MSN Tech & Gadgets blog

How to beat the Wikipedia blackout

Bring the facts back with one quick change to your browser settings

By Nik Taylor 18/01/2012 13:09
Head over to Wikipedia today and you won't find the random fact you were looking for. Instead, you'll see a black page explaining why Wikipedia is currently unavailable.
The English language version of Wikipedia is currently blacked out. (image © Wikipedia)The English-language version of the website has been taken down for 24 hours in protest against two anti-piracy laws currently being debated by the US Congress.

But although Wikipedia is hidden behind a blackout page for the day, it's not completely disappeared.

One page of the site remains accessible - an article which explains what the protest is about and what the anti-piracy bills (known as Sopa and Pipa) could mean for internet users.

On that page, Wikipedia also explains how others can join the protest and states, "Our purpose here isn't to make it completely impossible for people to read Wikipedia, and it's okay for you to circumvent the blackout. We just want to make sure you see our message."

As Wikipedia says, there are ways to continue using the site today and it's actually very easy to do so. For one thing, Wikipedia has not blacked out its mobile version - so if you run a search on a smartphone with internet access, you can browse the site in full.

If you're trying to browse the desktop version, you just need to make a quick change to your web browser. As Sophos spokesman Graham Cluley points out on his excellent blog, Wikipedia's blackout is achieved using JavaScript.

Cluley goes on to show how Firefox users can get around the blackout using the NoScript add-on.

But if you're on Internet Explorer, it's just as easy to get back into Wikipedia. First, open up the 'Internet options' box. In IE9, this means clicking on the Tools icon at the top right of your window, then clicking on Internet options.

Internet options in IE9 (image © Microsoft)Now click on the Security tab and click on the Restricted sites icon. Click on the Sites button to open the Restricted sites window. Type into the box at the top (if you're on the Wikipedia page, this will already be filled in).

Now click the Add button, then Close, then OK. And that's it. Adding Wikipedia to your list of restricted sites blocks it from running scripts, so all those handy facts are once again at your fingertips.

All the facts: why Wikipedia has shut down today
18/01/2012 17:08
Anyone who uses wiki today is a scab. Power to the people. Freedom of speech has been removed from MSN as they are protecting peedros and rapists.  
18/01/2012 22:01

So Wiki is against the anti piracy laws the US intends to bring in. Well I have two comments. Firstly are Wiki saying it's OK to pirate films and music that the rest of us buy?


Secondly they bought this in to law in France last year. Where was Wiki then? I don't remember them blacking out the French Wiki site. Ah but then Wiki, Microsoft and Google are not based in France are they. They are only interested in protecting themselves in the US and the rest of us can kiss our own ars*s. Typical bloody Americans, me, me, me as always.

18/01/2012 18:20
Just hit 'escape' once you see the page loaded a bit. You will bypass the post-script running on it
18/01/2012 16:21

LMAO, i think this site has demonstrated such an obvious irony!


1. Wikipedia block there entire website in protest of having certain parts of the internet subject to censorship.

2. Not even a whole 24 hours passes before somebody realises how to get passed the protest and access what he wants to see and posts it to the world.




In conclusion, let the **** politician pass there bill, it isn't worth the paper its written onto, the future is technology, no force on heaven or earth could act quickly enough to shutdown any/every site on the internet before another one crops up or somebody works out how to get around the block...


What your essencial looking at here is a cold war between a couple of hundred short sighted politicians and the ENTIRE world... I know where my money is...

18/01/2012 19:53
So stupid posting this, you're defeating the objective of this day! Many users would forget to remove Wikipedia from this list of restricted sites as well, but as this article is already posted, I'll at least give a proper work around, DO NOT add them to your restricted site list... add ?banner=none to the end of the Wikipedia URL. Such a reckless article.
18/01/2012 17:22
internet is free. they want to protect rights of people to get paid for what they created. so the argument is not about free or not. the argument is that majority of new generations want not to pay for anything at all. they want to steal stuff without consequences. re: power to people. people in majority are mediocrity at best and idiots at worst. this is easily demonstrated by posts here... no power to people. get a job.
18/01/2012 17:02
I'm one step away from removing my account here. MSN before you decide to post stupid articles like these which is blatantly supporting the removal of Wikipedia and other useful sites, can you please take time to review your articles before you actually post them, Thanks.Smile
18/01/2012 17:45
One thing this wont affect you know free p0rn sites?

because free p0rn on my smartphone has changed my life.

