Bypass Paywall: How To Read News Articles For Free In 2024

I was browsing Twitter (Now X.com) and Elon Musk Posted a Link of a Newspaper website with a smiley emoji. Curiosity in me don't let it slide and clicked on the article. I read the first 100 words and boom, Paywall appear. I have to pay $1/week to read news article on this newspaper website.

I don't mind paying but there are dozens of big news publication and it is hard to keep things in order and read news articles. I did subscribe to Financial times as it is my favorite newspaper and financial news platform. In this article, I have explained differet ways to bypass paywall and read news articles for free.

We’ve all been there. Reading a news article but suddenly a blocker pops up, asking you to either pay for the remaining article or go home!

It’s absolutely frustrating when you get blocked from reading something you were finding absolutely charming and wanted to know more about it but all it does is make you worry more about what’s left in your wallet at a time when inflation is skyrocketing.

Welcome to the world where you can bypass a paywall and by the moment you reach the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how you keep on reading the good stuff and also save those small dollar bills in your account. 

What are Paywalls on News Websites?

In simple terms, a Paywall is a commonly used tool that allows website owners to control who can view their content and who cannot. 

Websites have freedom on how much content they want their free readers to see and this is why sometimes you hit a paywall the moment you enter a site and sometimes you can view half of the content and then a Paywall comes. 

Paywalls come in different forms, shapes, and sizes. This gives site owners the freedom to select what plan works best for them and what doesn’t because ultimately the goal of every website is to generate revenue. 

Why do News Websites have a paywall on their News articles?

There are several reasons why News websites have a paywall but the main one is this is a source to generate continuous revenue by building a list of readers. What’s interesting is that Paywall doesn't only generate general revenue for a website only through the help of asking them to pay for the article but they’re also a source of displaying ads. 

Again this completely depends on the business model of that website and how they intend to make money off of it. 

Regardless, what’s true is that Paywalls do an excellent job of hindering readers to keep on continuing to read. 

What are some common News Websites that have a Paywall?

There are several common News Websites that have a paywall business model. Some of these include:

  • The New York Times
  • Bloomberg
  • Financial Times (FT)
  • The Economist
  • The Washington Post
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Sunday Times

What are the Pros and Cons of getting around Paywalls?

The Pros and Cons of getting around paywalls solely depend on the intent of the reader. Do they want to grasp important knowledge to understand an ongoing crisis or do they want to simply plagiarize someone else’s work? 

Some of the Pros and Cons of getting around paywalls include:

Pros:

  • This is an affordable way especially for students to grasp important knowledge.
  • This is also an easy way for researchers to continue with their research without having to pay each site money. 

Cons:

  • Someone’s dedicated work can be copied and pasted to other sites on the internet. 
  • For website owners, publishing their content online might not be as financially viable as it sounds. 
  • You might have to download some softwares to get access to a paywall, which can be annoying for some people who like to keep their desktops clean and tidy. 

What are the types of Paywalls that news websites employ?

Before we dive deeper into how one can get around paywalls, it is first important to understand what kind of paywalls are there.

At the moment, there are two types of paywalls:

1. Client side paywalls:

This is the kind of paywall that will first load the content into your browser. Once that’s done, it will then check if the user has permission to view the content or not through the help of your IP address, which works similarly to your car’s registration or home address but in the online world.

If the website finds that the person is not subscribed and does not have the right to view the content, it will block you immediately. 

2. Server-side paywall:

On the other hand, Server side paywall is a paywall that is implemented on the server side of the website’s infrastructure. 

What is the difference between paywalls that news websites have to block content?

Now that we know there are two types of paywalls, it is important to distinguish between them and see which one is the easiest one to bypass. 

The main difference between the two paywalls i.e. server-side paywall and client-side paywall is that client-side paywall blocks the content once everything is loaded on the browser of a user whereas server-side paywall blocks the user way before the content can be loaded on the browser. 

