Reading protected LiveJournal entries via RSS

How to read protected ‘friends only’ LiveJournal posts in your RSS aggregator.

Being able to subscribe to an RSS feed for any LiveJournal weblog by adding /rss to the end of the URL is all well and good, but I’ve been grumbling for a while that the downside to that is that it won’t let you read protected “friends only” entries, as by pulling the RSS feed you’re not actually logged into the LiveJournal system.

Well, many thanks to Phil for pointing out a trick he picked up from Brent Simmons — if you add /rss?auth=digest to the end of the URL, and include the standard HTTP authentication at the beginning of the URL (username:password@ between the protocol and the server address), then the RSS feed will include the protected entries.

In other words, using my LiveJournal as an example (even though it doesn’t have any protected entries, it’ll work for demonstrating the URL changes)…

  1. LiveJournal URL: http://www.livejournal.com/users/djwudi/
  2. LiveJournal RSS feed: http://www.livejournal.com/users/djwudi/rss (which actually maps to http://www.livejournal.com/users/djwudi/data/rss)
  3. LiveJournal RSS feed with protected entries: http://username:password@www.livejournal.com/users/djwudi/data/rss?auth=digest

Update: It appears that at some point over the past few months, ending the URL with ?auth=digest is no longer necessary. Simply using the string http://username:password@www.livejournal.com/users/username/data/rss (where the first ‘username’ and ‘password’ set are yours, and the second ‘username’ is that of the journal you’re reading) seems to work fine.

NOTE: This is not a technique for “hacking” LiveJournal to allow you to read protected entries that you would not otherwise have access to! All this does is allow you to ‘log in’ to LiveJournal via your RSS reader so that you can read your friends protected entries just as if you were logged in to the LiveJournal web interface. I do not know of a way to read protected entries that you have not been granted access to, and I’m not interested in trying to find one.

iTunes: “Getting Snippy With It” by Rollins, Henry from the album Talk is Cheap, Vol. 1 (2003, 6:48).

Author: djwudi

Enthusiastic ambivert. Geeky, liberal, friendly, curious, feminist ally; trying to be a good person. (he/him)

0 thoughts on “Reading protected LiveJournal entries via RSS”

  1. Sweet. I have been wanting to do this for a long time, but I couldn’t find how to do it. Thank you so much for the information.

    I guess I just validated the existence of weblog archives as well.

  2. I tried http://username:password@www.livejournal.com/users/djwudi/data/rss?auth=digest
    and i entered my username and password and the persons live journal user name, but it didnt work for me. Maybe you could help, i dl an rss reader but it would either say error or ask for user name and password so i would enter mine but it still did not work. The person whos live journal entries i am trying to veiw says frinds only. Do you know any way i can bypass this?
    thank you for your time
    Ava :)

  3. Ava, RaggedyAndie — I’m afraid I’m not sure why things wouldn’t work (aside from Bloglines, which as Phil pointed out above, doesn’t seem to accept the URL string). I’ve just double-checked all the LJ feeds I’ve subscribed to in my aggregator (NetNewsWire), and they work just as they’re supposed to with that style URL.

    Sorry I can’t help more — as far as I can tell, though, the above information is correct.

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  5. Jamie — could you give a few more details about the troubles you’re having? Which URL are you trying, what program are you typing it into, etc…right now, I don’t have enough information to try to help you. :)

  6. If I want to read my entire friends page including protected entries, rather than each individual friend’s journal, how would I set up the link? On top of my friends pages, I also subsribe to rss feeds via livejournal, as well as communities. When I got to work this morning, I found they’d restricted LJ and I can’t use it anymore from work. So, I’d like to have the entire contents of my friend’s page be fed to my rss reader (probably going to use google’s) any time there are updates. :( Any tips?

  7. Ok, I’ve been having some trouble with this, but I suspect this is to do with my reader not being able to handle adding user/pass thingy to the feed. If I make a feedburner feed using the system above, it works fine. However, this has the disadvantage of opening the feed to everyone, so I’d rather not use that method. Does anyone know a way of creating a pseudo-rss feed that could be better hidden?

  8. I found this via Google. You rock! This works really well for me. At last, I no longer have to go to Lj just in case someone’s posted something.

    Thanks so much!

    Kx

  9. hey hello!

    is this still working? when yes, then i do something wrong. Question:
    which broser should i use? IE or Firefox?

    and does it still work with the old adresses or have i to put the new adresses in there like this:

    http://username:password@www.usernameprotectedthreads.livejournal.com/data/rss

    hm but it still doesnt work not in IE and not in firefox, i do something wrong but what? or did they found out the security lag? and are there other options to view friends-only posts?

    greetings,

  10. hey hello!

    is this feature still working? when yes, then i do something wrong :(

    Question:

    what browser shall i use? IE or firefox?

    and does it stil work with the old adresses or have i to put in the new ones like this

    http://username:password@www.usernameprotectedjournal.livejournal.com/data/rss

    i tryed it in both brothers but nothing happened :(

    and is this feature still working? or are there new methods to view friends-only post? then please tell me :P

    thank you,

    greetings,

  11. hello.
    it worked for me, but i could only see the users current entries on their lj site. i couldnt get to any old ones…is there a way i can do that? and, the user has friend blocked their memories on their profile page. is there a trick where i can see the blocked memories entries?

  12. How do I do this? Can I just do it on the web browser or do I need to put it in a RSS reader feed thing, which one? I’m not really good at this stuff.

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