5 Tips for Getting Around News Paywalls

Updated: Aug. 23, 2023

The next time you get hit with a paywall while perusing the news, try one of these tips to get around it.

There are few moments on the internet that are more frustrating than when you are trying to read a news article but find yourself face-to-face with a paywall. While it’s important to support quality journalism, it’s hard to imagine that anyone can subscribe to every news outlet, as subscriptions can be costly!

Luckily, there are a handful of ways to get around these paywalls so you can stay informed without having to break the bank to read an article from time to time.

How to get around paywalls

Illustration Of Brick Wall Obstacle Painted With Dollar SignRLT_Images/Getty Images

The next time you encounter a pesky paywall, give one of these following tried and true tips a try.

Sign up for a library card

Most local libraries subscribe to all of the most popular (and some of the less popular) publications, so articles are one of the free things you can get with a library card. Sign up to be a member of your local library, then sign in online to gain access to all of the library’s subscriptions. Even if your library doesn’t have a wide selection of publications available, they are likely to have the big ones like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Copy and paste the headline into Google

In some cases, you can avoid a paywall by doing a Google search for the article’s exact headline. Many publications allow you to access the article directly from its link via Google search, allowing you to sidestep the paywall. When this method fails, opening the link in an incognito window is often an effective solution.

Switch to Reader Mode

There are some publications that allow readers to view their sites in Reader Mode. Reader Mode is available in Safari and Google Chrome and was designed to hide ads for a more seamless experience when reading online. One of the added bonuses of Reader Mode is that it sometimes allows you to sidestep paywalls. While this method is not always effective, it’s easy enough to give it a try.

Clear the site’s cookies

Many publications allow you to read a certain number of articles before you encounter a paywall. Oftentimes bypassing that paywall is as simple as deleting the page’s cookies, resetting the number of articles you can read before the paywall pops up once again.

Give 12ft.io a try

12ft.io is a free, web-based tool that can usually remove the paywall from any online publication. The beauty of 12ft.io is that it does not require you to download and install any software. All you have to do is visit the site and paste the URL of the article you’re trying to access. Then, click Remove Paywall and let 12ft.io get to work. Though 12ft.io isn’t perfect, it has a great reputation for being effective the majority of the time.