You can get around newspaper paywalls like New York Times, Business Insider, Financial times with these 13 ways and get around their paywalls.

What Is Paywall?

A paywall is a restriction placed to prevent access to online content through a paid subscription. In the media industry, almost every digital content provider for instance magazines and newspapers together with their associated publishing houses put to use paywalls as a means of monetizing their websites.

A recent study conducted by the Reuters Institute for the study of journalism highlighted that in the United States alone, 76 percent of newspapers currently have a pay model set up; all this an increment from 16 percent in 2017. The study indicates that almost all internet users can no longer go through available reading material online entirely without paying; in fact, they are constantly bombarded with paywalls.

Paywall description

According to the analog publishing industries, paywalls have been around for a long time now in the mode of subscriptions. An individual has to first complete a subscription before gaining regular access to any updated articles or contents of print products; it is pretty much the same thing as paying before picking your morning newspaper at your favorite newspaper stand. Way before all these developments came to be, ads, retail sales, and subscriptions were the major source of funding for journals, newspapers, and magazines and they continue to finance such print to date but a lesser extent. More than ever before, publishers have embraced this type of payment model for online media.

During the early 2000s, large amounts of digital content sourced from online newspapers were free but today, one can hardly miss noticing the decrease of revenue generated through retail sales and print subscriptions even with the increase in the journalistic offering. During the mid-2010s, the number of readers buying newspapers and magazines from physical stores gradually started to fall; why was this the case? The major reason was the internet became increasingly vital for gathering information. From then on, print versions of several newspapers were rarely bought.

Research shows that most people access journalistic content online. Therefore, it means a shift for publishers as well so that they get ways to monetize their work online. Paywalls have become a standard practice in the US and the EU countries; in the US for example, 48 percent of media outlets have a paywall — a 10 percent increase since 2017.

Types of paywalls

There are different types of paywalls that publishers can choose from to offer their customers a wide range of digital subscription offers. Some types are hardly noticeable so the readers won’t even think of them as paywalls while other types are hard payment barriers which no one can work around.

1. Hard paywall

In this type of paywall, a portion of web content remains closed for non-subscribers. Anyone who doesn’t complete digital subscriptions availed by the provider is, unfortunately, unable to read any articles too. The hard paywall is not very common since most readers who stumble across such hard walls will be inclined to look for the needed information in other places. The probability of interested readers going to the competitor’s site is highly likely as a result.

Moreover, placing an unreachably high payment barrier adversely affects visitor numbers on a particular website; this is among the major reasons why fewer advertisers might be willing to show their ads on similar platforms — no one is likely to visit the site. Most popular magazines and newspapers are exempted from these scenarios because regardless of a hard paywall, they still do well like the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the British Times.

2. Soft paywall

A soft paywall otherwise known as the freemium model offers free content plus premium offers. Any user gets to read a variety of articles on websites without completing a subscription or paying any fee thanks to a soft paywall. Despite this, special articles are provided as premium content, and only available to customers that pay regularly.

A soft paywall is the most common method used for partially monetizing digital content, especially in the newspaper domain. France and Germany mostly adopt this type of paywall while in the US, only 12 percent of publishers still use it despite it being barely non-existent.

3. Metered paywall

Another type of more subtle payment barrier is the metered paywall. This type gets its name from the word “meter” meaning “measure”, an indicator that this paywall is a payment barrier which changes depending on the user. Generally, every content on display on a website equipped with a metered paywall is free; however, the user determines the number of articles to access.

Establishing technical materials like the use of cookies goes a long way in helping several newspapers follow up on the number of articles a visitor reads every month. Once the users reach the limit, they have to purchase a subscription or be patient until the following month when they will be able to read the articles again for free. A lot of users can effortlessly leverage on this type of paywall; several websites with metered paywalls need user registration so that they understand the behavior of their readers better. The New York Times in the US uses the metered model with much success.

4. Dynamic paywall

After the metered paywall, there is another type of paywall that fittingly adapts to the behavior of a specific website visitor. With this different dynamic payment barrier, most publishers can analyze data coming from returning customers as well as user profiles; within a brief period, publishers get to know their interests, reading habits, and the choice of articles they anticipate to read each month.

