It’s been a long day. I am very ready to get my Hazelnut Cappuccino at my local coffee shop, fire up my laptop and just catch up on emails and general internet stuff. Time to access the public WiFi.
After placing my order, I find a table by the window with a power outlet just in case and I connect to the WiFi ready to get some work done.
I try to open a website. Nothing. I close my browser and try again. Nothing. I reboot my computer and still no go. This is so frustrating!
I can connect to the WiFi so why can’t I get online?
The problem is actually very common and the solution is just as simple.
The reason we can’t get online at these public hotspots is usually that the sign-on screen is not shown. This is a web page that typically would display the establishments’ terms and conditions for getting online and sometime it would ask you to register before letting you connect.
Without this page, there is no way to connect.
The WiFi Login problem:
Public hotspots are set up that after you connect to the WiFi and try to access a website, the system would intercept that connection and direct you to the login page.
The reason this doesn’t show is that most websites use SSL encryption; the little lock which appears in the URL bar. This means that the traffic between your computer and the website is encrypted and so it is not readable by the hotspot. Therefore it can not redirect you to the login page.
The WiFi Login solution:
So if the SSL encryption is the problem, then the solution is not to use a website that is SSL protected. But since most websites like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc are, how do you find one that isn’t secure?
Simple. Head over to NeverSSL.com
As the name suggests, this site doesn’t have the SSL encryption and therefore it triggers the hotspot to redirect you to the login page!
Note: by visiting the NeverSSL website you are not actually installing any software or bypassing any encryption or even connecting to that site for anything besides triggering the hotspot.
Of course, you know by now that when you use any public WiFi you should be using a VPN so your digital identify isnt stolen. You know that right?