Thank You for Visiting NYTimes.com – How to Bypass

This is definitely a cool trick, but I’m sure the NY Times will plug this hole as soon as they figure out that it’s there.

You may have heard that the New York Times will introduce its “paywall” on March 28. It basically limits visitors to 20 articles per month, after which a paywall message appears that asks them to sign up to become a subscriber to access the contents on the site.

The message appears as an overlay on the screen with no apparent option to get rid of it. Here it is:

Thank you for visiting NYTimes.com. We hope you’ve enjoyed your 20 free articles this month. You can come back next month for another 20 free articles or chose unlimited access with a Digital subscription and continue to enjoy the world’s best journalism, anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

thank you for visiting nytimes.com

Subscription plans begin at $15 per month and New York Times subscribers get online access for free. It also seems that some referring websites have been whitelisted, including Facebook, Twitter and other popular websites in order to reap the benefits of those social media sites.

Is there a way to bypass the New York Times paywall? You bet. The thing is, the NYTimes developers have decided to use JavaScript and CSS to create the overlay. The contents are still there, only in the background with no visible option to access them.

Some users won’t see the popup messages on the New York Times website at all, because they use tools like NoScript for Firefox that block the JavaScript on the Times pages that triggers the paywall message. So, disable JavaScript and you can read all articles on the New York Times website without interruption, at least for now.

Another option is to disable page styles. Just switch from page style to no styles and you should be good to go as well. Here is how this looks like in the Firefox web browser.

page styles

A Google Chrome extension has been developed recently, called New York Times Paywall Smasher that makes use of two lines of CSS code to hide the paywall so that an unlimited amount of articles can be accessed on the New York Times website. The developer has created a video to demonstrate the extension.

#overlay, #gatewayCreative { display: none !important; visibility: hidden !important; }
body { overflow: scroll !important; }

There is also a userscript called NY Times Paywall that does something similar. The userscript should work on all browsers that support these scripts.

There you go: Those four options all bypass the New York Times paywall overlay, so that you won’t be blocked from reading additional articles after you have used up your monthly quota of 20 articles.

I’m no lawyer, so I cannot really give you advice on the legality of those methods. Using a program like NoScript seems to be the safest option from a legal standpoint, as it is automatically blocking scripts on all sites and not only the New York Times website. Then again, it is likely that the developers over at the New York Times will implement a different, better protected, system if they really want to block users from reading more than 20 articles per month without subscription.


© Martin Brinkmann for gHacks Technology News | Latest Tech News, Software And Tutorials, 2011. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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