Understanding website paywall approaches

Subscription paywalls are becoming more and more common on a number of news and other sites. Assuming that the sites are using JavaScript and/or CSS approaches in the page to popup floating DIVs obscuring the content of the page, these are surprisingly easy to bypass if you know what to look for.

There’s many other articles (e.g. here) discussing these approaches and this is not intended to be an exclusive list, but here’s a few useful observations:

  • Adding a trailing ‘.’ to the domain name works on a surprising number of sites (Google if you’re interested why this works)
  • If you’ve tried this and you’re still getting a popup obscuring content on the page, using your browser’s developer tools, use the ‘select element’ feature to click on a floating DIV in the page and then update the CSS to style=”display:none” is also effective. If there’s other script in the place which is adding the CSS to the DIV, right click the DIV and just select the delete element option also works
  • Some sites use a combination of approaches. Often script or CSS to disable scrolling the page underneath a floating DIV is also used, so if you’ve removed the DIV but now you can’t scroll the content, look at the style on the body. If there’s an “overflow:hidden” style, remove it, or change it to “overflow:auto”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.