Most people today need to have internet access which they can’t do without. However, internet is pretty expensive and the prices aren’t likely to get reduced anytime soon. The following are some methods for finding free internet access and help you save money as well.
In today’s world, having internet access is very necessary. People rely on the internet to pay bills, connect with friends, for entertainment purposes and shop. At least 89% of U.S. citizens use the internet on a regular basis.
However, getting internet is quite costly and the prices aren’t likely to be reduced in the near future. On average, people buy internet at $50 every month, that’s if you want to get a high-speed internet connection.
This means that a lot of people who need the internet can’t even afford the cost. So, how can someone get free internet connection?
Go to Places with Free Wi-Fi
Let’s begin the discussion with the most obvious option: the easiest way of getting access to free internet is by going to places that offer free Wi-Fi.
Most businesses nowadays provide free Wi-Fi as a way of drawing in customers, and this is the best way for you to get online without having to pay for it. Even people living in small towns can still find places that offer free Wi-Fi. You’ll be amazed at how many public places and businesses have free Wi-Fi spots.
Places with Restricted Hours
Most places that offer free Wi-Fi normally have restricted hours. These are great places to visit when they are still open, and they are often not hard to locate compare to those that offer free Wi-Fi and are open 24/7.
You’ll always find free internet access at a coffee shop. Although you’d have to buy a cup of coffee, you can always hang out there for several hours without any interruption. Coffee shops are usually full of people browsing the internet and working using the free Wi-Fi connection, so you shouldn’t worry about being out of place.
Co-working spaces are becoming more popular and are a great way for you to work remotely away from home. While people are opting for a more remote working area instead of a traditional office, they’re looking for places where they’ll be able to access the internet and focus on work with other people who are working remotely.
Of course, you’ll need a reliable internet connection to be able to work remotely. Fortunately, most co-working locations provide people with free internet connection. They also offer other amenities that are found in a regular office setting.
However, you’ll be required to pay for the spot you’re given in a co-working space. You’ll also discover that it’s one of the best ways of saving money on a privet internet connection and receive (almost) free internet connection.
Fast Food Restaurants
Fast food restaurants such as Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s are similar to coffee shops because they also provide their customers with free Wi-Fi. While you may need to buy a soda or small coffee for the free Wi-Fi connection, you’ll be able to stay there for as long as you’d like to without any disruptions.
The best thing about most of these places is they have very high-speed Wi-Fi connections which will make it easier for you to browse the internet and complete your work.
Libraries aren’t just places where you can get free movies and books, they also provide their customers with free internet access. This is a more frugal choice compared to coffee shops and fast-food restaurants because you won’t need to purchase anything. However, you might need a library card before you can access the internet, but this isn’t a major obstacle.
The best part about getting free Wi-Fi from the library is that they have internet-ready terminals so if you don’t have a computer, you can use one of theirs to browse the internet. However, they often have time limits, so remember to be efficient when using one so that you’re able to finish everything on time.
If you own of gym membership, make sure you find out whether they provide their members with free internet access. If they do, be sure to take advantage of both the pre- and post-workout amenities. For example, you can use the free internet to watch Netflix or listen to Spotify while you’re working out.
Most Wi-Fi connections found in gyms are password protected, so ensure you get the password from a staff member when you want to use the internet.
Related: How to Get Free Netflix
If you’re travelling by bus or train either for work or leisure, most major transportation companies like Boltbus and Amtrak provide free internet connection. This will enable you to watch a movie you’ve always wanted to see or catch up with work.
Other Public Spaces that Offer Free Internet Access
Retail stores, hospitals, museums and parks are some of the places you can get free Wi-Fi. If you want to use the internet from one of these places, remember to confirm their working hours. If you’re in the hospital, find out if they allow non-patrons to use the free Wi-Fi connection.
It’s normally meant for customers, so instead of using your data plan, make sure you take advantage of the free internet access.
Places With Free Wi-Fi for 24 Hours
Although co-working spaces and coffee shops are perfect places, most of them don’t stay open for 24 hours. Whether you need an internet connection at irregular hours, or you need to get online at all times, there are several places that provide free internet access throughout the day and night.
Airports aren’t really considered to be hang out places. But if you’d like to get free Wi-Fi, consider going to one. Airports generally provide free Wi-Fi connection so that passengers can keep themselves busy while they’re waiting for flights.
Of course, you won’t need a plane ticket to be able to use free internet at the airport. You only need a plane ticket to pass through security, but there are usually lounges outside security barriers where you’ll get free internet access without difficulty.
The good thing about hanging out in Airports is that they are always (most times) open for 24 hours.
Since the internet is becoming an important part of our lives, most cities are now providing their residents with free Wi-Fi. Cities are already providing their citizens with electricity and water. Now, most cities are working to provide residents with internet like an essential utility that needs to be provided for everybody.
Currently, hundreds of cities around the world have managed to provide city-wide-Wi-Fi, with the United States having more than 80 cities. Most (although not all) of the connections are completely free. If you live on a city that provides a free internet connection, you’ll be able to browse online whenever you want at no cost.
Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspots
Xfinity, which was previously known as Comcast, provides free internet access. You’ll have access to their interactive map so that you can find one in your area and be able to use the internet wherever you need it.
