Every so often I will need to Google a question that will most likely appear inside of forums instead of blog posts. Because of this, I found a really simple way to bypass the “You are Required to Login to View This Post”. If you have never seen this type of page, you’re so lucky.
Bypass Forum (and other) Logins to View Content
The way this works is really simple. A lot of forum software adds a useragent check to detect spiders and bots (such as Google). Since they want Google to see the content on their site to rank better in the search results, Google is allowed to see the content without logging in. This is why when you search for a topic you will see relevant results but may be blocked out of those pages.
View Google Cache
The first method is to view the cached version of the page. This is the easiest way and quickest if you found the results via Google and don’t need to view anything else on the website. Next to the URL on the Google Results is a drop down arrow. Clicking this arrow will show a “Cache” option.
Since a lot of sites only detect bots by using their user-agent, modifying your user-agent to mimic a bot is a good bet to allow you to surf the site without having to login or create an account. Some bots now allow you to setup specialized accounts for the bots to sign into your site with though, which renders this method useless. For instance you can create custom authorization methods for Google’s Bot.
I use Chrome Developer Tools to modify my useragent under “Emulation“ in the Drawer. There are other methods and it depends on what web browser you use. Most of them will give you an option to change your useragent under the settings pages.
A few common useragents you can use are as follows. You can also check out UserAgentStrings.com Crawlerlist for even more useragents.
Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html Googlebot ia_archiver/8.9 (Linux 1.0; en-US;) msnbot/2.1 Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)
Changing the useragent may not always work since some sites will detect bots on a specific IP range, and if you are outside of this range it won’t work. Also, “Login required to download” and various methods similar to this are still blocked to Search Engines.
Using Publicly Available Logins
If the forum is popular enough, people would have made fake accounts for the site and posted the details online for others to use. If you are ever to make a fake account, don’t associate it with any passwords, usernames, emails you use. You can always get free anonymous emails online with no setup. To get a list of public login details, you can try the website service of Bug Me Not. The site will list account details for specific websites which you can use to login to such sites without ever having to create an account.