Why you are looking for the best free plagiarism checker? If you are writing an academic paper, you are not allowed to plagiarize. You must identify third-party content (such as text and images) and ideas as such and correctly indicate their source. If you fail to do this – even by mistake – you are committing theft of intellectual property: plagiarism.
This is forbidden and can cost you your place at university or even your academic degree. To avoid this, there are best free plagiarism checkers that scan your work online for plagiarism. Learn how these tools work and how trustworthy they are in this article.
How the Best Free Plagiarism Checker Works
A plagiarism checker searches your text for similarities with other sources. Don’t worry: the result of the test often looks worse than it is. Because not all identified similarities in your work are plagiarism. The software also recognizes e.g. entries in the bibliography or common expressions as a similarity. In addition, it cannot check whether you have correctly cited the sources in the text.
Therefore, after the scan, you need to go through the found similarities in your document and check for yourself whether you quoted correctly. In the case of indirect quotations, you also need to check whether they are still too similar to the original text. In this case, you need to rephrase it or convert it into a straightforward quote.
Plagiarism Checker – A selection
Anyone looking for the best free plagiarism checker using a search engine will quickly find what they are looking for. Here we present some of the first search results and classify them.
Students can find tips on thesis topics on the Scribbr website. Among other things, Scribbr also offers its own plagiarism checker. However, this can only be used for a fee. The price depends on the length of your work, the cheapest version for 14.95 euros per document contains up to 7500 words.
Scribbr works with the provider Turnitin, which many universities also use for plagiarism checks. This means that scientific publications are compared with your text for the scan. Your documents will not be published and you can delete your data from the Scribbr servers after the scan.
The provider PlagScan uses internet sources, scientific journals, and sources that you upload yourself to check your text. According to PlagScan, third parties will not have access to your text. In order to use the scanner, you have to register there. With the free trial version, you can have up to 2000 words checked. The prices for the full version for single users start at 4.99 euros for up to 5000 words.
At PlagAware you can have up to 10 pages checked free of charge. To do this, you have to register and can then upload your document. Again, according to the provider, your data will not be passed on to third parties. The costs for the full version start at 12.90 euros for up to 100 pages.
Small SEO Tools
Small SEO Tools’ free plagiarism checker is limited to 1000 words. You can paste text directly from the clipboard or upload a document. The formats .tex, .txt, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf and .rtf are permitted. You can display the result of the scan as a sentence or in full and view the original sources found. The descriptions on the website are broken language does not seem trustworthy, and there is no data protection declaration. However, after the scan, a banner will appear that at least claims that the scanned content will be automatically deleted.
The provider prepostseo.com also declares that it will neither share the scanned content publicly nor store it in its database. This plagiarism checker is also free of charge. You can insert text directly or upload a file. The formats .doc, .txt, .docx and .pdf are permitted. There is no mention of a limit on the length of the text, but there is a paid pro version that is limited to 25,000 words – so the free version is probably also limited. The scanner searches the internet for similarities to your text.
The provider Plagiarism Detector free version is limited to 1000 words, there is also a paid pro version. According to the provider, the text that you have checked is “integrated into our internal network and then compared with various databases and the entire Internet”. What exactly this means for data protection remains unclear.
Search Engine Reports
Another provider from the Netherlands. Search Engine Reports mixes Dutch texts, English-language pop-up advertising banners, and bumpy text passages. The free scanner is limited to 1500 words, supposedly your uploaded content will be deleted after the scan. Your text will be compared with sources freely available on the Internet. The look of the scan result is very similar to the scanner from Small SEO Tools.
Limits of the software
However, plagiarism checkers are not infallible. The tools only compare your text with documents that are either freely accessible on the Internet and can be found using a search engine or are stored in the software’s database. You should therefore use a scanner that also has access to non-public databases and academic texts, especially for theses and other important texts. Free plagiarism checkers usually doesn’t offer this.
In addition, the scanners cannot detect whether you have stolen a foreign idea in your work or plagiarized it from a foreign-language source, for example. Even if you use a plagiarism checker, you ultimately have to critically check your text yourself.
Data protection and hidden costs
Always pay attention to data protection with a plagiarism checker. The countless free tools that you can find online are often not reliable. Find out what happens to the text you upload for review. If it ends up publicly on the Internet, the plagiarism checker at your university may sound the alarm later. The content of your work will then be 100% similar to the work you uploaded to the tool – and will be flagged as plagiarism.
In addition to paid plagiarism checkers, such as those from Scribbr, there are also many that are only apparently free. But most of the time you can only have a few pages or a few thousand words scanned for free. That is hardly enough for scientific texts, but you have to pay for more. For example, you can have up to 10 pages checked for free with PlagAware, and up to 2000 words with PlagScan.