Have you ever encountered a situation where you wanted to read an article or access a website, but it was behind a paywall? Paywalls are barriers that require you to pay or subscribe to access certain online content.

get past paywalls

Subscriptions are very common in digital products these days. Many platforms have played with the subscription model, such as YouTube with YouTube Premium and Medium with Premium Subscription. From social media sites to news articles, many platforms are now introducing subscription methods to charge users to consume their content.

Subscription models and gated access have led to the emergence of various methods and techniques aimed at circumventing these payment barriers and providing users with free access to premium content.

In this guide, we present several methods that allow you to bypass paywalls on any website and read content for free.

Why Do Websites Implement Paywalls?

The most important reason for introducing a paywall is to receive direct revenue from users instead of relying on advertising. It provides an additional advantage over other revenue models, such as ads and more, and this strategy has proven successful in generating revenue while providing initial exploratory access for new readers.

Paywalls are used to provide premium articles, in-depth analysis, ad-free browsing, or other perks that are not available to non-paying visitors. In addition, a paywall helps sites control who can access their content on the platform. This prevents the spread of misinformation.

How Do Paywalls Work?

Paywalls typically work by allowing users to read a certain number of articles for free before requiring payment. Once you have reached the limit, you will be prompted to sign up for a subscription in order to continue accessing the website’s content. This is commonly called a metered paywall.

And some websites implement a hard paywall where you will have to pay to read even one article from the website.

It’s important to note that while paywalls have their advantages, they can also limit access to information for those who cannot afford or are unwilling to pay. It can be expensive for a normal user to subscribe to multiple publications and platforms, especially if you consume content only occasionally. Striking a balance between generating revenue and maintaining a free flow of information remains a challenge for websites and publishers.

Fortunately, there are a few methods that you can use to simply get past paywalls on these websites and read the content for free.

If you can afford to pay to access the article, you absolutely should. If you are unable to do so at the moment, here are some of the most effective ways to bypass paywalls online.

How to Get Past Paywalls to Access Content for Free

We list fourteen methods to bypass paywalls and read articles for free. Please note that not every method works with every website. So go through all the methods to find out which one works to bypass the paywall.

Read the Article in Incognito Mode

bloomberg article on incognito

The first and easiest method is to read articles in incognito mode. This works for websites having metered paywalls. If you have exhausted the quota of free articles for the month on a website, you can simply open the website or an article in the incognito mode of your browser to read the article without paying for it.

Incognito mode prevents the website from tracking cookies and website usage history. This resets your website session and allows you to get a free quota again.

Simply right-click on the link and select ‘Open the link in an incognito window.’ Alternatively, you can copy the website link and open it in incognito mode — Press Ctrl+Shift+N to open the incognito window.

Reset Website Cookies

If you don’t want to open the article in incognito mode, try resetting your browser’s cookies for a specific website. This will clear the website’s cache and cookies and prevent websites from tracking the number of articles you have. This method works on both smartphones and desktops.

Reset Cookies On Desktop:

google chrome desktop clear browsing data

  • Step 1: Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
  • Step 2: Click “More Tools” and select “Clear Browsing
    Data” or “Privacy and Security” > “Cookies and Other Site Data” > “See All Site Data and Permissions” > “Clear All Data”.
  • Step 3: Select a time period or select “All time.”
  • Step 4: Check the box for “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files.” Step 5: Click “Clear data” or “Clear browsing data.”

Reset Cookies On iPhone and iPad:

clear browsing data on ipad

  • Step 1: Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu in the lower right corner.
  • Step 2: Tap “Settings” and select “Privacy” > “Clear browsing data.”
  • Step 3: Select a time period or choose “All time.”
  • Step 4: Check the box for “Cookies and site data.” Step 5: Tap “Clear browsing data” and confirm with “Okay, got it.”

Reset Cookies On Android:

clear browsing cookies chrome

  • Step 1: Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
  • Step 2: Tap on “History” and select “Clear browsing data.”
  • Step 3: Select a time period or choose “All time.”
  • Step 4: Check the box for “Cookies and site data.” Step 5: Tap “Clear data” and confirm.

Use the Website on Your Mobile

newyorktimes article on desktop and mobile

Some websites offer paywall subscriptions for desktop sites only. If you encounter a paywall restriction on your desktop, try opening the same article on your mobile phone. You can copy the link to the article or share the article on your mobile phone using Chrome’s built-in sharing feature.

Use a VPN

vpn on laptop

Some websites apply paywall restrictions based on your IP address. To get around these, you can use any free VPN and change your IP address to a different location. There are plenty of VPNs available for free. If you are using a smartphone, you can use a VPN app; if you are on a browser, you can use Chrome VPN extensions.

