Bizarre internet 'dot' glitch lets you watch ad-free YouTube vids and bypass paywalls

Was it always this simple?

Credit: IDG

Anyone who uses the internet to read stories and watch videos more than they should knows about ad blockers. But they might not know this crazy trick: If you add an extra “dot” immediately after the “.com” but before the slash, you can avoid ads on YouTube and other videos and even bypass free article reading limits on many sites.

As first discovered by Redditor unicorn4sale, the trick has been proven to work on YouTube and several news sites that offer a limited number of free articles before throwing up a paywall. It does not work for sites that are completely subscription-supported, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, however. It also works on smartphones if you request the desktop version.

So instead of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQTRcn1mIvM, you'd type https://www.youtube.com./watch?v=AQTRcn1mIvM. We've tested in on numerous sites with our ad blocker turned off, and lo and behold, it works.

According to unicorn4sale, the way the trick works is “websites forget to normalize the hostname, the content is still served, but there's no hostname match on the browser so no cookies and broken CORS - and lots of bigger sites use a different domain to serve ads/media with a whitelist that doesn't contain the extra dot.” Presumably, this would have to be resolved on a site-by-site basis, so we don't know how long this trick will stick around.

Of course, it's always better to pay for content, but if you're sick of suffering through ads or reading the first three lines of a story before clicking away, give this trick a try.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?