Login problems

Logins sometimes fail.  Just trying again sometimes works, perhaps you made a typo with your membership number or password.
In almost all cases of failed login attempts, carefully following the instructions below would have resolved the issue. Sorry there’s so much but the aim is to cover all eventualities (including some fairly obscure and unusual ones!).

You can log in using with either your email address or your membership number (preferred) as username.

If you don’t yet have a password or have forgotten it, click here  and enter your membership number or registered email address. You will then receive an email with a link, on clicking that the system generates a very strong password, you can override that by typing over it.  If you don’t get that email it’s usually because you changed email address but omitted to update PDMHS.

It can take a while for new members details to be added to the system. If you Email email.address.change@pdmhs.com with your membership number and email address it will be added (or updated) within a few days.

We only have current, legible and correct email addresses for 60% of members, if your’s is not recognised update us by using email.address.change@pdmhs.com including your membership number and email address.

Most of the login-help below uses Gmail (free) as an example. Similar capabilities and considerations may be found in alternative products but I only use my own Gmail account for more detailed guidelines.  Exact details are subject to change should Gmail modify their system.  I doubt features will be removed but their precise location and usage may change.

Password reset email didn’t arrive

Click here  and enter your membership number or registered email address. You will then receive an email with a link, on clicking that the system generates a very strong password, you can override that by typing over it.

The email will get sent immediately and should arrive within a few minutes however there are several reasons why you might not get the notification. More detail about that and how to fix it below .

  • All email systems apply spam/junk mail filtering.  Unfortunately many email systems, in their enthusiasm to block junk mail, also discard some messages you’d like to receive.
    Mail originating from automated computer programs such as our password reset program is particularly susceptible to this.
    • Ideally the spam filter won’t discard suspected junk but will put it in a junk-mail folder from where you can recover it.
    • Your email service should allow you to “whitelist” email addresses to prevent mail from those addresses being treated as junk.   Add webmaster@pdmhs.com to the whitelist then use the “forgotten password” link to get a password sent.
    • Poorer email systems neither use a junk folder nor allow whitelisting. The best solution is to get a better email account (e.g. Gmail.com, Outlook.com or proton.me all offer commercial email accounts but their free service is more than adequate for most users).
  • Temporary faults and congestion on the internet can cause delays, rarely more than a couple of hours.  Check that other emails are reaching your account OK.
  • If you have changed email address since you completed your membership form, try the old address if you still have access to that account.  Otherwise email email.address.change@pdmhs.com and include your new email address, postal address and membership number if possible (this will send a notification to all the relevant PDMHS officers to check/update the details they have on file).
  • Might you have provided an incorrect email address on your membership application form? or perhaps it was ambiguous (it’s easy to get transcription confusions in respect of things like the letter O and the number zero).  Email email.address.change@pdmhs.com to have the email address checked.
  • Much of this will be better done from a full-size PC rather than small-screen device like mobile phone or tablet computer.
  • It’s best to use a web-based email connection (such as gmail.com for Gmail accounts). If instead, you use a desktop email program like Thunderbird, you are potentially adding whatever spam filtering that includes.
  • If you can’t find the email in either inbox or spam folder in Gmail try the advanced search form like this
  • Users of BTinternet email accounts appear to have a poorer experience than most.  My advice is never to use the free email accounts provided by your broadband provider anyway as it makes it difficult to change to another provider (I believe BTinternet does allow you to keep the email account but at a cost of £7.50 pcm).
Error: There is no account with that email address.

The email address we have on file differs from the one you entered.

  • Check for a possible typing error.
  • Try requesting a reminder by entering your membership number. The reset email will go to the address we have on file (if any).  In that case check any other email accounts you may have or have had in the past if possible.
  • If neither work, Email email.address.change@pdmhs.com with your membership number and email address,  the email address will be added (or updated) within a few days.
I've still got a problem!

To date all reported issues would have been resolved by reading this page.

