Bypassing Paywalls

How to Bypass a Paywall to Access Articles for Free

Deborah KayBy Deborah KayFebruary 25, 20233 Minutes

I have no objection paying for subscriptions for media outlets that I read on a regular basis. I believe in supporting independent journalism and I have had yearly subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post for years.

However, there are times where I find myself wanting to read an article at the FT, WSJ or Bloomberg without having to commit to a recurring subscription. If there was the option to pay a buck or two to read the article, I would happily pay it. But there isn’t.

The good news is that there are a bunch of workarounds that overcome this problem.

 

Archive.is

Archive.is is a time capsule for web pages! It takes a ‘snapshot’ of a webpage that will always be online even if the original page disappears. It saves a text and a graphical copy of the page for better accuracy and provides a short and reliable link to an unalterable record of any web page.

How it works:

Paste your URL into Archive.is to read the archived version.

This works well for

  • WSJ
  • Bloomberg
  • FT

 

12ft.io

12ft.io works slightly differently. News sites want Google to index their content so it shows up in search results. So they don’t show a paywall to the Google crawler, which will cache a copy of the site every time it crawls it.12ft.io shows you that cached, unpaywalled version of the page.

How it works:

Paste your URL into 12ft.io or prepend 12ft.io/ to the URL of any paywalled page to read the cached version.

This doesn’t always work very well though.

 

Delete cookies

Many sites gate their content after the first few initial visits. Deleting cookies from the site is a way for the site to “forget” that you have visited it before. I use the EditThisCookie chrome extension to do just that.

 

Bypass Paywalls Chrome Extension

You can also try the Bypass Paywalls Chrome Extension. This is available on Github and you have to download and unpack the extension, and upload it to Chrome via Developer mode. You can also see the list of sites that this extension works on in the Github repo.

 

Summary

So far, my favourite method is the first one, Archive.is, because it is the easiest to use and so far has worked on every single site I have tried.

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