Group: NoJavaScript/Gmail

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  • Problem: Gmail by default uses heavy amounts of nonfree JavaScript for its Gmail service.
  • Solution: Use Gmail without JavaScript, or access Gmail with a desktop mail client.

Getting a Gmail account

If you don't already have a Gmail account, there is no way at present to get one without using JavaScript.

Setting Gmail to stop using JavaScript

[Instructions updated on 2014-05-20.]

Google has done much of the good work needed here, and should be commended for that effort. Google offers a basic HTML version of Gmail, which doesn't require JavaScript. To access this version, simply select "Basic HTML" at the bottom of any screen in your Gmail account. go to "Setting," click on "Help," then enter "Basic HTML view" in the search field, then click on "Standard view and basic HTML view," then "basic HTML view," then, if you wish to preserve the setting, on "set basic HTML as default view."

Blocking Google's JavaScript for good

Once you're using "Basic HTML" mode, you can block all Google's JavaScript from running at all.

To do this, right click in the browser, and click on NoScript. From this menu, you can forbid JavaScript from the domain.


I also wanted to make sure the "Basic HTML" version of Gmail was the default:


Using a desktop email client to read your Gmail account

Another way to access Gmail without JavaScript is to use a local email client on your computer. There's several dozen such programs out there. For my demonstration, I'm using Thunderbird.

First, you need to enable IMAP access to your email. IMAP, the Internet Message Access Protocol is used to let your computer keep a complete copy of all of your email locally, as well as keeping it on the server, in this case Gmail's server.

Enable IMAP, disable POP

To do this, pop open the settings for your account, and enable IMAP. To make things a little easier, you should probably also disable POP access, which is a different way to get your email that involves downloading all your email and removing it from the server.


Set up Thunderbird to access Gmail's IMAP server

Now we need to configure Thunderbird. Start by entering your name, email address and password:


Confirm account settings

Thunderbird makes this very easy for us, as it already knows which servers to use for Gmail accounts:



And that's it! I can now send and receive emails from Gmail in Thunderbird or any other IMAP client!



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