Troubleshooting Email Configuration


Troubleshooting Email Configuration 

  • Instance does not send emails.
  • Instance does not receive emails.
  • While testing email notifications, accidentally send unwanted emails.
  • Instance does not send any notifications at all.
  • Emails are marked as send-failed and an error message appears, stating that the mail server cannot connect to the SMTP server.
  • Email queue is getting backed up with emails that keep trying to re-send to the Single Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server (they should simply fail and move on to the next message).
  • Emails are received by the instance, but no incidents are created.
  • When users from X domain send emails to the instance and create a incident, the incident shows a caller of Guest instead of the user.
  • Out-of-Office replies are filling up incidents with unwanted emails.
  • Incidents are being created by unknown users.
  • Forwarded emails create or update incidents or other emails with specific subjects.
  • Instance is not auto-creating users from incoming mails.


  • Email sending property is disabled.
  • Email receiving property is disabled.
  • The Post Office Protocol (POP) Server settings are not appropriately configured.
  • The SMTP Server settings are not appropriately configured.
  • The automatically-create users property is disabled.
  • A list of trusted domains is not defined.
  • The Ignore Inbound Email settings are not defined.
  • There is no email test user address.



ServiceNow offers several email configuration options, but it is always recommended to use the standard email configuration. The standard email configuration uses the SMTP and POP3 services provided by ServiceNow. You can use the standard ServiceNow email infrastructure with your own internal email address. Typically, organizations use a custom email address to change the reply-to address from the instance name to a custom email address within their domain. However, users have the option to utilize their own internal email architecture to handle email sending and receiving. For more information, see refer to Configuring Email in the ServiceNow product documentation. 

Users with the admin role can set email and email notification properties in the System Properties > Email module. This module allows users to define settings for the SMTP Server, POP Server, content and security, automatic user creation, and advanced settings. To review a complete list of email properties, see Email Properties in the ServiceNow product documentation.

To troubleshoot your email configuration:

  1. Log in to the instance.
  2. Confirm that the email sending properties are enabled and the SMTP Server settings are properly configured. For more information, refer to Verifying Email Sending Configurations.
  3. Confirm that the instance is properly configured to receive email from a POP server. For more information, refer to Verifying Email Receiving Configuration.
  4. Verify that the inbound email action settings are properly configured. For more information, refer to Verifying Inbound Email User and Incident Creation Settings.
  5. Configure email properties for testing and general formatting of outbound email. For more information, refer to Configuring Test Email Addresses, Journal Entries, and Time Zone Format.


Additional InformationFor details on other properties that are used to configure email processing in ServiceNow, refer to Email Properties in the ServiceNow product documentation. 



Video Tutorial

If you are having issues configuring the email functionality in ServiceNow, the following video tutorials are a great way to help find solutions. These video tutorials guide you, step-by-step, to a solution and provide common troubleshooting methods. This tutorial covers common issues, their causes, and the required steps to resolve them. They range from basic to more advanced topics and are best watched in the order that they are listed.

You can view an overview of the email configuration troubleshooting video or click one of the subsequent links to jump to a different section of the series. The steps can generally be applied to other email issues, since they often have common root causes.

Part One | Verifying Email Sending Configuration [6:07]
Part Two | Verifying Email Receive Configuration  [3:20]
Part Three | Verifying Inbound Email User and Incident Creation Settings   [5:11]
Part Four | Configuring Test Email Addresses, Journal Entries, and Time Zone Format  [2:13]