They provide both secured and unsecured connections, and according to the company’s website, they have more than 18 million hotspots all over the U.S.
How to Get Free Internet at Home (Legally)
Getting free internet connection from public places is great, what’s even better is having Wi-Fi at home. Having free internet access at home enables you to go online, work and check emails without breaking your bank. You also won’t need to log into a neighbor’s wi-Fi connection.
Best Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
There are several companies out there that provide free and reliable Wi-Fi hotspots. FreedomPop and NetZero are the companies that stand out because of their perfect reputation and offering legit in-home internet connections for free.
While FreedomPop is still new in the market, they still manage to provide people with cheap plans that enable them to access free internet.
FreedomPop charge their users a small fee before giving a miniature Wi-Fi hotspot that they can use to browse the internet. The free plan offered by FreedomPop contains 200 MB of data on a monthly basis for free.
If you want to get more data, the internet plans provided by FreedomPop have reasonable prices. However, they have a 4 GB data plan (which is the most expensive plan) that costs less than $35 per month – this deal is better compared to what you’d get from other internet providers.
NetZero is likely amongst the oldest service providers that offer free internet, that have been in the internet business for more than 20 years now. The company still provides reliable internet especially for people who are looking for a Wi-Fi connection at home at an affordable price.
The free package provided by NetZero comprises of 10 hours free dial-up internet access. They also have a mobile broadband plan that’s free, where they provide users with 200 MB mobile data for free per month.
If 200 MB and 10 hours of internet access isn’t enough, you can choose a plaid plan from NetZero. You’ll pay at least $25 per month, but they have a DSL broadband plan which costs half the amount most households spend for internet access.
Related: 20 Ways to Find Free Stuff Online
How to Be Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi
While using free public internet is convenient, is it really harmless? Not always. Make sure you know about the risks associated with Wi-Fi security. Fortunately, there are a couple of steps you can follow to ensure that bot your information and device are protected.
Avoid Malware Distribution
Your device can easily get infected by viruses or malware from any Wi-Fi connection. In addition, you might be at higher risk if you’re browsing online using free public internet connections. On of the simplest methods of preventing malware is to ensure that your system is current. If your system is old, your computer is more inclined to get malware attacks.
You can protect your system by using anti-malware and anti-virus software. The best anti-virus software is available at around $30 to $50, but you should go for it especially if you do a lot of online shopping or use public Wi-Fi to pay your bills. Even if you opt to use mobile data instead of free Wi-Fi and would still like to protect your device, there are free anti-virus programs.
Don’t Leave Your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Idle
Hacker and other criminals can easily get access to your device using you Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections.
Make sure your Wi-Fi on your device is turned off immediately after you finish using a public connection. The same applies to Bluetooth. If you’re not using an active Bluetooth connection on your device, ensure that it’s turned off.
Disable File Sharing on Your Laptop
If you’re using public internet access, make sure that the file sharing setting is always off on your laptop. While file sharing is the easiest way to transfer files from one device to another, don’t forget to switch it off when you’re not using it, especially if you like using public Wi-Fi. This will help all kinds of issues when you’re in a public setting.
Most people who use computers aren’t even aware about this option, so always check the settings on your computer and make sure the file sharing setting is turned off.
Ensure Privacy by Using a VPN
A Virtual Private Network or VPN enables you to surf the internet incognito without leaving any trace. It transforms all public connections into a public network.
If you’re looking for a free VPN service, there are numerous choices out there, and you can access one without difficulty. If you’re going to use a free public internet connection, one of the best ways to protect your computer is by using a VPN.
Avoid Connecting to Networks that Don’t Have Password Protection
While we’re all like using free public internet access, don’t be tempted to use one that doesn’t have password protection.
Logging into such a network can be very harmful to you sooner or later. Hackers can access open networks very easily, meaning your device can be infected with viruses and malware or your data and files can also get stolen.
Make sure you use free internet connections that are password protected.
Remember to Forget the Network
Always remember to “forget” the network each time you finish using a public internet connection.
Most devices already have an option to click to connect automatically or remember the network. If you decide to use this setting, your device will automatically connect to the network whenever it’s in range, whether you’re online or not.
When you forget the network, you’ll be protected from unnecessary attacks. Having to manually connect to a network every time is safer, even if you don’t like typing the password in.
Understand the Advantages and Limitations of Using Free Internet Connection
While free Wi-Fi is beneficial to most people, especially those aren’t able to pay the hefty amounts that are associated with regular at-home internet providers. Public internet is very convenient, and it’s a great way of saving mobile data. You can access public internet hotspots from your local coffee shop without any interruption.
There are also great free in-home internet plans available for everybody. If don’t use much internet, you can opt for a free plan so that you don’t spend a lot of money on internet bills and still be able to browse online from time to time.
However, free internet isn’t always great. You can expose yourself to a lot of danger from hackers and other criminals. You won’t be able to use a free internet connection as your main source, especially if you’re always online. Also, most places offer limited hours and will probably not be accessible when you need to browse the internet.
Free internet access can be very helpful, but it’s not suitable for everybody. Consider the pros and cons cautiously before you discontinue your current internet plan and start relying on free internet connections.