How to Make Gmail Default to SSL Mode

SSL Lock

Because Gmail is so readily available on all browsers, safety concerns have people wondering how to make Gmail default to SSL mode. No one wants to have their emails possibly intercepted. Even though Gmail is set to run SSL as the default, it's nice to be able to double check to be sure it's working as it should, and to also be able to change it back if it was somehow changed.

What is SSL?

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, ensures that as data is passed between the web server and browser that it remains private. It encrypts it so that it can't be intercepted by other third parties. Websites across the Internet use SSL to encrypt transactions that occur between the business and customers.

Pros and Cons of Running Gmail in SSL Mode

Of course, the major advantage of running your Gmail in SSL mode is to protect your privacy. With or without SSL mode, your password is always protected, yet your emails aren't. Someone on your wireless network could intercept your mail and read it, thereby possibly discovering your sensitive information.

While it might seem like SSL Mode is the way to go in all cases, it does have one small disadvantage. It requires more power to encrypt all the transactions, meaning there is a slight slowdown. Only a minor amount of speed is lost, but if you're already on a slower system, it might be noticeable.

Checking to See if SSL Mode is Running

To check your Gmail to see if it's running in SSL mode or not, sign in to Gmail. You will see a bar or icon to the left of the URL. In some browsers it's it's depicted as a lock, while in others it's a bar that says "google.com" and features the Gmail logo. Clicking the lock or the Gmail logo will reveal whether it's currently encrypted or not.

How to Make Gmail Default to SSL Mode

Making Gmail default to SSL mode is a very easy process. It should only take a matter of minutes.

  1. Sign into your Gmail account by going to gmail.com, and entering your username (in most cases it's the complete email you use) and password, and click the button that says "Sign in."
  2. Once you see your listing of all current emails, in the upper right of the page is your username and the words "Settings," "Help," and "Sign out." Click on the word "Settings."
  3. This takes you to a page of all your settings for Gmail. Find the section labeled "Browser connection" and click the button next to the words "Always use https." Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the button that says, "Save Changes."
  4. Your screen will return to your listing of current emails. You can now check to be sure it's running SSL by clicking the bar or lock icon to the left of the URL. If it says it's encrypted, you will know it worked.

After You've Learned About SSL Mode

After you have learned about SSL and how to check for it, you'll feel much safer making all of your transactions online, not just within Gmail. If you're doing some online banking or shopping on a website, check to see if the site is encrypted the same way you checked with your email account, in that space to the left of the URL. If it's not encrypted, there most likely won't be a way to change it, but you'll know that you'd be risking your security by sending any sensitive information through the site.

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How to Make Gmail Default to SSL Mode