Read any New York Times Article for Free

Mar 30, 2011 - 9 Comments


The New York Times recently put up their paywall, blocking users from reading over a certain number of articles a month. Their pricing scheme is sort of a mess but I can understand charging for quality content. That’s not really the point though, their paywall implementation makes it difficult for paying users to share content with nonpaying users. For instance, if you’re a paying iPad customer and you send an instant message to your friend with an article, and they already hit their monthly allowance, well, tough, they can’t read the article… or can they?

Beyond the Paywall: Reading New York Times Articles for Free

Using the magic of Google we can read New York Times articles for free. It takes about two seconds, here are the steps:

  • Find the title of the article you want to read (Google is smart, you don’t need the exact title)
  • Open and type in the general title followed by ‘’ and search

The top result is pretty much guaranteed to be the article you’re looking for. Let’s use an example; someone wants to read the full NYT book review of “Physics of the Future” and we know the book is written by Michale Kaku, so my Google query to skirt the NYT paywall is this: “physics of future kaku” the key is here to include ‘’ at the end of the search time. Let Google do their magic and low and behold:


The first result is the Times book review we wanted to read. Great huh?

Even Faster: Paste the URL into Google
If you’re sharing an exact URL with someone who hit their article limit, have them paste that directly into Google too. Then they just need to click on “I’m Feeling Lucky” and they’ll get pushed right beyond the paywall.

Important Note: None of this is doing anything shady or against the NYT sharing policy, it’s just utilizing a clause that the Times mentioned in their announcement of the paywall:

In an effort to avoid deterring as many as possible of the Web site’s more than 30 million monthly readers, The Times will allow access to people who arrive at its Web site through search engines like Google and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. There will, however, be a five-article limit a day for people who visit the site from Google.

And about that 5 article limit… yea there are even ways to get around that too (just paste the URL onto someones Facebook wall, for instance), but if you’re reading more than five articles a day from the New York Times, you should probably just subscribe.

NYT is great, but their paywall pricing is too confusing
The NYT is a great paper, hell it’s probably the best newspaper in the USA, but they really need to rethink their screwy and confusing pricing scheme. How about a lower flat rate for all access to all content on any device? Otherwise, why would you pay more to use their iPad app? You can just read their website on your iPads web browser for less than half the price, where’s the logic in that?

Despite the funky pricing structure, I’ll probably subscribe to their iPad app if I can ever actually find an iPad 2 in stock somewhere on Planet Earth. Until then and anytime I’m on my Mac sharing articles with friends, I’ll use the aforementioned workaround. It works, and it’s allowed within the NYT own guidelines.

If you want the official New York Times iPad app, it’s a free download from the iTunes App Store.

[ picture via Flickr ]


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Tips & Tricks


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  1. dave says:

    Also, go up to the url, remove the goobleygook past “html” or htm, hit enter, and you are through the paywall. Downside: you have to do it with every page.

  2. […] showed you how to read NYT articles for free using Google but if you have Safari there’s an even easier method: Safari […]

  3. scooby says:

    a simpler way is this:

    Using Chrome browser, right-click on any link and choose “open link in incognito window”

    and voila! you get to read any article for free.

  4. Joe says: This site is the best I’ve found so far for getting around the paywall. It links every article in a simple list, sorted by section. Updated each morning with the day’s paper.

  5. J Mac says:

    I prefer milk with my cereal. What is on that poor bowl of life?

  6. Tom says:

    Why would anyone still be reading the NYT’s?

  7. Ian says:

    This article is kind of pointless. You do realize that you can share articles with your friends far easier by just posting a link to Facebook or Twitter right? This includes Facebook chat. They can access the content for free this way, that’s the whole point of their policy on shared links. And who uses independent IM anymore?

  8. fstop says:

    This is the best legit method I’ve seen.

    The irony is that if NYT simplified their subscription model to resemble Netflix at $9/month you wouldn’t see this and the myriad of other circumvention techniques gaining so much popularity on the web and Twitter.

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