How to break a paywall

Some online media started to build paywalls around their contents. I’m okay with that as I am, generally, not interested in these media and what they write, but sometimes links to particular articles from such media appear in my informational environment: references from open articles, links on facebook, etc. I find it very rude and offensive when I open a legitimate link provided by someone I trust, and instead of the expected content I face a dialog demanding money. It’s a slap in the face!

As a matter of fact, paywall service is provided by third-party companies. You open an article in your browser and it loads scripts from some server and then execute them within your browser window to prevent you from reading the article. Neat, huh? What can you do with it what would serve the purpose of resistance a bit more that just saying fuck you back to the screen? Well, you can deny access of these third-party scripts to your computer. You never invited them. You invited the original article but you don’t care for its rude friends, don’t you?

The easiest way to do so is to redirect DNS requests to these domains to a local IP.

echo '### Breaking the Wall
127.0.0.1     h.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1     s.ppjol.com
127.0.0.1     ui.ppjol.com
' | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts

If you host a local web server, you might want to consider a default virtual host with a blank page to minimize the load time.

Comments (1)

Will Foster over 3 years ago

Thanks! Worked like a charm :)