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Mailbox full

How to fix problems with your mailbox filling up

We would kindly suggest your software is set up so that server copies of older messages are removed to free up some space in your mailbox. This does not mean you can not keep older messages, just that your software should ideally be set up to store them on your PC, with the server copies kept only for a short time to facilitate delivery across your devices. Please find some help below on how to set up your email to use the service correctly and prevent your mailbox becoming full. If the limit is reached, you won't be able to receive any new messages and the sender will receive 'mail quota exceeded' notifications.

What you need to do will depend on how you have set up your account. To fetch and manage your email you can use either POP (recommended) or IMAP.
To find out which you are using simply check the account settings in your email software such as Outlook.

If you would like to switch between the two, this will often mean removing the account and setting it up again using the other option. Please take care when doing this and make sure all of the emails you need are in a local/personal folder or backed up first.


We highly recommend POP for most users as it is much simpler to manage your mailbox with it.

If you are using POP3 to receive email the best thing to do is to setup your mail client (e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird or Mac Mail) to only keep emails on the server for a specified number of days (rather than indefinately). The number of days will depend on the volume of email you receive; unless you receive a lot of large file attachments we would recommend 14-28 days. This setting is usually found in the server options for your account settings, which is often found under the tools or settings menu. Setting this up should not affect emails on your computer as an account set up with POP3 should be automatically downloading all of your emails so you have a separate copy, which you can keep as long as you need to.

If you use Outlook the following guide explains where to find the setting: Outlook POP message copies

For Apple Mail please see the following link for where to find the POP settings: Mac Mail storage settings


We only recommend IMAP for more advanced users or those with excellent IT support in their office. If you are using IMAP please set up local archiving of your email.

This means making sure that messages are kept in local folders, also known as personal folders. Otherwise if they are kept within the account folder they'll be permanently kept on the server.

Some software will have an archive feature but please check your account settings to make sure that's being stored in a local folder. A local folder is stored on your computer rather than the hosting server. Otherwise you can periodically move emails from the inbox within your software yourself, or set up a mail filter/rule to automatically do that for you.

It is also important when using IMAP to check that sent email, drafts etc are also stored on your computer rather than copied to the server. Some email software will simply have a tickbox to choose whether to copy sent emails to the server, others will allow you to choose a folder where they are kept. If you can choose a folder, please choose a local/personal folder. This will also speed up how quickly your emails send as you wont be uploading an extra copy when sending messages.

Microsoft have a helpful video at the following link for Outlook users: Create Outlook personal folders
Also for an explanation of the various IMAP settings please see this link: IMAP folder settings

For Apple Mail please see the following link for where to find the settings for IMAP folders: Mac Mail Mailbox preferences
The following link also provides help on creating new email folders: Creating Mailboxes in Apple Mail. In the example image there, the local folder would be the ones under the heading "On My Mac".

Please note that setting up your email account appropriatley should ideally be handled by your companies IT staff or IT support, and any questions about the email software you choose to use are best handled by the software provider (ie. Microsoft or Apple). If you manage your IT yourselves we do strongly recommend using POP rather than IMAP. We will happily offer any assistance we can but as IMAP setup is more complex we may have to charge for any help such as manually clearing your mailbox.

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