Go ahead dont delay try it today.

18/01/2012 15:14

LOL @ the previous indignant comments !


Do you honestly think this lame excuse for a protest is actually going to make a difference? Of course not!


If you really feeling that 'outraged' then time to get off your liberal hippie butts and get out there making your voice heard loud and clear!


However we know you won't be doing this, the extent of your indignation is a protest comment on here  - which also will not make any diffierence!


computers and internet, what a joke.


i know im online doing it right now, and i know the goverment is watching and secret organizations are watching, date collecting almost everywhere nowadays.


why do you think they want braodband everywhere, the internet was created in america by the defence, do some history people. I learnt whilst out college about the creation of the LAN. So i believe the internet is full and massively corrupt. Just like everything else we take it and we turn it into a lie and corruption, nothing but greed once again.


Pay per clicks anyone, look it up. Selling of you private address,s and telephone numbers and postcode online, yep i know you think it does not happen, for god sake wake up will, even job agency people do this day in and day out, then you never hear from them again, its not what you can see, its what you can,t see where you should be putting your concentration, you would be suprised what you find when you dig deep enough.


almost nobody can be trusted anymore.

18/01/2012 15:29
I say ride on! Jullian Assange will be very proud!
18/01/2012 19:01
I think it's shocking that MSN posted instructions on how to disable the blackout.  It's the equivalent of covering a group of protesters with a big tarpaulin.  I know Wikipedia is basically just for fun and not always reliable, and I wouldn't say that I personally have particularly strong opinions on free and open internet or the legislation in question, but the people who run Wikipedia have a right to protest, and to have their protest respected and preserved at least for the 24 hours they intended.  I don't know if the people at MSN responsible for this are reading any of these comment, but if they are, then they should know that the way they went about reporting on the "Wikipedia blackout" really isn't fair play.

I don't know if MSN has ever claimed to be a totally unbiased organisation, and whoever is at the top certainly has a right to act in the interest of his/her agenda (if they have one), but when so many people pass by your site every day, you really do have a responsibility to respect the wishes of anyone who is (as far as I can tell) just looking out for the rights of those very same masses.
18/01/2012 21:28
I was trying to use wikipedia today for art research was gutted when it came up about the strike :P
18/01/2012 18:59
I think MSN should not be posting articles about how to access sites that are closed for protests. It is clearly undermining Wikipedia allowing people to access the site when it supposed to be closed for a simple protest. I agree with Wikipedia and think they provide us with such a fantastic service for which they are not thanked very well. I think this protest has show how much we use Wikipedia and how badly it was missed for only one day. 
18/01/2012 16:30
MSN try to promote some good points...!!
18/01/2012 17:13
Love getting them thumbs down for my comments
18/01/2012 18:16
How lame of MSN to undermine the message websites like wikipedia, google, yahoo try to bring to people by explaining how to hack past it. Just shows your integrity. Are you sure you're not secretly part of the fox network???
18/01/2012 16:36
@ Joe, no it wont affect me simply because its just another piece of trash news to me just like other over blown reports, facebook gonna charge oh wait child benefits gonna stop no wait blah blah blah.

So whatever happens I will get on with my life  or I can spend my time bitch ing about it, I have my daughters to think about not some protest like every other one.

The only thing im worrying about on the news right now is wether Spurs are gonna win the premiership.
18/01/2012 16:53
With the exception of homework and exam cheats,does ANYONE care.
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About Nik
  • Nik TaylorNik Taylor

    Nik Taylor is a co-editor of MSN Tech & Gadgets, where he works alongside fellow editor Verity Burns to keep the site up to date.

About Verity
  • Verity BurnsVerity Burns

    Verity Burns is the co-editor of MSN Tech & Gadgets, teaming up with Nik Taylor to produce features and blogs.

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