Paywalls are commonly used by blogs and online news sources to restrict access to their content. Although websites erect paywalls to receive payment for the high-quality material they provide, readers may find this to be quite inconvenient.
There are a number ways to get past these paywalls, and I’ll discuss some of the most well-established ones in this piece. However, let’s first define a paywall before discussing how to do it.
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What is a paywall?
A paywall is when a website restricts access to its content and requests that you purchase a subscription. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist are just a few of the online news outlets that use paywalls.
You will likely be prompted with something like “Subscribe today for unlimited access” if you come across a news story from one of these publications and want more information or to see other stories they’ve published that are related.
Parts of a piece could still be read without a subscription, but not the entire thing. You might only be able to read the first sentence or two in some circumstances before being prompted to register for access (in which case we recommend bookmarking it for later).
On blogs that have been made profitable through advertising, paywalls may also appear (ads appearing alongside their content). Bloggers occasionally reserve the right to restrict access to specific postings unless you are logged in as a member of their website.
How do paywalls work?
Paywalls obstruct access to material unless you pay a fee, as was already mentioned. Depending on the publisher, the subscription process may change. There are times when a publisher offers a subscription plan that grants you limitless access to all of their content.
In other instances, you might be able to buy a membership that covers just one article or a specific amount of articles each month.
There are various paywall kinds, and how they operate varies depending on the publication. Let’s look at a few of its types:
- Hard paywall: A paywall that completely blocks access to content if you don t have a subscription.
- Soft paywall: A paywall that doesn t block access to all of the content on a website but does limit how much you can see without subscribing.
- Metered paywall: A paywall that allows you to see a certain number of articles for free each month before you re prompted to subscribe.
- Freemium model: A freemium model is when a publisher offers some content for free while charging for other content.
- Patron model: A patron model is when a publisher asks for donations from readers in order to access its content.
Now that you know the fundamentals of paywalls, we’ll show you how to bypass them using a few straightforward strategies.
10 Ways to Get Past a Paywall
1. Bypass Paywalls Firefox Extension
There is a useful addon for Firefox called Bypass Paywalls that will allow you to browse articles without a subscription.
Open Firefox and navigate to the Add-ons page to install it. Type “Bypass Paywalls” into the search bar, then click the “Add to Firefox” button.
After installation, you can use the Bypass Paywalls button in your toolbar to access any website with a paywall by opening it. Due to this, you will be able to read the content without having a subscription.
2. Look for the article elsewhere button
Sometimes articles from websites with paywalls are copied and posted on sites without paywalls. You can use Google to search for the article’s title and other websites that have published it in order to find the identical article on another website.
For instance, if you don’t have a subscription but would like to read an article from The New York Times, you can search for “new york times paywall bypass” and come across numerous websites that have duplicated the text.
You might also try typing the article’s title followed by “pdf” into a search engine. This will frequently turn up PDF versions of the article that you may read for free.
3. Try the Unpaywall Chrome Extension
There is a useful addon for Chrome called Unpaywall that enables you to browse articles without a subscription.
On Chrome’s Extensions page, enter “Unpaywall” in the search field, then click the “Add to Chrome” button to install it.
The Unpaywall button will appear in your toolbar once it has been installed, allowing you to open any website with a paywall and click on it. Due to this, you will be able to read the content without having a subscription.
4. Reset your browser cookies
Resetting your browser’s cookies is another method for getting past a paywall. For instance, a website is using an undetectable tracking system to record information about how many pages you’ve viewed if it only lets you read one or two articles before putting up a paywall.
Hence, removing your cookies will enable you to read for a while before returning, as it will appear as if you’re a new visitor and eliminate the restriction on counting the number of articles you’ve read.
Open your browser and navigate to the Settings or Options page to reset your cookies. Find the Clear Browsing Data section under the Privacy tab and select the box next to Cookies and Other Site Data. Next, select Clean Data.
5. Delete the paywall manually
The strength of the barrier varies among websites. In this situation, you can remove the paywall by altering the website’s source code.
All you have to do to fix this is use the developer tools in your browser to discover and remove the element that causes the paywall. Following that, you won’t need to sign up to access the article.
By hitting Ctrl+Shift+I, you can open the Developer Tools in Google Chrome and a window similar to this one will appear:
Go to the top left of Chrome’s tool to find the paywall’s source code. Once you’ve located it, select Remove Element by performing a right-click on the data. Reload the website after that.
6. Stop the page from fully loading
A paywall can also be bypassed by preventing the page from fully loading. This will stop the paywall from appearing, allowing you to read the content without having to become a subscriber.
Hold down the Shift key when clicking the link to the article to prevent the page from loading completely. The paywall won’t show up and the article will open in a new tab as a result.
7. Dig through archive sites
Websites that store archives are known as archive sites. As the articles will be free to access on the archive site, this can be a great method to read content that is restricted to subscribers.
Go to Google and enter the following to locate a website’s archive site:
web address: archive.org
You will be shown all of the websites that have copies of the website you specified in their archives. To read the article for free, conduct a search on the subject and then click on any of these links.
8. Use a Read-it-Later tool
When you access a website’s online content, paywalls appear. But, you can store articles for offline reading utilising a read-it-later application, circumventing the barrier entirely.
Pocket is the most used read-it-later application. Using the Pocket extension for your web browser will allow you to save articles that are behind paywalls for offline reading whenever you come across them.
Evernote and Instapaper are other options for reading later. To determine which one suits you the most, try out a few of these tools.
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9. Convert the page to PDF
Converting a web page into a PDF can be another option to read articles offline and get around the paywall.
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Use a website like Web to PDF or PDF My URL to convert the page to PDF. These websites allow you to convert a page to a PDF by pasting the article’s URL into the box provided. The PDF can then be downloaded and viewed offline.
10. Sign up for a free trial
Millions of people use the PDF file format every day, making it one of the most popular. There may be instances when you’re…Read more
Last but not least, you can sign up for a free trial to view content on a website for a little period of time. In order to give a service a try before you enrol, many websites provide a free trial that lasts for a number of days.
To avoid paying the monthly charge, remember to cancel your subscription before the free trial expires.