Inconsistent SMTP/Gmail connection drop

Dan Stromberg drsalists at
Thu Aug 4 03:02:26 CEST 2011

Some things to consider:

1) You might see if there's something about the size of the message - is it
bigger after collecting data all night?  Is google disconnecting after a
maximum amount of data is transferred?

2) You might try sending a tiny test message at the beginning, just to
yourself, and seeing if that has the problem

3) You might try running your script under a system call tracer:
and inspecting the list of syscalls and their return codes near when
process terminates

4) I get disconnects from gmail once in a while too, especially when
downloading a large list of new message headers; I've been just coding
around it by making my code idempotent and otherwise restartable.  This
seems to happen with both 2.x and 3.x, so I assume it's not really related
to the Python version, but I suppose I should try it on PyPy or Jython
someday.  Note that the error message in 3.x was better than in 2.x.


On Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 2:46 PM, Astley Le Jasper
<astley.lejasper at>wrote:

> I have a laptop that wakes up and then runs a script that collects
> info and sends an email with a spreadsheet (zipped and about 350KB)
> report to a number of people. However, every time I get the following
> error:
> File "/usr/lib/python2.7/", line 343, in getreply
>    raise SMTPServerDisconnected("Connection unexpectedly closed")
> - When I check the laptop and manually run the function that sends the
> email and report, it works fine. I have never been able to replicate
> the error when doing it manually.
> - It can't be a problem with Gmail at that time in the morning or my
> connection, because the script also sends me a copy of the log file
> straight after, and that works.
> - The same code has been working for years, it just that I have
> recently rebuilt the machine so now it is using Python 2.7. I have
> also change the references to use absolute file references, rather
> than relative. I also have changed the code to run as root.
> - I've checked the smtp debug report and everything seems ok. I just
> never get the confirmation code (250) to say that it's completed.
> - Even stranger ... it ran ok once. But I didn't change a thing and
> the next day it wouldn't work.
> The only thing I can think of is that when the file is transferred to
> the reports directory, it somehow isn't been released quickly enough
> and perhaps this is tripping up SMTP. But ... this is a bit of a guess
> given I've tried to exhaust all the other options.
> Any ideas?
> --
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