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How to Read The Wall Street Journal for Free

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If you visit The Wall Street Journal and try to read the articles, you’ll find that you will need to have a subscription to read anything behind the first paragraph or two. Subscriptions are $1.99 a week if you want online access, $2.69 per week if you get both print and online. Surprisingly, the subscriber wall isn’t present when you visit the WSJ via a link from some of their partners even though the URLs are the same.

If you want to read a Wall Street Journal article for free, copy and paste the title of the article into a Google search. The first result will usually be the WSJ article, click through and read the article in its entirety for free.

For example, if you are interested in this headline from today, “SEC Faces Challenges With Goldman Case,” you simply search for that title in Google, and see that the first result is to the WSJ article. Click through and you will find that no subscriber credentials are necessary for the full article.

Foolishly visit the article directly, even after you’ve seen it in its entirety, and you’ll see you only get a subscriber content preview.

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34 Responses to “How to Read The Wall Street Journal for Free”

  1. Good to know. In fact, it is worthwhile checking just about everything on line before buying. For example, you can go to Borders and pay full price for “Economics in One Lesson” by Hazlitt (best econ book ever written in my humble opinion) or you can Google it and read it online for free.
    I recently bought “Shopcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work” and after I read the book I went to the writer’s website and found the paper upon which the book was based!

  2. ziglet19 says:

    Wow! Great tip, thanks!

  3. Great tip Jim. Despite the tip, I highly recommend subscribing to the WSJ Online. It is a fantastic newspaper.

  4. Ketan says:

    I tried and it asked me to subscribe, after showing a paragraph.

  5. Frugal says:

    I just tried and it works.

    Thanks for the tip.

  6. javi says:

    Wow, thanks for the tip. It’s a great tip to get around WSJ’s paywall.

  7. luckystarr says:

    I am frugal and work for a newspaper, which is a business. We’re trying to stay alive by not having to give our product away. Thanks but no thanks.

    • echidnina says:

      If WSJ needs the subscriber money, they should ensure that their paywall functions correctly.

      I actually wonder if their programmers didn’t do this intentionally, so that when they have a relevant article for a Google search, people can read it, increasing the WSJ’s reputation and ad revenue (I wonder: do they still have ads on the subscriber site?).

  8. Joel says:

    Great Tip – thanks!

    Joel

  9. eric says:

    Goes straight to my toolkit. Thanks for the tip.

  10. BrianC says:

    Thanks! Should come in handy :)

  11. Wilma says:

    I have The WSJ on My Yahoo page. Along with The NY Times, The LA Times, Barrons, Time Mag , all 5 sections of USA Today and lots of other periodicals. Yahoo used to offer Bargaineering.com which is how I found it but is now not an option so I put it on my bar up top. I’m sure that I’m not getting the whole article but the gist is there. I highly recommend setting up a Yahoo page just for all the news outlets it affords you. I will however try your suggestion out when there is something more I’d like to see. Thanks and have a great day. =)

  12. echidnina says:

    This is a nice tip, thanks for letting us in on it! I don’t read the WSJ regularly, but there’s always the occasional article I find that interests me.

  13. cdiver says:

    Cool trick, I wonder how long this will last.

  14. zapeta says:

    Thanks for the tip. There is an occasional article I’d like to read.

  15. rmarchesi says:

    Jim,
    Wow I was sure excited to see your post and immediately went to try it out, as I am frequently hitting the ‘Subscribe Now for the rest of the article’ page and cursing the WSJ under my breath for getting me there only to put up the paywall block.
    Unfortunately, I am not able to replicate your success. Tried using both Firefox and IE 8, but to no avail. After I tried with the example headline you gave, I tried another, “Citigroup Profit More than Doubles.” A Google search brings up the WSJ link as the first search result in “News Results For…..”, but clicking through is the two paragraph intro with the ‘Subscribe Now’ banner below. Is it possible they’ve already fixed your ‘hack’? Anyone else having success and mind sharing their methodology and/or browser settings?

  16. billsnider says:

    Neat suggestion.

    Bill Snider

  17. I have noticed this with other sites as well. Google news is awesome and I read much of my news from there.

  18. jsbrendog says:

    backdoor or the win. they deserve this for trying to charge for this stuff. I mean, will people really pay for print media online?

  19. Wonderful tip! Was afraid that they had closed that loop by today. But no, I just tried it with Firefox and it works perfectly.

  20. Ken says:

    Isn’t this akin to stealing? Taking something that is supposed to be paid for without paying for it? Kind of like downloading music and not paying for it. I don’t think rationalizing it by saying that they have a weak system for protecting their product is right either. Would you teach your child that it is ok to steal from your neighbor if he forgets to lock his door? I am all for saving money, but I do not think this is the proper way to do it. I expect a number of people to disagree with me, but I think this is a good dialogue to have.

    • Jim says:

      I understand your point but think of it this way – let’s say a store has two doors. If you enter one door, you pay twice as much as someone entering the other door. You can choose which door to enter. Would you choose to enter the first one, where you pay 2x as much, simply because the store’s owner wants you to go through that door? Or would you go through the second one? Are you stealing if you enter the cheaper door?

      I’m not doing anything illegal to get the WSJ article without being a subscriber (you are breaking and entering if you enter your neighbor’s home without their permission even if they don’t lock their door).

  21. Ken says:

    That’s one of the problems with analogies is that they are never quite right. My basic point is that I would not feel comfortable teaching my sons to do this. I’ll try another analogy, let’s say this is similar to downloading music. Sure you can do it for free and you’re not really taking anything physical, just a bunch of 1′s and 0′s in a particular order. But, you are taking something (knowledge, information?) that someone had intended on receiving payment for.

  22. jane says:

    WSJ does it intentionally. It would be easy to “fix”, but they decided (for now) to allow access to individual articles that way.


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