The 10 Best Free Plagiarism Checkers for Students

Monitor your words to stay out of hot water with teachers and professors

Whether you're writing a thesis or an essay, research paper, or report, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use words that are not yours. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that should never be taken lightly. However, you may have written something that you believe is original but was something you read and stored in your subconscious.

Rather than take a chance, use a plagiarism detector to check your work before submitting it to your professor or instructor. These tried-and-true plagiarism checkers are perfect for that. While the options outlined below offer some plagiarism-related features free of charge, you'll need to pay a fee to access advanced functionality in many cases.

Many of the plagiarism checkers featured in this article offer apps, add-ons, and other software. All provide a browser-based interface that can be used in any major operating system across all platforms.

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Easy to Use Interface: Quetext

The Quetext interface
What We Like
  • A simple web interface that underlines potential problem sentences in red text.

  • Provides a weighted average score for text that may be plagiarized, making it easy to determine if you have an issue.

  • Lists potential plagiarism matches and each source opens in a new tab when clicked.

What We Don't Like
  • Their trademarked DeepSearch tech is great for plagiarism prevention but is only available to Pro (paid) users. 

  • Must create an account to do more than one search at a time.

  • The Pro version trial is only for three days.

As is the case with most of the other options on this list, Quetext offers tools that help improve your writing, both in the current paper and in future works. It also uses proprietary plagiarism-detection software to determine whether the text you submit can be found anywhere within its vast array of sources. If you create a free account with Quetext, you can save your checked texts online.

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Focused on Educators First: Turnitin

The Turnitin home page.
What We Like
  • The Feedback Studio interface features an intuitive design.

  • The fully integrated student/teacher system allows for source comparisons and context-specific feedback.

  • In-class copying is caught on-the-fly during its verbiage analysis.

What We Don't Like
  • Not all the standalone plagiarism features are present in the collaborative dashboard.

  • Pricing structures are not available on the website and can only be obtained by contacting the company.

  • Requires either a school course or educational institute account to use.

Turnitin approaches the subject of plagiarism from the opposite direction as the others on this list. It tailors its tools towards educators as opposed to students. It involves a system called the Plagiarism Spectrum. This system utilizes survey data from almost a thousand instructors, identifying ten unique types of plagiarism and producing detailed similarity reports for individuals and entire classes.

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Advanced Comparison Capabilities: Copyscape

The Copyscape interface.
What We Like
  • API (premium version) lets you configure site or backend services to validate incoming content. 

  • Validating your content for duplication is an option, which is helpful if you produce a significant amount of copy.

  • The website has an extensive FAQ for help.

  • A website forum is available to discuss technical and legal issues.

What We Don't Like
  • The per-search cost structure can become unsustainable over time in certain situations.

  • It only allows for direct URL-to-URL or text-to-text comparison between two sources.

Not designed specifically with students in mind, Copyscape is a solid resource for checking papers and other assignments due to its highly-advanced plagiarism validator. Its advanced filters let you avoid certain sites if needed, and the Batch Search feature allows you to check against thousands of pages.

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Detailed Plagiarism Checks: Plagium

The Plagium interface
What We Like
  • Great for a simple, one-time check of content up to 1,000 characters, free of charge.

  • Deep Search employs a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis.

  • Supports multiple file formats, including PDF, DOC, DOCX, and TXT.

  • A Google Docs add-on is available for G Suite.

What We Don't Like
  • Beyond basic checks, per-page fees apply and vary based on the type of search performed.

  • Some searches can take quite a bit of time to complete.

Plagium's browser-based interface lets you quickly analyze text, URLs, or files for instances of accidental plagiarism by processing text through their proprietary snippet-centric search tools. The site allows a maximum of 1,000 characters for a free analysis. It costs a few pennies per page, depending on the plan you purchase.

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Catches Paraphrasing and Missing Citations: PlagScan

The PlagScan interface
What We Like
  • Quickly estimates how much content may be plagiarized.

  • Takes paraphrasing and missing citations into account.