For users who go back to a certain page more than once a day to access let’s say the business news, the dynamic paywall relatively quickly directs to payment barriers. On the contrary, for a reader who wants access to the page only a few times every week to read just a few articles, continues to get content for free. A primary example of a magazine that utilizes a dynamic paywall is the New York Magazine and it calculates the likelihood of a reader completing a subscription-based on data; the major challenge facing such publishers is constantly delivering value to ensure that readers don’t fail to return.

5. Voluntary donations

Another example of a paywall is the open paywall type which is the most unobtrusive method of monetizing digital content. This type of paywall is also known as voluntary donations. The Guardian is a prime example of how readers can contribute to certain newspapers and journals to be free from any paid subscription; more than a million readers made sure that it stayed free and outside a paywall by contributing either by one-off or continual support to keep the newspaper sustainable. In this type of paywall, donations come from readers who truly value the editorial independence of the newspaper and its commitments and efforts to investigative reporting. How do readers place their contributions? Well, as they freely look into all content on the site, there is a sidebar that links to available funding options.

Alternatively, most people working independently in creative industries or the media also look for methods to offer readers the chance of paying voluntarily. Patreon for example assists users to zero in on a content creator they can support with monthly payments and while they do that, they get exclusive offers.

Examples of paywall providers

Plenty of paywall providers are available for the US market. They employ sophisticated mechanisms to assist publishers to easily monetize on each article by using a paywall.

1. LaterPay

LaterPay is one of the clients behind the creation of a soft paywall for salon.com including other publishers. The young start-up established a finance model that allows the user to buy content with a single click, aggregate any purchase, and register and pay when the tabs get to $5.

2. Steady

From Germany, this start-up provides paywalls for several types of online content. Steady offers different memberships that assist providers to convert everything from newsletters, podcasts, and articles, into money. Apart from the option of membership option, Steady has other amazing options like donation modes and advertising too.

3. Blendle

The Dutch company Blendle, recently put up for sale individual articles in digital newspaper stands. Previously, users could access the articles they prefer without necessarily committing to a subscription. Up to August 2019 however, they had to change their strategy and take up a premium subscription model. Meaning that up to date, Blendle provides specific news articles from a considerable amount every month; it revolves around big streaming providers and similar business models like Amazon and Netflix.

4. MPP Global

MPP Global is an award-winning platform; with eSuite, it has powered plenty of paid content strategies for the entertainment and media industry. It supports all types of paywalls with optimum flexibility and has top-notch client lists that include NBC Universal and Sky.

Views from paywall critiques

Some paywalls are notably problematic when crucial information and news remain inaccessible behind payment barriers. Most critics claim that for individuals with lower income, they will not have the financial means that will enable them to pay for access to premium content. Additionally, freedom of speech and other principles like the open internet is hidden because of this. Furthermore, another downside of paywalls according to critics is their ability to create digital bubbles, because almost all readers that have a monthly digital subscription are highly likely to get more articles from the same source. Such a scenario makes it easy to advance the molding of public opinion.

Negative effects linked to paywalls affect media providers and marketing efforts. A negative effect of the hard paywalls type is it reduces the number of website visitors; consequently, advertisers will instead opt for running their ads with publishers where more users frequently visit and that is with those utilizing either soft paywalls or metered paywalls.

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How to bypass a newspaper paywall?

Since a paywall is put to block anyone but the paid users from getting access to specific content, only a paid customer is supposed to bypass a paywall. But for one to have access to what is behind a paywall, it all depends on how the paywall works; a paywall unblocker can work or just a simple browser trick can be efficient in removing it and read the contents or watch the movie.

You can bypass paywalls of these sites:

