12 ways to get past a paywall

Bypassing a paywall on WSJ, Business Insider, NYT, etc. would be something only a paying customer can do. Just for that purpose there is a paywall: to prevent anyone but paid users from accessing specific content.

Depending on how the paywall works, you might get lucky using a paywall unblocker to see what’s behind it. Other times, a simple browser trick may be enough to remove the paywall and read the article, watch the video, etc.

There are two types of paywalls, and you will
most likely to get lucky unlocking only the “soft” kind. A soft paywall is one
which lets you see some of the content before blocking the rest, while a hard
paywall requires payment in advance without a content preview or restricted access.

Note: We do not recommend using paywall blockers as they starve a business of a potentially huge revenue stream. As with ad blockers, use them wisely and consider the impact they can have on your favorite sites.

If you’d rather watch than read, check out our short video on YouTube where we walk you through some of the paywall options mentioned in the article:

GET PAST PAYWALLS: How to Bypass Article and Website Paywalls in Chrome and Firefox

12 Paywall Unblockers

You can try a number of methods to get past a
paywall. Some certainly won’t work at all, but there are definitely one or two
options that should work for the site you are trying to access.

Bypass Paywalls Firefox Extension

To use this Firefox extension to bypass the paywall. It works on Bloomberg, Denver Post, the Baltimore Sun, Inc.com, The Herald, and many other sites. Just use the download link at the top of that page to get the file, then drag it into a Firefox window to install it.

From there, all you need to do is access the
site to see if the extension has removed the paywall. You can go to the settings
to unblock (allow the paywall) on any of the supported sites.

Find the article elsewhere

Copy the headline of the article and paste it in
a search engine to look for a duplicate. This is one of the easiest ways to
around a paywall, because often a popular subscription-based article
news organization is copied completely free of charge and placed elsewhere.

Something important to remember when doing a search like this where there are multiple spaces is to enclose the words in quotes, as you see above. This limits the search results, but ensures that what you find is relevant to the article you are looking for.

Try the Unpaywall Chrome extension

non paywall is a Chrome extension that unblocks paywalls for scientific articles. It searches the web for free PDF versions of the item and then gives you a link to find the free version.

Reset your browser cookies

Delete your browser cookies or use incognito
mode to bypass the paywall. If you can view a handful on the website
articles and then blocks access with a paywall, they do this through storage
cookies that keep track of how many pages you have viewed.

Delete the cookies or open the website in
incognito mode to bypass the cookies, the website looks like
you are a new visitor, so reset the number of free articles you can open.

To learn where your browser’s cookies are stored to delete them. Or see how to use private browsing mode in Chrome or OperaEdge of Internet Exploreror in Firefox

Use Outline.com

Enter the page URL Overview† Outline is for annotating web pages and reading the content with little distraction, but because of the way it works, it’s generally useful for getting past paywalls.

Remove the Paywall manually

If possible, remove the paywall popup. Some
websites use a super simple paywall system where the only thing holding you back
from viewing the page is a popup. Although there is not an easy exit button
accessible, you can view and manually delete the page source to
content behind it.

For example, in Chrome, right-click the
paywall message and select Inspect
Use the mouse pointer option in the top left corner of the Chrome tool to select the
paywall source code. When you find it, right click on the data and choose Delete element† maybe you should
remove different things until you find the right mixture to remove the whole thing

A similar option that might work if the paywall uses JavaScript is to block the script with a tool like Fast JavaScript Switcher for Chrome† If you don’t use Chrome or if these methods don’t work, try a web proxy that can remove scripts, such as: HMA

Stop the page from fully loading

Pause the page quickly before the paywall can
Open. If you’re not lucky enough to remove it or block JavaScript, you might be
able to pause the page to fully load to stop the paywall popup from
to display.

You have to be fast; when the page loads
too fast or the paywall launches for the article, this won’t work. To attempt
this, just refresh the page and press the esc
key in several times immediately after the content has been loaded.

Search archive sites

Archive sites like wayback machine and archive.is save web pages for archiving purposes. You can take advantage of these methods to find items that you would otherwise be unable to access due to a paywall block.

Use a “Read-it-Later” tool

Submit the article to a bookmarking or read-it-later service like Bag to bypass the item limit. This will only work if you get free access to the site the first few times you visit the site.

As with the above cookie method, it does not save the visit as your own visit, as the content of the page is sent elsewhere and not loaded on your computer.

Convert the page to PDF

There are many page to PDF converters, an example is: Webpagetopdf.com† Just put the URL of the paywall page in the text box, convert it and then download the PDF to have an offline, always accessible copy of the article.

Search for login details

If you’re dealing with a hard paywall that requires a user account, try a shared login service. Websites like BugMeNot may have credentials that you can use to login to the website and bypass the paywall by impersonating a real user.

Sign up for a free trial

Another paywall bypass method involves paying… sort of. If there is an option to request a trial so you can get around the paywall, use it and cancel the trial before being charged. This is definitely a no-brainer, but the reason we’re bringing it up is because it’s still free and will definitely get you past the block.

However, if you do this, you must cancel the trial, otherwise you will have to pay! You can use a virtual payment service such as: Privacy to ensure that the card you use to pay only covers the trial period and that you are not charged for the service.

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