June 13, 2017
3 min read time

Creating a tiered paywall with per-page metering with Varnish

As more media outlets implement paywall technology, they also want to have a freer hand in changing access control and metering policies easily and instantly. After all, a more flexible paywall offers the ability to make more customized offers to specific users and potential customers, leading to potentially more subscriptions in the long run. The Wall Street Journal, for example, found that ‘loosening’ its paywall and offering more content via specific metering rules would lead to a higher conversion rate. There are a lot of ways to do this, and given the somewhat unpredictable nature of online media, many outlets are experimenting with different structures to see what sticks. To make this as flexible as possible, paywall technologies need to be adaptable enough to let media companies “bend” their paywalls to meet their users’ needs and experiment with content sharing and access. 

Real-world implementation

A large Nordic media company and owner of multiple regional newspapers needed to expand on and make their paywall capabilities more granular and specific. They sought to build in specific limits to and levels of access to specific content. For example, they aimed to relax, for example, the number of views a user would be allowed for a given article or piece of content while still applying global paywall rules for the rest of the website. Essentially, with the help of Varnish professional services, the company was able to apply specific rules for specific pages/content, building tiers into the paywall.

Initially, the company worked with a single Varnish configuration, but this only allowed them to set the same metering for the whole website. Varnish is an important solution for the company overall, but they have limited internal resources who can work on advanced Varnish configuration. Thus, the company turned to Varnish support for assistance, which became part of a larger project to develop these paywall tiers and page-specific quotas to adjust metering limits for different pages.

Varnish Professional Services offered help with:

  • New feature development: Tiered paywall/page quotas
  • Extending better, more granular control over content access control and permissions and metering

For the company, Varnish Professional Services offered an easy way to extend and expand on the flexibility of their paywall solution. 

Get in touch here and we will help you configure your Varnish instance to better fit your company's specific needs.


Image (c) 2006 Jean-Philippe Bourque used under Creative Commons license.