Outlook is one of the most popular email services designed by Microsoft and used by a large number of people for personal as well as business communication. But errors like Outlook not being able to connect to the server is an issue that makes it difficult for users to access their email accounts. When this error is seen in Outlook, you will not be able to either send or receive emails.
This issue is not a severe technical one and can be easily solved by you. In this article, we have discussed the troubleshooting methods that will help you resolve the Outlook error “cannot connect to server”.
Fix 1 – Check if the Account Credentials are Correct
1. Launch Outlook on your PC.
2. Click on the File menu.
3. Select the Info tab in the left pane.
4. On the right side, click on Account Settings and choose the option Account Settings… in the dropdown menu.
5. In the Account Settings window, select the Email tab.
6. Here, choose the specific email account and click on the Remove button at the top.
7. Once your email account has been successfully removed, you need to add the account again with the correct credentials and exchange server names.
8. Go to File –> Info.
9. Click on the Add Account button to add the account again.
10. Enter the email address and click on Connect.
11. Type your password when prompted. Click on OK and then Finish to start using your email account in Outlook.
Fix 2 – Verify if Outlook is Online
1. Open Outlook.
2. Go to the Send/Receive tab.
3. Click on the Work Offline button to disable the Offline mode in Outlook.
4. Now, Outlook starts connecting to the server automatically. Once the connection is established with the Exchange server you will be able to send and receive emails without errors.
Fix 3 – Check Whether PC is Connected to the Network
A poor internet connection can be a reason for Outlook server connectivity issues. To check if your internet connection is working or not, open a web page on the browser and check if the page loads. In case, none of the web pages are opening or they are loading at a very slow speed, then restart your Wifi router. After the router restarts, check if Outlook is able to connect to the server without any errors.
Fix 4 – Check Connection with Microsoft Exchange Server
1. Open Outlook.
2. Go to File –> Info.
3. On the right side, click on the Account Settings button and choose Account Settings… from the dropdown that opens.
4. If there is a technical issue with the Exchange server, an orange icon will be displayed next to your email account in the list of emails.
5. If there is an issue with the Exchange server, you cannot do anything other than just waiting for the backend to automatically repair the specific issue. Else move to the next fix below.
Fix 5 – Repair Your Outlook Account
1. Open Outlook Account Settings as mentioned in Steps 2 and 3 in Fix 4 above.
2. Select the Outlook account that needs to be fixed.
3. Click on the Repair… option.
4. You will be prompted to enter your account credentials to proceed further.
5. Enter the correct username and password here. Then, click on the Repair button.
6. Wait for Outlook to automatically diagnose and fix the error.
Fix 6 – Disable Extensions/Add-ons
If none of the fixes have helped resolve the issue for you, then you can try disabling the extensions one by one and you’ll be able to find the problematic extension causing Outlook cannot connect to the server error.
1. Launch Outlook.
2. Click on the File menu.
3. Choose Options on the left-hand side.
4. In the Outlook Options window, select the Add-ins tab.
5. On the right side, click on the Go button next to Manage. Here, make sure you have selected the option COM Add-ins.
6. Here, uncheck the box in front of the Add-in names to disable them. At first, uncheck all the add-ins and click on OK.
7. Check if the connect to server issue with Outlook is resolved.
8. If the problem is fixed, then you can try enabling all the add-ins and then disable them one at a time to find the problematic extension causing the error.
Fix 7 – Rebuild Outlook Data Files
Data files are external files that are used to keep information about your Outlook account. Generally, these files are stored in a dedicated location on your computer. But you can use these data files to fix the issues with your server in Outlook by rebuilding the data files in Outlook.
1. Launch Outlook. Open Account Settings using Steps 2 and 3 in Fix 4 above.
2. In the Account Settings window, go to the Data Files tab.
3. Select an email address in the list below.
4. Now click on Open File Location… at the top.
5. It opens up the file explorer with the location of the data file on your PC.
6. Select all the files in this location by holding the Ctrl + A keys.
7. Click on the Delete (bin) icon at the top to delete all the files present here.
8. Relaunch Outlook. Outlook detects that the data files are missing and starts rebuilding the new one from scratch.
Fix 8 – Repair MS Office Suite
1. Open Run dialog using the Windows + R key combination.
2. Type ms-settings:appsfeatures to open Apps & Features Settings page.
3. Locate your Microsoft Office Suite here.
4. Click on the three vertical dots and choose the option Modify to repair MS Office.
5. When prompted by User Account Control, click on Yes.
6. Choose the option Quick Repair and click on Repair.
7. Click on Repair again to confirm the quick repair process.
8. Wait for Office to finish the repair.
9. Once the repair process is complete, open Outlook and check if you are able to connect to your Exchange server.
10. If it doesn’t work, then try Online Repair in Step 6 above.
Fix 9 – Reinstall MS Office
1. Press the Windows and R key combination to open the Run dialog.
2. Type ms-settings:appsfeatures and hit the Enter key.
3. Locate the Microsoft Office app in the list of apps.
4. Click on the three vertical dots and choose Uninstall.
5. Confirm the uninstallation process by clicking on Uninstall again.
6. Once Office is uninstalled, you can go to the Microsoft site. Login using your credentials and install office from your current subscription.
Thanks for reading.
We hope this article has helped you connect to the Exchange server in Outlook. Comment and let us know the fix that worked for you.
A software engineer turned into an educator with vast teaching experience in universities. Currently working towards my passion for writing.