It’s something most of us have done before. Countless websites have added paywalls in recent years, requiring you to sign up and pay a monthly fee to read their articles. Some sites have a “metered” paywall, which means you can read a certain number of articles for free before paying, while others have a “hard” paywall, which means you must pay to read even one article.
Paywalls are mostly found on news websites, owing to the fact that relying solely on advertising revenue is no longer viable, and news organizations are pursuing more direct revenue sources 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 several ways to get around paywalls on the internet, whether you’ve forgotten your password, haven’t saved it on your phone, are in a hurry, or are simply short on cash and promise yourself that you’ll subscribe later.
You might be able to use some of these methods successfully right now, but as websites crack down on bypass methods, that could change in the future. I hope you’ll sign up for memberships to support the websites you read—especially your friendly local news outlet—but if you can’t right now, here are some of the best ways to get around paywalls online.
Paste the headline in Google
The simplest solutions are frequently the most effective. Many paywalled websites have an arrangement that allows people who arrive via Google search to access their articles for free. Your first step should be to copy the headline and paste it into Google’s search bar. The article should be the first result; simply click on it to read it for free.
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Try a Facebook redirect
Some paywalled websites allow Facebook users to read articles for free, and this method works even if you don’t have a Facebook account. To do so, go to the address bar of your web browser and open the article you want to read. Now copy and paste https://facebook.com/l.php?u= into your browser. before the paywalled article’s URL and open the page You’ll be redirected to a Facebook redirect page, where you can click Follow Link to visit the website. The previously paywalled article should now be available for free.
Open the link in an incognito window
Another option is to open paywalled articles in an incognito window in your browser; however, this method only works with metered paywalls. If you’ve reached your monthly free article quota on any website, opening its articles in an incognito window may allow you to continue reading without paying.
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Edit a couple of elements on the webpage
If you know a little HTML and CSS, you can use your browser to edit elements to get around some paywalls. In essence, you’re editing the page to remove the banners that prevent content from being accessed without a subscription. It’s similar to pulling back the curtains to reveal a beautiful view outside your window.
It works on some websites, but others have added a hard block that only allows you to see the article if you have a paid account. Even so, it’s worth a shot to see if it works:
Right-click the banner just below the last visible sentence of an article on any website and choose Inspect Element. This will open a console where you can search for and hide or change the offending elements. The exact element varies by site, but it’s usually referred to as a display, paywall, or subscribe button. On Reddit, there’s a cool GIF that shows you how to do it.
Use an annotation service
Annotation services let you clear the clutter from websites and add notes or highlights, just like in a book or magazine. Some of these tools can be used to get around paywalls. One such service is Outline.
You can go to the Outline website and paste the paywalled article’s link there. To let the site do its magic, click Create Outline. You’ll be redirected to a new page that will load the entire article, allowing you to bypass the paywalls. Each article you try to load using Outline’s website generates a new URL, so bookmark these to read later.
Some websites have blocked Outline from accessing their pages; if the service is unable to display the article, you can use a URL shortener like is.gd as a workaround. To get around the block, simply paste the shortened URL into Outline.
Try browser add-ons
There are lots of browser extensions that allow you to bypass paywalls on most websites. You can check out Bypass Paywalls (works on Chrome, Edge, and Firefox), or Bypass Paywalls Clean (Firefox). For academic articles, Unpaywall (Firefox, Chrome) is a good choice.
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Check out paywall bypass shortcuts on iPhone
The last method on our list works only on iPhones: Apple’s free Shortcuts app lets you run automation routines on your iPhone, and its tools have been used to bypass paywalls on various websites. There are plenty of these shortcuts and they may not work with all websites. You can try AntiPaywall, Bypass Paywall, Paywall and Cookie Bypass, or Unpaywall.