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Why are old emails re-downloading for me?

Re-downloaded mails

Occasionally when you are using a programme such as Outlook for your emails you may see that some older emails are re-downloaded at massively unexpected times, some reaching as far back as a couple of years beforehand. To you this may seem massively unexplained and it is quite confusing to get your head around why this happens, but this particular support page should help you understand a bit more why this happens. This does only happen with POP3 though as IMAP emails that are deleted from one device will delete off every other device including the server.

Why are emails able to re-download after I have deleted them from my device?

The reason why you will still have these mails hanging about is because of the fact that they will still be stored and saved on the server that you are on. The way in which you can view the same mails from given time periods ago over multiple devices is because of the fact that you will download mails from the server as and when you access this mail from a new location or set it up on a new device. For most people this function and service is extremely desirable as it can be a massive pain to have to get a hold of your mails in some other way when re-setting up another device, and so the mail re-downloading is usually a positive thing for you.

However, something that is usually unprecedented and not often desirable is when your current email setup re-downloads older mails from months ago when you donít need them on your existing device. Having to go through repeat copies of mails is not exactly the most ideal situation to be in and can be a massive time sink, and from your perspective is something that you didnít think would happen and donít want to happen. We agree that this can be a nuisance and there are only really certain times in which this particular instance will occur. There are however a few explanations for the re-downloading of mail that you could probably identify, so read on to find out why you may be receiving certain dated emails that you didnít necessarily want to.

Change in IP address

The first and foremost explanation for this happening is probably one that you could understand or potentially work out yourself, which is a change in IP address. When you move to a different location and connect with a different broadband IP you are very likely to have certain emails come through again purely for the fact that the server identifies you as a new user in a way. Although you may be running the same email settings from the same device a change in IP address usually indicates a change of location, in which a server will automatically assume that you are trying to access your emails from another device and will therefore send out repeat emails again.

This is likely to happen due to a move of location (aka if you use your laptop at home and perhaps go on holiday or a business trip and take it with you). However, this can also be triggered from your same location if your IP address from your home or workplace has changed. This will mostly depend on whether or not the IP address that you are using is dynamic or static. A Dynamic IP changes when a router is reset for a few minutes and provides you with a new IP address, hence the same confusion and assumption that it is another device by the server that you are on. However, static IP addresses do not change in this way and therefore if you have a static IP it is very likely to be another cause of this particular issue.

Disk space limit

Another common reason for mail re-downloading onto ones device is when the disk space of your domain or an individual account reaches its limit on the Cpanel and the server. When this diskspace is full any additional attempts to receive or send emails will confuse the server and cause it to attempt to download something from the server rather than these new emails as it obviously canít capacitate the new mails as they will be queued up or not going through. This prompts the server to send out some older mails.

Server certificate update

When a server certificate is updated this can also cause repeat mails to be sent out to a client. This is because of the fact that this change can once again make the server once again not recognise or differentiate whether your account is a new setup or an existing account, and it is for this reason that the server once again in a reactionary response will be to send out existing mails to new accounts, of which it may mistakenly think that a setup that you already have running is a new account.

How do I prevent this from happening?

There is obviously no sure way of completely stopping this from happening, but there are several methods and tactics that you can put in place in order to try and reduce the chances of this happening as it can be a huge inconvenience especially if you are on a larger email or hosting package in which hundreds or even thousands of older mails redownload at your inconvenience:

Try not to alter your IP address

As much as at some point you are going to have to restart your router for some reason or another or use your device in a different location the best thing to try and do is to avoid changing your IP, or perhaps use a static IP address in order to make sure that you donít trick the server into thinking that your current device is a newly set up device, as it can be a real bother and is a small tactic to avoid any sort of conflicts with concerns to your phone, pc or tablet.

Have a set time for mail to delete off the server or deleting older emails manually

This particular method is one that should prove to be very effective as obviously if there is less mail there then there is less mail to be re-downloaded should this problem ever occur. You can have an automatic setting on most mail clients that will set delete any mail older than a month (or other varying time periods) off the server, resulting in cleaning it out and leaving you with a lot more space and a lot less hassle should mail re-download. However, if you are going to do this I would massively recommend backing up all mails locally that you absolutely need so that you can keep a record of them whilst having them off the server. This obviously means that you canít run backups as far back, but if you have local storage of these emails then it shouldnít be a problem anyway.

Furthermore, manually deleting emails that you donít need off the server will assist you as if you do get repeat mails they are ones that you may need and therefore wonít be the biggest inconvience.

Keeping an eye on your disk space usage

As previously mentioned disk space can be a pretty influential factor in receiving these repeat emails if it fills up. A good practice to have in general is keeping an eye on your disk space and deleting unwanted emails accordingly as the disk space will not only risk the downloading of repeat mails but could also give you disruptions in service aswell. I would recommend checking it every few days or even weekly if your mail traffic isnít as much, and deleting mail accordingly in order to free up your space and ensure that you donít have any further problems with your mail service.

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