As traditional media houses move online, access to good journalism comes at a cost. Some of the biggest newspapers in the world like The Guardian, Washington Post, and the New York Times keep their content behind a paywall and make it accessible only to paid members. For an average reader, subscribing to multiple newspapers can get quite expensive. Luckily, there are a few ways to bypass the paywall on these websites and read the articles free of cost. In this article, we bring you the best 10 free ways to read paywalled articles on any website, without needing a subscription.
Open the article in Incognito Mode
This is the simplest way to bypass any paywall you come across online. The only drawback is that it works for websites that offer users to read a few free articles before asking them to subscribe to the service. Opening a link in incognito mode prevents the website from using cookies on your computer. Without cookies to track your PC, the website has no way of knowing whether you’ve exceeded the free articles limit. Simply right-click on a link and select ‘Open link in an incognito window’ to bypass the paywall. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+N to open an incognito window and paste the link on the address box to access the article.
Reset Browser Cookies
If you do not want to open the article in an incognito tab, you can also reset the browser cookies to prevent the website from tracking your article count. Simply click the three dots on the Chrome browser and select ‘Clear browsing data’ from the ‘More tools’ section. Open the advanced tab and clear all browsing cookies.
Use a VPN
Some websites keep a track of your article count through your IP address. You can easily change your IP address to a different location using a VPN. There are several paid and free VPN services you can find online. Check out our list of top 10 VPN services for secure and anonymous browsing here.
Use Postlight Reader for Chrome
Formerly known as ‘Mercury Reader’, ‘Postlight Reader’ gets rid of all the clutter and lets you read an article without any distractions. It also gets rid of any paywalls and gives you full access to paid articles. Add the Postlight Reader extension to Chrome from here. Once you’ve added the extension, go to the article you wish to read and select ‘Open in Postlight Reader’ after clicking on the Extensions icon at the top right corner of the web browser. The article will open up without a paywall in Postlight Reader.
Use 12ft Ladder to unlock any article from a paywall
For websites that do not let you read any trial articles, disabling cookies and using incognito mode to bypass the paywall will not work. In this case, 12ft Ladder will come in handy. Simply go to https://12ft.io/ and paste the link of the paywalled article in the address box on the website and click ‘Remove paywall’. 12ft Ladder will remove the paywall from the article. Go back and refresh the article tab. You will gain total access to the article.
Use Sci-hub to read articles without any subscription
If you want to read any academic journals or research papers without subscribing to any digital library, Sci-hub is an easy solution to getting rid of any paywalls. Simply copy the link or DOI code of the journal and paste it into the address box on Sci-hub’s website. Click on ‘Open’ and Sci-hub will unlock the journal for you.
Use your library account to read any paywalled articles
If you’re a member of your local library, you can get access to a lot of paid content. Most libraries are already subscribed to leading newspapers, journals, and magazines. All you need to do is sign in using your library account and access the article you want to read.
Use the Wayback Machine
Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine maintains a record of billions of archived pages going back decades. The pages are updated every day, and you can visit the websites of most of the biggest newspapers in the world to read articles for free. The articles accessed through the Wayback Machine do not have a paywall attached to them.
Search for the headline on Google
One of the simplest free ways of reading paid articles without a subscription is by pasting the article headline on Google and looking for a source with the unlocked article. Several websites mirror the content from major news websites and offer access without a subscription. If you’re not able to find the exact article, you can always look for the same story published by other free-to-read sources.
Use Reader Mode on Safari
If you’re an iPhone or Mac user, you can try using Reader Mode for paywalled articles. The Reader Mode gets rid of the clutter and hides any ads on the website, giving you a clean reading experience. For some websites, it even gets rid of the paywall and unlocks the article for free. Simply open the article on Safari and click on the reader icon in the address bar to activate Reader Mode.
These are the best 10 ways to read any article behind a paywall for free without needing a subscription. These methods will cover most of the paywalled websites and journal libraries. If you were able to unlock paid content using one of these methods, let us know in the comments!
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only.