The ServiceNow platform can automatically notify selected users via email of specific activities in the system, such as updates to incidents or change requests. By default, ServiceNow sends all outbound email notifications from the default email address of the instance. For organizations that need to send emails from specific email addresses, such as from multiple service desks, or want to send notifications in different languages, the platform supports the configuration of multiple outbound addresses and separate email addresses for responses. For more information, see Email and SMS Notifications in the ServiceNow product documentation.
When an instance does not send emails, it is important to identify the root cause. This section describes the outbound email process and provides troubleshooting solutions for common issues.
|Note: The troubleshooting steps on this page pertain to sub-production instances only. If you experience email notification issues on a production instance, submit an incident.|
- Email notifications must be configured properly. To verify that the email notification system properties are configured properly, see Email and SMS notifications. If your instance sends messages from an SMTP server your company maintains (rather than a ServiceNow SMTP server), verify your instance connects to the proper SMTP server. For instructions, refer to Verifying the instance has the proper custom SMTP server settings
- An action, such as adding a comment to an incident or closing a problem, triggers the addition of an event to the event log. If there is no email record listed in the Outbox or Sent mailbox, see Verifying if email event is created in the Outbox.
- The events process job processes the events.
- If a particular action no longer produces a notification, review the notification record's conditions to determine if they are valid. For additional information, see Verifying the notification's record conditions have been met.
- The SMTP Sender and SMS Sender jobs transmit all processed requests to the mail server. The mail server sends the email message to the user. For information on troubleshooting outbound emails, refer to Outbound Email Troubleshooting.
- The email client receives the message. If the email is not received, see Obtaining the Message ID to troubleshoot the mail server.
Common outbound email issues
The following are common outbound email issues, their symptoms, and solutions.
|Common Outbound Email Issue||Symptom||Solution|
|Inactive user is locked out (Berlin or later releases).||A specific user stops receiving notifications.||Verify the user is not locked out because they are inactive.|
|User is locked out (Berlin or later releases).||A specific user stops receiving notifications.||Verify the user is not locked out.|
|User disabled notifications.||A specific user stops receiving notifications.||Verify the user's notification preferences.|
|User preferences do not list active email device.||A specific user does not receive notifications or the instance fails to send a notification.||Verify the user has an active email device in their notification preferences.|
|Intended recipient does not have an email address.||A specific user does not receive notifications or the instance fails to send a notification.||Verify the intended recipient has an email address.|
|Intended recipient has improperly-formatted email address.||A specific user does not receive notifications or the instance fails to send a notification.||Verify the email address is formatted properly.|
|Option to notify event creator disabled.||A user receives some but not all notifications.||Verify notification set to notify the event creator.|
|Intended recipient has an active delegate.||The instance sends a notification to an unexpected user.||Verify the user who received the email is not a delegate of another user.|
|Notification variable values change after the events process job creates notifications.||The events process job creates multiple notifications that all have the same notification variable values.||Verify that the notification matches your business needs.|
|Attachments exceed maximum number or file size. (Not applicable to SMS notifications.)||Outgoing mail does not contain expected attachments. Can send some attachments, but not all.||Verify the attachments do not exceed configured maximums.|
|The instance is not enabled to send email.||The instance does not send any notifications at all.||Verify the instance is enabled to send email.|
|Instance does not have proper settings for custom SMTP server.||When using a custom SMTP server, no messages appear in the Outbox or Sent mailboxes.||Verify the instance has the proper custom SMTP server settings.|
|The notification's required conditions are not met (Berlin or later releases).||The instance does not send notifications for a particular type of record or action.||Verify the notification record's conditions met.|
|The SMTP sender scheduled job is in an error state.||The instance stops sending email notifications but there are messages in the Outbox.|
|The SMS sender scheduled job is in an error state.||The instance stops sending SMS notifications but there are messages in the Outbox.|
|The notification's required event is not being triggered (Aspen or earlier releases).||The instance does not send notifications for a particular type of record or action.||Verify the triggering action generated the notification event.|
|There is a routing problem on the outbound mail server.||The instance sends the mail, but the recipient never receives it.||Verify the outbound mail server received the email.|
If you are having issues using the outbound 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 to outbound email troubleshooting or click any one of the following links to jump to a different section of the series. These steps can usually be applied to other email issues, since they often have common root causes.