Easy Tricks for Accessing Your Blocked Gmail

Q: My office blocks access to my Gmail account. Is there a way for me to get around that?

A: For starters, you could reevaluate you work situation: Do you really want to work somewhere that blocks your Gmail? Probably not. But since quitting your job likely isn't a viable option, there are some tricks -- other than cozying up to your IT department -- for getting around your employer's shackles.

One easy option is to type in a different URL. If www.gmail.com doesn't redirect to your inbox try typing http:// or https:// in front of that URL. For government employees, a source informed us that the https:// prefix worked fine. If that doesn't do the trick, try these:

http://mail.google.com or https://mail.google.com

http://gmail.com or https://gmail.com

http://m.gmail.com or https://m.gmail.com

http://googlemail.com or https://googlemail.com

http://mail.google.com/mail/x/ or https://mail.google.com/mail/x/

Navigating through iGoogle also might work: http://www.google.com/ig

If none of those alternative URLs unlocks Gmail, downloading Google Desktop or Google Talk might allow access without encountering restrictions imposed by your IT department. But, if you're employer blocks Gmail, they also likely monitor which programs you install on your machine, in which case they likely wont allow Google Desktop/Google Talk installation, leaving you sans Gmail.

If you're willing to settle for just Gmail emails, rather than the whole Gmail kit and caboodle, you can configure your mail program -- Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc. -- to retrieve your messages. For you Gchat enthusiasts, this won't enable your chat, but it will transfer your Gmail messages to your work inbox. Google provides those set-up instructions here.

For those who yearn for the Gmail interface, Gmail Lite -- an open-source web application, which you can install on your own server -- allows you to access your mail through a stripped down interface; it looks similar to Gmail's HTML option. If you don't have your own website, a quick Google search will bring up some websites that have Gmail Lite already installed for anyone to use. Again, since it's a very basic version of Gmail, it won't give you access to Gchat and other more advanced Gmail features.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

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Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

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