Tips for Avoiding Paywalls

If you’re addicted to this site and read tons of Green Bay Packers articles every day like I do, then you will definitely have, at some point, reached your free articles limit at one or more of our sources (which we shall not explicitly name), and have encountered a “paywall”.  A paywall is the page you encounter that says your free trial has expired and you now must pay to read more articles.

Fret not, friends – there are ways to avoid these limits without having to (gasp) go without reading the articles or waste money on a subscription.  As long as the source continues to offer “x number of articles free”, then the number of articles you’ve read can be “reset”.

Here are some ways you can try:

Use “Private Browsing” or “Incognito” mode

Private Browsing (Firefox) or Incognito (Chrome) windows will destroy all associated session information as soon as they are closed.  The cookies that keep track of how many articles you’ve read get deleted each time you close the window.  Most modern browsers now have this feature, and you can even do this with some browsers on your smart phone.

In Chrome, you can either start a new private browsing session by clicking File -> New Incognito Window or you can right-click the article links on Packernet that you want to visit and click “Open Link in New Incognito Window”.  Firefox is similar.

Clear your browser’s history

This, in my opinion, is like smashing an ant with a sledgehammer.  Clearing your history will delete your data associated with the site you want the free content from, but will also sign you out of all websites and will make you re-download images and files that were previously cached in your browser to make things load faster.

Use a different browser

Once you have run into your limit on your primary web  browser, you can usually get a fresh set of free articles by opening up your link in a different browser.  If you normally use Internet Explorer, then try downloading and open Packernet in browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Safari.

Readability LogoUse “Readability”

Readability is a website that pulls the content from any page and shows it to you in a nice, readable format, removing all the ads, navigation, etc.  Since it uses it’s own servers to render the page content, it’s not actually your browser that is requesting the content.

Try pasting an article’s url here: http://www.readability.com/shorten

Google the headline

Most websites will allow any link that is clicked on directly from Google or other major search engine to view the article for free.  This is so that the article content can be indexed by those search engines in the first place.  Just copy and paste the exact article title into google and usually the first result will be what you are after.

Search for the link on Twitter

Similar to googling the headline, you can copy and paste the link into a Twitter search and click through to the story from Twitter. Stories accessed via social media don’t count towards your article limit.

Use a web proxy

This one would be my last resort, as you are relying on a third party website to load the page on your behalf and serve it to you.  Sometimes the web proxy sites have a lot of advertisements, and the content doesn’t always come across with the graphics in the right place, etc.  However, they are effective, and there are a ton out there so if one doesn’t work, try another.  Just google “web proxy”, click into one, and enter www.packernet.com into the address bar on that page.

Unfortunately, the above are workarounds for paywall sites, not premium content which is only accessible via a paid login.

Give one or more of the above options a try!  You will probably find that it is very simple and barely an inconvenience to get around any paywall.

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