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When I type http://www.google.co.uk in the URL bar Firefox rewrites it as https://www.google.co.uk. This is a problem for me as HTTPS is blocked on my network for content filtering purposes.

Until a few days ago this was not the case, but during some experimentation I seem to have visited the HTTPS version of the site once or twice and also had the HTTPS Everywhere addon installed for a time. Now, no matter what I do Firefox redirects there. Sometimes it doesn't; sometimes I load the browser and the HTTP version loads fine, but then the next time it's oddly trying HTTPS again and nothing can shift it until a few session restarts later. I don't understand why it seems to sporadically use HTTP and HTTPS.

I'm using Firefox 23.0 and Ubuntu 12.04.

I've tried a number of things so far:

  1. Setting browser.urlbar.autoFill false, browser.urlbar.autoFill.typed false, browser.formfill.saveHttpsForms false
  2. Clearing everything from history
  3. Resetting Firefox and using safe mode
  4. Deleting all the profile data in .mozilla folder and creating a new profile
  5. Completely purging Firefox and deleting .mozilla, /etc/firefox and reinstalling

How can I fix this so that Firefox just loads Google in non-HTTPS?

Maybe it's Google doing the redirect, but I just don't understand why it was fine until a few days ago, and also why it only does it sporadically.

Even when I try typing in nosslsearch.google.com I get redirected to the HTTPS version!

Lastly, when I log into another user account on the computer, and try Firefox with Google I see no problems with redirects, just as it had always been until recently on the above account.

EDIT: I should also mention I am not logged into any Google account.

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What if you try http://216.239.32.20 ? This is the IP for nosslsearch.google.com. I tried it (always logged in with Google) and got to a non-signed in http Google page. –  Rik Sep 16 '13 at 12:51
    
@Rik that does seem to work. Interesting. Why? –  fpghost Sep 16 '13 at 14:28
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You can always add 216.239.32.20 google.com www.google.com in your hosts file so you always get to the http and you never use the https variant. It's not perfect but works. I don't know why it's happening in your user-account and not another. –  Rik Sep 16 '13 at 14:34
    
@ Rik thanks, that will be a good temporary fix at the very least. It could be that Google or Firefox have changed something in the last few days, but for me it seems strange that I also visited the https site and played with https_everywhere extension in the last week too (plus the other account being fine still). Nevertheless, even clean installs of Firefox still bring no joy, so I am lost with what else to try. Alas. –  fpghost Sep 16 '13 at 15:02
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I noticed using Fiddler that sending HTTP requests to Google would always return the 302s you mention, redirecting me to the HTTPS url as long as a Firefox user agent string was included in the request header. This is my current user agent string using Firefox 24 on Windows 7 x64:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/24.0

So for me, a simple fix was to start using the User Agent Quick Switch add-on for Firefox. I changed my user agent string like this - just removed the Firefox/24.0 at the end:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101

I'd guess a similar change to your Ubuntu user agent string would also do the trick, although there is an outside chance that it be problematic on another site.

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Seemed to work for me too! –  fpghost Oct 3 '13 at 10:07
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If you are logged in to Google with a Google user account, Google will serve everything in https, so be sure you are logged out of all Google accounts.

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Yes, I am not logged in or anything. I should have mentioned that --- question has been edited now. –  fpghost Sep 15 '13 at 20:50
    
@fpghost Did you try removing the Firefox package through the Software Center, rebooting, then reinstalling? –  Paul Sep 15 '13 at 20:59
    
No, not tried via Software Center, just the purge and deletions followed by reinstall. I will give it a go if you think it might make a difference... –  fpghost Sep 15 '13 at 21:11
    
I can't say for sure it will fix it, but it's something I would try, especially since so many other changes have been made it may be difficult to get Firefox back to working normally if the problem were otherwise identified. –  Paul Sep 15 '13 at 21:13
    
I've now done the remove from the Software Center, along with removing everything I could see relating to firefox in Synaptic Package Manager (marking for Complete Removal). Then I deleted .mozilla,.adobe, .macromedia from ~ and /etc/firefox/, /usr/lib/firefox and /usr/lib/firefox-addons. I then rebooted and reinstalled firefox from the Software Center. Unfortunately the problem still persists. Yet on the other user account things are fine... –  fpghost Sep 15 '13 at 22:08
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This behavior is determined from the server. If you look the over the request you will find that we are requesting for http://wwww.google.co.in but the response returns https://www.google.co.in with the status code 302. So that means server redirects the http request to https

Here is what I observed in developer console of firefox.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
I had seen that in the console also. Still I can't understand why this was not happening until a few days ago (it seems too coincidental with me visiting the https site and mucking around with https everywhere, unless it just so happens google made a major change then also). Secondly, I don't see the behaviour on the firefox on my other user account when I visit http google (no redirects there), which makes me think something local must be happening too. –  fpghost Sep 15 '13 at 21:39
    
Also if it is the server, why does even nosslsearch.google.com redirect back to https? seems a very odd behaviour. –  fpghost Sep 15 '13 at 23:11
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