This is why, it's no surprise that server-side paywalls are the hardest to bypass than client-side paywalls

How to bypass news websites' paywalls and read articles for free:

There are countless methods that a reader can deploy which will help them to get access to the content behind a paywall. Before we dive deeper, it is first important to understand that you have to select which method works best for you. 

1. Bypass Paywall Extension:

If you’re a Chrome or a Firefox user then you’re in luck because there’s already an extension available that you can easily download from your browser’s store. 

bypass paywall chrome extension

What’s amazing about this extension is that it can easily detect paywalls and bypass them at times without you even knowing that there is a paywall. This is a golden ticket for readers and all they have to do is download the Bypass Paywall extension and get it running. 

You can also find it on Github, in case Google Chrome’s web store doesn’t work for you. 

The way a Bypass wall works is super easy: it looks for the cached version of the website which cannot be blocked by a paywall and that’s about it. 

2. Unpaywall Chrome extension:

Now, if Bypass Paywall isn’t working for you, the Unpaywall extension is there for you. This is another extension that you can easily get on the Chrome web store and download.

Another paywall bypass chrome extension

 

Unpaywall has an index of more than 20 million free, legal full-text PDFs. While it's great to view content on news websites, what’s even greater about this amazing extension is that it is great for students who are doing research work. 

3. Reader Mode:

Now, if you want to access news articles for free and read them in an amazing, distraction-free environment then the Reader Mode extension will be your best friend!

Reader Mode chrome extension

While it's not intended to be a bypassing tool, it still does an amazing job at it. Reader Mode offers several distraction-free features including Fullscreen mode, Custom CSS, Custom theme, deletion of ads and other unwanted elements, and giving readers the ability to download and print an article. 

This is as amazing as it gets!

4. Bypass Paywalls Firefox Clean:

Although only for Firefox users, this is an amazing extension that runs without any issues. The installation process is as simple as it gets, and once it's installed, you only have to click once and it will keep on doing the job for you. 

bypass paywall extension for Firfox users

It will let you access almost every other paywall there is but once you view so many sites all at once, it will ask you to calm down! And think twice because a “free pass cannot be sustainable.”

5. Hover:

This is the last one on our list but since it's an open-source extension for browsers, it means that it will work in almost every browser that’s out there. 

hover homepage screenshot

The sole purpose of the developers was simple: let people read stuff online for Free. And over the years, it has lived up to its promises, and expectations. It runs smoothly against any kind of a paywall and once you start using it, you wouldn’t even feel if there’s any paywall that you’re bypassing or not. This also includes sites like Medium and Quora!

Because of its promises, and exceptional standards, it is repeatedly taken off from browsers so the best place to download it is through the help of Github

I know, GitHub can be a bit distractive for newbies but once you click the link, you’re brought to the section of Readme from where you can read the steps on how you can run on any browser. 

If that doesn’t work for you, you can also contact the developers who can guide you through and help with your queries, but for this, you will have to have a GitHub account. 

6. 12ft Ladder:

Now, if you hate extensions and want a quick solution to your problems or you’re using a device either from your office or through a library and don’t want to download an extension, then you’re going to love this tool known as 12ft ladder.

12ft ladder paywall bypassing by pasting article link

 

With a 12ft ladder, you do not have to wait for something to download and then install rather you just have to go to the main homepage, enter the weblink whose paywall you want to unblock and that’s it. A 12ft ladder will do the rest for you. It's as easy as using Google search. 

It just doesn’t get easier than this!

However, keep in mind that a 12ft ladder has a limit on how many paywalls you can access. They vary from region to region so it's better to keep an eye on what 12ft ladder has for you!

The platform has just recently launched an iOS app as well and is working to develop an Android app. 

7. Using Incognito mode:

Forget every other tool that’s out there because sometimes the answer to your problems is just around the corner: welcome your browser’s incognito mode. 

This works best when you’ve finished the number of free articles per month on a website. To overcome that, head to your browser’s incognito mode, paste the link, and voila. 

However, this is not the best solution that’s out there because incognito mode doesn’t always work on metered paywalls. 

