Bloggers put a lot of energy into creating content that users value. However, Print Friendly websites can directly impact their ability to earn from their efforts.
I run a WordPress.org crochet blog, with my wife, called Hooked On Patterns. One day, we discovered that some “print-friendly” websites were scraping our webpages (which contained our free crochet patterns), and allowed their users to print them off.
These printer friendly websites financially benefit from other people’s content. Instead of the creator potentially receiving ad revenue from their hard work, they strip the content of ads, and then feed ads to their own users, on their own website.
Our viewers have the option of purchasing a printable version of our free patterns. But, why would they? When they can simply go through a print friendly website and get it for free?
This problem could have significantly impacted our small business, and ultimately led to us reducing our free pattern range.
Thankfully, we found a solution; a way to block print-friendly websites, and I’m going to show you how.
How To Stop Printer Friendly Websites From Working
Note: Before making any changes to your website, create a backup. The following is not advice, simply information. Seek professional advice if you’re unsure.
Step 1. Install Wordfence
Wordfence is a WordPress security plugin. It has many functions, including the ability to block access to your website.
You can find the Wordfence security plugin by searching the WordPress plugin directory (found on your WordPress dashboard Plugins page). For more help with installing plugins, read this.
Step 2. Set Up Wordfence, and Optimize The Firewall
Wordfence is a versatile tool, and so can take a bit of time to set up. The Plugin will walk you through the options and explain what it all means.
The important part is to complete a process called, OPTIMIZE THE WORDFENCE FIREWALL. You can find this option by following these steps:
Hover over the Wordfence icon on your WordPress dashboard. Then, select Firewall from the menu available.
Under the tab, Web Application Firewall, which provides a score, click the link called Manage WAF.
On the new page, click OPTIMIZE THE WORDFENCE FIREWALL.
A new box will appear, explaining the process and asking you to download a copy of your website’s .HTACCESS file. Complete the process.
(Note. Access to your .HTACCESS file is required to add the blocking code. For more information about how Wordfence uses access to this file, please refer to their website explanation.)
Step 3. Block The Print Friendly URL (Web Address)
Let’s block those “printer friendly” websites.
First, select “firewall” from the Wordfence menu (as above, on your WordPress dashboard). At the top of the new page, click Blocking, to view the second tab.
Next, in the Create a Blocking Rule tab, choose Custom Pattern.
Now, add the website you want to block into the Hostname bar, as I have done below (the * means that any variation before or after will not stop the blocking effect):
Replace www.yourprintfriendlywebsite.com, with the website you would like to block.
Finally, hit “BLOCK VISITORS MATCHING THIS PATTERN“.
If you scroll down, you’ll now see your new blocking rule.
And, it will count every time it blocks someone from that site, so you can measure its performance.
Did It Work?
When you’re finished, simply pop over to the website you’ve blocked, and try to view your website in their browser.
If you were successful, you should get a message explaining that, “YOUR ACCESS TO THIS SITE HAS BEEN LIMITED BY THE SITE OWNER“.
I hope you found this post useful. If so, please share a link to this post in your social media, and subscribe for more of the same.
Did it work for you? Also, how do “print-friendly” websites impact your blog or business? Let me know in the comments below.