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I'm usually accessing gmail via https. Certain wifi providers (at airports for example) forbid https connections, but allow http. Is there a quick way to force gmail to use http? (http://gmail.com redirects to https://...)

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If these WiFi providers forbid all https connections, then you are out of luck. All gmail logins go over https, and there is no way to change that. It's only once you're in the session that you have the option to use http instead of https. Leaving your session unencrypted on public WiFi might not be the best idea either (see Facebook and Firesheep as an example).

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This can be done but you have to change a setting in your Account Settings beforehand.

Taken from Google FAQ

Changing the HTTPS setting

We've recently made the 'Always use https' setting the default behavior in Gmail (the default used to be http). Here's some background: If you sign in to Gmail via a non-secure Internet connection, like a public wireless or non-encrypted network, your Google account may be more vulnerable to hijacking. Non-secure networks make it easier for someone to impersonate you and gain full access to your Google account, including any sensitive data it may contain like bank statements or online log-in credentials. Accordingly, we enable the 'Always use https' option in Gmail by default. HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is a secure protocol that provides authenticated and encrypted communication.

To disable or re-enable this feature in Gmail:

  • Sign in to Gmail.
  • Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page.
  • Set 'Browser Connection' to 'Don't use https' or 'Always use https.'
  • Click Save Changes.
  • Manually change the URL to http://mail.google.com to start accessing Gmail via http.

Please note that selecting 'Always use https' will prevent you from accessing Gmail via HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). If you trust the security of your network, you can turn this feature off at any time.

If you use a public computer to check your email, it's also important to end each of your Gmail sessions by clicking Sign out at the top of any Gmail page and to close all Gmail browser windows.

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