How to Bypass a Paywall to Read an Article for Free Online

Have you ever come across an intriguing article, only to be blocked by an annoying paywall? Paywalls can be incredibly frustrating when all you want is to read an article. But don’t fret – there are ways to bypass a paywall to read an article for free online. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best methods and tools to get past paywalls, so you can access content without paying.

Key Takeaways

  • Paste the headline into Google to access the article for free through search results
  • Try a Facebook redirect by adding facebook.com before the URL
  • Open the paywalled link in an incognito browser window
  • Disable JavaScript in your browser to remove blocks
  • Use a VPN to change your IP address and location
  • Edit page elements like banners and overlays using Inspect tool
  • Install browser extensions and add-ons like Bypass Paywalls
  • Use sites like 12ft.io and 1ft.io to remove paywalls
  • Archive pages on Archive.today to access full content
  • Find paywall bypass shortcuts for mobile browsers

Search Engines are Your Friend

One of the easiest ways to bypass a paywall is by using search engines like Google. Many publishers don’t put paywalls on content accessed through search engines.

To use this method:

  1. Copy the headline of the paywalled article
  2. Paste it into Google and hit search
  3. Click on the search result to open the article – it should now be freely accessible.

This quick trick works for many news sites and could save you some money on subscriptions. Do note search engines don’t always index paywalled content, but it’s worth a try.

The Power of Social Media Redirects

An ingenious way to bypass soft paywalls is by using social media redirects. Many sites allow free access to articles when arrived from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

To do this:

  1. Copy the URL of the paywalled article
  2. Paste facebook.com/l.php?u= before the URL
  3. Hit enter and you’ll see a Facebook redirect page
  4. Click the “Follow Link” button et voila! Article unlocked.

While not foolproof, this clever hack can help you read a few extra articles for free on sites with metered paywalls.

Incognito to the Rescue

Opening paywalled links in an incognito window is an easy way to bypass soft paywalls. Since incognito windows don’t save cookies and site data, you can trick the site into serving you free content again.


  1. Right click on the paywalled article link
  2. Choose “Open link in incognito window”
  3. Article should open freely without the paywall

Do note this only works for sites with metered paywalls, allowing a specific number of free articles per month. But it’s worth a shot before pulling out your wallet.

Disabling JavaScript Breaks Many Paywalls

Here’s a technical workaround that disables paywall code – turning off JavaScript in your browser.

Many sites rely on JavaScript to launch paywall popups and overlays. By disabling JS, you can sneak past the paywall.

To disable JavaScript:

  • On Chrome: Settings > Privacy & Security > Site Settings > JavaScript > Blocked
  • On Firefox: Preferences > Privacy & Security > Uncheck “Allow JavaScript”

While this method works, it can also break site functionality. Use a secondary browser as it will disrupt other sites.

Mask Your Identity With a VPN

VPNs or Virtual Private Networks mask your real location and IP address. This helps bypass paywalls limiting free articles by geography.

When connected to a VPN, a site sees the IP of the VPN server instead of your actual one. This fools the paywall into serving you more “free” content as you appear to be accessing from a new location.

There are many good free VPN options to try out.

Edit the Page to Remove Paywall Overlays

If you know some basic HTML, you can manually edit page elements to remove paywall overlays using the browser’s Inspect tool.

Here’s how:

  1. Right click and Inspect Element on the paywall overlay
  2. In the console, find the code block labeled “paywall” “subscribe” etc
  3. Delete or disable this block to remove the overlay
  4. You can now read the full article for free

This neat hack won’t work on all sites but helps sneak past simple paywall implementations.

Browser Extensions let you Bypass Paywalls

Special browser extensions exist to bypass paywalls across news sites. These inject custom JavaScript to disable paywall code on pages.

Some popular paywall bypass extensions:

  • Bypass Paywalls – Works on Chrome, Firefox, Edge
  • Unpaywall – For academic papers on Chrome and Firefox
  • Postlight Reader – Cleans up page clutter along with removing paywalls

The most robust one is Bypass Paywalls with frequent updates to tackle changing paywall code. Give it a shot before subscribing.

Break Paywalls Cleanly Using 12ft.io

12ft.io is a free online tool that removes paywall restrictions when you paste a URL.

It works by displaying a text-only cached version of the page, great for reading articles quickly.

To use:

  1. Copy the URL of the paywalled article
  2. Paste it on 12ft.io and hit Go
  3. You’ll see a clean text-only version without any paywall

It’s a very reliable method to access paywalled content from major publishers. Check out 1ft.io for an alternative.

Archive Sites Unlock Full Articles

Archive sites like Archive.today create cached snapshots of web pages that you can view for free. This lets you access the full paywalled article instead of just a preview.

To use Archive.today:

  1. Go to Archive.today
  2. Paste the URL of the paywalled article
  3. Click “Save” and a snapshot will be created
  4. Click the snapshot link to read the full unlocked version

It’s a straightforward way to bypass paywalls. The content is archived permanently so you can access it anytime.

Specialized Mobile Browsers and Apps

On iOS and Android devices, specialized web browsers and apps exist to help bypass paywalls.

For iOS, use the AntiPaywall and Bypass Paywall shortcuts with Apple’s Shortcuts app.

On Android, install browsers like Kiwi Browser – it offers extensions like Bypass Paywalls Clean to skip paywalls.

You can also try dedicated apps like Read Across the Aisle that aggregate content past paywalls. Explore your options in the app stores.

Support Publishers When You Can

While these tips help you bypass paywalls, please subscribe or donate when possible. Good journalism needs regular financial support, now more than ever.

If you find value in a publication’s content, pay them a fair price. Use paywall circumvention only occasionally, not as a total substitute.

Quality reporting, ethical standards, and ambitious work costs money. Do your part to sustain the free press if you have the means.


And there you have it – the top methods and tools to bypass online paywalls blocking you from content. From quick tricks like using Google Search and incognito windows, to tools like browser extensions and archive sites, you can now access articles for free.

Use these ethical tips in moderation to expand your reading. But ultimately, please subscribe and donate to support the publishers and journalists creating valuable content. With numerous options to bypass paywalls, you can now stay informed without going broke.

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