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Google Sheets: The read operation timed out.

  • 25 January 2021
  • 5 replies

Userlevel 3

I am getting the following error quite a few times when reading from or writing to Google Sheet. I know it’s because of the total number of columns and rows that Google or Zapier can handle at a time of operation. Is there any specific/known limit of columns and rows that we should not exceed to not get this error?




Best answer by Troy Tessalone 25 January 2021, 16:32

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5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +14

Hi @thinker500 

Check out this help article:


SSLError The read operation timed out

*This error can also look like: ExternalHTTPSConnectionPool(host='', port=443): The read operation timed out. This usually happens because your spreadsheet is too big.

Google spreadsheets are not optimized for large volumes of information (spreadsheets with around 10,000+ rows), and this can make it a challenge to access them via Zapier. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Consider starting a new spreadsheet with less data in it, or moving/deleting any columns not being used on the Zap. If you choose to move/delete rows, make sure the Zap is off while you do this. Once you're done, you can turn your Zap back on.
  2. If this error pops up with Google Sheets as the trigger, there is little concern about data loss since the Zap will probably catch the data the next time it runs. That said, over time these errors can become more frequent and potentially cause your Zap to be turned off, as there are too many errors.
  3. If this error appears with Google Sheets as the action, then there will likely be data loss. The Zap might not be able to complete sending data to Google Sheets due to the size of the spreadsheet. To recover from this, try replaying that specific task from your task history.

If you're considering an alternate solution, an app like Airtable, or a database, like MySQL, can help better handle large databases.

Userlevel 3

Hello @Troy Tessalone, thank you for writing the answer in depth. It means a lot.

We have also set up Google Sheet scripts on the same Google Spreadsheet that’s being used in Zapier. Do you think that script can cause the “read operation timed out” error on Zapier while reading or writing data to that Google Spreadsheet?

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

@thinker500 - checking back in here to make sure you got sorted with this configuration!

Userlevel 3

@Liz_Roberts We separated sheets into separate Spreadsheets. That seems working but not 100%. We’re still getting the “read operation timed out” errors sometimes.

I’m also having this issue of the Google Sheet timing out and might be due to it being “too large”.

We have about 20 columns, but only 176 rows so not a huge amount of data. Is there some way to build in a delay to give zapier time for the Google Sheet app to load? 

I know there are delay steps, but those are between actions, just wondering what might help this issue because to have to manually Replay the failed zaps seems like a waste of time.