How to Bypass Paywalls at Popular News Sites

Here’s how to quickly bypass paywalls at popular news and magazine websites.

If you’ve tried to read an article at sites like Washington Post, Medium, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Wired, Vanity Fair or the Wall Street Journal, you’ve probably run into a paywall. A paywall restricts access to content by requiring a paid subscription, but there are a few ways around them.

Information is increasingly fragmented and many of us use a multitude of sites to access information. In this day and age, it’s not economically feasible for most individuals to pay for several subscriptions to view sites you visit occasionally. If you visit a news or other site regularly at work or for personal use, it makes sense to pay for a subscription. It’s reasonable for frequent readers to have a subscription. Some of the news sites have lost print readers and needing income to stay afloat.
If you want access to a site for a brief period of time, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the many trial subscriptions that are offered. They are usually for 14 or 30 day periods and can be cancelled any time before the trial expires.

Some tips to bypass paywalls can change at any time, and what worked last week may not work today.

Use Add-ons and Extensions
If you use a web browser, this add-on can bypass paywalls on many sites. The bypass-paywalls add-on by iamadamdev is available for both Firefox and Chrome based browsers. Click on the link for the browser you want to use and follow the directions. The Firefox version is a straightforward download and install, the Chrome version has to be installed manually. The directions are clear and it’s not difficult. The process is the same for other Chrome based browsers. The developer says it works best when paired with uBlock Origin.

Clear site history and cookies
This works on sites that ask you to pay after reading a specified amount of articles within a set time period. If you’re using up the allotted articles on a site, it’s probably a good idea to subscribe. I use a Firefox add-on to clear cookies  and storage for each tab so I can stay logged in to the sites I use often. The add-on is available at the Firefox add-on page – it’s called Remove Cookies Button. It removes local storage, session cookies and session storage from the current tab with one click of the button on the address bar. Per site clearing can also be done through the address bar of most browsers, click on the lock icon next to the URL and use the options there.

View cached or archived web pages
If what you want to read on a site isn’t current, you can use the Wayback Machine by the Internet Archive to view previous pages or use Google Search to view a cached page, though sites are now disabling the cache so that method will be less and less reliable.

Disable Java Script in your browser
You can disable Javascript using the developer tools in browsers by using the inspect element context menu to view and change the code on the page, or you can use an add-on or extension and do it with the click of a button. Using the browser developer tool to inspect context elements requires a little knowledge of HTML.
Chrome: Quick Javascript Switcher
Firefox: Disable JavaScript

Use an online reading and annotation site
Outline.com extracts the body of an article and displays it for reading and annotating. Enter the URL of the article you want to read. It’s effective for most, but not all, paywalls.

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