So I read the news like many others as I like to know whats happening in the world. I tend to read the news on Google news which I find to be a good mix of articles and websites. However sometimes there are news items listed that seem interesting, but I click them and am taken to the Financial Times website and am intern presented with a paywall. I personally find this irritating. I for one do not like being “forced” to sign up or pay to read public information or news stories, if I like something I will sign-up or pay for it out of my own free will. Because of the paywall I always used to jump back to Google and find the news story somewhere else. Yet today I stumbled across a way to bypass their paywall and it was surprisingly easy.
Whist reading the article summaries on Google news I noticed one was from the Financial Times and upon clicking the link I sure enough was presented with their paywall. Then I thought how does Google get a summary from the Financial Times if they have a paywall? I thought about websites I have made in the past and that to identify if the visitor was a human user or a Google\Yahoo\Bing etc bot I would check the web browsers user agents. So thinking of this I used the popular Firefox browser add-on User Agent Switcher to switch my user agent to
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; http://www.google.com/bot.html)
I then refreshed the page with the article and the paywall was gone and there was the articles content. It was that easy.