As more and more content is being produced on a daily basis (including academic content in colleges, universities, and other institutions), it gets more and more difficult to avoid plagiarizing. And yet plagiarism is still a major accusation for a student, one that can lead to horrific consequences. The worst part is, you can plagiarize even without knowing you’re plagiarizing – words sometimes flow in a way that somebody else has already used. How to avoid this fiasco and all the related problems? Luckily, the technology is not stagnating. In fact, it’s making huge leaps forward every year. And the anti-plagiarism technology is hardly an exception.
Today, multiple tools exist for detecting plagiarism and showing you where it has been “borrowed”. Gone are the times when we had Copyscape and nothing else. Mind you, major educational establishments might as well have their own proprietary plagiarism checker for teachers. If it’s good, you have nothing to worry about (unless you do plagiarize intentionally). If it’s not that good, it can cause problems (low quality plagiarism software might highlight parts that are, in fact, original and fail an even 100% original work – but no pressure, of course).
Some of such tools will let you check for plagiarism free of charge, while others will require a certain investment. To help you choose the one that will suit your needs best (and won’t destroy your bank account), we have tried out and reviewed top free (or almost free) plagiarism checkers available online.
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Dupli Checker is a company that offers SEO services for companies of different sizes. It includes experts of different fields – just as well as it offers a wide range of instruments for website optimization, including an online spell checker, a word count checker, a visitor hit counter, an XML sitemap generator, a broken link checker and analyzer, and a few more.
Their plagiarism checker is, quite expectedly, designed for website owners (Google doesn’t really like websites with low-originality content), but you can use it just as effectively for your academic writing purposes.
- Pros: Dupli Checker has a very simple interface. One might even say too simple, but simplicity is never a bad quality. You can either copy and paste your text into the box or upload a file and wait for it to be analyzed. Dupli Checker displays results in a matter of seconds and provides sources of plagiarized content for you to research.
- Cons: You can only paste or upload up to 1000 words per single search, which means you will need to do multiple iterations for long-form content. You can also upload documents only in 2 formats: docx or text.
Plans and Pricing: Dupli Checker claims to be free, but they limit your unregistered searches to one per day. You will have to sign up to continue.
Copyleaks is a content authentication platform that promises to use a sophisticated cloud technology to detect plagiarism. Unlike combo-style platforms with multiple tools available, Copyleaks is dedicated to duplicate and plagiarized content only. They offer this service to businesses and students via their website dashboard, a mobile app, and an API.
- Pros: Being focused on a single service, Copyleaks is more likely to provide better quality. They offer the added convenience of downloading a mobile app, scanning and uploading text documents, and submitting links for analysis. The free version lets you upload up to 100 files in different formats, albeit you will have to sign up first.
: The guys don’t know much about content clarity, that’s why you will have to roam around the website before you find where to start scanning.
Plans and Pricing: There are several plans. The free one includes 2.5 thousand words searched for free per month and 2 runs of their document comparison feature. The other two are subscription and prepaid, where you can adjust the scope of services you would like to buy.
PaperRater is a strictly text-oriented tool that includes grammar and spell check, online proofreading, text analysis, vocabulary builder, and plagiarism checker.
- Pros: The tool provides near-instant results (5-15 seconds) of text analysis and doesn’t ask you to sign up or log in to use it. All the analysis is performed at the same time, which is an undoubted advantage over other tools.
- Cons: file uploads as opposed to copying and pasting text are available only to premium users. With plagiarism detection turned on, the analysis is slower.
Plans and Pricing: The free plan allows uploading the equivalent of 5 pages of text per submission and includes grammar and spelling check, writing suggestions and automated scoring. The premium plan, which is $7.48/month or $47.70/year, includes other features, e.g. text file submissions, enhanced plagiarism check, faster processing, and others.
If you don’t care about the looks, Plagiarisma is for you. Its creators were definitely not that worried about the convenience or aesthetic pleasure of its users, but it does the job. It also includes other tools along with the plagiarism checker, but positions itself as a tool primarily for academic writing purposes.
- Pros: over 190 languages are supported for analysis. You can either copy and paste text or submit a URL. The checker is downloadable as a Moodle plugin, Blackberry software, or a Google Play app. It is also available as an application for Windows. The supported file formats are quite numerous and include TXT, RTF, DOC(X), HTML, XLS(X), PDF, ODT, EPUB, FB2 and PDB. You can also switch between pages indexed by Google and Yahoo.
