You’re halfway through an interesting article in your favourite publication when you’re smacked with a paywall. If you can’t afford to pay a subscription price right now, or if you’re having trouble paying, the tips below will allow you to get around paywalls and view subscription-based content for free.
Prior we go any further, it’s crucial to note that not all paywalls are created equal. As a result, one solution may not work for all websites’ paywalls. It’s also worth noting that this article is simply educational; we’re not advocating for bypassing paywalls.
Content development takes a lot of time and work. To provide high-quality content, publishers need to make more money. As a result, many online publishers use paywalls to generate additional cash. Users who pay a charge will gain access to gated or paywalled content. Paywalls are divided into two categories:
Before accessing any content, this paywall necessitates payment of a (subscription) charge upfront. Hard paywall websites will only allow you to read a fragment of an article and view the full content, and you’ll need to pay a subscription price.
Non-paying members can read a restricted number of articles for a set time/session in publications with soft paywalls. One publishing platform that employs a soft paywall is Medium. Members who do not have a membership can only access three articles per month for free, and this form of paywall is usually the easiest to get through.
Depending on the sort of paywall the website administrator uses, the strategy to utilise will differ. Regardless, we’re confident that at least one of the methods listed below will allow you to access content that requires a subscription.
This is a simple strategy that works on a variety of web pages. The trick prevents your browser from fully loading the web page as soon as the paywalled content’s text element is displayed.
Keep the web page URL in the address box, press Enter, and as soon as you see some text on the screen, click the x icon (or use the Esc key).
Pausing the website may not load all content elements, notably multimedia items such as photos, animations, and videos, which is a significant constraint.
It’s worth noting that the success of this strategy is contingent on the order in which the website’s page elements are loaded. If the website loads the barrier before the content, this method is unlikely to work.
Select the option to check the cookies and site data for all websites in your web browser’s Privacy or Security area. Then, in your browser’s cookies management window, look for the website and select Remove All.
Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox are all affected. See our tutorial on clearing cache in any web browser for additional instructions.
On websites with hard paywalls, such as Medium, this approach may not work. You’ll have to manually clear the cookies when you reach the free article limit with soft paywalls.
One more thing: If the publisher is tracking your behaviour with more advanced techniques (not simply cookies), this strategy will not work. IP addresses, Browser Fingerprinting, WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication), and other technologies.
As previously said, not all paywalls are created equal. You might be able to browse subscription-based material using incognito or private browsing if the website has a soft paywall. This will fool the website into thinking you’re a new visitor, allowing you to access free content before the paywall loads.
This method is far superior to manually erasing a website’s cookies. Because most web browsers don’t send pre-existing cookies to the page, you’re visiting in incognito mode, and this is the case. The website will briefly place new cookies on your device during private browsing sessions, but they will be deleted when you leave the incognito window.
To enter an incognito tab in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, press Ctrl + Shift + N (or Command + Shift + N on macOS).
Ctrl + Shift + P launch a private browsing window in Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.
To browse the paywalled webpage in Safari, press Command + Shift + N to open a private browsing window.
For reference, internet archiving software saves copies of online pages and social media posts. Archive. Is, Archive. Today, and Archive. Ph is a viable solution for accessing paywalled content and reading subscription-based news items for free.
Go to the archive website in your browser, type the webpage URL into the specified dialogue box, and click Save.
The “Screenshot” tool in the tools above transforms the webpage into a PNG image. To save the page as an image file, select the Screenshot option at the top of the result page.
You may access subscription-based newspaper articles for free using third-party browser add-ons. We tried a few of these extensions and noticed that most of them are ineffective. The ones that do aren’t available on the Chrome Webstore, so you’ll have to find them elsewhere.
We’ve done the legwork and discovered that the “Bypass Paywalls” Chrome and Firefox plugin is effective. This extension allows you to view articles from hundreds of newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington article, and others, that require a subscription. It’s also free, though you’ll have to install it on your browser manually.
The extension is on GitHub, so go to that website and download the ZIP file for the extension.
The file can be extracted from any location on your computer.
Press Enter after pasting chrome:/extensions into the address bar of Chrome.
Toggle Developer Mode on or off.
Select Load unpacked from the drop-down menu.
Select the extension folder from the folder you extracted in step #2 and click the Select Folder button.
Check the Pick all/none option on the “Supported Sites” page to select all preloaded websites.
If a publication isn’t listed among the preloaded sites, go to the “Custom Sites” page and manually type in the URL.
You may enter as many websites as you like, one per line. The “Custom Sites” option is not available in Mozilla Firefox.
Save may be found at the bottom of the window if you scroll down.
You should no longer see a paywall if you go to the website or reload the page.
The session is, once again, simply educational. We are firm believers in paying for high-quality content. Contact the website administrator if you’re having trouble paying for gated content. Use these methods only if all other attempts to make payments or contact the site’s administrator have failed.
It’s worth noting that the strategies and tools discussed above worked flawlessly when this post was published. Depending on the type of paywall used by the publisher, some will not work on particular websites. However, we cannot promise that you will always be able to browse subscription-based content for free using these tools. For example, Outline.com used to be a handy tool for getting around paywalls, and it no longer works for items in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.