Free access to limited number of articles per month for new non-subscribers

I would really like to be able to have new non-subscriber users of my Ghost site full access to a limited number of articles (posts on the free subscription tier, in particular) per month (e.g. 2 or 3) — so they can get a taste of the quality of a full article before signing up to my service.

What I’ve got in mind is a bit like you get on places like Harvard Business Review, — if you view e.g. How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity in an anonymous browser, there’s a pop-up on the screen that shows …

Is anything like this possible in Ghost, does anyone know … ? (on Ghost Pro, rather than self-hosted, in particular)

@joesb The answer to your question, to the best of my knowledge, is no, but as a Ghost(Pro) customer you can contact the Ghost team to ask them directly by sending an email to

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Although what you could do, as an alternative, is use the public previews feature.

My client wanted something like this to let people see what the articles looks like before signin in, and the way we handled this is a link “let me see what it looks like” on the front page, linking to one article available for everyone.

They are changing this article from times to times to keep it fresh, and that’s it. Not exactly what you asked for, but it serves the same purpose : letting potential readers “taste” your content

@kevinmiguet Have you seen the public previews feature I mentioned above? That might be another option for your client. This feature was only released quite recently.

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We also use this on regular paying articles with a little and nice “shadow” css effect and it works very well indeed !

but they wanted to let anyone read one article entirely because they think it’s a better way to “taste” for real what an article looks like

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That’s all good! Just thought I would point mention it in case you hadn’t seen it, as it is a rather recent addition to the Ghost feature set (and a very useful one) :slightly_smiling_face:

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And I think having a link to an entire article is not a bad idea at all. I would certainly prefer that, as a user, to the “2 free articles remaining…” system that is used on Medium, HBR etc. - I personally find that system annoying and it has never once persuaded me to pull out my Mastercard. All it does is persuade me to use a new container/proxy/browser or whatever is required to (easily) circumvent the paywall.

Thanks for the suggestions, folks — much appreciated wisdom from the brilliant Ghost hive mind.

Yep, we already use the public preview feature on every article, but thanks for pointing me to it.

And yep, we already have a ‘Inside the subscribers’ vault’ section with clearly labelled ‘sample’ posts of each main type that have been made public — a really nice idea, so thanks for the suggestion, but we’ve done that already :wink: (cf. homepage section of

Just thought I’d ask in case anyone had a bright way of doing this kind of thing that I hadn’t managed to work out yet.

And, yep, I think maybe your comment about people just getting round that kind of feature with an anonymous browser or proxy or whatever is a timely nudge to think again.


HBR, Medium, etc. must feel this ‘free articles’ thing is a useful thing for them to do — presumably they’ve got a large research base, analytics, UX data, etc. that says that it’s a worthwhile pay-off between people getting around it with an anonymous browser and paying sign-ups.

Hmm. Stuff to ponder.

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Another interesting model, that might be worth looking at perhaps, is this one, posted by @kevinmiguet, who is serendipitously already in this thread!

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Yes, that occurred to me as well, and I think it’s a valid point. But HBR have a very well-established brand and audience. And their target audience is a particular one as well, I think, who are probably more inclined to and capable of pulling out an Amex card than circumventing a paywall :joy:

And Medium is, well… a pile of :poop:

IMHO :stuck_out_tongue:

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Hi Kevin. Could you share how you created the shadow effect? I want to use previews but I hate how brutal the cut off is. It makes it look like it’s just the end of the article. Thanks!

@iroughol I’ve implemented this myself in a theme for a colleague’s website that we still haven’t launched. Anyway, as it uses a theme by Aspire Themes as I see your site does, your theme should have the same setup.

In your partials/content-cta.hbs file wrap the {{{html}}} as is done below:

<div class="fadeout">

Then place the following CSS wherever you like to place your custom CSS:

.fadeout {
 	-webkit-mask-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, var(--color-black) 1%, transparent 100%);
 	mask-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, var(--color-black) 1%, transparent 100%);

If I remember correctly, that should be all.

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@Stromfeldt Oh thank you, so nice, will try it today!
Where DO I like to place my custom CSS actually? I haven’t created any yet. (Or rather I tried and it failed.)

If you haven’t adjusted any of the CSS in your theme itself then you can just place it in code injection via Ghost’s admin. Make sure to wrap it in <style> tags if you’ve got nothing in there already:

.fadeout {
 	-webkit-mask-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, var(--color-black) 1%, transparent 100%);
 	mask-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, var(--color-black) 1%, transparent 100%);

@Stromfeldt Thanks! I’m doing something wrong but no idea what. My theme is Krabi and I think the corresponding file in partials is post-upgrade-cta.hbs which reads like this. Where would you add the wrap?

<aside class='c-post-upgrade-cta'>
  {{#unless @member.paid}}
    <h4 class='c-post-upgrade-cta__title'>{{t 'This post is for members only. Subscribe now to support independent journalism and get access to more.'}}</h4>

  <a class='c-btn c-btn--action u-mb-16' href='{{ @site.url }}/subscribe/'>{{t 'Become a member'}}</a>
  <p class='u-type-xs'>{{t 'Already have an account?'}} <a href='{{ @site.url }}/signin/' class='u-link'>{{t 'Log in'}}</a></p>

No, that’s the wrong file. It should be content-cta.hbs, but if @ahmadajmi has named it something else in Krabi then look for the file with the line that has {{{html}}} in it.

Weird. Done a full search and that file does not exist. Nowhere has {{{html}}}, nor is there a partial that looks like it’s referring to the public preview anywhere. Maybe @ahmadajmi can help. Thanks anyway for taking the time for a noob like me.