My work has a very over protective firewall. We use Google Apps for our email and so can access the web interface just fine.

I use my laptop at work however (MacBook connected via WiFi through my AirPort Express), and prefer to use Sparrow to check my email. The problem is that our firewall blocks whatever port Gmail's IMAP server uses.

I'm trying to figure out the easiest way to work around this. I'm guessing I'll need to use an SSH tunnel or VPN, but I'm looking for specific instructions.

I'd prefer to only route the IMAP stuff around the firewall as opposed to using a VPN full time. I have two computers at home (one PC, one Mac Mini) that are always on and could probably act as a server if needed.

  • You can probably use tunnelling but I don't know how it works. Have the same problem in my university where IMAP is blocked – pratnala Nov 10 '12 at 11:16
  • Just some general ideas -- If you decide to use VPN, check 'split tunneling' where part of the traffic is redirected through the VPN. I know that OpenVPN supports that. If you have a router at home and it can run DD-WRT, you can run OpenVPN server on the router, without the need to use one of the computers (alternatively you can run OpenVPN server on one of the computers, but that would require NAT redirects on the router). Alternatively, if Sparrow supports SOCKS, you can use that together with an SSH server at home. – lupincho Nov 10 '12 at 15:06

If your work firewall is blocking IMAP(s), then they don't want you to use it and it is almost certainly a serious disciplinary offence (read: you could get fired) to try and get round it.

You could try to talk them into doing the right thing and allowing IMAPS access (not IMAP which wouldn't be secure) to the Google Apps mail server - that would be the best thing - it just depends how enlightened they are!

If the firewall is locked down, it is unlikely anyway that you will be able to push a VPN through them.

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