My Google Drive isn’t working: What to do?

Imagine you’re a content writer working in Google Docs on a new blog post to be published this Thursday. And then, in the moment of your wildest flight of imagination, you lift your head up and see “error, please reload” on the screen.

Or you’re a web developer who wants to download the latest design version from your Google Workspace account. And the more times you try, the more you get a 403 Forbidden Error.

Regardless of its multiple benefits, including functionality, security, reliability, and so on, Google Drive has its drawbacks. Its upload & download issues are probably the most irritating.

In this blog post, we cover the most common issues you encounter in Google Drive and give a detailed explanation of how to handle them. So let’s get started…

Most typical errors in GD & their meanings

But before we dive any further in solutions to GD, we should understand what can let your GD account go down. Here are a few most common errors that an average GD user must have experienced at least once:

  • Trying to connect most likely means that there are some issues with the internet connection on your side.
  • The Google Drive server encountered an error / A server error occurred. Please press “Reload” in your browser. This notification warns you about a failed attempt to connect to Google’s servers. The message doesn’t specify on which part the problem appeared.
  • Google Drive Error Code 5 hints about some issues concerning application permissions. Try running your GD app as an administrator.
  • 403 Failed-Forbidden Error  / HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden / Access Denied: You don't have permission to access. Any of these refer to an HTTP status code. To make it simple, the message implies that you’re trying to reach a website with no access to it. The error occurs mostly due to incorrect settings and/or file and folder permissions.
403 Failed-Forbidden Error
403 Failed-Forbidden Error
  • Error 404 happens when a file/page couldn’t be found. As a rule, these are some issues with a destination link. For example, a person has moved a file out of the folder.
  • Temporary Error 502 / 502 Bad Gateway / 502 Service Temporarily Overloaded. This message informs you about some temporary errors on the server.
  • Google Drive Error 500 is an internal server-side error. This may be caused by any general reason like a failed upload.

First-aid help

Now when we differentiate between different types of errors, it won’t cause you difficulty to handle these issues. We begin with basic troubleshooting, which won’t take you much time to complete:

1) Wait and reload

It may sound ridiculous but sometimes, hesitating a few moments may truly solve your GD issues. You just wait and enforce your request again like opening or uploading the file. Or you can wait a bit longer and reload the page so as to clear up your cache memory.

2) Force Stop

Force Stopping your GD is a more radical measure. But this step will refresh your page, and there is a high chance your account will work again. Force Stop is especially good if you’re uploading some files and see they’ve stuck at some point. And so you’ll need to start your upload again, but the first step is to stop the app so there was no interference caused by the preceding try.

Force Stop Google Drive
Force Stop Google Drive

3) Maybe it’s the connection problem?

A slow internet connection is the most likely cause of any problems you might experience online. And although we rank it as the third step to deal with GD issues, checking your network connection is actually what you should start with.

By the way, if your problem with GD appears abruptly, it’s a good sign that your internet isn’t running properly. For example, you’re downloading the files, and everything goes okay, and then you’re stuck at one moment.

Running a troubleshooter is the oldest but the most reliable solution in this case. If you’re a Windows 10 user, then press Windows key + I to open the settings, then go to Network & Internet, and click Network troubleshooter.

Network troubleshooter
Network troubleshooter

On Mac, you choose Applications > Utilities > Network Utility. In most cases (if you indeed have network problems), the troubleshooter won’t solve them. But at least you’ll know for sure that it’s a weak connection issue.

You may also try turning on and off the internet in order to refresh your data, the same as with force stop. Switching the internet connection like from WiFi to mobile data and vice versa might also help. In some way, it’s the reset as well, and so your network-related glitch should disappear.

What else you might try? Reset your modem and/or router. But don’t forget to wait at least ten seconds so it restarted all its processes. You might also reset the computer or at least enable the airplane mode to remove all the random and temporary data from your device. Finally, check your VPN. Sometimes, when it’s turned on, it blocks uploads for some reason.

