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Gmail bandwidth limits

All Google Workspace accounts have Gmail bandwidth limits that help ensure the health and safety of Google systems and accounts.

As an admin, you can check the User list in your Admin console for accounts that have been suspended because they’ve reached Gmail limits. You can also see when the accounts will be reset. In some cases, you can reset the Gmail suspension. For more information, go to Restore a suspended Gmail account.

Avoid large transfers of data  

Activities that transfer large amounts of data in a short time can cause Gmail accounts to reach the bandwidth limit. For example, syncing a Gmail account to a third-party email client can use a large amount of data.

Reaching the sync limit triggers a safeguard that temporarily stops IMAP uploads for the account. For recommendations about limits and synchronization, go to Sync limits

Monitor bandwidth limits for all Google Workspace editions

The following Gmail bandwidth limits apply to all Google Workspace editions and may change without notice.

Gmail bandwidth limits

Limit Per hour Per day
Download with web client 750 MB 1250 MB
Upload with web client (includes emails sent via Gmail SMTP) 300 MB 1500 MB

POP and IMAP bandwidth limits

Limit Per day
Download with IMAP 2500 MB
Download with POP 1250 MB
Upload with IMAP 500 MB


Related topics

Manage IMAP bandwidth limits

These guidelines apply to any application that uses IMAP to sync email with Gmail. These applications include third-party email clients and backup tools.

Manage your IMAP clients

Using multiple IMAP clients with the same account means every message is downloaded multiple times. This increases Gmail bandwidth use exponentially.

To help reduce bandwidth use by IMAP clients:

Check for unwanted IMAP clients

Tools or services that back up Google Workspace data often use IMAP to access email. Sometimes, users or admins set up an IMAP client, then stop using it. Or, they're not aware that a service or tool uses IMAP to access Google Workspace.

Here are some ways to identify IMAP clients being used with Google Workspace:

  • You can check your Admin console to find out whether any Google Workspace Marketplace apps are using IMAP.
  • Account owners can check their Google Accounts authorizations page, and turn off any unwanted items under Connected Sites, Apps, and Services and Application-specific passwords.
  • Account owners can change their Google Workspace password so clients that sync with the password can no longer sign into the account. Add IMAP clients back one at a time, using the new password.

Update IMAP sync settings

To avoid reaching the IMAP download bandwidth limit, change Gmail settings to:

  • Increase or remove folder size limits. Learn how.
  • Sync fewer folders in IMAP.  As a best practice, limit this setting to 500 labels. Learn how.

Other sync methods also count against the sync bandwidth limits. For more information, go to Gmail sync limits.

Troubleshoot bandwidth issues

This section describes the effects on accounts of reaching bandwidth limits, activities that can cause bandwidth issues, and recommendations for reducing bandwidth and staying within limits.


Effects on accounts

When signing in to a suspended account, the account owner gets an error message on the sign-in page. A suspension typically lasts for 1 hour, but can last up to 24 hours. The account owner can sign in and use the account again when the suspension ends and the bandwidth limit resets.

Causes of bandwidth issues and recommended actions

Migrations or bulk operations using IMAP

To avoid reaching IMAP upload limits:

  • Avoid large copy or drag operations when using IMAP.
  • When migrating, use a supported migration option. Don't use IMAP to upload messages. For more information, visit Migrate your organization’s data to Google Workspace
  • When downloading a large amount of data, either limit the download speed of the tool you're using, or download in parts.

For migration needs, account owners can download their entire mailbox about 3 times per month.

Continuous retries

Some email clients might try actions repeatedly until they reach the account's bandwidth allowance. To make sure clients aren't continuously trying actions, try to re-create the profile or sync relationship on all IMAP clients.

Sharing an account among users

If multiple users frequently access the same account from various locations, the account can reach a Gmail threshold. When this happens, the account is temporarily locked.

To let multiple people use the same Gmail account, use either a collaborative inbox or an account delegation. For more information, visit Avoid sharing an account among users


Recommendations for staying within bandwidth limits

Reduce email label counts

Reducing the number of labels in Gmail and the number of labels for each message reduces the bandwidth when Gmail transfers data to an email client. A Gmail account should use no more than 500 labels. For more information, visit Create labels to organize Gmail

Use other resources to transfer and share files

To reduce the risk of Gmail reaching bandwidth limits, avoid using email attachments for large file sharing. Use Google services such as Drive, Sites, Photos, and YouTube for content sharing.

Related topics

Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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