Disable JavaScript in Your Browser

JavaScript is the most popular programming language used to create many websites. Some websites use JavaScript to hide content behind paywalls. You can disable JavaScript on the website to read content for free. You can also manually prevent JavaScript from loading by stopping the page from loading before the paywall loads. This trick may not work for every website, as many publishers embed paywalls along with the main page.

Note that disabling JavaScript scripts on the website may cause problems. You can easily disable JavaScript in any browser by following the steps below:

  1. Open Google Chrome and go to Settings.
    google chrome privacy settings
  2. Under the Privacy and Security section, click on Site Settings.
    google chrome site settings
  3. Scroll down and click Content.
    google chrome java script settings
  4. Click JavaScript and toggle it off to disable JavaScript
    google chrome java script settings

Use Chrome Extensions

You can also use Google Chrome extensions to bypass the paywall on the site. There are many browser extensions that you can use to bypass paywalls on most websites. Here are the most popular extensions:

1. Post light reader

postlight reader google chrome extension

Post light reader removes ads and distractions to enhance your reading experience. The extension instantly removes all ads and other distracting content on the website, leaving text and images for a better reading experience. In some cases, the extension also removes the paywall limit set by the website.

After downloading and installing the extension, open any article to read paywall content and click the extension after visiting the page. The extension will load the web page immediately and create a better reading experience.

Add Post Light to Google Chrome

2. Bypass Paywalls

Bypass Paywall is another nice Chrome extension to read articles that are under a paywall. With the extension, you can instantly bypass paywalls for most websites, including New York Times, Bloomberg, and more. The Bypass Paywalls extension is not available in the Google Chrome Web Store. You can download it from GitHub. The extension can be safely used and downloaded by most people.

Install on Google Chrome / Microsoft Edge:

  1. Download this repo as a ZIP file from GitHub.
  2. Unzip the file, and you should have a folder named bypass-paywalls-chrome-master.
  3. Open the Google Chrome browser and go to the extensions page by going to the menu >Settings > More Tools and Extensions Chrome/Edge go to the extensions page (chrome://extensions or edge://extensions).
  4. Activate Developer Mode.
  5. Drag the bypass-paywalls-chrome-master folder somewhere on the page to import it (do not delete the folder afterward).

Inspect and Edit Elements on the Website

newyorktimes inspect website

If you don’t want to use external extensions and are familiar with HTML and CSS, you can manually inspect the webpage, find paywall elements, and remove them. This process can be complex depending on the publication.

Here are the steps to remove paywall restrictions on NewYorkTimes website.

  • Open The New York Times and open any article on the site.
  • Using the mouse, right-click anywhere on the site and select inspect.
  • Now find an element with id #gateway-content. <div id=”gateway-content” data-testid=”dock-gateway” aria-live=”assertive” class=”css-5x99bu” role=”main”>
    the new york times inspect
  • Now tap on the element and change the display flex to none.
  • Now click on the CSS element with div <div class=”css-mcm29f”>…</div> and change overflow to scroll.
    the new york times inspection

The name of the elements may vary from site to site. It’s often referred to as “Display Paywall” or “Subscribe.” Different websites are based on different elements. With CSS knowledge and a little workaround, you can easily remove any website’s paywall.

Use Online Tools to Unlock Articles From Paywall

1. 12ft Ladder to unlock any article from a paywall

12ft-ladder website

Another popular tool is the 12 ft ladder. The website allows you to read articles for free. Just go to the 12ft Ladder website, paste the paywall article link in the address field and click on the “Remove Paywall” button. 12 ft ladder will remove the paywall from the article.

Some of the users on Reddit have reported the site sparingly works.I tested it, and it works fine for more purposes. If it doesn’t work for you, use other online tools.

2. Cached view

cached pages

This feature which is part of Google Search, allows users to read a specific version of a web page saved at a specific time. If your favorite article is now moved to a paywall, you can copy the link and paste the URL on Google.com. You can select Google Cache or Archive.org. You can also use https://archive.org/web/ to search for the archived page.

Visit Cachedview


sci-hub website

If you want to read academic journals or research papers that are restricted by a paywall, try Sci-hub. This tool allows you to read paid journals and academic research papers for free. Just copy the link, paste the URL into the website’s address field, and click “Open.” The website will open the journal for you for free.

Visit Scihub

Save the Article As a PDF

article save as pdf

Another simple method to read articles without a paywall is saving articles as PDFs. You can apply this method both on your smartphone and PC. You can save articles as PDFs using Google Chrome’s built-in print feature.

