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Bypass the Financial Times paywall (ft.com)- No Longer Works

financialTimes

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.

Resources:
User Agent Switcher
User Agent list
Firefox

CygnusH33L

16 Comments

  1. Thanks so much. I was searching for a way to bypass the ft paywall for a while. It works perfectly.!!

  2. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am experiencing
    problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I can’t
    join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS problems?
    Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  3. works great. i did it for chrome and i’m browsing FT for free now. thanks

  4. …this is a work of simple genius! Alas doesn’t work for The Times. Never mind, Murdoch can still whistle for his money

  5. It still works.

    And if you ever want to bypass the New York Times paywall, simply use ‘open link in incognito windows’ when clicking on links from the front page. That still works too.

  6. I don’t get it. I downloaded the extension for Firefox and configured a new user agent with the following characterists, but it didn’t help me view the FT articles:
    Description: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; http://www.google.com/bot.html)
    User agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; http://www.google.com/bot.html)
    App Code Name: Mozilla
    App Name: Netscape
    App Version: 5.0 (Windows)
    Platform: Win32
    Vendor: [blank]
    Vendor Sub: [blank]

    I then restarted Firefox, went on the FT article page again, switch the User Agent to the one above, and refreshed the FT article. To no avail! Where did I go wrong? 🙁

    • I have just tested it and can confirm this still works.
      I have found that when you view the article and are presented with the Paywall the URL (web address) changes, refreshing just loads this new URL, this new URL points to the Paywall. If refreshing is not working after changing your user agent, try clicking back and clicking the original link again – it should then work.

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