- Cons: You’ll have to sign up to use the full version of the plagiarism checker and the way it looks, well… But we already talked about that.
Plans & Pricing: you only need to sign up to use all the features of the tool. Social signups are available.
Plagiarism Checker is another tool that decided to give up on looks and go with functionality instead. Since it’s intended for all kinds of users, it helps to check documents as well as URLs.
- Pros: Having a clear focus, the tool is easy to operate. You can switch between Google and Yahoo-indexed websites in the analysis and create Google Alerts to know when your content is being stolen (more suitable for website owners and other web content creators).
- Cons: You can’t upload a file; instead, you have to manually copy and paste. The results of the analysis won’t be like what other tools have to offer. You will instead be redirected to a Google’s search results page, so basically using Plagiarism Checker is like Googling parts of your documents yourself. The search by URL doesn’t seem to work at all.
Plans and Pricing: The tool is free and doesn’t require a sign up.
Plagium allows to search for duplicate content and compare two texts uploaded at the same time. Along with the text-analysis options, it also has file and URL checks and allows setting alerts. The website interface is also available in other languages (which makes it to kind of stand out on the background of other websites).
- Pros: Up to 5,000 characters can be checked at once. The tool has quick search (for less important documents) and deep search for more important ones. You can set the search to be conducted on the web or only on news resources.
- Cons: The tool is not really free – you’ll have to pay on the per-page basis. It doesn’t offer any other text analysis options, too.
Plans & Pricing: Search for plagiarism – $0.04 / page, in-depth plagiarism check – $0.08 / page, compare uploaded files – $0.005 / page.
Plagscan is a decidedly more comprehensive and sophisticated solution than other plagiarism-checking tools. It uses its own algorithm to look for plagiarized content online. Being a versatile solution, it is used by individual students and educational institutions in their work. Its range of features also includes a Plagiarism Prevention Pool and other features.
- Pros: Sophisticated software with a proprietary algorithm developed in Germany. Unlike many other tools, Plagscan offers educational content and support for their users. The product offers 5 types of reports: plagiarism level, list of matches, interactive browser report, document highlighting and collaborative report.
- Cons: You’ll have to sign up to use the tool.
Plans & Pricing: Different packages are available, for 20 pages (4.99 Euro), 80 pages (9.99 euro), 200 pages (19.99 euro), and 500 pages (39 euro).
PlagTracker – self-proclaimed most accurate plagiarism checking service with a unique checking algorithm. Generally, the tool is similar to many others and doesn’t have any distinctive features, except that it specifies its pool of comparison: 14 billion web pages and 5 million academic papers from university databases.
- Pros: An online tool that doesn’t require downloads. It provides easily usable reports and works with documents in 6 languages.
- Cons: In the free mode, checks are available for pasted text only (no file uploads). The analysis is not that fast – takes up to a minute.
Plans & Pricing: you can use a limited number of features for free, but there is also a premium account for 7.49$ per month. The premium membership includes grammar check, excluding references from the report, a PDF version of the report, file uploads, access to API and unlimited checking volume.
QueText is a tool with some choice plagiarism and citation-related features. And it looks good, too!
- Pros: The tool allows you to exclude your source from the analysis to avoid skewed results. It offers to export your report in a PDF format in just 1 click. Multiple file upload – up to 5 files can be checked simultaneously (in case you go on a checking frenzy).
- Cons: Not all features are available in the free edition. There is no functionality to submit links for analysis.
Plans & Pricing: The free edition only supports basic search and allows searching for up to 3 times and generating up to 3 reports. The pro edition ($9.99 per month) supports a more thorough deep search and have a much higher world limit per search (25,000 as compared to 5,000).
Viper allows you to check your paper against over 10 billion of sources, including papers, books, and journals.
- Pros: Easy-to-use and quite efficient. The tool provides a list of sources from where the content was taken. It has dedicated customer support and provides downloadable reports.
- Cons: No grammar or spelling-checking features and other text analysis features.
Plans & Pricing: You’ll need to purchase at least one credit to do the analysis. 1 credit is only £1.50 and the options go up to 50 credits for £25.00. 1 credit allows checking a single document of up to approximately 5,000 words.
Can we identify the best free plagiarism checker from the options above? Surely, not. Your choice will depend on your particular needs and wants. We’d go as far as recommending you to use all of these tools just to be on the safe side: when one of them doesn’t parse enough documents to find plagiarized content, another one will. Besides, you can’t be too careful when your grade and probably your entire enrollment depends on the reliability of your anti-plagiarism software.