Baltimore Sun (baltimoresun.com)
Barron’s (barrons.com)
Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
Caixin (caixinglobal.com)
Chemical & Engineering News (cen.acs.org)
Central Western Daily (centralwesterndaily.com.au)
Chicago Tribune (chicagotribune.com)
Crain’s Chicago Business (chicagobusiness.com)
Corriere Della Sera (corriere.it)
Daily Press (dailypress.com)
Denver Post (denverpost.com)
De Tijd (tijd.be)
de Volkskrant (volkskrant.nl)
The Economist (economist.com)
Examiner (examiner.com.au)
Financial Times (ft.com)
Foreign Policy (foreignpolicy.com)
Glassdoor (glassdoor.com)
Haaretz (haaretz.co.il / haaretz.com)
Handelsblatt (handelsblatt.com)
Hartford Courant (courant.com)
Harvard Business Review (hbr.org)
Inc.com (inc.com)
Investors Chronicle (investorschronicle.co.uk)
Irish Times (irishtimes.com)
La Repubblica (Repubblica.it)
Le Temps (letemps.ch)
Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
Medium (medium.com)
Medscape (medscape.com)
MIT Technology Review (technologyreview.com)
Mountain View Voice (mv-voice.com)
National Post (nationalpost.com)
New Statesman (newstatesman.com)
New York Magazine (nymag.com)
Nikkei Asian Review (asia.nikkei.com)
NRC (nrc.nl)
Orange County Register (ocregister.com)
Orlando Sentinel (orlandosentinel.com)
Palo Alto Online (paloaltoonline.com)
Quora (quora.com)
SunSentinel (sun-sentinel.com)
Tech in Asia (techinasia.com)
The Advocate (theadvocate.com.au)
The Age (theage.com.au)
The Australian (theaustralian.com.au)
The Australian Financial Review (afr.com)
The Boston Globe (bostonglobe.com)
The Globe and Mail (theglobeandmail.com)
The Herald (theherald.com.au)
The Japan Times (japantimes.co.jp)
TheMarker (themarker.com)
The Mercury News (mercurynews.com)
The Morning Call (mcall.com)
The Nation (thenation.com)
The New York Times (nytimes.com)
The New Yorker (newyorker.com)
The News-Gazette (news-gazette.com)
The Saturday Paper (thesaturdaypaper.com.au)
The Spectator (spectator.co.uk)
The Business Journals (bizjournals.com)
The Seattle Times (seattletimes.com)
The Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au)
The Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk)
The Times (thetimes.co.uk)
The Toronto Star (thestar.com)
The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com)
The Wall Street Journal (wsj.com)
Towards Data Science (towardsdatascience.com)
Vanity Fair (vanityfair.com)
Wired (wired.com)

Source: https://github.com/iamadamdev/bypass-paywalls-firefox

Some methods of getting past a paywall can work while others might not work at all but be sure that there are a few options that can work for the site you want to access. This section of the article mentions some ways of bypassing paywalls.

1. Apply for a free trial

This method of bypassing a paywall needs the user to pay a kind of; whenever there is that option to apply for a trial to get around the paywall, go for it but make sure to cancel the trial before getting charged. It will still be free and it will get the user past the barrier. However, to be successful, the user has to ensure that they cancel the trial or else they will have to pay; use virtual payment services to make sure that the card used to pay only covers the trail but won’t require additional charges for the service.

2. Convert the page to pdf

Numerous page-to-pdf converters exist on the internet currently and an example is webpagetopdf.com. All the user has to do is type into the text box the URL of the paywall page then convert it, and afterward get an offline copy of the article that is accessible at any time.

3. Go through archive sites

Archive.is and Wayback Machine are two examples of archive sites that save web pages solely for archival purposes. Use such sites to help you acquire articles that are seemingly impossible to access because of paywall barriers.

Using the archive.today to get any paid newspaper paywall based articles
Using the archive.today to get any paid newspaper paywall based articles / Screenshot by the Author

4. Search for Login details

Try to use a shared login service in case the hard paywall you’re trying to bypass needs a user account. A lot of websites like BugMeNot may contain numerous login details a user can utilize to log in to the desired website then bypass the paywall under the pretense of a real user.

bugmenot.com which is a website help you finding a web blog post content just by entering the link into its search box
bugmenot.com which is a website help you finding a web blog post content just by entering the link into its search box / Screenshot by the author

5. Utilize a “read-it-later” tool

For the first few times you visit a site for free to read articles, you can bypass the paywall by sending the article to a read-it-later or a bookmarking service like Pocket to bypass the article limit. Always remember that this method only works when given free access to a site for the first few times a user visits.

The ‘read it later’ tool cannot store the visit as belonging to the user since the contents of the page are continuously sent to somewhere else and not loaded on the user’s computer.

6. Manually delete the paywall

By all means if possible, delete any pop-up of the paywall. A couple of websites will sometimes utilize a super basic paywall system in which the only thing stopping the user from accessing the page is using a pop-up. The exit button isn’t easily accessible as expected but the user can examine the page source and manually remove it to uncover any content behind it.