One more valuable piece of advice. If you’re happening to work frequently in places with a bad internet connection (let’s imagine you’re an avid traveler, and you change your workplace with the speed of light), then it might be useful to turn on offline mode, for your GD files. With this solution, you can view & edit some of your documents (the ones you choose) without the internet connection. And the changes will sync as soon as you get access to the web.

4) Going incognito

Next to force stop, a private window is not an intricate but still very helpful measure when it comes to fixing web issues. A so-called incognito mode is an isolated window so it doesn’t store any cookies or cache that clutter up your regular browser. And for this very reason, going private might be good if your GD account isn’t working.

Incognito mode
Incognito mode

Depending on the browser you use, click Ctrl + Shift + N or Ctrl + Shift + P to activate an incognito mode. You can also open it manually by starting a new tab in the right upper corner.

5) Sign out of all other accounts

Google Drive might “feel” disoriented if you try to upload/download assets with multiple accounts signed in. So consider switching to one account only when you’re working with GD and especially when you’re planning to upload/download files.

By the way, this bug disappears completely if you work with your account. Here you can easily change from one account to another, synchronize your assets automatically (or manually but with one click only), and forget about any upload/download issues at all!

6) Review file requirements

Pretty often, to solve the problem, you may need to shift your perspective. And by this moment, we took it for granted that something went wrong with either your software or storage. But what if the files that you want to upload/download are broken?

Think about checking the file requirements imposed by GD. This could be the file name, its type, format, size, etc. For example, special characters like the question mark or slash are forbidden in file names in GD.

In most cases, you don’t save the file name with these symbols on your computer either. But malfunction still happens, so pay attention to the file names of the materials you want to upload/download.

Similarly, there are some limitations concerning sizes and types of files. So make sure you use only the supported ones. Or think about uploading them as zips. For example, if you are hosting a virtual meeting, you will need marketing materials that usually come in large file formats. Compressing them as zips is a great way to not overload your drive.

7) Check the status of your GD

It’s unlikely but issues on the GD side still happen. Only a month ago, in August, 2020, users all over the globe couldn’t access their Gmail, GD, & Google Meet accounts because of some massive outage.

Reviewing your Google Workspace Status Dashboard is the easiest way to check whether existing errors happened on the GD side. If something’s wrong, the green dot near the product you use (GD/ Gmail/ Google Docs, etc.) will turn red. Click the dot if you want more details about the problem.

Google Workspace Status Dashboard
Google Workspace Status Dashboard

If you’re not a Google Workspace user, don’t worry. There are other ways to check the current status of your GD. For example, you may use one of the third-party detectors that update internet users on any issues on GD servers. Downdetector is my favorite one as it provides the freshest info. Plus, it specifies the most reported problems right now like the app is not loading or sync issues. You may try alternative apps too: Is It Down Right Now, Down for Everyone or Just Me, or Outage Report.

An active social media user? Then you won’t be surprised if I tell you that Twitter or Facebook, for example, are also a good source to check the current GD status. Just type in #googledrivedown or something similar, and you get the latest news on a possible outage.

For a more comrehensive knowledge, read our full guide to uploading files to Google Drive.

Last but not least…

Many users choose Google Drive as their storage because of its security and advanced features. But like any other program, GD is not ideal. And different errors arise when you use it regularly.

Here we’ve covered 7 immediate solutions you may try in case your GD isn’t working. In the second part of our article (yes, there will be the second part), read 5 more troubleshooting ideas.  But this time, these will be more advanced and time-consuming.

Here at, we genuinely hope that our post was useful to you, and you managed to solve your problem. Consider backing up your GD account with an advanced DAM solution that will allow you to manage your assets like a pro. Also, take a look at integration with Google Drive.

How to get the most of your Google Workspace

And if you have second thoughts on Google Drive, try as an all-in-one DAM, with its own cloud storage. Team
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