With thousands of different news websites there is no single method that will work for all of them. As such, in this article we discuss 7 different methods to get around a paywall.
What is a paywall?
A paywall is used by news websites to hide content on a page. So, for example, if you open up a website and a page appears that blocks the article, that is the paywall. As the name suggests, the website wants you to pay to remove it. However, there are other methods.
What paywalls can be removed?
The two main types of paywalls that websites use are soft paywalls and hard paywalls.
• Soft paywalls:
• Hard Paywalls:
Only soft paywalls can be removed. This is because the article is on the website so the only challenge is being able to uncover it. With a hard paywall the article is not on the page so there is no way to get it.
Why do websites use soft paywalls rather than hard paywalls?
The main reason is to rank higher in google searches. For example, google ranks articles by searching the article and ranking it based on the content. As such, news websites want to show as much of the article to google as possible. However, with a hard paywall, google cannot see the article so the ranking becomes worse for that page, but with a soft paywall google can see the article so it knows more about the article and will rank it higher in the search.
The issue with using soft paywalls is that the user has to deal with being recommended an article that he has to pay to read.
The second reason is some new websites have a limit on the number of articles a person can read for free. So, they want to have the articles on the website but start blocking you after you read more than you are allowed to.
7 Ways to Remove a Paywall.
1). Bypass Paywalls Chrome Extension.
This extension is an open-source project to make an extension that can remove the paywalls for almost all of the major news websites. The chrome extension can be found here: Link.
Firstly, due to Google's policies, the chrome extension is not available on the Chrome Web Store
Steps to download Bypass Paywalls Chrome Extension:
1). Go to the link and code button. When you click it there should be a drop-down menu. At the bottom of the menu click the Download Zip button. This would download the chrome extension to your computer.
2). Next you will want to open chrome and go to the manage extensions page. You can do this by clicking the puzzle icon then clicking manage extensions or by typing chrome://extensions into the search bar.
3). Then in the top right corner of the page you will see a button titled Developer Mode. Make sure that developer mode is enabled. The selector should be blue.
4). Unzip the file that you download. On some computers, the file might automatically unzip itself. But if not you can double-click the .zip file to unzip it. Once you unzip it you should see a folder titled: bypass-paywalls-chrome-clean-magnolia1234-master.
5). In the manage extensions page on chrome with developer mode enabled you should see a Load unpacked button. Click the button and find where the folder bypass-paywalls-chrome-clean-magnolia1234-master. Click on the folder and hit select.
6). This will load the extension and show you the options that you can change. You can close the two tabs that pop up as the default settings are ideal. Now you can go to any new website and the paywall should be automatically removed.
2). Using Web Archive Websites.
Many internet projects try to archive as many web pages as possible to preserve the internet. One benefit is that when the news article is archived it is saved without a paywall. As such by finding an archived version of the article you can see it without a paywall.
The best one that I have found is Archive.Today. Found at this URL: https://archive.ph. To use this website, copy the URL of the article and paste it into the search bar titled: I want to search the archive for saved snapshots. The top search bar is used to save the URL so make sure that you are using the correct one.
The second best option is called the Wayback Machine. Found at this URL: https://web.archive.org. To use this website you just need to get the URL of the article and paste it into the search bar. Then you will see a calendar showing you all of the times that URL was archived. You will want to find the most recent one and click it.
The last web archive is called Google Web Cache.This will then take you to an archived version of the article. The second way to use google cache is to find the article in google search then on the search tab click the three dots next to the URL and then click the button that says cached. Google has a really good archive but I have noticed that it glitches sometimes and does not work. As such I would recommend using the other two first and if those do not work then try the google cache.
3). Paywall Removing Websites
5). Clearing Cache
6). Changing Browser User-agent.
Changing your user agent can also allow you to unblock a paywall. The idea is that by changing your user agent to that of a google bot, some websites automatically remove their paywall as they do not want Google to crawl a paywall version of their article. To do this on chrome right click the article and press inspect. Then near the bottom there should be a tab called Network conditions. Click on that and scroll down until you see User-agent. Uncheck the box that says: Use browser default. Lastly, underneath the checkbox you should see a dropdown menu. Click that and scroll down until you see Googlebot. There should be multiple either Googlebot Desktop or Googlebot Smartphone and simply select either one depending on what device you are using.
7). Using an Adblocker.
Ad Blockers have the benefit of removing any popups that appear on the website. Mostly these pop-ups are ads but they may also be paywalls. As such, having an adblocker can also be a benefit. One of the best free ad blockers is called uBlock Origin and can be found on the Chrome Webstore at this URL:Link.
With thousands of news websites and blogs, paywalls are bound to be different. As such, we suggest trying each method and seeing what works best for you. In my experience, the first three methods have worked and the rest can be used if needed. Hopefully, now you will get to enjoy your favorite articles without having to pay or being forced to log in.