  • Matching sources are broken down by category and organized to spot and correct issues.

  • Highlights problem areas in the text.

What We Don't Like
  • It's noticeably slower than some of its competitors.

  • Costs for high-volume submissions can be prohibitive.

  • The trial scan allows up to the first 2,000 words.

Although not technically free, PlagScan offers a 2,000-word trial so you can check one or more short documents without purchasing a word or page-driven plan. It works with most file formats as well as raw text, producing an interactive report interface supported by most major web browsers.

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Multiple Access Options: Copyleaks

The Copyleaks interface.
What We Like
  • Can check scanned physical copies.

  • Accessible via mobile app, Microsoft Office, and Google Docs add-ons.

  • Supports an array of languages and character-based dialects.

What We Don't Like
  • Can be costly for students on a tight budget.

  • Must provide an email for free scans.

  • The free scan only lists two results of possible sources.

  • Can only scan eight pages in the trial.

Copyleaks allows you to upload documents from almost any platform and have the contents instantly validated for plagiarism, with the ability to check ten pages for free each month. Scans provide a quick overview of the results, which contains the number of similar words and the sources the text is most likely from.

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Detects Modified Structure, Synonyms, and Filler Words: Scribbr

An example plagiarism report on Scribbr.
What We Like
  • Detects plagiarism even with modified structure, synonyms, or added filler words.

  • Source overview report lets you exclude repositories such as previously submitted works.

  • Can upload a Word or PDF file for checking.

What We Don't Like
  • Uses the same engine as its partner, Turnitin.

  • The on-page chat service is often unavailable during normal business hours.

Scribbr combs a library of books, journal articles, and websites to produce detailed reports noting whether your content contains any plagiarized verbiage. Its advanced controls allow you to filter out certain repositories, bibliographies, and quotes.

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Really Free Plagiarism Checking: PapersOwl

The PapersOwl Plariarism Report Order Form
What We Like
  • Don't have to register or enter into a free trial to use this service.

  • Contains citation generators in multiple formats, helpful if you encounter plagiarism issues.

  • Can upload a variety of file formats.

  • Can check a maximum of over 19,000 words.

What We Don't Like
  • Links are provided, but problem text is not highlighted on the source end.

  • The checker isn't very accurate.

  • The website has some unscrupulous writing services.

PaperOwl has a basic copy and paste browser-based interface that returns a similarity index and potential plagiarism sources. It may not have the advanced features found in some of the other services, but it works great in a pinch, and it really is free.

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Provides Multiple Review Responses: Plagramme

Plagramme report
What We Like
  • The Premium version does not impose word limits.

  • Provides multiple scores, including similarity, plagiarism risk level, paraphrase percentage, bad citation frequency, and more.

  • Supports multiple languages.

What We Don't Like
  • The free version is severely limited.

  • Must contact the company to get pricing details.

Plagramme employs a database containing trillions of articles to determine whether you have any unoriginal verbiage in your paper or other content. It also has a paraphrasing check to ensure you don't repeat too much of an original source.

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Check for Plagairism and Grammar Errors: EasyBib

The EasyBib interface
What We Like
  • Papers can be checked for grammar and plagiarism using a web form.

  • Documents can be uploaded from a local disk or from Google Drive through the same interface.

  • Assistance with citing specific text blocks is automatically provided when a sentence or paragraph is found verbatim (or close to it).

What We Don't Like
  • The free version of EasyBib does not check for plagiarism, only for style and sentence structure.

  • Ads are intrusive, sometimes covering key functionality when it's most needed.

  • Many customer service complaints found on independent sites.

  • Requires a $9.95 per month fee.

EasyBib's proofreading engine provides suggestions to improve your grammar and overall prose, allowing you to find and correct any glaring errors. The service also checks for accidental plagiarism, reporting how many sources your content may have been found in across a multitude of sources. You must pay a monthly fee to access the plagiarism features.

The paid version is ad-free. If you use this specifically for plagiarism purposes, you won't run into the very aggressive advertising issues the free services on this site suffer from.

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