Home > General, Smart Tip > Go where you are forbidden to go – User Agent Switcher

Go where you are forbidden to go – User Agent Switcher

First a bit of rant……what recently happened was that I was just browsing along for some info I wanted and I came to this site which required me to enter my mailing address to add a comment and since I wanted to put a question as a comment…..I decided to give one of my lesser used mailing address…..but woe is me….i began to get lots of SPAM messages on that ID which really pissed me off and I decided to search for solutions which has led me to this entire Disposable Email – Online Anonymity Series

We have already covered disposable Email addresses and shared logins now its time for a more sinister approach……..*insert devilish smile here*….

Scenario : You’re researching on a topic on the web and you click a link to an article on a site in the search results but instead of getting the article you get a screen asking you to login or register.  so what do you do ??

Solution : You can either give your real address*coughcough Stupid coughcough* or give a temporary Email ID or use a Shared Login *coughcough Smart….oh..wait i dont need to cough here*. Ya….all those are good approaches but have you ever stopped to wonder that how did the link appear on the search results page…..i mean if the page requires you to register before viewing the content then how did the search result page manage to get access to its content…..hmmm ??

The reason is simple…..the Search bot has access to pages that you are forbidden to view without proper credentials *hint hint*. There are many things the Search bot can see and have access to  that the regular Site visitor does not. For example, a Forum might want Search Engines to index it’s content, but yet has it’s content blocked from the visitor (non-members). In this case, the Forum’s content is viewable by Search Engines, but not to the average Joe who might be visiting. So if we could just take a walk in those Search Engine’s Shoes, we might just find our VIP pass right?

Great……so how do we do it ??  In order to walk in a Search Bot’s shoes, we need to change the header information that is presented to the site upon arrival. But since modifying Headers is not so straight  forward for normal users….we are going to use some “External” help or rather a browser add-on called as ” User Agent Switcher “

The way to use this add-on is simple and straight forward….First you need a browser…..then add the foll add-on or extension to it : Firefox or Chrome or IE .

Now to use it…..i’m going to use Firefox as my Demo Browser…..After you have installed the add-on, you have to go to Tools. There you shall see a menu to change your browser’s agent type….by default you have the option to mask your browser as Google Bot or Yahoobot or MSNbot (You can add more!!). You can also make your browser appear as different versions of IE or iPhone…..you have many options.

Lets try a demo, i will try to access a site which does not allow me to see its content without registration…..


After (I love doing this :))

and Voila……as you can see that even though you are not registered you can see the content (just as a GoogleBot might…..if i may add). No registrations….No giving out personal information…..and most importantly…NO SPAM……

This is byfar the best method i know and use it continually….hope its useful to you too…..Any doubts….let me know in the comments….till then Stay Sharp!!!!!

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