SOPA Protests: How To Use Google Cache To View Blacked-Out Websites

Brad Chacos

Websites with a beef against over-reaching legislation have drawn a line in the sand; today, many of them are following Reddit’s lead and going black to protest SOPA and PIPA. The controversial bills have been under heavy fire recently, and the heat’s bound to increase when 25 million Joe and Jill Everymen find Wikipedia cold, dark, and urging readers to contact their Congressional representatives . But you’re not Joe or Jill Everyman. You’re a Maximum PC reader, a tech-savvy webizen who already understands that SOPA flat-out sucks. What if you need to get your Wikipedia ( or Destructoid, or Boing Boing, or… ) on today?

Don’t worry – there’s a way around the blackout if you know exactly what you’re looking for, thanks to the magic of Google’s all-encompassing cache.

First, boot up your browser and head over to Google, where you’ll just so happen to see a link to a page outlining Google’s own SOPA/PIPA opposition . Search for whatever blacked-out page you’re looking for, but be specific: you won’t be able to browse blacked-out sites normally, so you’ll need to find deeper links to exact content, using searches like “Reddit why is morrowind so revered” or “Maximum PC Wikipedia”.

Trying to click on the link will lead you to the site’s blackout message. Instead, hover over the listing, then mouse over the three arrows that appear to its right to bring up the preview pane. Underneath the direct link in the preview pane, you’ll see a URL for the page, and to the right of that, you’ll see a link to a cached version. Bingo! Click on that.

You’ll be taken to a cached version of the page. A message at the top will tell you when Google took the snapshot. This method isn’t perfect, however; you won’t be able to click on links without being directed to the blackout page. (You can run another specific Google search for the linked-to content, though.) Additionally, the content might not be totally up-to-date, but content that’s a few day old beats no content whatsoever, right?

Here's another useful trick for skirting Wikipedia's blackout: just disable Javascript for the site and you'll be able to browse it normally. That should work for other sites using Javascript-powered blackout methods, too, such as

When you’re done circumventing blackouts, be sure to head over to and bug your Congressmen/women if you haven’t already. And if you don't get what all the fuss is about, check out our primer on stopping SOPA and PIPA , which includes a list of notable sites taking part in the blackout.

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