Is Medium free to read in 2021?
With talk of writers earning money on Medium and $5 subscription fees, you have to wonder whether it’s free to read on Medium at all. You also might be wondering “Is Medium free for writers?” as well.
Let’s answer everything.
Is Medium Free For Writers?
Before I answer this question, I need to explain how Medium.com works.
So before 2017 every post ever written on Medium was completely free to read. Then the fire nation attacke–AHEM, then Medium decided to roll out something called the Medium Partner Program.
It was a program designed to help writers make money on Medium itself.
After the changes, writers could “lock” a story that only Medium members could read.
I know what you’re thinking..
What the heck is a Medium member?!
A Medium member is someone who chooses to pay Medium $5 per month to get access to all the locked posts their heart desires.
If a member reads an author’s story on Medium, that writer would then get a portion of that reader’s Medium membership fee.
I go over this process specifically in detail right here.
All you need to know is, nowadays there’s tons of locked stories on Medium’s platform, as well as regular people making $4,000+ per month from the Medium Partner Program.
In terms of whether writers can write on Medium for free, the short answer is YES. Medium is free for writers who want to publish their blog posts here. What about if writers want to earn money from their stories? Do they need to pay Medium to earn money then?
Surprisingly Medium writers do not need to pay Medium to earn money either.
Ev Williams, Medium’s CEO, has flirted with the idea of introducing a pay-to-play system, where in order to earn money from the platform, creators need to pay. I, for one, wouldn’t really care about that. It’s only $5 per month and I’ve been paying that subscription fee to Medium every month since 2017 anyway.
So yeah, that’s the answer to the “Is Medium free for writers” question.
Is Medium Free For Readers?
Okay, so how about readers? Is Medium free for readers? The answer is yes and no.
Once you make a free account on Medium, Medium readers can only read a limited amount of locked stories per month. How many? Well, we’ll get into that in just a second.
You can still make a Medium profile and browse their site for free, but if you came across an interesting locked story of any kind and wanted to read it, you’re sort of caught in a catch 22 because you’ll have to give up one of your locked story coupons before diving down the rabbit hole.
What Is The Medium Reading Limit?
Medium allows you to read 3 locked stories for free per month as a sort of kind gesture, but after that they lock your profile down (if you’re not a member) and you can’t read more than a few paragraphs of any locked story afterwards.
So the Medium reading limit is just three locked stories.
Reading Medium Stories Is Actually Free If They’re Tweeted
There is good news, though. Reading Medium stories is free IF they’re tweeted. So if you like Medium but you’re not a subscriber, and you see a Medium article shared on Twitter, you can click in and read it without having to pay. This is because Ev Williams is a Co-Founder of Twitter, and made a special deal with the programmers over there.
Just a little hack for you to try. If you search for your favorite Medium writer’s name, along with “medium.com” right after it on Twitter, you’ll be able to find links people have shared of their posts. Congratulations, you can now read them for free.
Friend Links Can Allow You To Read Stories For Free, Too
Just one more quick caveat here is that you can read a Medium story for free if the author shares what’s known as a friend link with you. A friend link is a special link the creator can generate that allows you to read a story for free.
To share a friend link to somebody else on Medium, click into your story, then select the three dots just above the cover photo on the right hand side. A pop-up box should appear, and if you scroll down enough you can see a command titled “copy friend link.”
Go ahead and select that, and you’ll have copied your friend link to the clipboard. Go share it on social media so all your friends can read your story for free.
I’m sorry to tell you that Medium isn’t free for readers all the time. You only get to read three locked stories for free and that’s it. But if you use my Twitter hacks and Friend Link hacks, maybe you’ll be able to read your fair share without Medium knowing. It’ll be our little secret.