Safe (and Simple) Ways to Get Free Internet Anywhere

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Looking for free internet? Well, look no further. Here are the best ways you can get free internet or cheap internet access at your home or while traveling.

free internet

Looking for free internet? One thing we can all agree on is that high-speed internet can cost a pretty penny.

According to AllConnect, most Americans are paying an average of $60/mo for an internet connection.

Did you know that 10 years ago that it was only ten bucks?

If you are keen on finding ways to save money, then you might be interested in learning ways to save money on your monthly internet bill or completely eliminating it.

Believe it or not, there are actually a few hacks we've found that can get you free internet.

And, they’re all 100% legal ways to do it.

01: Get Dial-Up with NetZero

NetZero was founded in the 1990s by providing free dial-up internet access. They provide a variety of low-cost monthly plans as well as free home internet access.

Free Internet

If you’ve still got a phone line, NetZero will help you get on to the internet for free. Although it still uses dial-up technology, it is a great way to get connected without having to spill out a whole lot of cash.

What’s the catch you say?

Well, NetZero limits your net usage to 10 hours per month, which might be good for some light browsing. If you are not satisfied with the limitations of the free plan, NetZero offers you paid plans, which again, cost much less when compared to other Internet Service Providers.

Even though dial-up is a pretty old technology, with lower data speeds when compared to today’s fiber-optic technology — it is still a great way to get connected to the internet for the price of nothing. If you are interested, you can get started with the plan here.

Another intriguing NetZero plan is their low-cost mobile data plan, which gives you 1GB of data each month. You'll enjoy super-fast coverage anytime with no contracts, commitments or overage fees.

02: Get Free Wi-Fi on the Go

free wifi near me

ISP-provided Wi-Fi hotspots can get you free WiFi by using public networks to get you connected instantly.

Although it is not a free way to get internet in your home, as a paying customer of some ISPs, you can access free Wi-Fi hotspots in hundreds of thousands of locations in the United States.

You can connect to Wi-Fi networks created by Comcast, Cox Communications, Optimum and XFINITY that offer free Wi-Fi to their subscribers.

This means that if you are at a place that has a Wi-Fi network by Cox, you can still benefit from your subscription during your trip.

The following ISP-providers have websites that list all of their Wi-Fi hotspots:

Pro-Tip: Your ISP might have a low-cost plan for you to access the internet, or a bundle deal, where you get free internet in exchange for phone and TV services. It’s not a bad idea to contact them and get details on such offers. Most of these super low-cost packages and bundle deals are not advertised, and would not be discovered if you do not specifically ask for them.

03: Get Free Internet Through Your Mobile Data Plan

free internet

If you have a smartphone, one of the most obvious but still useful options is to connect your 4G or 5G connection to your computer. It's easy to use your iPhone as a hotspot, just do the following:

Here's how to set up an iPhone Wi-Fi hotspot:
  1. Open the Settings app, then select Mobile Data.
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot, and set Personal Hotspot to On.
  3. Tap ‘Wi-Fi Password' and enter a suitable password.
  4. Connect to your iPhone Wi-Fi hotspot from your Laptop/Device.
The steps are similar for Android devices:
  1. Select the Network & Internet option.
  2. Select Hotspot & Tethering.
  3. Tap ‘Wi-Fi Hotspot'.
  4. Follow the prompts and connect to it from your Laptop/Device.

The good thing about this is that it works almost everywhere, as long as you have a smartphone around then you will never be without a free Wi-Fi connection.

04: Get Connected with Public Wi-Fi Hotspots

free internet

There are some places where you will almost certainly find a free Wi-Fi access point. If you've ever wondered how to get free Wi-Fi access at home, you might consider going right next to one of the locations below:

  • Libraries. The aim of libraries is to promote the education of the local community. Offering free internet access is just one of the ways in which libraries pursue their goal.
  • Public Spaces. In recent years, cities around the world have begun to cover public squares with free Wi-Fi access points to attract more visitors to local stores.
  • McDonald's and Starbucks. McDonald's, Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's and other popular fast food chains, ice cream parlors and restaurants have long discovered the power to generate revenue with free Wi-Fi hotspots.
You can also use websites that help you find free Wi-Fi hotspots:
WifiMap
Free Internet

WifiMap is an application which works on smartphones and acts as a database of all of the free Wi-Fi spots on the planet Earth. It operates on most continents, which is great for when you are traveling. The free version of this app is limited to a radius of around 2.5 kilometers, which is probably practical since the range of Wi-Fi is pretty limited. There is also another feature, which gets you user-provided passwords to some password-protected Wi-Fi hotspots in return for you watching some ads on the app. It’s not something the Wi-Fi hotspot owners would like, but it’s still there just in case you need it.

