How to Read a Free Article After Getting Past a Paywall

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Photo: NDAB Creativity (Shutterstock) – Even if you pay for journalism on a regular basis, you may need to find a way around it on occasion. We’ve all done it at some point. Countless websites have implemented paywalls in recent years, requiring visitors to register and pay a monthly charge in order to view their content. Some websites have a “metered” barrier, which means you may read a set number of articles for free before being asked to pay, while others have a “hard” gate, which means you must pay to view even one item.

Paywalls are primarily seen on news websites, owing to the fact that depending only on advertising revenue is no longer sustainable, and news organizations are exploring more direct revenue streams such as monthly subscriptions. Of course, we’re not anti-paywalls—and neither are you, we’re sure. You should definitely pay to read articles if you can afford it. There are numerous ways to get around paywalls on the internet, whether you’ve forgotten your password, are in a hurry, or are just short on cash and promise yourself that you’ll subscribe later.

You might be able to utilize some of these ways effectively right now, but as websites crack down on bypass methods, that could change in the future. I hope you’ll join up for memberships to support the websites you read, but if you can’t right now, here are some of the greatest ways to get around paywalls online.

Copy the headline and paste it into Google.

The simplest solutions are frequently the most effective. Many paywalled websites have an agreement that allows users who arrive via Google search to view their material for free. Your first step should be to copy the headline and paste it into Google’s search field. The article should be the top result; simply click on it to read it for free.

Consider using a Facebook redirect.

Some paywalled websites allow Facebook users to view content for free, and this approach works even if you don’t have a Facebook account. To do so, navigate to the URL bar of your computer browser and open the article you wish to read. Now copy and paste into your browser. enter the paywalled article’s URL and open the page You’ll be sent to a Facebook redirect page, where you may click Follow Link to visit the website. The formerly paywalled article should now be available for free.

Open the link in a private browser window.

Another option is to access paywalled articles in an incognito window in your browser; however, this approach only works with metered paywalls. If you’ve reached your monthly free article quota on any website, accessing its articles in an incognito window may allow you to continue reading without paying.

JavaScript should be disabled in your browser.

You may bypass paywalls on certain websites by deactivating JavaScript in your browser. It’s worth noting that turning off JavaScript may (and will) damage most websites—some won’t let you read comments, while others won’t load at all. If you only need to read the post’s content, though, it’s worth a shot.

To avoid having to continually activating and removing JavaScript, you should use a different browser for this. Check out our guide on deactivating JavaScript in various browsers once you’ve picked a secondary browser.

Make a few changes to the webpage’s components.

If you know a little HTML and CSS, you can use your browser to modify components to get around some paywalls. In essence, you’re changing the page to remove the banners that prevent material from being accessed without a membership. It’s similar to pulling back the curtains to reveal the beautiful view outside your window.

It works on some websites, but others have put a hard barrier that only allows you to see the content if you have a paid account. Even so, it’s worth a shot to see if it works:

Right-click the banner directly below the final visible sentence of an article on any page and choose Inspect Element. This will open a console where you may look for and hide or modify the problematic components. The precise piece varies per site, however it’s usually referred to as a display, paywall, or subscribe button. On Reddit, there’s a cool GIF that teaches you how to do it.

Use a service that provides annotations.

Annotation services let you remove the clutter from webpages and add notes or highlights, much as in a book or magazine. Some of these tools can be used to get around paywalls. One such service is Outline.

You may go to the Outline website and paste the paywalled article’s URL there. To let the site do its magic, click Create Outline. You’ll be sent to a new page that will load the whole content, allowing you to bypass the paywalls. Each item you try to access using Outline’s website generates a new URL, so bookmark these to read later.

If Outline is unable to visit your website, you may use a URL shortener like as a workaround. To get around the barrier, simply put the shortened URL into Outline.

Browser add-ons are a good place to start.

Most websites have paywalls that may be bypassed with the use of browser extensions. Bypass Paywalls (works on Chrome, Edge, and Firefox) and Bypass Paywalls Clean are two options (Firefox). Unpaywall (Firefox, Chrome) is an excellent option for scholarly articles.

Check out iPhone shortcuts for bypassing paywalls.

The final approach on our list is exclusively applicable to iPhones: The free Shortcuts software from Apple allows you to execute automation routines on your iPhone, and its tools have been exploited to get around paywalls on numerous websites. There are several shortcuts available, however they may or may not work with all websites. AntiPaywall, Bypass Paywall, Paywall and Cookie Bypass, and Unpaywall are all options.