5 steps to troubleshoot Google Apps

Follow these five steps to troubleshoot any Google Apps-related issue.

"In 2013, Gmail was available 99.978% of the time," according to a March 2014 post by Nicolas Lidzborski to the Official Google Enterprise blog. Gmail -- and other Google Apps services -- consistently provide uptime and availability numbers that most organizations can't match.

Sometime, though, things don't work as expected.

The following tips may help you -- and your colleagues -- identify and resolve any Google Apps-related issues.

1. Check the connection

Are you connected?

If you use Chrome, install Google's "Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics" utility from the Chrome Web Store (Figure A). You need to install this utility before you need it, obviously. The app helps people test and troubleshoot internet connection issues in Chrome and Chrome OS devices.

Figure A

Figure A
First, check your internet connection.

Note: If you're an Administrator, you can pre-install this app for your users that login to Chrome. Here's how:

  1. Login to your admin.google.com Dashboard
  2. Choose Other Google Services (you may need to click the More controls menu at the bottom first)
  3. Select Chrome Management from the list
  4. Click User Settings
  5. Look for Pre-installed Apps and Extensions, and then choose Manage pre-installed apps (Figure B)

From there, you may select apps and extensions to automatically install for your users.

Figure B

Figure B
As an Administrator, you may pre-install apps and extensions for your users that log-in to Chrome.

Can others connect?

If your connection seems to work, visit isup.me in your browser. Try to connect to the Google service you're unable to reach from there. For example, enter drive.google.com to test whether the site can connect to Google Drive.

2. Check Google Apps status

Google posts the status of Google Apps services to appstatus.google.com. Look there to see if any disruptions or outages are reported for core Google services, such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, or Groups (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Visit appstatus.google.com to view the service status of core Google Apps.

If no outages are yet reported, you might do a quick search for the service you can't connect to at Twitter. People often mention outages or disruptions on Twitter before a formal status update appears on the AppStatus page. You can search Twitter -- even if you don't have an account -- by going to search.twitter.com in your browser, then enter the name of the service (e.g., Google Drive or Gmail).

3. Check the Help Center

Sometimes, issues are unrelated to your connection or a service's availability.

In that case, a visit to the Google Apps Help Center or the central Google support page may provide helpful information. Additional training for Google Apps at learn.googleapps.com also might help.

Currently identified problems or errors are detailed on a Known Issues page in the Help Center (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D
Check to see if you've encountered an already known issue.

4. For tech professionals: Communicate with your users

Establish an alternative channel to communicate with your users. If you use Gmail, Google+, Hangouts, or Sites to communicate, none of these will be useful if Google services are unavailable. Make sure your users know where to seek information if your organization's primary services are down. A third-party help desk service outside of the Google Apps ecosystem works well for this task.

You could use a social media service to convey information about service disruptions. For example, the university where I teach will report major system outages on their Twitter account (@gvsuIThelpdesk). Twitter maintains a status.twitter.com page at Tumblr to report status when Twitter experiences problems.

5. For Google Apps Admins: Contact Google

Call or Email

As a Super Administrator, you have direct access to Google support by phone or email. Contact information for Google Enterprise support is found in your dashboard: login at admin.google.com, then select Support. You can seek support by email or phone. If you call, retrieve your generated PIN from this page no more than an hour before you call.

Figure E

Figure E
Login to admin.google.com as an administrator to obtain the information you need to contact Google enterprise support.

Test support

When I help people setup Google Apps, I try to have the client place a call to Google Enterprise Support at least once to get a question answered. I want the client to contact Google Enterprise support in a non-stressful situation. I don't want a crisis call to be the first support call a client makes.


In Google Apps, a Super Administrator can assign an administrator role to other accounts. A person with the "Support" privilege can access the information needed to contact Google for support. If you work in a small organization, be sure to assign roles so that more than one person can contact support!

Be prepared

Remember, Google Apps rarely goes down. When you encounter an issue, follow the steps above and you -- and your colleagues -- will likely be back to work soon.

Have you experienced any problems with Google Apps? If so, share your solutions in the discussion thread below.