If all else fails email webmaster@pdmhs.com requesting assistance and quoting:

  • Email address
  • Membership number
  • Any error messages
  • The device you are using (e.g Windows PC)
  • The operating system you are using (e.g. Windows 10 Home Version 1803)
  • The Browser you are using (e.g. Google Chrome Version 70.0.3538.77)
  • Anything other detail you believe may help clarify the problem you are experiencing
  • Confirmation that you have followed the guidelines on this page.

My ability to help with issues on computer technology other than Windows PC is limited

Spam filtering

At the root of email reliability are the measures implemented to eliminate spam (junk mail). 

The problem is that “one man’s spam is another man’s delicious pork luncheon meat”, that’s to say there is no reliable way to separate spam from “good” email, some of the criteria are personal preferences.

The first attempts were email filters.  The earliest ones were very crude, they might block email for criteria like use of CAPITAL LETTERS or coloured text because those were a common feature of spam. So spammers stopped using that as a way of making their emails more prominent but still sent the spam.  Then came “blacklists” of  words commonly found in spam like casino, viagra, rolex, naked. Some filters would automatically block an email that contained a blacklisted word. It was warfare, spam blockers would get smarter but spammers would find a way of evading the new techniques. 

Next came some smarter technologies like SPF, DMARC and DKIM, the problem with those is that they have to be implemented on the sender’s web server and there are millions globally. With the passing of time implementation has become more widespread and spam volumes are very significantly resuced.

Unfortunately the “old” filtering technologies haven’t really kept up but are still in place.  They are approaching the point that some are more of a hinderance than a help.  A legitimate email from a friend telling about his purchase of a new rolex or a visit to a casino risks getting blocked by an over-zealous filter. 

You can implement “positive filters” in some email services, that’s to say, you could set a filter like “if an email includes the word Casino don’t send to spam, do send to inbox” which will work unless the email was subject to spam filtering earlier in the route. Email services risk being placed on blacklists if they are identified as the source of spam.  To avoid that they will apply filtering to their client’s outbound emails.  They probably won’t alert the sender because that risks them trying to circumvent the filters, although persistent offenders may find their account has been suspended.  That may be an indication that the account has been hacked, a third party has gained access and is using it to send junk mail. 

Login credentials don’t work:

If login fails the most likely cause is an error entering username and password.

As the password is concealed on the login form it’s hard to spot errors.

Check for ambiguous characters: zero and the letter O/o; letters I, l the vertical bar character | can look similar to the digit one 1; be alert to possible ambiguities in hand-written password reminders.

Check that Caps-Lock is not on. 

Try again.

The standard membership number format is one letter followed by 3 digits like X012. 

The system generated password is garbage, how can I be expected to remember it?

Passwords are supposed to be difficult, they protect you but, more importantly to PDMHS, they help keep the bad guys off our web server. The best solution is to use a password vault like LastPass, KeyPass, Dashlane or BitWarden (my preferred choice) to store all your passwords.  Those products can make all your internet logins lot easier and more secure, all are free or offer a perfectly adequate free version.
You can change your password but please do use a strong one.

Click here  and enter your membership number or registered email address. You will then receive an email with a link, on clicking that the system generates a very strong password, you can override that by typing over it.

Alternatively you can change your password once logged in. This link (when logged in) takes you to your profile page where there’s a password reset option.

Please don’t share your password. Logins are recorded and accounts will be closed if there’s evidence of sharing.

I forgot my password, can I get a reminder?

No, you can only request a new one. The password is only ever known to you, the copy stored on the web server is encrypted.

Click here  and enter your membership number or registered email address. You will then receive an email with a link, on clicking that the system generates a very strong password.

You can override the generated password by typing over it.

Should I edit my user profile?

You can but there’s no point! When you are logged in you can make some changes on this page  At present the only useful option is the ability to change your password. The profile page allows you to change email address too please don’t, instead email your new email address and membership number to email.address.change@pdmhs.com  (this will send a notification to all the relevant PDMHS officers to check/update the details they have on file).

I can't exit the Profile page!

If you are at the profile page it’s not immediately obvious how to get to the members content

 

There are two options: either go to the address https://members.pdmhs.co.uk/  or mouseover “My WordPress”, a link to “Visit Site” will appear, click that.

