How to Get Past a Paywall to Read an Article for Free

Get Past a Paywall to Read an Article

Most of us have already used it. Numerous websites have introduced paywalls in the recent years; in order to view their articles, you must sign up and pay a monthly charge. Some websites have a “metered” barrier, which allows you to read a set number of articles without having to pay, while others have a hard gate, which requires payment in order to view even one item.

The majority of websites with paywalls are news websites; this is partly because news organisations are pursuing more direct funding streams, such as monthly subscriptions, as relying solely on advertising money is simply no longer practical. Naturally, we support paywalls, and it’s likely that you do too. You should definitely pay to read articles if you can. However, there are a number of ways to get around paywalls on the internet, regardless of whether you’ve forgotten your password, haven’t stored it on your phone, are in a rush, are short on cash, or simply promise yourself that you’ll subscribe later.

Some of these techniques might work today, but as websites crack down on bypass techniques, that may change in the future. I sincerely hope that you would support the websites you visit by becoming a member—especially your friendly neighbourhood news source—but if you’re unable to do so at the moment, here are some of the greatest ways to get around paywalls on the internet.

Google the headline you just pasted.

Often, the simplest solutions work the best. Numerous websites with paywalls have a plan that allows visitors arriving via Google search to access their content without paying. The headline should be copied and pasted into Google’s search field as your initial step. Simply select the first result to access the article and read it for free.

Try a Facebook redirect

Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still access content on some pay-walled websites if you arrive from Facebook. Open the article you wish to read, then go to your web browser’s address bar to do it. Now copy and paste Facebook’s link (l.php?u=). before opening the page and entering the article’s paywall URL. You will be taken to a Facebook redirect page where you can choose to open the website by clicking Follow Link. It should now be possible to read the article without paying.

Open the link in an incognito window

Open the paywalled articles in an incognito window of your web browser; however, this strategy only works with metered paywalls. This is another simple solution. Open the website’s articles in a private window if you’ve reached your monthly limit of free articles and want to continue reading without paying.

Disable JavaScript in your browser

By turning off JavaScript in your browser, you can get around paywalls that some websites use to prevent access to content. Be aware that most websites will break if JavaScript is disabled; some may prevent you from viewing comments, while others may not load at all. However, if you only need to read the post’s content, it’s worth a shot.

Use a different browser if possible to avoid having to constantly enable and disable JavaScript. Once you’ve decided on a secondary browser, review our guide to blocking JavaScript in different browsers.

Edit a couple of elements on the webpage

If you know a little HTML and CSS, you can use your browser to change elements to get around some paywalls. You are basically altering the page to get rid of the banners that hide content behind a membership. Comparable to pulling back the drapes to show a pleasant view outside your window

It works on some websites, but others have implemented a hard block that prevents you from seeing the article unless you have a paid account and are logged in. Nevertheless, it’s worth giving it a shot to see if it works:

Select Inspect Element from the context menu by right-clicking the banner that appears immediately below the last visible sentence of any webpage. By doing this, a console will pop up where you may look for the problematic items and hide or modify them. Although the specific component varies from website to website, it frequently has the labels “display,” “paywall,” or “subscription.” Reddit has a cool GIF that demonstrates how to accomplish it.

Use a service for annotations

Similar to adding notes or highlights to a paper book or magazine, annotation services let you clean up the clutter on webpages. You can use some of these services to get around some paywalls. One of these services is outline.

You can enter the paywall article’s link on the Outline website. To let the website do its magic, select Create Outline. Your route around paywalls will send you to a new page that loads the complete article. Keep bookmarking these articles to read later because Outline generates a new URL for every article you attempt to load using their website.

You can try using a URL shortener like is.gd as a workaround if the service is unable to display the article for you since some websites have prohibited Outline from accessing their websites. Simply put the abbreviated URL on Outline to get around the restriction.

Use browser extensions

You can get through most websites’ paywalls using a variety of browser addons. Check out Bypass Paywalls or Bypass Paywalls Clean (works on Chrome, Edge, and Firefox) (Firefox). Unpaywall (Firefox, Chrome) is a decent option for academic articles.

Check out the iPhone’s paywall bypass shortcuts.

The final technique on our list only works with iPhones: You can automate tasks on your iPhone using Apple’s free Shortcuts software, and its tools have been exploited to get around paywalls on numerous websites. There are several of these shortcuts, however not all websites may support them. You can attempt Unpaywall, Paywall and Cookie Bypass, AntiPaywall, and Bypass Paywall.

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