Images in the email are not showing up

This is a problem that appears randomly and often the same newsletter opened with different clients (Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, Yahoo, Thunderbird, Office 365, …) shows different behaviors.

Short answer: it’s not a problem with your newsletter or of the Newsletter plugin. But let’s see in detail what can be the reason.

The first thing to know is that Newsletter just inserts in your emails a link to the picture. For example, if we send a newsletter from our site, www.thenewsletterplugin.com, containing images, they’re just referenced in the content as https://www.thenewsletterplugin.com/wp-content/upload/…

Images are not embedded in the email and when reading the message the receiver needs to be connected to the internet to see the images.

Case 1: the email reader is blocking the image loading (most common)

This behavior is especially shown by Microsoft Office/Outlook which blocks the image loading and shows a little label in the image space saying to click to load the image. Sometimes, it depends on the Outlook version, even one notice on top of the email is displayed asking if you want to load the images.

Outlook is not alone: Gmail has this feature and even Thunderbird. In every case, a notice, sometimes not so noticeable, is shown.

Case 2: your site is blocking the image download (rare)

It was a configuration widely used time ago, the so-called “image hotlinking block”. In practice, the site (actually the server) is configured to not respond to image requests if not coming from a browser visiting the site.

An email client which needs to get the image is not a browser surfing the site and so… it won’t be served at all.

The solution is to remove to hotlink block usually available on your provider management console.

Case 3: your site is blocking Google or Apple or Microsoft (hard to spot)

Google, now even Apple and maybe Microsoft, to protect your privacy, don’t let their email readers download the images from your PC directly. They download them for you on their servers so you get them from their servers and not directly from the email sender.

That denies the sender the possibility to track the image download and get, for example, information about your IP address (which in turn can be converted into an approximative location).

If your provider has rules to limit the number of connections from an IP address or has a filter set manually or automatically against those email providers, they won’t be able to get the images and your recipients won’t see them.

This issue is very hard to debug and we see it very few times: for sure it is not the first thing to indagate on.

Case 4: the picture has been deleted

It sounds like a joke, but it happened. Of course, if you delete a picture referenced by a newsletter (remember: emails do not contain the pictures!) it won’t be shown.

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