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Digital Access FAQ

Thank you for being a reader of The Mercury News. We’re proud to bring you the work of Northern California’s largest news team as we continue a long tradition of aggressive, serious journalism that makes a difference in our communities.

All readers of the website have access to a limited number of articles. Once you’ve reached your article limit, you’ll be asked to do one of these things:

LOG IN: If you are already a digital or print subscriber, and you created an account with either your email address and a password or social credentials from Google, Facebook or Apple, simply use those credentials to log in when prompted. For example, if you are blocked from reading an article by a popup, this means that you aren’t logged in to the website. Look for the Log In link on the popup or at the top of the page and sign in with the credentials associated with your subscription. If you have forgotten your password, you may reset it after clicking Log In.

ACTIVATE: If you are a subscriber who began a subscription over the phone, by mail or in person, rather than online, and already use our customer service site to manage your subscription, you will need to click here to activate the digital access that comes with your subscription. Doing so will give you access to other Bay Area News Group sites. Just log in if you find your access to articles blocked.

CREATE ACCOUNT: If you are a subscriber who began a subscription over the phone, by mail or in person, rather than online, you will need to sign up and verify some account information to activate digital access, including digital coupons, Membership Rewards, account management tools and access to other Bay Area News Group websites.

SUBSCRIBE: If you’re not a current subscriber, you’ll be allowed to see several stories at no charge but will then be asked to join the many people who are supporting our journalism by signing up for a digital or print subscription.  You may also purchase a premium ad-free subscription that presents the website free of ads.

Q: Why does The Mercury News require a subscription for complete digital access?

The expenses associated with creating unique, original local news content are significant. In recent years, we have made much of our work available online at no cost. The current economics of our business make that impractical, so regular digital visitors who are not subscribers will be asked to subscribe to help support the cost of our important work.

If you’re one of our many customers who already pay for home delivery and/or online access to our E-Edition, we appreciate your ongoing support for quality local journalism. You’ll continue to have unlimited access to all our digital content as part of your subscription — just log in or activate your account.

We will continue to offer occasional visitors a limited number of free article views. But if you are a regular reader – and we hope that you are – then you will want to subscribe to ensure you continue to have unlimited access to the local news and information that matters to you.

Q: What is included in my Digital Access subscription?

The all-access pass to digital content includes:

  • Unlimited, exclusive Mercury News journalism from our reporters and photographers.
  • Daily delivery of the E-Edition, a digital replica of The Mercury News print edition.
  • Opinions and reviews from Mercury News’s columnists and critics.
  • Insider sports coverage of the Bay Area’s pro, college and high school teams.
  • Unlimited access with the Mercury News mobile apps for iOS or Android phones and tablets.
  • Access to our exclusive Membership Rewards program.
  • Email newsletters focused on news, sports, entertainment, business and lifestyle.
  • A “subscriber” badge on your profile in the comment section at the bottom of news stories.

As a special benefit, your subscription also provides unlimited access to the East Bay Times, Santa Cruz Sentinel and Marin Independent Journal websites, giving you the most comprehensive news coverage in the Bay Area.

Q. How much does a digital subscription cost?

You can see that information on our subscription page. From time to time you may see a special offer for new subscribers on our websites or in emails.

Q: What is the difference between Unlimited Digital Access and Basic Digital Access?

  • Print and All Access includes Print, Unlimited Website, eEdition, Mobile App – News and Mobile
    App – eEdition.
  • Print and Basic Digital includes Print, eEdition and Mobile App – eEdition.
  • Print Only does not include any digital access.

Q. What is included in an ad-free subscription?

An Ad-free, or Premium, subscription gives digital subscribers all the same benefits of Digital Access as well as access to free of third-party digital advertisements. Exceptions apply. It does not include sponsored content in the form of articles, legal public notices, newsletter sign-up forms or direct subscription offers. Advertisements are also still displayed in email newsletters, the replica E-Edition, video players from CNN and YouTube, the mobile app, and the printed newspaper. Ad-free subscribers will also get a “premium subscriber” badge in the comment section.

Q. Can I receive news alerts in my browser? How do I manage notifications?

Readers using desktops, laptops and Android devices have the opportunity to opt in to browser notifications – small popups that provide an alert and a link to breaking news and other articles. You can manage these notifications by following these instructions for Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge browsers.

Q. What are the rules around commenting? 

Treat everyone with respect: No personal attacks or name-calling, no rude language. Please see our commenting rules of the road for more details.

Q: How do I manage my Mercury News subscription?

Manage your subscription through the Subscriber Services site. After logging in or creating an account, you can update your payment information, share your account and more.

Q: If I am paying for access, will I still see ads on the website?

Yes. Subscriptions alone do not cover the costs of producing quality local news, and our advertisers — many of them local Bay Area businesses — provide readers with useful shopping information on deals, new products and more. Supporting these advertisers helps us provide news coverage from the Bay Area and beyond at an affordable price. Subscribers who prefer to use an ad blocker may do so. Subscribers who prefer to not to see ads or use an ad blocker will be asked to pay for an ad-free subscription.

Q: How will I know when I reach my story limit? Can I track the number of stories I have already read?

As you read through stories on the website, on-screen notifications will tell you when you’ve reached your limit. You will be asked to log in or subscribe once you have reached your limit.

Q: If I go back and read an article I’ve already read, will that count toward my limit?

No. If you view an article you have already read recently, it will not count again toward your limit.

Q: How can I get more information about my subscription?

Please contact Subscriber Services at 408-508-5554 or for assistance. Business hours are from 6:30am-5pm (PST) Monday through Friday; 7:00am-10:30am Saturday; and 8:00am-10:30am Sunday. You can also visit for more information or to manage your account.

Q: What is your cancellation and refund policy?

You may cancel or modify your subscription at any time by calling Subscriber Services at 408-508-5554. Your cancellation will become effective at the end of your current billing period. You will not receive a refund; your subscription access and/or delivery and accompanying subscriber benefits will continue for the remainder of your current billing period. Please see our Arbitration and Refund Terms for more information.

Q. Why am I being asked to log in again if I’ve already logged in once?

When you sign in, cookies are placed in your browser so you won’t need to log in each time you visit. However, please note that if your browser cookies are cleared, or if you switch to a different browser or a different device, you will need to log in again. For example, if you have logged in on a laptop using the Chrome browser, but then use your phone to access, you will see popups on your phone’s browser. Simply click the Log In link on the popup and sign in with your credentials. The ad-free experience also requires you to log in.

Q. Where can I find information on troubleshooting login problems?

Please see our Login FAQ here for guidance on how to resolve the most common login issues.

Q. Where can I send feedback about the Digital Access program or the website?

Email us at If you are reporting a technical problem, you can help by providing the URL of the page you were visiting and information about your device, operating system and browser.