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Email can be delayed for many reasons; it's the nature of the email infrastructure. If your message is delayed, your options are limited.
I am trying to send an e-mail to a co-worker and I keep getting the following message:
Delivery Status Notification (Delay)
This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.
THIS IS A WARNING MESSAGE ONLY.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO RESEND YOUR MESSAGE.
Delivery to the following recipients has been delayed.
The strange thing is that it is only happening with that specific e-mail address? What does it mean, and why it is happening?
It means exactly what it says: the email you sent hasn't been delivered yet - it's delayed. The mail system will continue to attempt to deliver the email. Eventually it'll either be delivered, or you'll get a fatal error message.
Seriously, there are many, many reasons that email could be delayed.
If that's a problem for you, then you may be thinking about email the wrong way.
One thing that many people fail to realize is that email was never meant to be "real time". The entire email infrastructure is built to expect and properly handle delays ranging from minutes to hours to even days. While most of the time email arrives nearly instantaneously, the fact is you can't count on it.
Email is what's called a "store and forward" system. When you send an email, it's received by a mail server, stored for some period of time, and then forwarded on to the next server in the path to get your email to your recipient. Finally it lands on the recipients mail server, where it's stored until the recipient downloads it (another kind of "forward" to their inbox), or reads it on-line.
Those "periods of time" that a server might hold on to your message before forwarding it are typically very short, but there's really no guarantee that they will be. There could easily be any of a number of legitimate different mail server delays along the path that your email will take to get to your recipient. That's not the system being broken, that's how the system works.
One example might be simply that the recipient's mail server is temporarily off-line. Rather than fail to deliver the email, your mail server simply keeps trying to pass the message along. In some cases it's nice enough to let you know that this is happening by sending you the "Delivery to the following recipients has been delayed." message. Eventually, when the recipient's mail server comes back on line, the delivery succeeds.
A sending server will only try for so long. If I recall correctly, if after 5 days the message cannot be delivered you'll get an error message instead of a warning telling you that the mail didn't make it through.
There are many reasons mail could be delayed. I see it most often when mail servers themselves are overloaded, unstable, or when they have problems with their connectivity to the internet.
If you get this "message has been delayed" warning, there's nothing you can really do. If your message is urgent, you may need to find a way other than email to make contact.
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