can't log into your Google account?
This article began addressing the issue with being unable to login to Gmail. However, since then it has come to our attention that users running Internet Explorer (Internet Explorer 9 time of this writing) are having trouble logging into their Google account period. Specifically, users are unable to access their Google account page, or for example, Google Analytics.
Basically what happens is that the browser goes into a never-ending login loop (the secondary, or passive, Google sign-in page asking for your password a second time appears over and over again). The troubleshooting solution on this page will hopefully, the Google/Gmail login problems you are experiencing.
Because this page has gotten so long over the years, we are adding a navigation menu to help you jump straight to the section that might speak to the specific issue you are experiencing.
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Gmail Will Not Load
Having problems loading Gmail? In other words, you try to sign in to your Gmail account but the page keeps loading and reloading without going anywhere? We have your solution.
Verify the security and validity of your email address
One of the first things you'll want to do is verify the current reputation of your email address. You can do this by simply doing a Google search on your email address and checking out the results pages it appears on. You can track spammers and fraudulent use of your email address this way.
Firefox - browse faster and more securely
Once you've done a thorough check on your Gmail account, you'll want to make sure your browser is not the problem causing Gmail to not load. First off, in case you're using Internet Explorer or another non-Mozilla browser and this isn't the first issue you've experienced, we recommend you check out the Firefox web browser. It's rapidly gaining market share and is being touted as one of the fastest and most secure browsers on the market. Not only that, but it's easy to use, should load your Gmail account without issues, and there's a host of free plugins available to enhance your browsing experience.
Why Won't Gmail Load?
Typically this is due to firewall privacy settings. Here are a couple fixes, post below if these don't work for you and we'll provide alternate suggestions.
How do I get Gmail to Load Again?
Under the 'Site List,' allow 3rd party cookie control for 'www.Gmail.com' and 'www.google.com.'
Clear your browser's cache, and log back into Gmail.
eTrust EZ Firewall Settings
Add 'Gmail.com' and 'google.com' to your site list.
Allow 3rd party cookie control for both sites.
Clear the browser's cache, and log back into Gmail.
Diagnose the Problem
If you're still not successfully connecting to Gmail try diagnosing the problem and adjusting firewall settings accordingly. As an example, in Zone Alarm you can enable the "Privacy Advisor":
Enabling Zone Alarm's Privacy Advisor
Click on "Privacy"
Click on the "Main" tab (next to "Site List" and "Cache Cleaner")
Under "Cookie Control," click on "Custom"
Check the box "Show Privacy Advisor" at bottom
Reload Gmail and see what kind of notices pop up in Privacy Advisor dialogue (bottom right of your screen). It may say "cookies blocked," or "private headers blocked," or something similar. Depending on what it says, go to the "Site List" in ZA, click "Add," and enter "www.Gmail.com." Browse to find the new entry (www.Gmail.com), click on it (to select it), then click "Options" right below the Add button. Uncheck all boxes and try reloading Gmail.
Add Gmail to Your Browser's List of Trusted Sites (HTTPS://www.google.com)
One of our users found another solution that appears to work: adding https://www.google.com to your browser's list of trusted Internet sites. See their comment below for details.
Stuck in an infinite loading loop?
One of the most common symptoms of this problem, as we mentioned above, is that your browser gets stuck in an infinite loading loop. The most common cause for this issue is either an outdated/corrupted cookie, or settings that are preventing the appropriate cookies from saving to your PC.
Enable Cookies and Clear Cache
Make sure you have cookies enabled for Gmail.com, and try clearing your web browser's cache. See our article on how to clear the cache in various browsers and why. If that doesn't work, browse to google.com, and in the top right corner sign out the user (if they're signed in). Then sign in yourself, and click on the "Gmail" link at top left. If that doesn't work, we suggest you download and try a new browser (our recommended browser is Opera).
Reset Internet Explorer To Default State
Beginning with Internet Explorer 9, you can completely reset the browser to its default state as follows: browse to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced tab > Click on the "Reset" button. it's probably a good idea to check the box that gives you the option to also clear out your personal data (making sure beforehand that you've backed up any important bookmarks, cookies, website settings, etc.).
Gmail Still Won't Load?
If all these suggestions still aren't helping, there's some official Google suggested steps you can take to help get your Gmail up and running. Here are the official Gmail Known Issues from Google:
Firefox Constantly Refreshes "Loading..." Page
This is an issue unique to Firefox that causes the Gmail page to redirect in an infinite loop. The key to solving this problem is signing in to the secure version of Gmail at https://mail.google.com/mail.
Stuck on "Loading..."
