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Phillip Shim
Phillip Shim

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Connecting to public Wi-Fi without frustration


You have finally arrived at your awaited destination. A cafe buzzing with lofi music, or a comfy lounge at a hotel where you lodge - wherever you are trying to access the public Wi-Fi(wifi for short) hotspots. You crack open your laptop or phone to get hooked up with the internet. you find the name of the wifi your place provides then hit connect. A few seconds later, you can see the wifi icon is filled with lines of bars. Success!😎 You then navigate to your favorite site, wait a bit, but then... nothing! You end up with an error page.

Default no connection error page on Chrome

Too often, I have seen my friends and families struggle to get connected with public wifi which should be intuitive and direct. Let's get a high overview of what's happening behind the scene.

But I am connected, what's the problem? 😔

First of all, What you are expected to see is a captive portal page. This is where you are redirected to a different URL provided by the host of your wifi so that you can read terms of use and accept its conditions which then grants you permission to freely use their network. However, most of the popular websites these days use HTTPS as a security protocol, which helps securely protect the interaction of data between you and the website. Therefore, when you try to visit a secure site, modern browsers become suspicious of this redirect activity before it securely connects with the server of the destination website. It then simply yields a no connection page as a result.

The fix

Visit a site that doesn't use a secure protocol! A site that doesn't use encryption, authentication and is just plain good old website that uses HTTP. It is difficult to find one like that in 2019 but for this purpose, there is a website you can navigate to.

Type this link in the URL of your browser then you will be directed to a captive portal page! 😁


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