Most popular digital news outlets including New York Times, Washington Post, and WSJ use paywalls to force you to pay before you can access their articles.
What if you want to bypass the paywall? Here are a few ways to get around newspaper paywalls and instantly access the article you need.
While it is not really doable at scale, you can easily get around digital paywalls easily, for free and without the need to install any (questionable) software on your computer.
What is a Paywall
A paywall is a way many digital publications hide content from readers in an effort to monetize it.
While it is not perfect (and may be quite annoying), it is quite understandable that online newspapers are trying to make money by generating digital subscriptions: News sites do have bills to pay.
Usually content gets hidden after you read several articles from the same site within a certain amount of time. That is, they want you to get a taste of their content for you to want to read more.
Plus, this is how digital newspapers manage to allow Google to access that content and show these articles in search results. Undoubtedly Google is a major traffic driver to all those digital publications.
The basic idea behind paywalls is to get you subscribe to a recurring payment (which is usually very small, to be fair).
So once you land on an article and click a link to see another one, you may see something like that:
How to Bypass Most News Paywalls
- Copy the URL of the article that is now behind a paywall
- Open outline.com
- Paste your URL there
Because paywalls are tied to your IPs and browsers’ cookies, using a third-party content parser is likely to help.
I like outline.com because it provides a very minimal clutter-free reading experience, free of ads and paywalls. You can also make your own comments and share the outline.com link with your friends for them to see your notes on any (news) article.
There’s also no need to download any third-party software or browser extension. You get instant access, no need to register or login.
And apart from bypassing any paywall, this site offers other cool features, like outlining and annotating any article, free of charge.
What if I Can’t Find the URL?
Recently, some news outlets started hiding URLs of the articles behind the paywall making it hard to copy them.
In this case you can go back to the previous page (where you clicked the link from) and copy the URL from there:
- On Google Chrome: Right-click/Double-tap on the link and select “Copy link address”
- On Safari: Right-click/Double-tap on the link and select “Copy link”
- On FireFox: : Right-click/Double-tap on the link and select “Copy link location”
Yes, that’s a lot of workarounds for one-time reading which is why I recommend subscribing to a publication if you find yourself having to go through these steps too often.
What if Outline.com Doesn’t Work?
There are other ways to bypass paywalls.
Use Google Cache
If you have found an article when searching Google and you cannot access it, chances are it is cached by Google.
Google cache is the saved version of any page Google keeps stored on its servers.
To access Google’s cache of any page type the following string in your browser’s address bar:
cache:https://site.com/full-urlUse Google’s cached copy of the page to bypass the paywall
Not all pages will have Google’s saved copy but many will. So check this hack before trying anything else.
Try Text to Speech Tools
You may be able to listen to the full article using text-to-speech tools and extensions (we’ve tested some here), even if you are not able to read it. This is a good idea for background reading / listening too.
[Using Natural Reader’s extension to get past Washington Post paywall and listen to the full article. Surprisingly, the voice does sound almost natural and I am able to understand anything. This method is perfect for people with low vision or even for just giving your eyes some rest]
How to Get around New York Times, Washington Post, WSJ Paywalls
- Use outline.com to parse the article’s URL through their servers
- Use Google’s cache to access the full copy of the article saved by Google
- Try text-to-speech tools to listen to the full article if you cannot see it
Paywalls may work slightly different on different newspaper sites, so you may try to use a number of methods to get past those. I’ve tested the above methods on NewYork Times, WSJ, Washington Post, Business Insider and Financial Times paywall and it worked in most cases.
Finally, all the methods above only work for one-time reading. If you love your newspaper and read it every day, go ahead and support it by subscribing. I truly believe that personal payments help support independent journalism, so it is a good cause.
After all, if you want to read the same publication on a regular basis, it is likely to be doing a very good job to deserve your subscription.
Paywalls may be annoying but you can still bypass them using any easy methods above.