Using the Paywall Application

Ellington Paywall allows you to charge for story photo video obituary and blog, photo gallery and pretty much any POST URL on your site. You can create different purchase types in the site administration, which will be visible on the public facing side of your site when an end user hits your paywall. Ellington provides one standard default template that will automatically display all available purchase types. This can be overridden to display your custom styling by accessing the template for that view.

Through functionality in the site administration, site owners may create any of the following methods of accessing premium content.

  1. Single purchase (example: the purchase of one story to be viewed indefinitely).
  2. Subscriptions of a defined length (example: 1 month).
  3. Recurring subscriptions (example: yearly, monthly, weekly, daily).
  4. Recurring subscriptions in combination with print subscriptions.
  5. Print only: clients will be able to create a subscription type that does not have access to any online content.

Ellington provides access but not billing, and cannot track this activity. Your payment processor will offer transaction summaries for all purchases made through your site. To read more about transaction reporting through your payment processor, you will need to login to your payment gateway account.

The Free Window Option

Ellington Paywall provides a free window option. This feature provides the ability to allow users free access to content for a limited time. A good use-case for this option would be allowing breaking news to be free for the first 2 hours after publication, and then having it automatically move behind your paywall.

Price Override

A Metered Paywall

Ellington’s metered method allows you to grant free access to a specified number of stories. After the threshold of story views is reached, content becomes premium and is hidden behind the paywall.

Ellington will provide two different methods to achieve metering.

  • Anonymous: This method uses cookies stored on each user’s machine to count views of premium content. After a preset number of free content views has been reached, a message will be presented requiring the purchase of a subscription.
  • Logged In The optional logged-in method will ask users to identify themselves through the standard Ellington login. Ellington will keep track of the views. You can choose either or both methods (Ellington Support can enable this for you).


Through the use of the Ellington template infrastructure, sites can present customizable interim messages during the free period. Ellington has a template tag which allows for a message to be shown to users. The number of free views and the number of views remaining can be presented via this message. To locate template documentation, please go to and search for “paywall utils”.

There should just be one template in defaults at paywall/paypal_standard/subscribe_or_purchase.html If you need to make modifications to the template you can test them using your paywall dev site, which will be set up by Ellington and placed in a folder in your template directory as “yourdomain_paywall”

If you have more than one site, cookies are based on domains (sites) so anonymous users will have the set number of free views on each individual site. Free views for logged in users will be combined between the two sites.

Payment Gateways

A back-end payment provider is required because Ellington does not provide credit card or other payment processing directly. To ensure credit card transactions are managed safely for our clients, Ellington has chosen to use the following Payment Gateways. If different gateways are needed, please contact your project manager.

  • Paypal
  • Braintree
  • First Data Global Gateway
  • Stripe
  • Innovative Gateway Solutions
  • Plugnpay
  • Samurai
  • ePay

Ellington uses payment gateway keys and tokens to process transactions and certain information (depending on the processor chosen) will be required to be delivered to us for deployment in your site settings file for proper integration. A payment gateway of at least Paypal is required to enable the Paywall.

A Paywall will by default will block your premium content from being searchable by search engine bots. Ellington, on the other hand, has your site open to the “bots” from Google, Yahoo and Bing, resulting in searchable premium content by default. This functionality can be extended to additional search engines but it requires a code change and would have to be performed during the Ellington maintenance period. Please contact Ellington Support if you would like your paywalled content to not be searchable by search engines.

Paywall in the Site Administration: Setup information

The Paywall Application as it appears in your site administration:

Paywall Application

This model allows you to create paid content types for purchase. To add a content type

Add Paid Content Type

The Paid content types model as it appears in your site administration (with example Name and Price entered)

  1. Click Add next to the Paid content types model.
  2. Provide a Name for your new content type. Example: “Premium News”
  3. Enter a Price to be charged if a nonsubscriber purchases the content individually.
  4. Free window: Enter a length of time in hours this content is viewable for free. If you do not enter a value, the content will always remain free.
  5. Click Save.

Assigning Paid Content Type to Category

The Add category model as it appears in your site administration (with example Name and Paid content item provided).

Category Paid Conten tType

To create a “paid only” category:

  1. Click on the Category model under the Category application.
  2. Click the Add a Category button.
  3. After choosing the appropriate Hierarchy and Parent, Name the new Category.
  4. Select the Paid Content Items tab.
  5. Select the Paid content type (Example: Premium News).
  6. You have an option to enter a Price Override, and/or a Free Window Override for the category, which allows the story to be viewed for free for a certain number of hour(s).
  7. Click Save.

By doing this, you will be able to select, on a category level, when a story should be viewable only to subscribers or available for purchase.

You can change an existing category to be “paid only”, however we recommend creating a new “paid only” category. Changes to an existing category are not retroactive, adding a paid content flag to an existing category will only make stories applied to this category going forward go behind the paywall. ePublishing does offer the service of moving existing stories assigned to existing stories behind the paywall. Please contact your project manager for pricing information.

