How to read paywall articles for free

How to read paywall articles for free

/ 08:05 AM June 06, 2024

A paywall prevents people from accessing an article without paying a fee. Nowadays, numerous outlets use it to earn online revenue.

However, many academics dispute hiding important research papers behind paywalls. In 2013, The Guardian even claimed that “hiding your research is immoral.”

READ: Why MP3 Juice is the Best Free MP3 Downloader Site

You may get past these toll blocks with various apps and techniques. However, make sure to follow your country’s data privacy laws when using these methods.


Activate Incognito Mode and Reader Mode

This represents a person reading paywall articles.
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You may get past a paywall with Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode. It opens an Incognito window that does not save your browsing history, cookies, site, data, and form data.

It also blocks third-party cookies by default. Try Incognito Mode by opening Chrome and then clicking the three-dot icon.

Select the New Incognito Window option. Then, enter your desired article’s URL. Lifehackers reminds people this method only works on metered paywalls. 

Those paywalls let you view a limited number of articles before charging a fee. If you’ve run out of free access trials on your browser, Incognito mode may help you read more for free. 


Other browsers have functions similar to Incognito Mode, so try those if you’re not using Chrome. For example, Safari uses Private Browsing.

Use a VPN or the Facebook URL

This represents a mobile device for viewing paywall articles.
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Cybersecurity website All About Cookies says some paywalls track your IP address to limit your access. Fortunately, a virtual private network lets you change your IP address and continue reading. 


It works on metered paywalls like Incognito Mode. Turn on your VPN when you run out of free trials to maintain access. 

You have many VPN choices like NordVPN and SurfShark. Check their websites to see which is right for you. 

READ: How to go Incognito Mode

Lifehacker says some paywalls allow free access to readers arriving from Facebook. You may seem like you’re accessing an article from that social network with these steps:

  1. Paste these words in the address bar: “” 
  2. Copy and paste your preferred article’s URL after that without any spaces. 
  3. Next, press Enter to open a Facebook redirect page.
  4. Click Follow Link to open the article.

Disable JavaScript or try browser extensions

This represents a computer for viewing paywall articles.
Free stock photo from Pexels

Lifehacker says some websites use JavaScript to paywall content. You may bypass these blocks by disabling JavaScript in your browser. Use these instructions from Microsoft Learn:

  1. Right-click the webpage and then click Inspect. Alternatively, press Ctrl+Shift+I on Windows or Command+Option+I on macOS.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+P on Windows or Command+Shift+P on macOS to open the Command Menu.
  3. Next, type “javascript,” choose Disable JavaScript [Debugger], and then press Enter or Return.

Then, refresh the page to see how it behaves without JavaScript. Note that disabling this feature may break parts of the website or crash it.

Re-enable JavaScript by pressing Ctrl+Shift+P on Windows or Command+Shift+P on macOS to open the Command Menu. Next, choose the Enable JavaScript [Debugger] command and press Enter or Return.

READ: How to disable pop-up blockers

You may also try Chrome browser extensions. North Carolina-based St. Andrews University recommends Bypass Paywall, Unpaywall, and Web Archive extensions for opening paywall articles for free.

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Open and then click Extensions. Enter any of these extensions in the search bar, click them, and then hit the Add to Chrome button. 

TOPICS: paywall articles, technology
TAGS: paywall articles, technology

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