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Email troubleshooting

This document has tips for troubleshooting unsent emails. For an overview of our email architecture, read Email notifications: how they work.

General troubleshooting tips

Check the current health of the ecosystem

You can check the Email Alert API Metrics dashboard to monitor if emails are going out.

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.

Click “GOV.UK Email” to visit the dashboard, then click on “emails sent”, which will take you to a form where 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 14 May 2020. It needs to be reviewed again on 14 November 2020 by the page owner #govuk-developers .
This page was set to be reviewed before 14 November 2020 by the page owner #govuk-developers. This might mean the content is out of date.