Paywall is a method of restricting users from accessing the content for free. Paid subscription is not a new concept. Most popular publishers like The New York Times, Wired, and Digiday have paywalls on their websites. Specialized research media publishers like eMarketer and Statista also use paywalls to restrict access to their content.

Types of Paywall

  • Hard paywall: The content on the website is available only to subscribed users.
  • Metered paywall: The paywall monitors the number of content assets accessed by users and asks them to subscribe after they consume a certain threshold of free content.
  • Dynamic paywall: Publishers track users who frequently consume content on their website and request those with higher engagement to subscribe to gain further access.

There’s also free wall—unpaid subscription which is often used by publishers and marketers to collect contact details of their prospects, like email addresses. They do this in order to keep them engaged with content and nurture them till they become paid users or customers.

Is Paywall the Right Choice for You?

In 2010, The Times added a hard paywall to its site and saw a 90% decrease in visitors. While on the other hand, The New York Times increased its revenue by 40% in 2017 by implementing subscription plans. Clearly, paywall is not for everyone. If you want to get started, make sure you understand the pros and cons.


  • Content monetization alternative: Paywall makes content monetization easy by simply asking users to pay for the content. For publishers, it ensures a dependable source of revenue and serves as a motivation to create high-quality content for users.
  • Industry-wide influence: With the help of quality content, publishers can create a strong reader base and helps them grow in a particular niche. Consequently, with a better user base and industry influence, publishers can create an industry-wide status.
  • Adblocker monetization: It takes time and effort to create good content and most publishers monetize by putting ads on their websites. However, ad blocked audience significantly reduces profit. In such a case, publishers can use a paywall to monetize content without having to show ads, and while maintaining good user experience.


  • Difficult to maintain consistency: Since users are being asked to pay for content, they expect content that is worth spending on. Given that, it can get tricky for publishers to keep up with the frequency of supplying high-quality content.
  • Unhealthy for SEO: When users are unable to engage with a website (due to paywall), it leads to an increase in the bounce rate. This further decreases SERP positions site-wide, eventually leading to declining organic traffic.
  • Competitor disadvantage: Users without subscriptions often end up being disappointed in the website due to the inaccessibility of content. This makes them look for alternative sources in the same industry, causing something called paywall paradox—a phenomenon that gets your non-paywall competitors more traffic via your website.

Top Paywall Services for Publishers

1. LaterPay

LaterPay offers paywall services to publishers, bloggers, influencers, and video content creators. The company claims to increase revenue by offering a ‘Pay Later’ feature, which they call dynamic paywall. Basically, it lets users access free content until their payable amount reaches $5 or above. Using this, LaterPay claims to increase revenue by 2.5x.

  • Integration options: WordPress plugin, API integration, and JavaScript integration
  • Pricing: Standard 15% of revenue
  • Publishers using LaterPay: The PULP, Salon, VRM, buchreport

2. Leaky Paywall

Leaky Paywall by Zeen101 offers a flexible solution to digital publishers, allowing them to configure metered, hybrid, and hard paywalls along with membership platform. Leaky Paywall lets publishers customize their campaigns to match users with content. Moreover, the add-on features include multi-site access, campaign management, and reporting tools.

  • Integration options: WordPress plugin 
  • Pricing: PubCare ($120/mo), PubCare Manager ($295/mo), iOS and Android Apps ($199/mo)
  • Publishers using Leaky Paywall: iPolitics, Modern Drummer, Harvard University, Austin Monitor

3. MediaPass

MediaPass uses A/B testing to improve its paywall services on publisher websites. With a simple one-line code implementation, publishers can add metered and freemium paywalls. Its user payment feature lets users choose from one-time, monthly, or annual subscription. MediaPass offers a responsive design, i.e., its CTAs resize automatically to fit different user screens without any additional optimization.

  • Integration options: WordPress plugin
  • Pricing: Revenue sharing model
  • Publishers using MediaPass: CBS, Ogden Newspapers, GateHouse Media

4. MemberGate

MemeberGate is a membership site solution that has been empowering websites with subscription solutions for over 18 years. The company takes complete responsibility of paywall testing and optimization to make sure everything works well. Their additional services include subscription management, suspicious activity tracking, and transaction management.

  • Integration options: Pay-for-software to access all the plugins
  • Pricing: Starter ($97/mo), New Marketer ($197/mo), Growing Business ($247/mo), and customized pricing for enterprises
  • Publishers using MemberGate: SportsRehabExpert, DanceStudioOwner, Club Rhino

5. MPP Global Solutions

MPP Global Solutions offers eSuite enabling publishers to monetize their users through hard, soft, and metered paywalls To streamline the operations, the company offers CRM services in a cloud-based platform. Along with paywall services, the company also helps publishers with conversion, retention, and reporting data to help make informed decisions.