There's various scenarios that might occur in this situation:
You might get stuck on the "loading..." screen
You might see a blank screen
You might get redirected to the basic Gmail version
In most cases, upgrading your browser will solve the issue. If it doesn't, try switching browsers (ie. from Internet Explorer to Firefox or vice versa). If that still doesn't work, try shutting down your Firewall, Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, etc., temporarily, and see if that solves it. If it does, you might need to investigate one piece of software at a time to track down what's causing the problem. Then either get in touch with the vendor to see if there's a compatibility issue or switch to another provider. Finally, if none of that works, feel free to rant below in the comments section.
If you're using the Chrome (Google) browser and you get stuck on loading, try disabling the McAfee Site Advisor plugin (you can access your plugins by typing "chrome://plugins" in your browser address bar.
Tiny inbox in top left corner? If you're seeing your Gmail screen shrink down to almost nothing, try switching to the Firefox browser. If you've already done that, try disabling the "Megaupload" extension. If you've done that as well, or aren't running that extension, and are still seeing the small inbox in the upper left corner, please post below.
If you're using your Gmail offline, and you're having problems with mail syncing correctly, or shortcuts and bookmarks behaving strangely, try disabling the "always use HTTPS" option. To do so, sign into Gmail and click on Settings. Set the "browser connection" to either don't or always use HTTPS (you want Gmail to use it either all or none of the time, you don't want it waffling back and forth between the two - that's what causes the synchronization issues).
Disable Firefox and Google Plugins (including Java)
Reports we've received suggest that it may be worth trying to disable Firefox plugins, in particular the Google Gears plugin, the Slipstream Accelerator extension, and Java. If removing or uninstalling Java works, you might simply need to update your Java installation.
Clear Cache, then Reset PC
Some reports indicate that clearing your browser's cache and restarting your browser may not be enough. Try a full PC reboot and see if that works.
Windows Hosts File/ Spyware
Check your hosts file in C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.
If you can't access it (ie. you get 'Access denied - C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts'), make sure a program such as Spybot Search & Destroy isn't blocking access. If you still can't access it, try restoring permissions with the following command:
attrib -r -h C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
If that doesn't work, try using the MS CACLS tool to regain control of the file.
The connection has timed out
If you're getting the message "The connection has timed out. The server at www.google.com is taking too long to respond.", and other web pages are loading fine, try accessing Google from another PC on your local network. If that works, the issue is local to your PC, and one of the above suggestions should resolve the problem. You may also need to check your firewall settings and ensure that there's not a custom setting blocking access to Gmail.
Compatibility Mode in IE 8
If you're having troubles accessing Gmail in Internet Explorer 8, try turning on the Compatibility Mode (F12 key or browse to Tools > Developer Tools > Browser Mode) and try several different settings, restarting your browser each time.
Update Calendar Year
This is a bit of a strange one, but we've heard at least one user benefiting from this. Check your system's date and calendar and make sure it's correct. If not, set it to the current day and time, then reboot your PC and try accessing Gmail again.
Firefox - User Preferences
Another thing you can try is resetting Firefox's User Preferences when in Safe Mode. To do so, browse to Tools > Exit to close Firefox. Next, browse to Windows' Start Menu > All Programs > Mozilla Firefox. Select Mozilla Firefox (Safe Mode) to load Firefox in safemode (for the savvy PC users, browse to Start > Run > "firefox -safe-mode").
You'll notice a safe mode dialog window. Caution: the next step will reset your preferences. If you don't want this, you may need to try an alternate solution. To proceed, check "Reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults" and select "Make Changes and Restart". Hopefully you'll now be able to load and access your Gmail account without issues.
Clear SSL State
If you're using Internet Explorer 8+, try browsing to Tools > Internet Options > Content > and choose Clear SSL State. Restart your browser and hopefully Gmail will load correctly.
Logs In but never loads on firefox
This suggestion is thanks to one of our readers, Steve. Turn off AdblockPlus in Firefox for Gmail before you attempt logging in. This will cause ads to pop up. Thanks for reading and helping our other readers out!
Alternative Solution: Use an External Email Client
An alternative solution to accessing your Gmail emails is to use an email client such as Mozilla's Thunderbird (a free, open source email client that also comes with a calendar option called Lightning). You'll be able to send and receive emails and do most of what you can do (including searching your emails using various parameters) on Gmail.com. The drawback to this approach, of course, is that it limits access to your Gmail account to PC's that have the email client installed. But - if you're only having troubles with one PC, it might be worth using Thunderbird or another email client (Outlook, for example, or Windows or Mac Mail) to access Gmail on the PC that is experiencing issues.
If you're still having issues please post a comment below. We're doing our best to keep this article current and updated with the latest solutions to help you get access to your Google and Gmail accounts.