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Block Users Of Print Friendly Websites From Printing Your Content

Printer friendly websites allow their users to print your content without the ads on your webpage. This means, if you also offer a “No-ads” PDF or eBook alongside your online content, you won’t sell many.

Of course, these Print Friendly websites display their own ads on their webpages, making sure they get paid.

This guide will show you how to block them. I will show you how to use Wordfence to stop Print Friendly websites from being able to load your domain in the first place, therefore, stopping their users from being able to print your content without ads.

How To Stop Printer Friendly Websites With Wordfence

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 security plugin in the WordPress directory

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:

Once installed, Hover over the Wordfence icon on your WordPress dashboard. Then, select Firewall from the menu available.

A screenshot of the Wordfence Firewall Tab on the WordPress dashboard

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 screenshot showing how to 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.

An image show how to Download the .HTACCESS file in Wordfence

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.

A screenshot of the Firewall and Blocking Tabs in the Wordforce plugin

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

A WordPress screenshot of the Custom Pattern tab in Wordfence

Now, add the website URL you would like 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):

An image show how to block a Hostname in Wordfence

Replace www.yourprintfriendlywebsite.com, with the website you would like to block.

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!).

Finally, hit ‘BLOCK VISITORS MATCHING THIS PATTERN‘.

A WordPress screenshot showing the Block Visitors Matching This Pattern button in Wordfence

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

A screenshot showing an Advance Block in Wordfence

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

A screenshot of the Wordfence blocking stats page

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“.

If you’re having trouble setting this up, I can help.

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