1 million emails later, Backupify proves Gmail accounts can run out of space

Google claims their free email service, Gmail, has "lots of space" and according to many it's almost impossible to run out of room given the search giant is increasing the amount of space available almost every day. One intuitive company decided to put the myth to the test and discovered both what it takes and what occurs when you reach your Gmail storage limit.

Backupify, a company who provides the capability to backup all your online data and profiles across a number of sites including Google Apps, Twitter and Facebook, tasked an employee with the job of attempting to run out of room in their Gmail account.

"Here at Backupify, we have to do some crazy things to test the limits of our software.  Often it requires us pushing cloud services to their own limits to see what happens," Backupify wrote on their blog about the challenge. "As a result of this testing, we recently found out that yes, you can run out of space in Gmail."

The employee received almost one million emails with a total size of 7532 MB and usage of 99% in his Gmail inbox before being shown warning messages informing them they were running out of room.

So what happens when you reach the storage limits of your Gmail account? When you login you'll receive a warning message, which says "You have run out of space for your Gmail account. You will not be able to send or receive any emails until you delete some items." Google then links you to a page in their support forums providing a number of tips on how to reduce the amount of emails you've stored.

The bottom line? As was discovered in 2009, the myth simply isn't true. Although you'd need to be receiving an almighty amount of emails and for most users storage will never be a problem, you can officially run out of room in your Gmail account. Until they increase the storage limit of course, or you buy an additional amount of space to use, that is.

Gmail can run out of room

Gmail can run out of room. (Image Credit: Backupify)

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65 Comments

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Gmail really needs to improve their user interface. Its also a HUGE pain to try to clean out your old messages that you want deleted because you can only delete one page worth of email at a time, which is totally unacceptable.

Ive been using gmail for almost 4 years now and im on 11% (874mb) and they have been great service, without much spam.

On the other hand, looking at the pay2upgrade storage, 1 TB ($256.00 USD per year), wow... 1tb of emails!

it's downbto people not setting their Gmail accounts up correctly I feel is the cause. customers do not go through the settings and setting up filters and making sure that they prune their email accounts correctly. Simple education is what is needed. or for Google to added an automatic prune if the mailbox reaches a certain percentage and/or limit within a month, to auto prune.

Haha, i found a bug on the Google Accounts page for purchasing additional space. The Romanian translated landing has al the same options but the blue button translates both TB and GB to TB so there appears to be an otion for 20 TB of storage for 5$ or 400TB of storage for 100$. I wish Romania had a class action law-suit accepting court cause i would have milked Google dry for that bad translation.

http://www.google.com/support/...eb22d64ee871e1&hl=en>

I've used Gmail since 2007 and I don't remember Google ever claiming to have "unlimited" space. I think the space limit is 7GB, and it increases all the time. The point Backupify is trying to make doesn't make sense to me. Also, even if you save emails all the time, how many people are going to have 700k+ emails and actually read them?

What a idiotic new post. You do not need to company to prove that; as many have stated.
My mum's gmail account have to be cleared every 2 months....

briancarnell said,
The problem isn't that Gmail runs out of space..the problem is their procedures for what to do when you do exceed the space available are poorly thought out and there's a huge discontinuity over their various systems and businesses that can easily lead to lost email, as happened to me over the past Christmas holiday:

http://brian.carnell.com/artic...l-fail-experience/</p>;

Sweet job replying to pimp out your site. #not

Of course it could at some point, so could hotmail's unlimited. All accounts are thin provisioned and de-duped for the illusion of that much available space. The cut offs will be hit for a customer account.

This sounds like free advertisement on Neowin... someone proved they can run out of GMail space. Can I get an article too please - I can run out of hard disk space and I have 3 Gigs worth of it.

What a pointless exercise......wow they spammed and spammed email until it was full. (my 5yr year old nephew could do that...seriously)

I've been using gmail since the first beta was released and I've never come close to filling mine.....But then again I don't allow company's to spam me with useless crap.

Shame Neowin couldn't be a bit more selective with there articles

Baked said,
What a pointless exercise......wow they spammed and spammed email until it was full. (my 5yr year old nephew could do that...seriously)

I've been using gmail since the first beta was released and I've never come close to filling mine.....But then again I don't allow company's to spam me with useless crap.

Shame Neowin couldn't be a bit more selective with there articles

1+

Critical Error said,
Less than 8GB?? Hotmail offers 500GB for everyone!

Well it can be filled up easily too. Maybe Backupify is posting on its blog tmr?

Critical Error said,
Less than 8GB?? Hotmail offers 500GB for everyone!

And that's what we call overselling...
there's not enough disk space to use 500Gb for every live/hotmail account they have. Google can do the same but their way is more funny that just say x Gb.

Google was the first to break the 100mb back then. Hotmail Yahoo etc was all under 100Mb.

It may not be "unlimited" but they sure do give you enough space for all the spam I receive!!

I just cleared my 2 accounts that NO ONE has my address to. Clear it just about every Sunday.
Had 123 spams in one and 132 in the other!! Sheesh!!

I don't think Hotmail even gets that much. Don't use that one, although I have before, so not sure.

Wow, this was really an article? C'mon.

My flash drive takes 32768MB worth of data. Can you write an article telling me that 32768MB worth of data will fill up my flash drive?

