- Gmail is one of the most popular web-based email clients in the world.
- Unfortunately, users still receive the occasional error message when using attachments in Gmail.
- To learn more about fixing common Gmail issues, go to our dedicated Gmail Fix Hub.
- Thinking about switching from Gmail? Read more about alternatives on our Emails section.
Some Gmail users have found that the Attach files option in Gmail doesn’t always work.
Whenever they try to attach a file to an email, Gmail returns an error message stating:
Attachment failed. This may be due to a proxy or firewall
Consequently, they can’t attach files to emails. Here are a few potential fixes for the Attachment failed issue.
How do I fix Gmail attachment errors?
- Try third-party alternatives
- Grant Gmail permissions
- Update the Flash Plug-in
- Open Gmail in Another Browser
- Update the Browser
- Disable the Proxy Server
- Switch off Firewalls
- Adjust the Network.http.spdy.enabled Setting in Firefox
1. Try third-party alternatives
If you encounter errors when trying to use attachments on Gmail, the best workaround is to use Mailbird – Winner of Most Popular Mail Alternative 2020.
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This feature gives you the ability to use search terms to identify which emails contain attachments, search by size, minimum pixel size, and also by thumbnail size.
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2. Grant Gmail permissions
The first thing to do and which might be causing the problem with the attachments are browser extensions and permissions.
That’s why we encourage you to disable all browser extensions temporarily (the focus is on adblockers) and check whether Gmail web-client has all permissions.
Just click on the padlock icon in the Address bar and make sure Gmail has access to your emails. That should be enough to resolve the error. In case it isn’t, continue with the steps below.
3. Update the Flash Plug-in
- First, open this page that lists the latest Flash versions.
- Open this website page if you don’t have the latest Flash version listed on the Adobe Flash Player page.
- Deselect the optional offers check boxes if you don’t need the extra software.
- Then press the Install Now button to save the Flash Player installer.
- Open the Adobe Flash Player Installer window shown directly below to install Flash.
- Thereafter, check that Flash is enabled in your browser.
- You can do that in Chrome by clicking the Customize Google Chrome button and selecting Settings.
- Scroll down the Settings page, and click Advanced to expand the options.
- Click Settings and select Flash to open the options shown directly below.
- Select the Allow sites to run Flash option.
Gmail’s default attachment uploader utilizes Flash. The attachment uploader might not work with antiquated Flash versions.
4. Open Gmail in another browser
You might find that Gmail‘s file attachment works fine in an alternative browser. As such, open Gmail in another browser; and then attach a file to an email.
Note that Gmail only supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Edge browsers.
5. Update the Browser
- Click the Customize Google Chrome button to open the browser’s main menu,
- Select Help > About Google Chrome to open the tab shown directly below.
- The browser will automatically download any available updates.
- Then click Relaunch to restart the browser.
You should also check for browser updates to ensure you’re using the latest version. Gmail attachment errors are more likely to occur in outdated browsers.
6. Disable the Proxy Server
- Click the Cortana button on the Windows 10 taskbar, and enter ‘internet options’ in the search box.
- Select Internet Options to open the window directly below.
- Click the Connections tab in the snapshot below.
- Press the LAN settings button.
- Deselect the Use a proxy server for your LAN setting, and press the OK button.
The Attachment failed error message states that the issue could be due to a proxy server. As such, switching the web browser proxy off, if selected, might fix the error.
7. Switch off Firewalls
- Open Run by pressing the Win key + R hotkey.
- Enter ‘firewall.cpl’ in the Open text box, and press the OK button.
- Click Turn Windows Firewall on or off to open the settings shown directly below.
- Select both the Turn off Windows Firewall options on the Customize Settings tab.
- Press the OK button to close the tab.
- Your third-party anti-virus software might also have its own firewall. You can switch a third-party firewall off by right-clicking the anti-virus software’s notification area icon and selecting its disable or turn off the option.
The Attachment failed error message also hints that a firewall might be responsible for the issue.
To ensure there’s no firewall interference for email attachments, you can temporarily switch them off.
8. Adjust the Network.http.spdy.enabled Setting in Firefox
- Enter about:config in Firefox‘s URL bar to open the tab shown directly below.
- Next, input Network.http.spdy.enabled in the search box at the top of the about:config page.
- Then double-click the Network.http.spdy.enabled setting to switch its value to false.
- Close Firefox and restart the browser.
This resolution is more specifically for Firefox users. Switching the Network.http.spdy.enabled setting to false can resolve the Attachment failed issue.
Those resolutions will probably fix the Attachment failed error so that you can attach files to Gmail emails again.
However, you can also report the issue to Google with the Gmail support contact form if further fixes are required.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.