Email FAQ

E-mail Password Security on Psychology

All users must set Secure Sockets (SSL) in your e-mail client to increase security when checking mail. This prevents you sending your username and password in clear text, which protects your password from being intercepted by unscrupulous persons who would then get access to your psychology ID and password.

SSL encrypts your password . SSL also encrypts incoming e-mail messages. (Note: Do Not set SSL for sending email.)

The Psychology e-mail server and all of the clients listed below support Secure Sockets (SSL) for receiving (checking) mail, but however the e-mail client must be current enough to support the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol and SSL must be turned on in the e-mail client.

What is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a secure communication method that uses a certificate (private key) to encrypt (scramble) text before it flows across a network, and then its decrypted (un-scrambled) at its destination. A certificate is installed on the server to produce the private connection. SSL is most commonly recognized on web servers, as it's "visible" through the closed lock or solid key symbol in the browser window, or through a web address starting with "https:" The SSL protocol is not limited to use on web servers, however. It can also be used to secure other types of communication such as email.

In order to protect the security of your psychology, it is important that it not cross the network in a readable, "clear-text" format, where it could be intercepted and stolen. the Internet.


Although the number of email accounts on Psychology email servers remains at about relatively small number the email volume has been growing significantly due in large part to SPAM which accounts for a significant amount of the emails we receive. Just a few years ago, email gateways processed 300,000 messages each day—they now process over a million messages per day. We have continually upgraded the hardware and software to accommodate this growth. However, there are also steps that individuals can take to speed up email service. This page explains some of the problems we may experience, and includes an FAQ and some email tips. Related Information is also available in the spam email policy for the Department of Psychology.


A growing number of email providers are using a technique called "greylisting" to fight spam. This method delays all email coming from servers that have not previously sent email to that provider by refusing the mail on the first few attempts and only allowing it through several hours after it was first sent. This technique can be quite effective in preventing spam, since most spam software tries only once and then gives up, while legitimate email servers will try repeatedly over several hours or days. However, it does delay all email, including legitimate email, for periods as long as many hours. It may result in warning messages about mail not going through, and it means more mail builds up in the retry queues on mail servers.

Psychology's mail system does not use greylisting, but a growing number of the servers to which we send emails do. Some of them have already whitelisted our servers (to "whitelist" a server means to configure the email system to bypass some or all of the spam checks when incoming email comes from a known, trusted server), and some receive mail from us frequently enough that the greylisting software they use knows not to delay the mail. With others, outgoing mail from Psychology will see delays. This is just how greylisting works; the only way around it is for the remote site to either stop using greylisting or to whitelist our servers.


Sometimes the cure for spam can be worse than the problem: email blacklists are an example. Once in a while Psychology is placed on temporary internet spam blacklist. When this happens, email sent from Psychology mail servers gets bounced back to its sender, even when the message is perfectly legitimate (non-spam) email. Messages will be returned and labeled as spam based on the content of the messge being sent. The Internet Service Provider determines what types of messages it will receive and how to label these messages which are being sent.

What causes outgoing mail processing delays

Email passes through many servers, on-campus and off-campus, before it lands in your mailbox or in your recipient's mailbox. Some delays are local and under our control; others are remote problems and beyond our control.

In some cases, outgoing email cannot be delivered immediately. This can be because the recipient's mailbox is full, because the other email service is not responding, when the destination host's name cannot be resolved or, increasingly, when other email systems are attempting to fight spam and have their rejection rules set too restrictively. When these events happen, our mail servers will retry delivery over a period of time, and three outcomes are possible:

1.The email will eventually be delivered when the issue is cleared up. The recipient would have a delay in delivery;
2.After several failed attempts, you get a warning message that the mail is queued and delivery will be tried again;
3.Your email is "bounced back" to you because it cannot be delivered.

Usually the warning messages and bounced email will tell you the reason that the mail delivery was not successful. If you feel the delivery should have gone through and you want to report the problem, submit a PTS ticket.

Does how often you check email matter?

Another type of slowness occurs when you check email and it seems to take a long time to refresh your inbox. You can help this by setting the frequency at which your program checks email to a reasonable level.

Our logs show that some email clients check for mail as often as once per minute, which translates to 1,440 times per day. Our email servers already process millions of connections each day, so if many of us check mail this frequently, it slows the delivery of everyone's email, particularly during peak hours when the system is heavily loaded. Please check the Settings or Options of your email program to see how often it is configured to check for mail. For automated checking, we recommend an interval of 15 minutes. Of course, you can check for mail manually at any time, especially if you are expecting an important email.