Gmail: The server returned the error: Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure).

For the second time today, I’m complaining about technology… Non-techies are likely to understand this post a little more than my last, so don’t dismiss it right away if you’re a little put off by the first impression…

I’m a Gmail user. I have, and use several GMail accounts, that all forward back to my main GMail account. One address I used for websites that I have to register for, one I use for possible spam sources, etc…

Last night I got a new hard drive and re-installed everything… Windows, Office, etc… everything. Today, I set up Outlook for my work email and my main Gmail account. I had over 12,000 emails in my Gmail account. After all, they advertise that you never have to delete an email again right! TONS and tons of space with Gmail! That’s why the whole world switched, isn’t it?? It’s certainly the reason I switched!

So my Outlook client got to work synchronizing with my copious amounts of email. What I did not realize, was there’s apparently a penalty for having too much data downloaded in too short a time period. Outlook had apparently tried to connect multiple times, while the original connection was still active. There was just too much data, and things just stopped. All of a sudden, I got this error from outlook: The server returned the error: Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure). And yes, it was in red. 


I fumbled around with it for about an hour. I removed the account, added it back. I changed my password, I disabled imap, re-enabled it, etc… I eventually turned to Google, and found literally dozens of threads here and there about it being a problem with a few different possibilities. 


This can happen if:

  • Too much data is being downloaded in too short a time frame
  • Too many connections to the same email account
And there were a few other speculations too, but these were the most common ones. ALL advice that I could find said to close all connections to the account, and wait for 24 hours. Twenty-four hours! (It actually only turned out to be 4 hours for me, FYI). 

Now, Yes. I can go without email for 24 hours… But should I have to? I followed all available rules! I could not find anywhere on the Internet that says how much data is “too much”, how little a time frame is “too short”… 

My problem is that they advertise their products as infinite space, never delete, no inbox too big! …and yet there I was, dead in the water because I have too much data. Not only that, but I was expected to be down for twenty-four hours. 

Once again, not the end of the world, but isn’t that a bit like saying “If you drive our cars, you can go as fast as you want, anywhere you want!” So you do! And then you find out from a third party that your car was impounded because you drove too fast. Sure you CAN do it, but there are consequences! Oh, and we’re not going to tell you what the speed limit is either. Nor will we tell you how long you’ll be without your car, but we’re OK with letting everyone think it’s for two weeks. Maybe it won’t be. 

This may just be my opinion, but I find this to be a shady way to do business. 
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7 thoughts on “Gmail: The server returned the error: Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure).

  1. 12,000 messages in your e-mail account? Dang. I’ve never counted mine but I feel safe sayin’ I have MUCH less than a third of that (and Google tells me I’m using 20% of my available space). But then again, I’m not employed… so there’s that. I used to get over 300 messages a day during my working life, two-thirds of which I deleted unread. I used to HATE bein’ cc-ed on stuff I cared not a whit about…I don’t have a complaint about g-mail. As a matter of fact I LOVE it. Best spam filters, evah!

  2. I use gmail too, because they really do a great job catching spam. That said, there are a few things I don’t like. Google remembers and stores all your online activities through their websites. Forever. Not just 5 years like Yahoo.Gmail, being a part of Google, does the same. Every piece of mail you receive, unless deleted without opening, is stored. Forever. I get a lot of crap mail, even from friends and family. They forward me stuff that they think is funny-some of it is, some not so much. I’ve done research for a character who’s pretty evil. I can only imagine what it would look like taken out of context.My thing is – what’s the point? Are they profiling us? What do

  3. Wendy – The crazy part is that the limits are applicable to even PAYING customers… Like, folks who use Google mail services for business…Mary – It is! They totally toyed with my delicate emotions! :DUncle Skip – Classic disconnect between marketing and implementation departments. Buck – The majority of my mail I get through my work account, for which I am the administrator, so I keep a pretty tight reign on that… But Google said I’d never have to, so I didn’t bother. That was probably four years of general email, website notifications, newsletters, Dictionary word-of-the-day, Weather channel updates, and a few comics. 🙂 That said, I absolutely love Gmail… Mostly, I think I’m just disappointed in their handling of this particular issue. Words Crafter – I’m with ya… I’m actually kind of bothered by that fact too. I don’t so much mind that they have all my searches logged. And yes, they are profiling… They SAY they’re keeping the information to help find trends and such, so that their services return the best possible results based on your personal history, etc… But what would happen if they were hacked, or if someone stole their information? It’s a pretty serious “trust” relationship. Makes me nervous sometimes.

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