How to Bypass Paywalls of Leading News Websites

Featured Paywalls of Different Websites

All leading news websites nowadays come with paywalls. If you read more than two to three articles, you will have to pay for a subscription. To many of us, it feels like a low number and a blatant disregard for open web principles as far as the website is concerned.

Hence, we will discuss a few ways to get around paywall subscriptions. While we do not endorse misuse, these hacks can be used sparingly to access the content you need. Surely it does not make sense to subscribe to every news channel out there. It is really an individual decision on whether to continue reading or buy a subscription.

1. Use Cached Versions of Websites

As of 2019, news outlets understand that freeloaders are going to mooch off them by using cached versions of their sites. They simply disable the cache when you try searching with keyword+in:URL. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Times (UK) and New Yorker no longer show cache results.

Disable cache version of websites

Having said this, not all paywall websites have wised up to this clever technique. I recently had to do some research on advertising at Ad Week, and the cache method worked without any issues. This means that you really have to check with individual websites to know their approach to caching.

Searching website cache

2. Rinse and Repeat

Since most news websites have limits of three to five free articles per month, it is possible to reset your count with Ctrl + H. After clearing your history, it will work for a while. In the past one could access the blocked content on Chrome or Firefox in Private/Incognito mode. However, that hole has been plugged ever since.

Private mode disabled

3. Use Web Archives

If you’re not particularly keen about the latest content, you can simply check online archive tools. Wayback Machine and WebCite are two of the best links to search for backdated online content. All you have to do is check whether the URL has been archived in the past. This will give date-wise results so that you can go for the most recent updates.

Wayback Machine Cache

More than providing you inaccessible content, these websites provide a very valuable service. They ensure that if the news sites eventually delete something which others are reporting, it can be traced from the archives. As a result, such links are often used by journalists and those who suffer online censorship.

Cached content Web archives

4. Use Paywall Bypass Extensions

There are no good extensions available on Chrome to bypass paywalls. This is actually good for the news organizations, as more than 60 percent of web users are on Chrome. At the same time, Mozilla Firefox provides a decent bypass alternative. You have to visit a GitHub page called “Bypass Paywalls for Firefox.”

GitHub bypass websites

Once there, simply download the latest version of the extension which will install on your Firefox browser. You can see a long and updated list of websites supported. The add-on works together only with another extension called uBlock Origin.

bypass-firewalls-firefox-extension

After enabling both the extensions, you can look forward to non-stop, uninterrupted browsing on many websites. I just managed to read twenty-six articles on New York Times without any trouble. Each time the subscription window scrolls up, it is disabled automatically.

On some websites you may have the subscription window scroll right back on your screen. Simply close it (without these extensions, you can’t), and read the article without feeling guilty!

nonstop-browsing-ublock-plus-bypass-paywalls-firefox

Of course, this extension works best with the “Rinse and Repeat” technique described earlier. It is good to frequently delete your history and cache for best results.

Conclusion

Understandably, many people have second thoughts and scruples about bypassing paywalls. But what if you don’t really visit their website that often? How fair is it for them to demand payment for an occasional visit? As long as there is no misuse intended, you have the right to access the content you need.

What are your views on bypassing paywalls, and are there any other techniques which you have used?

19 comments

  1. I find that using a home and a work computer doubles the number. Also, using different browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, Safari, etc) will often give you extra views.

    1. Indeed they work. Thanks for adding your bit.

  2. Wow.. THIS is the problem with “this generation”.. Somehow, all the photographers, writers, editors, publishers, hosting providers, they should ALL BE EXPECTED TO WORK FOR FREE, right??

    You should be less concerned about “being the cool kid who knows how to steal other people’s work and is desperate to show everyone how..” and more concerned about understanding the basic prinicpals of economics.

    The business model of newspapers has changed, fewer and fewer people subscribe to traditional newspaper delivery and subscriptions, so they pivot to publishing on the Internet, which of course, they should do all at their own cost without any expectation to make a living or feed their families, right?

    By your logic, so long as you don’t sneak in the back door to a movie theater on EVERY block buster premiere, doing it occasionally is “ok”. I bet you have a Kodi box at home as well.

    Shameful behavior, this is why you and future generations are doomed to fast food and waiter jobs as a “good career option”, and when that those jobs go away with automation you’ll be homeless.

    I have zero affiliation to any news org, just someone with common sense of right and wrong.

    Brilliant article, keep up the great work.

    1. I understand your concerns. But these bypass techniques are legitimate and calling it theft isn’t very fair. Would you rather have news organizations press for a ban on Firefox or the news archival sites? Also paywalls violate the essential principles of Open and equal access Web. One has the right to access web content because that was the original vision of the Internet which these corporatist institutions choose to ignore. Here’s more on that:
      https://www.maketecheasier.com/world-wide-web-turns-30/

      Arguably it’s for survival but many news sites do not have paywalls and they use a donation box and advertisers. Those archival sites serve a noble purpose as many political dissidents and independent journalists use those. Finally it comes down to individual choice. If you are a digital subscriber to one of these news sites, you should continue because you will get high quality, ad-free access.