For instance, in chrome, a paywall message will appear; simply right-click it and choose inspect. There will be a mouse pointer option located at the top left side of Chrome’s tool; use it to get the source code of the paywall. After finding it, make sure to right-click the shown data then select the delete element. The user could probably need to delete multiple items until they find the required mixture that will make it possible to bypass the entire paywall.

An alternative option that could work in case the paywall using JavaScript is blocking the script with tools like Quick JavaScript Switcher for chrome. What if a user doesn’t use chrome or the methods mentioned above don’t work? Look for a web proxy that can easily strip away scripts, and an example is HMA.

Delete the paywall code of that newspaper site and continue reading that specific article without buying subscription
Delete the paywall code of that newspaper site and continue reading that specific article without buying subscription / Screenshot by the author

7. Reset browser cookies

Deleting browser cookies or using the incognito mode can help a user find the way around the paywall. In case a website allows the viewing of a handful of articles only to block access later with a paywall, they do so by storing cookies that follow up on the number of pages viewed. Therefore, the user has to make it appear to the website that they are new or it is their first visit by removing all the cookies or opening websites in incognito mode to make it easier to bypass cookies; a successful attempt of this step resets the number of free articles a user can open.

Most importantly, for this to work out, the user needs to know the location of the browser’s cookies then delete them. An alternative method is settling for the private browsing mode available in Firefox, Opera, Edge, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.

Deleting your chrome browser cookies of that specific newspaper site you are intended to read. Some newspaper based sites giv
Deleting your chrome browser cookies of that specific newspaper site you are intended to read. Some newspaper based sites give you the opportunity to read three to five articles every month without paying, by deleting your browser cookies, you can easily get access to that again. / Screenshot by the author.

8. No page should fully load

Before the paywall can open, pause the page quickly. If deleting the paywall or blocking JavaScript can’t work, a user could be able to interrupt pages from fully loading to stop displaying pop-ups from the paywall. Be quick enough to make this work because if the page loads very fast or the paywall manages to launch itself before the article, it will be impossible to bypass the paywall. It is easy to do; try refreshing the page then hit the Esc key numerous times just after the successful loading of the content.

9. Outline.com

Another effective way of bypassing a paywall is to enter the URL of the page into Outline. The main job of Outline is to annotate web pages and go through the content with minimal distractions as possible. Thanks to its mode of working, it can help get around paywalls.

Outline.com a site to just enter the paid article URL and click enter
Outline.com a site to just enter the paid article URL and click enter. /Screenshot by the author

10. Use the Firefox extension meant for bypassing paywalls

Bypass paywalls is a Firefox extension that can bypass any Paywall. It can work on Denver Post, Inc.com, Bloomberg, The Herald, and the Baltimore Sun. all the user needs to do is find the download link placed at the top of the page to obtain the file. After using the download link to get the file, drag and drop it into a Firefox window for installation.

11. Use Unpaywall Chrome extension

A Chrome extension that unblocks paywalls mostly on scholarly articles is known as Unpaywall. This simple method allows the extension to go through the internet for any free PDF versions of whichever item the user needs then drops a link to the free version.

Differentiate between articles that are free and articles that are only for paying members.
Differentiate between articles that are free and articles that are only for paying members. /Screenshot by the author

12. Search for article elsewhere

One of the easiest methods of getting around a paywall calls for the user to copy the headline of the article then paste it into the search engine to scan for the duplicate. Most of the time, an individual can copy and paste a major article from a recognized subscription-based news company and post it somewhere else for free.

A helpful tip when using this method is searching by surrounding the words in quotes as shown. This is to limit search results but guarantee the user of relevant results in finding the article they are after.

Just search the same title and you can find hundreds of other newspapers sites offering content to you for free.
Just search the same title and you can find hundreds of other newspapers sites offering content to you for free. /Screenshot by the author

13. [Video] How To Bypass Newspaper paywalls and read articles for free

Watch the video here.

PS

A paywall defines a digital payment barrier publishers adopt for specific online offers; any interested user can access the contained material after payment of a specified fee or after completing a described subscription.

Using paywall blockers isn’t recommended since they take from companies what would have been a potentially significant revenue source. Just like most ad-blockers, it is prudent to use them well and think of the effects they can have on your favorite sites.

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