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This page describes what to do in case of an Icinga alert. For more information you could search the govuk-puppet repo for the source of the alert

Icinga alerts

email-alert-api app healthcheck not ok

If there is a health check error showing for Email Alert API, you can click on the alert to find out more details about what’s wrong. We’ve listed some common problems and remedies later on in this document.

You may not need to do anything

The high queue alerts tend to trigger when emails are sent out. Normally Notify sends out a bulk of emails around 9.30am, which can cause a spike but this returns to normal after 10.15am. You can monitor emails have been sent by looking at the Email Alert API Metrics Grafana dashboard.

General troubleshooting tips

Check that Notify sent the email

Log in to the Notify account by going to The login credentials are in the 2nd line password store under govuk-notify/2nd-line-support. Two-factor authentication links for logging in are sent to the 2nd line email address.

From the dashboard, you can search by email address.

Check the courtesy copy inbox

A courtesy copy of every email sent from integration, staging and production is available in the ‘govuk-email-courtesy-copies’ Google Group. Integration and staging emails have a subject prefixed by the environment name.

If you need to test the process of subscribing to an email alert, you can subscribe with You should then see two copies of the email at that address when you perform an action that triggers an email alert (the courtesy copy and the subscriber one).

The process for triggering an alert varies by publishing application, but it usually involves creating a new edition of some content, then publishing it with a 'major’ update type. The change note you enter will appear in the email that gets sent.


Due to the way that we send the courtesy copy emails and the anonymisation integration data sync, we can’t fully exercise the code that matches content changes with subscriptions. Therefore, it is not safe to rely on the courtesy copy Google Group to guarantee that emails are being sent to subscribers, and instead a better test is to subscribe yourself and check that emails arrive.

Check the email alert API

A useful debug step if you’re not sure if an email has been sent is to check Email Alert API to see if it has created records in its database.

$ govuk_app_console email-alert-api

# Note that we are not using `Email.last` because its primary key is `id`,
# which is a string and alphabetically ordered rather than by create date

> ContentChange.where(created_at: -
> Email.where(created_at: -
> DeliveryAttempt.where(created_at: -

Emails won’t be sent if no one is subscribed, so you’ll need to do that first. The integration and staging environments only allow email to be sent to a small number of email addresses so you cannot test using your own email address in these environments.

This page was last reviewed on 10 January 2020. It needs to be reviewed again on 10 July 2020 by the page owner #govuk-2ndline .
This page was set to be reviewed before 10 July 2020 by the page owner #govuk-2ndline. This might mean the content is out of date.