    2. @Common Sense Guy —

      If your comment is representative of what ‘common sense’ is, regarding paywalls and the eradication of the ethics on which the world wide web was established, I am glad that ‘common sense is not common’.

      By your logic, if you pickup a newspaper in a grocery store or a magazine, read an article, then put it back, you’ve stolen something. Get real.

    3. Yes, Common Sense Guy, they do expect journalists, editors, and everyone else associated with the production of high-quality journalism t work for free.
      Although they’d never do it themselves, because, you know, homelessness and starvation and, uh, lack of Internet access.
      Journalism is the one and only profession protected by the U.S. Constitution, because it’s considered essential to a democratic society. And it’s disappearing with remarkable speed as a profession.
      So much for the “moral” argument about being entitled to view anything that’s on the Internet for free because its more democratic that way.
      Yeah, go ahead and read the NY Times and the Washington Post for free. While there still is a NY Times and Washington Post. Which won’t be for long. Because it can’t operate off donations from a population that won’t pay $2.99/mo. to subscribe to it, and ad-blockers have destroyed the revenue stream they used to get from advertisers.
      And, while you’re at it, YOU work fulltime for free. Those of you who need to work for a living. Oh, wait, you can’t make a living working for free. Well, take donations. Almost all homeless people do.

    4. Your generation doing nothing meaningful is why the newer generation sucks. Also, all these news sites with paywalls are fake news. They all deserve to be fired and to panhandle from street corners.

  3. I think that the articles these news services provide should be considered “advertisements” for their new services. If we like the article “maybe” we will subscribe. If they want to bully us into subscribing with threats that this is the last article they will send us, then take your articles and shove it! The internet is like a library. In a library we can browse all day long and if we like a book we can get a library card and take it home. If we really like the book we can buy it somewhere. No different on the internet

  4. I’ve used outline.com and its Chrome extension for NY Times, Washington Post and WSJ. But lately it stopped working for WSJ. Then, thanks to this article, I installed “Bypass Paywalls for Firefox”, and now I cam see WSJ article for free again. Can you let me know why do I need uBlock Origin in addition to “Bypass Paywalls for Firefox” extension? It looks like it works fine on its own.

    1. Glad you’re enjoying “Bypass Paywalls for Firefox”. Actually they mention it on the extension link that you must download uBlock origin as well. How many articles were you able to read? Because in some cases, the limit is reached even with the Bypass Paywall extension.

      1. Actually, they say “This add-on works best alongside uBlock Origin”. So far I didn’t have any problem (maybe because I don’t open a lot of articles). I still installed it though.

        BTW, also thanks for showing how to access Ad Week with cache method.

  5. Thanks for the tips they work in fact without any problem.

  6. I use Outline – it’s as simple as just going to outline.com & pasting in the website URL, to get around most paywalls I encounter, but your mileage may vary.

    1. you are right Outline is really good he doesn’t mention it though

  7. As I am in the EU a few American news sites do not open for me. I use VPN to access them of course.

  8. You know I’ve found, if you have anything other than a top speed blazing fast connection…

    You can just hit the “stop” button to stop the page from loading fully. Most of the time the paywall is the last thing to load on a page. I use this for the WSJ and NYT all the time.

  9. “Hence, we will discuss a few ways to get around paywall subscriptions. While we do not endorse misuse, these hacks can be used sparingly to access the content you need. ”

    Did anyone miss the irony of this statement. It’s either that or you are one sandwich short of a picnic. It’s like my neighbor giving the keys of my Porsche 911 to a burglar requesting him not to “misuse” his privilege. Maybe he’d grow a conscience and return the car after an “occasional” joy ride. I don’t think you saw this one coming :)

    I know this article is supposed to be informational but I can guarantee you the editors of NYT, Washington Post, Toronto Sun and Guardian are not going to be very thrilled about it. Maybe it would awaken them so that they fix the problem at their end for good. No more free articles!

  10. I’m guessing the majority if not all of you were in diapers back then but for most of the Bush era up to 2010ish most of the news sites WERE free online and were not struggling. They actually had decent layouts when they went to touch only layouts (endless scrolling and making searching impossible) they shot themselves in the foot and only have THEMSELVES to blame.

    It’s not us. YES THEY HAVE control over who they let in for ads so they can’t say ‘We have no control over intrusive ads’ yes they do and they better if they want this war to end but apparently they love this war like spiritual vampires that exist in the astral plane sometimes known as ‘biters’ that bind to you and you always feel drained for what seems to be no reason with everything checked out.

    There are higher powers at play working against humanity to make the planet hospitable for THEIR means and their are light hats at work to fix it but are on the losing end not realizing the dangers of corporations and hard communism. Free Hint: Both go the way of tyranny.

  11. ANOTHER TOOL: Furiously pound on the ESC key just as the article page loads, and before the paywall comes up.

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