Toss Your Cookies

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Some sites (like the Boston Globe) are pretty nasty about letting you have access to a severely limited number of "free" pages. They do this by leaving web cookies on your computer so they can recognize your browser when it returns for more content.

You can try opening such sites in Incognito mode (or whatever the equivalent is in non-Chrome browsers), but they can detect that and give you a nastypage instead of the desired content.

For the same reason, extensions that allow you to reject cookies from selected sites also produce chiding messages: you must accept cookies to see our stuff!

You can probably search out and destroy these sites' cookies once they're on your computer by following the instructions for your browser. Here's what you do in Chrome, for example. Works, but there's a lot of tedious pointy-clicky. (Note added 2019-12-27: you can make things less tedious by setting up a bookmark to chrome://settings/siteData.)

My current past workaround (see below) is (so far) working pretty well for me, a one-click solution: a Chrome extension called RemoveCookiesForSite. It simply displays a broken cookie, probably to the right of the title bar. Once you're viewing a site that insists on dropping cookies on you, just click on that. Voila, cookies gone without any fuss, and the site is none the wiser.

This may screw up the revenue models of some sites. Sorry! I'mRetiredOnAFixedIncome!

Update 2019-10-17: I should have added this update long before now. Chrome has a simpler (zero-click) solution. I won't go through all the pointy-clicky, but navigate through Settings → Advanced → Privacy and Security → Site Settings → Cookies and Site Data. (Or just navigate to chrome://settings/content/cookies. [added 2019-12-27]) One of the options is to 'Clear on Exit'. Add the problematic domain using a wildcard, e.g. '[*.]nytimes.com'.

I'm not sure how long this option has been in Chrome, but it makes me forgive Google for a lot of sins.

Caveat: Sometimes this fails if you have a long-running browser session and you have the bad luck to visit a cookied site enough times to hit their limit during the session. Sigh. In this case, I do the old 'Delete cookies for site' method linked above in a new tab. Then refresh the browser tab for the site.


Last Modified 2019-12-27 7:29 AM EDT