How to mark a story as “Free” for a limited time

Price Override
  1. Click on the Stories model under the News application.
  2. Select the story you want to mark as paid.
  3. Under Paid content items tab, select the appropriate paid content type.
  4. Enter the Price override, if applicable.
  5. In the Free Window Override field, put the number of hours the content will be free if applicable. (For example: 24 if story is to be free for 24 hours from story publication date) If you do not specify one, the window of the type choses in step 3 will be used.
  6. Click Save.

If you attach a paid content item incorrectly and wish to remove it, you must check the Delete checkbox and then click Save and Continue. You may then select the correct paid content type or leave it as free.

This model will keep a record of all the single purchases made through the site by end users. This will be updated by transactions that take place between Ellington and Paypal. Admin users should not have many reasons to create Paid content purchase objects unless a purchase has taken place offline and you wish to record it here. Please note, however, that creating a paid content purchase here does not send a transaction to PayPal for payment. Additionally, if a paid content purchase needs to be deleted, site administration users will need to do this in the Ellington site administration and the PayPal interface to apply the credit.

You can create several different types of subscriptions. Examples might be 13WeeksWebAccess, OneDaySub, 52WeeksWebAccess. The Add paid content subscription type as it appears in your admin (with examples entered in the available fields):

Paid Content Subscription Types 1
Paid Content Subscription Types 2
Paid Content Subscription Types 3

To create a subscription type

  1. Click on the Paid content subscription types model under the Paywall application.
  2. Click on the Add paid content subscription type button.
  3. Name the subscription type (Example: Online Subscription).
  4. Select the "Allowed Content types for Subscription" tab.
  5. Select the applicable Paid content type.
  6. Select the "Subscription Type Duratin" tab.
  7. Select the Subscription type duration, including the Price and if the subscription is recurring.
  8. Click Save.

The Multiplier is the number of timeframes, i.e. the “2” in 2 weeks. The Timeframe can be Day, Week, Month or Year.

This model contains an ongoing list of all user subscriptions. You can add subscriptions manually within this model

Subscriptions added manually through the admin will not be sent as transactions to PayPal.

The Add paid content subscription model as it appears in your site administration (with examples entered in the fields):

Paid Content Subscription

Ellington Paywall does also contain a Print Subscriber Verification System. For more information see Paywall’s Print Subscriber Validation

To manually enter a subscription

  1. Click on the Paid content subscriptions model under the Paywall application
  2. Click on the Add paid content subscription button.
  3. Select the subscription Type.
  4. Tie the user to the subscription type by clicking on the magnifying glass and selecting applicable User.
  5. Enter the start and end date of their subscription.
  6. Enter the Amount paid.
  7. Click Save.

Subscription Type Durations

The Subscription Types Duration application stores the subscriptions that have been created, along with the multiplier, timeframe and cost.

Subscription Type Duration

Standard reports with Ellington Paywall

Ellington’s paywall application will allow you to export all subscribers within the Ellington paywall system as well as provide an export of the transactions made between Ellington’s paywall and Paypal.

  • Export Subscribers - CSV of all subscribers inside Ellington
  • Export Transactions - CSV of all paywall transactions with Payment Gateway

Your payment gateway will also offer standard reports for your merchant account that you may utilize as well. Some processors also support ‘passing’ attributes through the template to be placed on one of their reports. If you have questions on how to do this, please contact your project manager and/or support person at your payment gateway.

End User Experience

When a user selects a story that is behind the paywall they will be prompted to log in (if they are not already).

Once logged in, if the user has an active subscription for this content, they will be directed to their desired story. If the user does not have an active subscription for this content, they will be able to view a configurable amount of paid content items before hitting the paywall. Once they have exceeded the limit, they will be presented with the the view /content_purchase, which may be styled by your template designer. The standard view /content_purchase will render this:

The user can select the purchase type they desire by clicking the buttons. Next, they are directed to the checkout pages that integrate with your payment gateway account to purchase. If paypal is chosen as the processor, they will be directed to Paypal to complete the purchase.

The user will click on the Pay Now button at the bottom of the Paypal screen and then be taken back to the story they have just purchased (singly or by subscription). Please note: A user will always have access to any content they purchase individually, even without a subscription.

IP Based Access

IP address authentication is available. Contact your project manager via Basecamp to have it setup. This method of identifying users requesting access to paywalled content is available to those wishing to use it, and those clients who have a need for "bulk" login capabilities. Users gain access based on their computer or site IP address (numerical address). Users will all share 1 username and password that has no limit on the number of logins, but will only be allowed access if the user's originating IP is that of the one supplied. Since only ePublishing can add/update IP addresses manually via the site settings, this ensures that access is limited to the addresses supplied only.


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