How To Block Print Friendly Websites

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Designers have been asking how you block so-called “print friendly” websites from accessing your content. This guide should help.

While this won’t work with all of them, it will with some. And it’s also a useful thing to know if you’re running an online business which relies on a website.

Why do we block print friendly websites? Because many of these 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 outside of the print frame.

Or they monetise your content in some other way.

Notes: i) Please seek a professional if you are not sure. We are not responsible for any action you take. ii) This is not advice, it is solely for informational purposes. iii) This is a re-posting from a website my husband ran a while ago.

How To Stop Printer Friendly Websites From Working

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).

A screenshot of the Wordfence plugin image for blocking print friendly websites

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.

A screenshot of the Wordfence Firewall option for blocking print friendly websites

Under the tab, Web Application Firewall, which provides a score, click the link called Manage WAF.

A screenshot of the Wordfence Manage WAF icon for blocking print friendly websites


A screenshot of the Optimize The Wordfence Firewall option for blocking print friendly websites

A new box will appear, explaining the process and asking you to download a copy of your website’s .HTACCESS file. Complete the process.

A screenshot of the Download HTACCESS file for blocking print friendly websites

(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 “print 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.

A screenshot showing how to select the blocking page for blocking print friendly websites

Next, in the Create a Blocking Rule tab, choose Custom Pattern.

A screenshot showing how to select the Custom Pattern for blocking print friendly websites

Now, add the website you want to block into the Hostname bar, as I have done below including the *s (the * means that any variation before or after will not stop the blocking effect):

A screenshot of an example website url for blocking print friendly websites

Replace, with the website you would like to block. Create a separate Blocking Rule for the main .com URL and with www. in front of the URL to try to catch all the subdomains.

Also, add a Reason* why you’re blocking this website. It may serve as a useful reminder for you in the future. Something like, “Against T&Cs”. A simple reminder that these actions go against your website’s terms of use (don’t forget to add that to your actual T&Cs page!).


A screenshot showing the Block Visitors Matching This Pattern button for blocking print friendly websites

If you scroll down, you’ll now see your new blocking rule.

A screenshot showing an example the number of blocks to a print friendly website

And, it will count every time it blocks someone from that site, so you can measure its performance.

Some of these websites will access your site in different ways, so the above way of blocking may not work.

Repeat Step 3. to create a new Blocking Rule, but this time enter the URL you want to block into the “User Agent” box just below the previous Hostname box instead.

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 stating something like, “YOUR ACCESS TO THIS SITE HAS BEEN LIMITED BY THE SITE OWNER“.

I hope you have found this post useful!