8. Using a VPN:

If you already have a VPN, I have some good news for you because a VPN isn’t only for unblocking Netflix but goes quite far! VPNs are great to access paywalls but there’s a slight catch because it only works against paywalls that disable what you can read depending upon your IP address. 

Other than that, they’re great because you can virtually change your IP address which will allow you to visit the same site but with a different address thus allowing you to cross the monthly limit. 

What’s even more amazing about VPNs is that you can get multiple IP addresses, allowing you to read unlimited articles. 

9. Browser cookies:

Some paywalls use your browser cookies to see if you have visited their website before or not. This gives a lot of power to you because you can easily go and delete your cookies or even block them which will not help some paywalls to detect you. 

As a result, you can easily visit the site without them ever knowing!

10. Wayback Machine:

As the name suggests, you will actually go back in time with this one. *Jokes*

Just like libraries, the internet also has places that keep records and there’s no better one than the Wayback machine which is a time capsule, showing previous versions of pretty much any web page. 

wayback machine screenshot

All you have to do is, bypass a paywall, go and open Wayback Machine. Then paste the link you want to see and that’s it. The rest of the job will be done by Wayback machine. 

Don’t forget to chip in a bit because the Wayback machine accepts small donations. 

11. Manually Bypassing a Paywall:

If you want to get into the nitty gritty of stuff, then this one’s for you because this is going to get your hands dirty but I guarantee you will get what you’re looking for. 

This method involves configuring your browser’s user agent that allows it to become a Googlebot. And once you pretend you’re Google, you can easily bypass the paywall content. 

To do this, you will need to enter the “developer mode” of your browser. This is a feature that literally every browser has. By having a developer mode, users can inspect the code of a webpage through which they can make changes in the page’s HTML, CSS, or JavaScript code. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to know everything. Instead it will include simple steps that are as follows:

1: Go to Google Chrome’s incognito mode and enter The Wall Street Journal.

manually bypassing wall street journal article

2: Now, it's time to open the console. First, press Right Click. Second, click on Inspect. This will open the console.

step 2 of bypassing wsj paywall

3: After that, go to More Tools and then Network conditions. 

step 3 of bypassing paywall manually

4: Now you have to type a user agent which should be “Googlebot.” 

bypass paywall manually step 3

5: Once that’s done, refresh, and congratulations! No more paywalls now. 

12. Use Tor Browser:

Tor is way more powerful than many people think because it can easily bypass soft paywalls. 

When on a website you’ve read the article, hit the button of New Identity on the top corner of the Tor Browser. This will redirect your IP address automatically and you can easily keep on scrolling the website and read more stuff that you want to read. 

Tor is designed to ensure the utmost anonymity of a user and this is why it doesn’t mind giving you a new IP address. 

13. Facebook URL:

Facebook is amazing! But it's going to get even a lot more amazing for you once you read this. 

Facebook has some sort of a paywall breaker if you use its link known as https://facebook.com/I.php?u= 

All you have to do is, copy the link you want to see and paste it right next to where the Facebook link ends. 

It's so simple and the best part? It always works as it can easily break a soft paywall. 

Can you get in trouble to bypass a News Website and read free articles?

No. You cannot get in trouble for bypassing a paywall. However, it is important you do not overdo it and do not plagiarize someone’s work. 

Using a paywall will help you read and get informed about important steps but it does not mean one should misuse their power. 

Do ad blockers also allow you to bypass News websites and let you read free articles?

No. While it did work earlier but now paywalls have become extremely smart and they can easily sense if the person is using an adblocker or not. 

However, if a paywall is displaying an ad, there are chances that the ad might get disabled. 

How To Bypass Paywall of News articles:

When it comes to the world of the internet, you have control over everything on your hands. 

There’s no strong or weak paywall. You can manage to bypass them easily and read free news articles. But this does not mean one should overdo it because it's always important to keep in mind someone worked really hard to put up those words that made their way to some of the world’s most renowned platforms. 

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