Don't use a desktop email program

Most email services don’t include much storage for old emails, as a consequence some people prefer a separate desktop email program so storage is only limited by the amount of disk space on your PC.  That option is available with all email services but the best offer a web interface importantly with a generous allocation of storage.

I use Gmail which provides 15GB of free storage. For many users that’s enough for maybe a decade’s-worth, you then have the option of paying around £20 p.a. for 100GB or doing some “housekeeping” such as: delete emails prior to a specified date and/or some of those with large attached files.

I know some are concerned about Google “spying” on email accounts – but to be frank, if you use the internet for anything, any risk of Google spying should be far from the top of your list of concerns. I hear that complaint from people who don’t use two factor authentication or proper security software, use weak passwords (if I ask they’ll often share their password with me and frighteningly commonly it’s very weak). Any email service holds copies of your emails on their servers and the provider does potentially have access to that content. You can only prevent that if you encrypt your messages. That’s difficult to use because your email recipients need to know how to decrypt it and in any case few people sending messages to you will encrypt them.

Afraid you could  lose your email archive?

This is cited as one of the reasons some people prefer a desktop email program.  That’s a bad reason, at the very least you’ll need to ensure very frequent backups are taken, even then you risk losing any mail sent or received since the most recent backup.

  • Any good email service will include the option to download all your emails in a standard format.
  • Online email services should include remote backup, “never say never” but the likelihood of total loss is remote. You face a higher risk if you just keep your emails on your desktop PC, disk-failure is a common problem, most PC disks have an MTBF of 5 years or less.
  • Many email services provided by broadband providers (BT internet, Virgin Media etc) close your email account if you choose to use a different provider making it harder to leave – I understand BT do allow you to move away from them and let you retain your BT email address for a monthly fee of £7.50.  In recent years several smaller providers have withdrawn their email service with as little as a month’s notice.  I’d rather keep my email independent of my broadband provider and use Gmail.  Even if Google decided they needed to charge £50 p.a. for Gmail I’d have no hesitation in paying.
  • One possibility is to use an online email service like Gmail but access it using a desktop mail program. In that case you do then get the best of both worlds, mail is stored online and on your PC. That does call for some basic IT configuration competence and then I strongly advise a very disciplined approach to checking the account using the web interface at least once a week, it offers more control and easier access to the spam folder.

 

Two factor authentication

Many email services offer 2FA (or the same thing with a different name like two factor security). This is not unlike your Online Bank account for which username and password is not enough to get access, you need an additional means of verification.  That used to be by using a little electronic device to generate a single use access code, now it’s more common to make use of your mobile phone, perhaps sending a unique access code by text message.

If 2FA is available use it.  If it isn’t, move to a more security aware email provider.  If you’ve never seen the devastation (and quite commonly, financial loss) a hacked email account can cause you may think 2FA is just a nuisance. Once you have been hacked you’ll never make that mistake again. One response is “yes but there’s nothing confidential in my emails, I don’t care who reads my messages”.  You are wrong, there are numerous ways your account can be used. If you are very fortunate it may be “only” to send spam to everyone in your address book.

Cookies are blocked or not supported by your browser.

If you see this message, you will need to enable cookies to use WordPress.  This is a setting in your Web Browser program (e.g. Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera). Instructions for each differ so use the Help function or Google Search to find where to change the settings. After changing the setting you may need to close and restart the browser. Uning Chrome the option to look for is: Sites that can always use cookies set that to members.pdmhs.co.uk

Some security packages like the very widely used uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger may block some web site content but both can easily be overridden on a site where they are causing difficulties.  PC Anti Virus packages may intervene too, those are less likely to be a problem but if they do block a website you trust they can usually be disabled.  Do ensure you re-enable at the earliest moment.

Cookies are small notes a website can save in your web browser.  Most are helpful (keep you logged in to a web site or “remember” your shopping-cart contents) but some (3rd party cookies) can be used in ways some people find objectionable – like tracking your buying habits to better target you with advertising.

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