How To Bypass Newspaper Paywalls

press-plus
If you’ve been noticing annoying ads appearing on your local newspaper’s website prompting you to “Sign Up For Digital Access” then you are not alone. Popups generated by Press +, such as the one pictured here appear to be the most common. And while I can’t fault a newspaper for trying to generate as much revenue as possible during trying times for print media, I take issue with the fact that clicking on the ‘X’ to close the popup typically does not work and will not allow the user to view the article that they were attempting to read. These popups are called paywalls and are being used more and more by newspapers. Again, Press + paywalls appear to be the most ubiquitous, fortunately however there is a simple fix that you can use to block Press + paywalls from appearing on your local newspaper’s website.

Windows 7

Click on Start => All Programs => Accessories.

Right click on Notepad and left click on Run as administrator.

Click “Yes” when you are asked “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?” by User Account Control.

From within Notepad click File => Open.

Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\ETC, switch the Text Documents (*.txt) drop down menu to All Files and double click on hosts.

Paste in the following entries at the bottom of your hosts file AFTER the existing text;

127.0.0.1 ui.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1 h.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1 ppjol.com

Click File => Save and then File => Exit

Windows 8.1 Update 1

Open the Start Screen and click the down arrow in order to display all installed applications.

Scroll to the right and locate the Windows Accessories list of applications.

Right click on Notepad and left click on Run as administrator.

Click “Yes” when you are asked “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?” by User Account Control.

From within Notepad click File => Open.

Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\ETC, switch the Text Documents (*.txt) drop down menu to All Files and double click on hosts.

Paste in the following entries at the bottom of your hosts file AFTER the existing text;

127.0.0.1 ui.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1 h.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1 ppjol.com

Click File => Save and then File => Exit

Mac OS X

From Finder click on Go => Utilities and double click on Terminal.

Paste or type in the following command; sudo /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit /etc/hosts

Type in your Mac password when prompted.

Paste in the following entries at the bottom of your hosts file AFTER the existing text;

127.0.0.1 ui.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1 h.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1 ppjol.com

Click File => Save and then exit TextEdit.

Technical Breakdown

For all of you geeks out there, here is a technical breakdown of what we just did. We used Notepad (TextEdit on the Mac) to edit the computer’s hosts file. A hosts file is used to map hostnames to IP addresses similar to the way that DNS works. The trick here however, is that most operating systems will reference hosts file entries BEFORE using DNS to map hostnames to IP addresses. The IP address 127.0.0.1 is referred to as a loopback address, or localhost which essentially means “this computer.” So by “telling” our computer that the domain names that make Press + work are located at 127.0.0.1 or on the localhost, the web browser will try to find these sites, fail, and then not be able to load the popup. Pretty clever, eh?

 

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About Mike

Mike enjoys computers and technology, playing the piano, selling stuff on eBay, playing video games, cooking, and eating at Teddy's Pizza. He started CompuNoodle in 2009 and loves to hear from his readers.

One thought on “How To Bypass Newspaper Paywalls

  1. Linda K.

    Thanks – this is the only thing that’s worked. Prior to adding these lines, I had to clear cookies daily despite my browsers settings to clear upon closing. Once I followed your directions, I’ve never had a subscription nag pop up on the local news website. Bookmarked, because it took a heckuva search to find this article again after applying the codes!

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