15+ Strategies to Remove a Paywall in 2024

Paywalls often frustrate users, especially when it comes to accessing a few articles from popular sources like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

We’re faced with a choice: either pay for access or find a way to bypass the paywall and explore the content behind it.

Remove a Paywall

This digital barrier blocks access to content, urging you to pay for entry. However, there are methods and tools available to either remove or deceive the paywall. These tricks can convince your browser that you either don’t see the paywall or have the necessary access rights.

While paywalls serve an important role in generating revenue for publishers, it’s crucial to consider the ethical implications of bypassing them. Keep in mind that by avoiding payment, you might be impacting the primary income source of these companies.

15+ Strategies to Remove a Paywall in 2024

Use a Period in the URL

It may sound simple, but adding a period to the URL can be effective. This trick sometimes works wonders. Just add a period right after the “.com” in the URL. For example, change examplesite.com to examplesite.com./article.html.

If this trick doesn’t work, don’t worry! There are more tips to try. However, this method is often successful in bypassing paywalls. It’s the easiest technique we have!

Press ‘Esc’

You might not know this, but many paywalls load last. They appear after everything else, like images and ads. If you pay attention, you’ll see the entire article load, then suddenly get blocked.

To get around this, press the Esc key on your keyboard. Do this right after the article loads, but before the paywall appears. It may take a few attempts, but it often works for these types of paywalls.

Open Incognito Mode

Using Incognito or private browsing mode can be a clever solution. This mode lets you visit websites without leaving any cookies or internet files.

It’s useful because some paywalls restrict access based on your number of visits. For instance, you might be allowed to read five articles before hitting a paywall. Incognito mode makes the site think it’s your first visit.

You can open Incognito mode in Chrome with Ctrl+Shift+N. In Firefox, use Ctrl+Shift+P for Private Mode.

If these shortcuts don’t work, you can also find this option in the browser’s menu. Remember, if you hit a limit again, just close and reopen Incognito mode to start a new session.


Clear the Cookies

Sometimes, even Incognito mode doesn’t get you past a paywall. Sites may detect the Incognito attempt and still block access. To overcome this, try deleting your browser’s cookies. This can make the website treat you as a new visitor.

You can clear cookies in most browsers using the Ctrl+Shift+Del shortcut. When prompted, ensure you select the option to delete cookies. After clearing them, revisit the page to check if the paywall is bypassed.

clear cookies in browser

Paywalls often track visits through cookies on your computer. If neither Incognito mode nor cookie deletion works, the site might be using another tracking method. If so, explore the alternative techniques mentioned below.

Use Chip, OutLine, 2ft Ladder, etc.

Tools like Chip and OutLine can help bypass paywalls. They work in a similar way to the methods above. Simply go to one of these sites and input the URL of the paywalled page.

VPNs can also be effective. They provide a new IP address. If a site’s paywall is due to frequent visits from your IP, a VPN might solve this issue, though it’s not guaranteed.

2ft Ladder offers another option. Enter the URL of the paywalled page on their site and select “Remove Paywall.” Alternatively, type “https://12ft.io/” in your browser’s URL bar, followed by the desired site’s URL. For instance, use “https://12ft.io/https://example.com.”

Another method is Bypass | Sybron. It has been effective for some. It works by altering the browser’s user agent to appear like a Google Crawler.

However, remember that many companies with paywalls have developed countermeasures against tools like 2ft Ladder. If one method fails, try another from this list.

Bypassing Paywalls: A Simple Guide

Sometimes, a paywall is just a pop-up on a webpage. You might not see the whole page because of it. But often, it’s just an overlay that can be removed. This reveals the content underneath.

Take The Washington Post, for example.

washiington post paywall

Their paywall pop-up covers the content without an obvious way to close it. Instead of subscribing or logging in, try this approach:

1. Right-click on the paywall. Choose ‘Inspect Element’ in Firefox or ‘Inspect’ in Chrome. Other browsers have similar tools.

2. At the top left of the inspection screen, there’s a mouse pointer icon. Click it, then click on the pop-up.

3. Look at the bottom of the screen, where the webpage’s code is. Find the highlighted part. It might even be labeled ‘paywall’ or ‘subscription box’.

4. Select this code and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

5. You might need to repeat the last two steps several times. If you accidentally delete too much and the page vanishes, just refresh and start over.

Done right, this method removes the paywall, allowing normal page access. Remember, if you refresh the page, the paywall might come back.

Turning Off JavaScript

Some paywalls are controlled by JavaScript. Temporarily disabling JavaScript can be effective in bypassing them.

Use Facebook to Edit the Link

Trying this method might not work for many paywall sites, but it’s worth a shot. It’s simple: just add http://facebook.com/l.php?u= in front of the desired URL. This tricks the site into thinking the click is from Facebook, which may bypass the paywall in some cases.

Take this example: http://facebook.com/l.php?u=https://www.wsj.com/articles/fakepage. You’ll be taken to Facebook. There, click a “follow link” button to reach the actual page. This method is effective only if the site allows Facebook traffic to access content for free, often as a part of their advertising strategy.

Look Elsewhere

It might seem obvious, but avoiding the paywall can be as simple as not visiting the site with the paywall. Search for the same article elsewhere on the internet. Often, the same information is available on different sites without a paywall.

To do this, copy the article’s title or check your browser’s tab for the page’s heading. Use this exact title to search the web. You’ll likely find similar or identical articles available for free.

look for similar article using same title

You could also stumble upon a site that the original publisher has authorized to offer free articles. For instance, clicking a link from Reddit to an article in The Washington Post might bypass the paywall.

Another strategy is using website archivers like the Wayback Machine or Archive. Enter the paywalled URL into these services. They might have archived versions of the article available to read without a paywall.

Consider Using a Paywall Unblocker Browser Extension

A handy tool to consider is a paywall unblocker browser extension. There’s a variety to choose from. Some are designed for specific websites, while others work with a wide range.

Take Unpayall as an example. It’s available for both Chrome and Firefox. This extension helps you access scholarly articles for free. It searches for free copies of these articles on the web. Another option for Chrome users is Zette.

Try Subscribing to the Site on a Trial Basis

This method is quite straightforward and professional. If you’re not ready to commit to a full subscription, consider a trial. Many services offer free trials.

They can last for a few days, or up to a month. This gives you a chance to explore the site’s content.

Subscribing for a trial is often the most reliable way to bypass a paywall. It lets you access all the site’s content during the trial period.

Just be cautious about forgetting to cancel the trial. To prevent accidental charges, you might want to use a temporary debit card, like those offered by Privacy.

Final Words:

Paywalls are an understandable yet frustrating barrier for many internet users. Users wish to access premium content. However, publishers have valid reasons to implement paywalls. Paywalls generate revenue for publishers. There are various ethical methods available to bypass or remove paywalls.

Users can try incognito browsing. They can also use specialty tools and browser extensions. These options let consumers access gated content for free. However, it’s wise to consider the implications. Users should weigh the ethics behind each approach.

The most honest method is likely subscribing directly. Users can subscribe temporarily via a free trial. This properly compensates publishers. With a balanced perspective, internet users can make informed decisions. They can obtain coveted content while still supporting online journalism and creativity.

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