Skip to content

What Exactly is a Paywall?

Hi there! Nothing is more frustrating than hitting a paywall just when an article gets interesting, right? I‘ve been there plenty of times myself. I‘m sure you feel the same way – you just want access to information relevant to your life.

Well, you‘re in luck because today I‘m going to show you an incredibly easy trick to read full articles behind paywalls 100% free. No subscriptions or payments needed!

Before we get into the step-by-step guide, let‘s quickly go over what paywalls are all about. Knowledge is power, so this background will help you understand why paywalls exist and why publications use them.

A paywall acts as a digital barrier or gate between you and full access to website content. Essentially it blocks off all or part of a website and requires the user to pay to access the content behind the barricade.

Paywalls came into existence in the late 20th century as an alternative revenue model for newspapers and magazines as print advertising declined. By the 2000‘s, paywalls became increasingly popular for digital-only publications too.

Here are some key paywall stats:

  • Over 65% of U.S. newspapers now have some form of paywall, up from less than 10% in 2013.

  • Digital paywall revenue for U.S. newspapers reached over $1 billion in 2020.

  • The New York Times generated $709 million in digital subscription revenue in 2021, far surpassing ad revenue.

  • Publications with paywalls saw declines in web traffic of 60-90% after implementation. However, revenue increased.

There are a few different types of paywalls you may encounter:

Hard Paywalls – All website content locked behind a paywall with no free articles. e.g. Wall Street Journal

Metered Paywalls – A limited number of free articles allowed before the paywall kicks in. e.g. New York Times

Freemium Paywalls – Free access to basic content but premium/exclusive content requires payment. e.g. Business Insider

Dynamic Paywalls – Paywall that adjusts based on factors like referring site, content type, visitor location.

No matter what type of paywall a site uses, I‘ll show you how to get around it!

Ready to learn how to access virtually any paywalled content for free in just a few easy steps? Let‘s get started!

Step 1: Copy the Article Link

First things first, navigate to the paywalled article you want to read and copy the URL (web address). This is as simple as highlighting the link in the address bar and pressing Ctrl+C (PC) or Cmd+C (Mac).

For example, let‘s say you want to read this paywalled New York Times article on the EU‘s new AI regulations:

Highlight and copy that link to your clipboard.

Step 2: Head to

In a new browser tab, type in and hit enter., formerly known as, is a nifty website that captures and saves snapshots of web pages as they exist at a point in time. It‘s like taking a photograph of the website you want to read!

This non-profit service aims to archive the internet, preserve content, and provide transparency. It‘s totally legal to use.

Step 3: Paste the Paywalled Article Link

On, you‘ll see a simple box. Paste the link you copied in Step 1 into this box.

For our example, you‘d paste:

Once pasted, click the "Save Page Now" button below.

Step 4: View the Archived Article

That‘s it! will now display a snapshot of the full paywalled article for you to read in its entirety.

Scroll down to see the complete content without any annoying paywall popups. You can take as long as you want to read, share, or even print the article.

Bonus: Build Your Personal Archive

In the future, you can access this snapshot again by clicking the blue "Viewer" link at the top of This houses every page you‘ve archived.

Think of it as your personal repository of archived content.

You can also find any page you‘ve archived via the search bar at the top. Just search for a keyword or phrase from the article title.

Now that you know the basics, check out these advanced tactics for bypassing paywalls like a pro:

  • Disable Javascript – Many paywalls rely on Javascript to detect article views. Disabling it lets you fly under the radar.

  • Use Incognito Mode – Private browsing prevents paywalls from tracking your visits and blocking content.

  • Clear Cookies – Cookies often store paywall meter data. Wiping them gives you a clean slate.

  • Stop Webpage Load – For metered paywalls, stop the page from fully loading once you have the text to prevent registering a "read."

  • Use Paywall Analyzer Browser Extensions – These directly disable paywall code elements. Tested trusted sources only!

  • Access Via Google News – Google News provides direct links that let you bypass some paywall limits.

  • Subscribe Via Library – Many libraries provide free paywalled publication access via services like Overdrive.

I know what you‘re thinking – is this legit? Yes! Using to access paywalled content is 100% legal and ethical. Here‘s why:

  • You are not hacking or stealing content. just saves publicly accessible pages.

  • You are not circumventing digital rights management or copying material. Just reading an archived snapshot.

  • is a non-profit aiming to preserve online information. There are no shady motives.

  • You can access content for personal use or commentary under fair use laws.

Of course, extensive sharing or distribution of paywalled content without permission is unethical. And always beware of fake archiving sites. But used judiciously, is a safe and legal tool for individual access.

Many public libraries also provide subscriptions to popular paywalled publications. Leverage these free resources when possible to support journalists.

But when you need to read critical paywalled content for research, personal growth, or entertainment, don‘t hesitate to use responsibly!

Now you have the knowledge and tools to access virtually any paywalled content for free with just copy and paste. No more hitting dead ends just when articles get interesting!

While subscriptions are still the best way to support quality publications, occasional use of is a reasonable last resort for important, relevant stories.

Go explore fascinating topics, catch up on the news, or dive into your hobbies unimpeded by pesky paywalls. Just keep ethical usage in mind and support writers in other ways when possible.

Happy reading! Let me know if you have any other paywall bypass tips and tricks. I‘m always down to expand my knowledge. Now get out there and quench that curiosity!