Save the webpage as PDF on your phone

  • Open your browser and go to any webpage you want to save as a PDF
  • Click on the three-dot menu in the upper right corner and tap Share
  • Now select the “Print as” option
  • Select “Save as PDF” from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on the Save PDF button. The PDF version of the article will be saved on your device.

How to save an article as PDF on desktop

  • Open any browser and go to the website you want to save as a PDF
  • Click the three-dot menu in the upper right corner of the browser window and select Print. Alternatively, you can use the Print key combination (Ctrl+P)
  • Select the option to save as PDF
  • Now press the Save button

Use Temporary Accounts for Hard Paywall Sites

temp email website

Some websites offer a hard paywall where you have to pay to read even one article. A few websites allow users to read a certain number of articles for free if they have created an account on the platform.

This is time-consuming, and it is difficult to manage each account created to access free content on the site. Instead, you can use free online tools that generate temporary emails and passwords, commonly known as disposable emails.

With this account, you can sign up and read articles for free. These temporary accounts are automatically deleted after some time.

Use Reading Mode

reader mode android

Reading mode on Android or reader mode on iOS helps you get rid of clutter and hides ads on the web page. Reading mode provides a cleaner reading experience by adjusting the display and audio options. Some websites even remove the paywall so you can read articles for free.

If you are on an iOS device, open the article and simply tap the Reader mode icon in the address. To use reader mode on Android, you have to install a Reading mode app from the Google Play Store. Once the app is installed, open any article and click on the reader icon located on the side.

Use a Shared Account Website

bugmenot website

Websites like BugmeNot.com allow users to share account information with each other. With the account data, you can log in to the news site and read articles for free. To use the BugMeNot site, open this URL https://bugmenot.com/ and enter the website URL to get login credentials. After you click on the search, a list of credentials will appear with the success rate. Copy the credentials of the most successful site and enter the credentials on the desired site. Hopefully, it works. If not, you can try other methods.

Use Google Search

copy heading

Some paywall websites allow Google visitors to read articles for free, especially from Google News. This works for some of the most popular websites. You can copy the headline of the article, paste it into the Google search bar, and press Enter. On the search results page, tap the article you want to read.


So, that’s the list of methods you can use to read paywalled content for free on your smartphone and desktop. It is possible that you can already use some of these methods effectively today, but it is important to note that this may change in the future as websites become stricter in their approach to circumvention methods.

We are not opposed to paywalls, as they allow publications and platforms to compensate content creators for their work. It is important to recognize the value of journalism and the hard work that goes into creating information and well-researched articles. If you can pay, you should support publishers.

FAQs about How to Bypass Paywalls

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Medium is one of the most popular publishing platforms. The site offers two free articles to read for a month. If the quota is exceeded, you can try to open Medium articles in incognito mode. If the website forces you to create an account, you can easily create a temporary account with online tools, log in and read the articles for free. You can also try clearing cookies and using a VPN, which also works for most users.

There are several methods to share an article from a paywall website

  • Purchase a subscription: If you have access to the article through a paid subscription, you can share the link with others who also have access.
  • Use a paywall bypass extension: There are browser extensions available that can bypass paywalls on certain sites. You can use popular extensions like Post reader, Bypass paywall and more.
  • Use a shared account: Some paywall sites allow multiple users to access an account with a single subscription. If you have access to a shared account, you can share the login information with others.
  • Take screenshots: You can take screenshots of the article and share them with others.
  • Share summaries: You can write a summary of the article and share it with others to give them an idea of the article's content without giving them access to the full article. You can also use summary tools to quickly get a brief summary of an article.
  • Save the article as a PDF and send it: You can also save the article as a PDF and share it on your social media accounts.

Bypassing paywalls can raise legal concerns and may be a violation of terms of service or copyright laws. It's important to respect the rights of content creators and publishers.

Yes, bypassing paywalls raises ethical questions. Content creators and publishers rely on subscription revenue to sustain their operations and produce quality content. Bypassing paywalls can undermine their ability to monetize their work and may impact the availability of quality journalism.

To support content creators, consider subscribing to their websites or purchasing subscriptions to access premium content. This ensures that they are fairly compensated for their work and helps sustain quality journalism. Additionally, sharing and promoting their content through social media can also contribute to their success.

Here are some popular ways to get past paywall for free:

  1. Copy and paste the URl on Google Search
  2. Try in Incognito mode
  3. Use a free VPN
  4. Sign up with disposable emails
  5. Use reader mode on browsers
  6. Try web archive or cached version
  7. Disable javascript and try
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