Wi-Fi Free Spot
How to Get Free Internet

Another option for you is to find locations that offer free Wi-Fi Internet access. You can do this by checking out Wi-Fi Free Spot. This site makes it easy to find free Wi-Fi locations in any state or country that you're in and shows you a very comprehensive list so you should find one nearby.

05: Free Broadband Wireless with FreedomPop

free router from freedompop
Image Source: pcmag.com

Update: As of September 2021, it looks like FreedomPop discontinued its free home internet option. But it used to offer 500 MB of free monthly data on a 4G network where you could access the internet from almost anywhere with a one-time fee for the hotspot/router. Fees were automatically charged to your account at $0.02 per MB of data after you hit 500 MB.

This is one of the most generous plans for people who are looking to access the internet legally for free.

FreedomPop sends you a wireless router that can be used as an access point. When you are looking to use the internet, you turn on the device, and you are able to access the internet, wherever you are. To get the device, FreedomPop will take a small deposit for it, which is returned to you, if you return the device back in a year.

If you decide to keep using their services, however, for longer than a year, they will retain the deposit money, and consider it payment for their wireless router. They give you 500 megabytes of free data every month, which is pretty generous if you are looking to do some light internet browsing.

If you need more data though, you can subscribe to one of their paid plans, which are still pretty cheap, for the amount of data they give, when compared to other internet service providers. You can learn in this FreedomPop review.

How to Find Free Wi-Fi Near You

To recap there are several free Wi-Fi locations, restaurants, and shops where you can get free Wi-Fi, open Wi-Fi networks and find free Wi-Fi via your provider. Here are some tips for you if you want to find free Wi-Fi near you.

Use a Hotspot Database

The demand for free public access points is high and there are sites like WifiMap and  Wi-Fi Free Spot that are specifically designed to help users find them. These sites contain a huge list of Wi-Fi hotspots around the world, and some even have passwords for hotspots that are inaccessible to the public without paying.

Look for Hidden Wi-Fi Networks

Wireless networks are identified by SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers), which essentially serve as network names. Without much work, it’s possible to hide a network’s SSID and thus create a hidden network that won’t be readily visible to various Wi-Fi-enabled devices. But just because a Wi-Fi network is hidden doesn’t mean it can’t be discovered. Using a Wi-Fi analyzer app such as NetSpot, it’s possible to find all nearby hidden networks.

In case you are tired of chasing ways to find free internet, you can also opt for low-cost affoardable plans under $50.

I've done my research on how to get cheap internet plans, which you can see below.

5 Cheapest High-Speed Internet Plans

If you are keen on finding ways to save money, then you might be interested in learning ways to save money on your monthly internet bill or completely eliminating it.

Here are the best deals and providers so you can get low-cost internet:

Frontier FiOS – $29.99/mo
frontier cheap wifi plans
  • Price: $29.99/mos for 24 mos. plus taxes
  • Speed (Bandwidth): Speeds up to 50Mbps for shopping and browsing
  • Availability: You can check if your area is available here
  • Official Site: https://go.frontier.com/
  • Promotion: $100 Visa Reward Card for ordering
Xfinity – $29.99/mo
xfinity cheap wifi plans
  • Price: $29.99/mos for 12 mos. plus taxes
  • Speed (Bandwidth): Speeds up to 60Mbps for shopping and browsing
  • Equipment: Rental fees for the xFi Gateway router start at $13/mo. You have the option of using your own router at no additional cost, but doing so means missing out on the xFi features such as xFi app compatibility and 24/7 tech support.
  • Installation: Standard installation can add a $59.99 fee to your initial cost. However, you can divide the cost up over your first three payments if you choose. For self-installation, you can install it for free.
  • Price increase: Introductory rates expire after 1 year on most Xfinity internet plans. Price increases vary by plan and location but may add $30 or more to your monthly bill.
  • Availability: You can check if your area is available here
  • Official Site: https://www.xfinity.com/
Fios by Verizon – $39.99/mo
  • Price: $39.99/mos for 12 mos. plus taxes
  • Speed (Bandwidth): Speeds up to 100Mbps for shopping and browsing
  • Availability: You can check if your area is available here
  • Official Site: https://www.verizon.com/
  • Promotion: $50 Visa Reward Card for ordering
CenturyLink – $45.00/mo
centurylink internet pricing page
  • Price: $45.00/mos (no contract required)
  • Speed (Bandwidth): Speeds up to 40Mbps for shopping and browsing
  • Availability: You can check if your area is available here
  • Official Site: https://www.centurylink.com/home/
  • Promotion: Price for Life Guaranteed (Stays at $45/mo for life)
AT&T – $50/mo
cheap wifi plans
  • Price: $50/mos for 12 mos. plus taxes
  • Speed (Bandwidth): Speeds up to 100Mbps for shopping and browsing
  • Equipment: AT&T includes a Wi-Fi Gateway router with all plans.
  • Installation: Standard installation can add a $99 fee to your initial cost. However, you can divide the cost up over your first three payments if you choose. For self-installation, a $35 activation fee may apply.
  • Price increase: Standard rates apply after the 1-year introductory rate expires. Price increases vary by plan.
  • Availability: You can check if your area is available here
  • Official Site: https://www.att.com/

