How to Get Past a Paywall

You click on an interesting-sounding news story, only to get the message “Sorry, you’ve exceeded your number of free articles.”

Bypassing this message by searching for the story via a Google search used to work, but largely doesn’t any more. There are other methods that reportedly still work, like private browsing or deleting cookies, but there’s one quicker method that usually works for me.

As the story is loading, stop it by clicking the “stop loading” button in your browser. (Search “stop loading page” plus the name of your browser to find out where that button is located. But warning: I’ve only tried this in Firefox.) You want to stop it after it’s fully loaded but before the paywall message pops up; this may take a few tries at first.

Once the story stops loading, don’t scroll down with the scroller on your mouse; that will usually trigger the paywall message anyway. Don’t even let your cursor linger over the page. Instead, move your cursor over to the right-hand scroll bar, click-hold on it, and then scroll down manually with your mouse to read the article.

Let me know if this works for you!

4 Responses to How to Get Past a Paywall

  1. colson February 11, 2018 at 12:56 am #

    If you use Chrome (it may work for Firefox as well) – pop open an incognito window and copy and paste the URL. This has worked well for me on more than a few websites quite well.

  2. E. Harding February 11, 2018 at 1:10 am #

    What kind of low-tech agony is this? Every site has a different kind of paywall. In any case, here are my general guidelines for avoiding paywalls:

    1. Install uBlock Origin. This should block the WaPo paywall.

    2. For the New York Times, use this script in Tampermonkey: https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/12903-nyt-article-limit-remover/code

    3. There is no real way to block the WSJ paywall except, on occasion, by searching the article.

    4. For the Financial Times, view it in Google Cache.

    5. For the Economist, just block its cookies.

    Many paywalls are still just pure JavaScript overlays, meaning they can usually be defeated with uBlock Origin’s element zapper.

    In any case, regardless of what I said, I strongly suggest stopping reading the newspapers. They mess with your mind and are generally worthless.

    Yeah; private browsing and deleting cookies usually does work.

  3. Brandon February 11, 2018 at 11:17 am #

    The article count is probably using your browser cookie, which is where that information is located. Incognito addresses that issue. The site is also probably using client-side javascript to implement the block. Clicking Stop will kill the page before the javascript can fire.

    Another tactic is to use a site-specific javascript blocker extension. You will also end up blocking a lot of ads (or all ads on Drudge, for instance), but the craftier sites also serve some content using JS, so this may be self-defeating.

  4. dL February 11, 2018 at 12:31 pm #

    There are other methods that reportedly still work, like private browsing or deleting cookies, but there’s one quicker method that usually works for me.

    Paywalls that use client-side protection is wink-wink security. What they actually don’t like is the use of ad blockers…

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