[imp] Re: mail disappearing on send

Liam Hoekenga liamr@umich.edu
Thu, 30 May 2002 14:06:30 -0400 (EDT)

> We've had a few users complain that their mail is disappearing when the
> hit the send button from the message composition screen (ie, it looks
> like it's sent the message, but it doesn't get stored in sent mail, in
> doesn't get delivered, and I'm assuming that sendmail never gets
> invoked).

I did a little more research on this, and MIT's webmail faq (for their IMP
3.0 installation) has this entry...


Which session stuff do you think they're talking about?  PHP session
lifetime?  SSL session lifetime?  Is some sort of session timeout likely
to be the cause of our problem?


Text from FAQ follows

  I spent an hour writing a mail message, and it was lost when I tried
  to send it. What happened?

    The short answer is, "Your session timed out." The WebMail server
    maintains a "session" with your browser, so that only you get the
    pages you want, and only pages that "belong" to you. There may be many
    people using WebMail at the same time; WebMail sessions are how the
    server distinguishes between them. Sessions eventually time out due to
    inactivity between the browser and the Webmail server. If more than a
    few minutes go by where there is no activity between your browser and
    the Webmail server (for example, if you spend a long time reading a
    single message, or a long time composing a message), the session will
    time out automatically. This is necessary to conserve resources on the
    WebMail server, and as a security feature in case you forget to log
    out on a public-use machine.

    To prevent your session from timing out, especially when you are
    composing mail messages, leave the WebMail window displaying your
    INBOX. This is refreshed automatically every few minutes, which has
    the effect of keeping your session alive. [top]

  Session Timeout: How do I keep my WebMail session from expiring?

    The WebMail server, like all webservers, has certain fixed resources
    available to use in doing its work. Examples of fixed resources
    include the amount of memory and the amount of disk space on the the
    system. Webservers expend resources in managing "sessions" (that is,
    the sequence of pages you see while accessing a site such as
    https://webmail.mit.edu/). In order to provide the best use of these
    resources, sessions automatically time out after a period of

    WebMail has the property that while you are using the Compose window,
    you are interacting with your local computer and not with the WebMail
    server. Thus, while you are composing a mail message, the WebMail
    server doesn't actually hear anything from you. If you take more than
    a few minutes to compose a message, the session may time out, and your
    message will be lost when you attempt to send it, check its spelling,
    or save it as a draft.

    A workaround for this, to ensure that your session stays active even
    while you are composing a lengthy mail message is: Leave the other
    WebMail window set to display your INBOX. If you stay connected to the
    internet, the INBOX display will automatically refresh every few
    minutes, which has the effect of keeping your session active. Another
    way of keeping your session active is to select the two round arrows
    displayed on each mailbox listing page to check for new email.
    Information Systems continues to explore more elegant solutions for
    this known issue. [Top]