In this solution, we will navigate to the Advanced settings of Chrome and clear the cache. After restarting the browser, we will see if this fixes the problem.

Note: Below are the steps on how to clear the entire cache.

  1. Open your Chrome browser and type “chrome://settings” in the dialogue box and press Enter. This will lead the browser’s settings to open.
  2. Now scroll to the bottom of the page and select Advanced options.
Advanced options – Chrome
  1. Once the Advanced menu has expanded, under the section of “Privacy and Security”, click on “Clear browsing data”.
Clear browsing data – Chrome
  1. Another menu will pop up confirming the items you want to clear along with the date. Select “All time”, check all options, and click “Clear browsing data”.
Removing all browsing data
  1. After clearing the cookies and browsing data, restart your computer completely. Now try opening Reddit and see if the error still persists.

Solution 11: Reinstalling Chrome

If none of the above methods work, we will attempt at reinstalling Chrome completely. This process will remove all the existing installation files from your computer and when we install a fresh copy after downloading from the internet, fresh files will be installed again. Make sure that you have your Google credentials because you will be required to log in again if you are syncing your account.

  1. Press Windows + R, type “appwiz.cpl” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Search for Google Chrome through all the applications, right-click it and select “Uninstall”.
    Reinstalling Chrome
  3. Now navigate to Chrome’s official download site and download the latest version available. Launch the executable and install it again.

Expert Tip

Troubleshooting Issues with Your AOL Email

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