  • Integration option: JavaScript integration
  • Pricing: Customized pricing, as per the publisher’s needs
  • Publishers suing MPP Global Solutions: Daily Mail, The Irish Times, Racing Post

6. Multipub

Multipub is a subscription management system for publishers. The company offers automated solutions for subscription-related tasks like accounting, marketing operations, and updating CRM, which also helps in segmenting and managing audiences. Their subscription panel also makes it easy for users to enable/disable subscription renewal.

  • Integration option: API integration
  • Pricing: Customized pricing, as per the size/niche of the publisher
  • Publishers using Multipub: ACBJ, University of Hawaii Press, Fastline Publications

7. CeleraOne

CeleraOne offers a real-time paywall solution for metering, hybrid, freemium, hard, and registration walls. To drive reader engagement, subscriptions, and retention, the software provides a data-driven audience development and a premium Single Sign-On by using 1st party data tracking and segmentation.

You can read more about their features here.

  • Integration option: API Integration, JavaScript Integration and SDK Integration
  • Pricing: Customized pricing, as per the business needs
  • Publishers using CeleraOne: BILD, Zeit Online, NZZ

8. Pelcro

Pelcro is a content subscription platform for publishers offering dynamic paywall solutions that adapt as per the behavior, location, and device of users. The analytics offered by Pelcro helps publishers better understand the journey of users. The solution deploys AI to show metered or premium paywalls to users who frequently visit the site. 

  • Integration option: WordPress plugin
  • Pricing: 7-day free trial. Starter ($99), Advanced ($450), Professional ($800), and Custom solutions
  • Publishers using Pelcro: Newsweek, The Hockey News, Arkansas Times

9. Piano Media

Piano helps publishers build customized digital experiences and commercial relationships with users. The company offers metered paywall solutions to over 1200 digital businesses around the globe. It lets publishers create subscription plans and assist them to improve conversion by personalizing their goals. 

  • Integration option: JavaScript integration
  • Pricing: Customized pricing, as per the business needs
  • Publishers using Piano Media: Business Insider, Tech Crunch, AdAge

10. Pigeon Paywall

Pigeon Paywall by SabraMedia is a secure paywall solution for publishers that provides hard and metered paywall solutions. For publishers, it lets them design their own campaigns and assist in building a better conversion strategy. The company also offers training to the publishers and their teams to better optimize paywalls for more profit.

  • Integration option: Software plugin to be added to CMS (including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal)
  • Pricing: 10% of revenue + $99 monthly fees for customer support
  • Publishers using Pigeon Paywall: Not available

11. PayRead

PayRead by Fortumo is a subscription solution for websites and mobile applications. The company charges users through their SIM cards. Fortumo believes card payments cause friction as users to go through various steps in order to make a payment. Whereas, SIM card payments are quick, user-friendly, simple, and safe. PayRead integrated with over 350 mobile operators around the globe to offer seamless services.

  • Integration option: Web widget and SDK integration
  • Pricing: Revenue sharing model
  • Publishers using PayRead: Aftonbladet, OLX Group, Spotify

12. Recurly

Recurly designs and deploys software for subscription management that allows them to create subscription plans, collect payments, and manage user-base. The flexible setup enables publishers to design multiple subscription plans and customized discount plans for users. Along with subscription management, Recurly also helps publishers with retention strategies.

  • Integration option: API integration
  • Pricing: Per-transaction basis, % of revenue, and a base monthly fee
  • Publishers using Recurly: AccuWeather, twitch, BarkBox

13. Subscription Genius

Subscription Genius offers subscription and email list management services to digital publishers. The platform lets publishers divide the website for premium users and non-premium users basis which publishers can work on premium content and show it to only premium users.

  • Integration option: Plugin added to CMS
  • Pricing: Not available on the website
  • Publishers using Subscription Genius: Omaha, Vice, Lucky Peach

14. Varnish Software

Varnish Software is a content delivery solution that also offers Paywall solutions. The company offers hard, metered, and customized paywalls to publishers and media houses. Varnish Paywall is known to focus on UX and enabling fast content delivery. It ensures that control always remains in the publishers’ hands.

  • Integration option: Plugin added to CMS
  • Pricing: Not available on the website
  • Publishers using Varnish Paywall: BBC, The Hindu, LiveJournal

15. Zlick

Zlick offers a subscription management solution with an in-built feature that lets users read a quick description of the post and then asks them to subscribe. Additional features include user tracking with Zlick in-house algorithm to set better campaigns. Moreover, the company claims to offer zero effort payment solutions to online publishers and media houses.

  • Integration option: Not available
  • Pricing: Customized pricing
  • Publishers using Zlick: Bonnier, Postimees, DNA

16. Zuora

Zuora creates customized software for companies to get them started with their subscription business. It also helps them launch and manage the subscription campaign and the entire user lifecycle is managed by the company. With Zuora, publishers get global payments which can be rated by users to improve overall performance.

  • Integration option: Not available
  • Pricing: Customized pricing
  • Publishers using Zuora: Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Seattle Times


Shubham is a digital marketer with rich experience working in the advertisement technology industry. He has vast experience in the programmatic industry, driving business strategy and scaling functions including but not limited to growth and marketing, Operations, process optimization, and Sales.

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