Things to Do When Using Free Public Wi-Fi

Connecting to a public Wi-Fi network can put you at risk. While there are no hard or fast rule to apply when using these public hot spots — using a bit of common sense doesn't hurt:

Use VPN to Ensure Privacy

Free VPN services like Surfshark give your Windows PC, Mac, Android device or iPhone an extra layer of security while using public Wi-Fi.

Avoid Malware Distribution

When you are using your devices on public Wi-Fi it is recommended to have up to date anti-virus software installed.

Don’t Leave Wi-Fi or Bluetooth On Without Using It

When you're done using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth it is safer to turn these options off on your devices. Hackers can easily penetrate devices in certain situations — so leave them as a precautionary step when using public Wi-Fi.

Be Sure to Forget the Network

Once you are done using the public Wi-Fi spot, be sure to forget the network in your settings. If you forget to do this — then your device will connect to the network automatically when you return to this location. This can leave your device open to unwarranted attacks.

FAQs

How can I access the internet for free?

The most popular ways to get free internet access are by searching for free Internet on a hotspot database, using your phone's data as a hotspot, or checking to see if your cable company offers free hotspots.

What is the best free internet service?

New Altice customers can sign up for the Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband plan free of charge for 60 days. This offer is available for families with any K–12 or college students in their household and is available for any area that Altice serves, both in the Optimum region and the Suddenlink region. Altice has extended this offer to the end of the school year.

Can I get WiFi without an internet provider?

Not unless you use a public WiFi spot or use your mobile phone as a hotspot.

Is free Internet possible?

Yes, you can use the next few options in this article to get free Internet.

Can low income families get free internet?

There are several no-cost government Internet service programs for low-income families, students, and individuals living in or near poverty such as Lifeline and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Many businesses also provide heavily discounted or even free Internet connections to low- to moderate-income families and children.

Free Internet Summary

Getting free internet is possible. However, if you really need reliable internet — it is in your best interest to get a cheap Wi-Fi plan and look for discounts.

Experts recommend that you look into whether bundling of services makes sense for your situation. Blending internet, phone, and TV needs into a single provider contract may generate significant financial savings.

Do some research in order to discover whether your present broadband provider offers a newer or more state-of-the-art product. Doing so can be a great idea if you have used the same provider for a lengthy period, because it may well be that they have newer and better service options at better prices than in the past.

You just need to take the time to ask. However, it may be necessary to sign a new contract in order to get better service or any available price breaks. Prior to entering into a new agreement, make certain you are not situated in a “notspot,” or an area where service is likely to be spotty no matter the internet technology involved.

If you went through this then you should have found at least one option that would work for you if you really wanted to save on your internet bill. Next, you can look into how to get free money (not kidding!).

Feel free to take the weekend off!

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About the author

Brian Meiggs
Hi, I'm Brian Meiggs! A personal finance expert, entrepreneur, and the founder of My Millennial Guide. My drive is to help others unlock the wealth of freedom and pave the path to financial success. With my bachelor's degree in finance, I help millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the future. I write regularly about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. I have been quoted in major publications including Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, GoDaddy, BiggerPockets, Fox News, Debt.com, Quick Sprout, Money Geek, MSN Money and many more!