How to bypass newspaper paywalls

Many newspapers display paywalls that prevent us from seeing the full content of articles. There are, however, a few tricks to avoid them.

A useful browser extension that allows us to bypass those paywalls is Bypass Paywalls Clean. This extension works for popular websites, and others can easily be added. How does it work? Basically, the extension uses tricks such as disabling JavaScript, disabling cookies or changing the user agent to that of a known web crawler (such as Googlebot).

There is no need to install the above extension if you don't want to. Read on to find out in detail the tricks you can use to avoid most paywalls.

1. Disable JavaScript

Sometimes, the newspaper puts up the paywall using JavaScript. Disabling JavaScript would be enough to remove the paywall.

2. Delete cookies

Sometimes newspapers display paywalls after viewing a few articles. This happens because they don't want to scare off new visitors with a paywall. To make them think you are a new visitor, simply delete your cookies.

3. Change the user agent

Many newspapers want to restrict access to users, but not to web crawlers, as this would affect their search engine ranking. There are extensions to change the user agent in a simple way: one of them is User-Agent Switcher and Manager. You would have to impersonate web crawlers such as Googlebot or Bingbot.

4. Blocking elements

Sometimes it works to remove elements from web pages. We can do this by opening the element inspector of the web browser and removing the elements that belong to the paywall, but it is easier to do this with uBlock Origin.

5. Pirate repositories

There are pirate repositories such as Sci-Hub or Library Genesis. I don't know if there is a specialised repository for Internet newspapers.