If you are using email clients like Thunderbird, Outlook etc. for accessing your emails stored in your Gmail or Google Apps account using IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), then at some point of time you may see following error:

imap error

Your IMAP server wants to alert you to the following: Web login required. (Failure).

If you see above error in your mail client then you are required clear the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) for your email account! Let’s check out in this post how to do so?

Why do we see above error?

  • In order to prevent abnormal utilization of bandwidth (both upload and download) by bots and automated scripts, sometimes Google temporarily restrict access to their mail server.
  • Your email client installed on your computers tries to frequently check or request emails from Google servers. It is recommended that you should set a higher value of time in minutes (equal to or greater than 60 minutes) for Check for New Messages every… for your mail client’s Server Settings. See an example screenshot of Thunderbird below:

check for new messages every


If you are sure that your Google account username and password is correctly stored in your mail client and you are still seeing web login required failure OR invalid credentials error, then follow these steps in order to clear the CAPTCHA for your email account:

1. If you are using a Gmail account, then follow this link: https://www.google.com/accounts/UnlockCaptcha and if you are using a Google Apps email account with your domain name, then access the CAPTCHA unlock page using following URL and replace YOURDOMAIN with your actual domain keywords along with its TLD (abc.com, xyz.net etc.):


2. When the unlock page fully loads in your browser, type in your username and password for your Gmail/Apps account and also type the CAPTCHA just below the password field correctly and click on unlock button. If your login credentials are correct, then your account will get instantly unlocked and you will be able to access your email account without any problem over IMAP.

Note: If after clearing the CAPTCHA, your email client is unable to fetch emails then you should head over to official Gmail forums.