I was cleaning out my Siteground hosting environment when I inadvertently killed one of my email addresses.
I did this by entering the mail folder above the root folder, via cPanel’s File Manager.
Once there, I deleted some folders for one of my own email accounts that didn’t receive much mail.
I didn’t know that deleting these folders would kill my email address.
It was a case of, “Mmm, I wonder what this button does…”
Only when I tried fetching emails for it through Thunderbird, did I notice the error message informing me that the email address was dead.
Because I don’t use that email address much, killing it doesn’t cost me, and I can afford to experiment with it.
With that in mind, I headed into the Siteground install, clicked on the Email Accounts link and tried to edit the email address.
But cPanel told me that the email address didn’t exist, despite it being listed as one of my email addresses.
So I thought I’d visit the file system via File Manager, to see if there’s anything else to delete.
There was nothing.
So I tried recreating the email address.
But cPanel told me that the email address already existed.
So I was stuck in limbo.
I couldn’t delete the email address, because cPanel told me that it doesn’t exist.
However, when I tried to create the email address, cPanel told me that it already existed!
I eventually got it to work, and it’s not because I’m clever, but because cPanel is intuitive in handling email addresses.
Read on to see how I fixed this weird error.
If you’ve deleted files and folders inside your mail folder (inside your cPanel File Manager) that correspond to an email address you DON’T want to lose, go into cPanel, to the Email Accounts section, and recreate the email using the email address’ original password (pretend the email address doens’t already exist).
Click save and test the email address. It should work fine.
For demonstration purposes, I set up, break and then fix an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, through my Siteground cPanel.
Enter your Siteground cPanel
Create an email address
Set up your email address in Thunderbird (optional)
Open Thunderbird on your desktop.
Add the email by clicking on File, then New, then Existing Mail Account.
Add your email address’ details and click on Continue.
Thunderbird is clever, so it locates the details for the email address automatically.
Once Thunderbird has done its thing, click on Done.
Test the email address to ensure it works
I sent an email to email@example.com. It worked.
The email I sent from another account, as seen inside my Thunderbird.
Break the new email address
When a warning pops up, acknowledge that you want to delete the folder.
Make sure the email address is broken
Before we can claim we’ve fixed the problem, we need to be sure that it is broken.
Open Thunderbird, and you should get an error message for the email address you created.
Thunderbird throws an error for the email address, because it doesn’t work after deleting the folders inside the mail folder.
My Gmail shows the bounced message, proving that the email address doesn’t work.
See the problem in cPanel
Head for the Email Accounts section in cPanel.
Click on the Delete link for the corresponding email address.
A message pops up stating that there’s no email with that name.
Try to recreate the email
Since cPanel states there’s no such email address, let’s try to create it.
Add your details and click the Create Account button.
An error message pops up stating that the account already exists.
Fix the broken email
That last action, trying to recreate the email address, seems to fix the problem.
I don’t know why, but it works.
So before you continue, you MUST try to create the email.
And when you do that, your email should be restored.
To test it, change the quota.
Your weirdly broken email should work fine thanks to this one weird trick.