How to deal with broken Gmail login

I had encountered curious issue this week with colleague being completely unable to login into his Gmail account. He was able to login in and out of his Google account just fine and use rest of the services, but Gmail was just dying in the middle of initial redirects when loading.

Troubleshooting web app is hardly same thing as troubleshooting desktop software, but luckily there are many less typical steps.

Things to check

  • the first thing to check when web app fails is naturally your Internet connection. Note that browsers can sometimes put themselves into offline mode and pretend everything is fine (Firefox is especially guilty of such obscure behavior);
  • check if web app itself is down, as unusual as it sounds – it really can be. In case of Google services this can be easily checked at Apps Status Dashboard.

Things to reset

If connection and site are both fine then it is time for a browser cleanup.

  1. Clean out your browser cache.
  2. Disable JavaScript (unless site absolutely requires it, Gmail falls back to more simple and robust version is JS is disabled);
  3. Clean out cookies. Depending on your browser you might need to reset all of them or selectively search for and delete those that are relevant to specific site you have issue with.

Overall

For my colleague it took all three steps to get rid of the issue and get Gmail loading.

Curiously dynamic web apps start to semi-rely on browser features and this trend might only increase with wider adoption of HTML5 web storage. Browsers are rapidly becoming less of dumb window and more of an intelligent platform for web application.

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7 Comments

  • Sometimes I also have this kind of issues, but I disconnect my internet connection, refresh and connect again. It works for me this way.

  • @template_uni

    You mean refresh while disconnected? Yeah, that probably works as mild kick to browser cache. Although cleaning cache completely is more thorough.

  • @Saurabh

    I prefer IsMyBlogWorking, it provides a lot of useful details on top of alive check.

    Also site being up is not always same thing as service working properly.

  • hello,
    My friend who is using Windows 7 64 bit is having this problem with Internet explorer 8.Well in Chrome its working fine but in IE once she is logged in to Gmail all of sudden browser shuts down..i myself being a IT guy have no clue about this..well also i have done those you mentioned above..i would like to know any compatiblity issue with Gmail and Windows 7 64 bit..any ideas ???

  • @sudeep

    I try to stay really really far away from IE (and succeed at that most of the time).

    I find it highly unlikely for site to conflict with 64bit OS. My guess would be there is some broken plugin or toolbar that hooks into IE.

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