Thanks.


from gmail.com
Lots of space
Over 7541.407077 megabytes (and counting) of free storage.
-----
Sort of implies that you are getting an inbox with ever increasing space, nomater how small the increase is. In this case they are adding a few kb at a time if i read it correctly

Finally, the masses will realize that all this unlimited BS is nothing more than a gimmick. I'm not talking just about this particular case, but also about people who instantly jump on the unlimited web hosting plans, unlimited email accounts, etc.

Well you're wrong with 'this particular case', because Google doesn't advertise unlimited storage.

Which also means this article couldn't be any more pointless.

Nexx295 said,
Finally, the masses will realize that all this unlimited BS is nothing more than a gimmick. I'm not talking just about this particular case, but also about people who instantly jump on the unlimited web hosting plans, unlimited email accounts, etc.

I fail to see how this would convince people about certain realities when this isn't even a proper example.

Brian Miller said,
I wish Google would provide a free Backup and a free Antivirus service.

http://pack.google.com/ not their but close enough
that's funny because they still put Firefox instead of chrome

for the backup ther philosophy is put everything in the cloud si if you use picasa docs spreadsheet etc you have some kind of backup from them

NesTle said,

http://pack.google.com/ not their but close enough
that's funny because they still put Firefox instead of chrome

for the backup ther philosophy is put everything in the cloud si if you use picasa docs spreadsheet etc you have some kind of backup from them

Hey, I visited the URL (Google Packs) in Internet Explorer and it does suggest Google Chrome !!! At-least it did suggested to me !!!

Elliott said,
I've had some clients reach the space limit. Crazy, I know.

not crazy at all, some of my clients will be sent 100MB of photos a day - easy to reach 7GB in no time at all. Some people still prefer email as a method of sharing files despite the likes of Dropbox doing a better job.

Seriously pointless article the limit is displayed at the bottom of the page. This article even says google claims it has 'lots of space' .. Which it does! I've never known them to say unlimited.

I've reached the limit on one of my free gmail account years ago, without even trying. So yeah, why is this news again?

I don't actually see the need for this test, the likelyness of the "average" user ever recieving that amount (and size) reaching that total is unlikely.

is it just me, or is this story a complete waste of time and pathetic.

It's like reporting that my 500GB hard drive just told me it's out of space after I copied 500GB of files to it - duh yeah, there's an advertised limit.

For the majority of people, 7GB is enough space for a decade of emails.
I have over 10GB of emails for the past decade, all on Gmail, but I upgraded to the Google Apps account so now have 25GB, when I use 25GB, I'll upgrade again.

/end of story.

Exosphere said,
is it just me, or is this story a complete waste of time and pathetic.

It's like reporting that my 500GB hard drive just told me it's out of space after I copied 500GB of files to it - duh yeah, there's an advertised limit.

For the majority of people, 7GB is enough space for a decade of emails.
I have over 10GB of emails for the past decade, all on Gmail, but I upgraded to the Google Apps account so now have 25GB, when I use 25GB, I'll upgrade again.

/end of story.

It`s not just you

This was done many times back in 2004 when the storage limit was 1000MB. I don't see why they thought it would be any different now. There is a storage limit for a reason!

What a shocker. Google doesn't claim the space is unlimited. I'm currently using 5% of my 7541 MB. I always assumed I was going to run out if I get mail faster than the limit increases. :-p

Leonick said,
Now go test Yahoos "unlimited" space, see if it really is

Maybe its on tomorrow's neowin news.
See the screenshot, they have Yahoo too in the tabs.

tanjiajun_34 said,
Wtf? They are stupid or something? There is no unlimited space. It don't take a genius to know that?

Well the point wasn't to see if it were unlimited or not, but to see how much space you have...

Leonick said,

Well the point wasn't to see if it were unlimited or not, but to see how much space you have...

When you can see when you scroll down to the bottom of your gmail inbox?

Or go to http://www.gmail.com (Logout) and see the size increase live. 6 decimal places value some more...

tanjiajun_34 said,
Wtf? They are stupid or something? There is no unlimited space. It don't take a genius to know that?

Agree, gmail specifically says in the account that the space limit is around 7.8 gb.

tanjiajun_34 said,
Wtf? They are stupid or something? There is no unlimited space. It don't take a genius to know that?

I was thinking the same thing. These people set out to disprove a claim that Google never actually claims. Brilliant. And it took them this long to actually find out how much space really is available? As others pointed out above, Google makes this information very visible in several locations!! ****ing morons.

Quattrone said,

Agree, gmail specifically says in the account that the space limit is around 7.8 gb.

this

"the myth simply isn't true" what freaking myth? this is incredibly lame.

roadwarrior said,

I was thinking the same thing. These people set out to disprove a claim that Google never actually claims. Brilliant. And it took them this long to actually find out how much space really is available? As others pointed out above, Google makes this information very visible in several locations!! ****ing morons.

Agreed. Google NEVER made claims of unlimited space.

mackenziepricee said,
They should give Hotmail a try. They claim it is unlimited I think.

No i believe they say it is 10GB for your email.. but then you have the Skydrive that is extra storage for 25GB.

mackenziepricee said,
They should give Hotmail a try. They claim it is unlimited I think.

No it is "effectively unlimited". Basically if you start getting near the limit for your mailbox they will increase the limit. The limits can only be increased at a certain rate though to stop people from developing a hack that uses hotmail as a backup for their 20TB system. The idea though is that if you are receiving an almighty volume of e-mail the limit should increase as fast as your usage.
If you ran this test to try and run out you would hit the limits though as your test would be deliberately adding too fast.