9 Genius (and Legal) Ways To Get Free Internet

Let’s be honest. Life without internet is sometimes hard to imagine. Yet 14.5 million Americans do not have access to the internet. That can limit our potential and lower chances of getting a better education or job, not to mention the entertainment factor!

What can you do when you live on a budget and simply cannot afford an extra expense? Or when you are not willing to commit to a one-year contract?

I remember when I first moved into my new apartment and discovered that there was no internet service. It was during the winter holidays, so I could not reach any company that would solve my issue and install wires in my home.

After a moment of panic, I decided to find a way to get free internet and was surprised how many options are there…and they are all legal! Keep reading to learn more about how to get free internet.

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person typing on a laptop using free internet at home with cash lying on top of notebooks

Can you Get Internet for Free Legally?

The answer is surprisingly yes! Getting free access to the internet does not have to be shady.

You do not have to try stealing or hacking someone’s private network to enjoy good speed Internet gratis. There are numerous ways to get a free internet connection without breaking the law.

How To Get Free Internet at Home and in Public?

As wi-fi is becoming more and more popular, you can easily find free internet in public spaces, almost anywhere, including inside buildings and on the street. This is very useful for people who do not have internet in their houses and also for travelers who have no or limited mobile data.

Access to the internet at home is usually taken for granted, and there are a lot of offers for web access, which can start from around $40, on a short, promotional trial. Sometimes, even that amount may be too much, though.

Tying yourself to a long-term contract with a penalty in case you cancel the contract early is not what you want. Fortunately, there are a few ways to get a free internet connection in your home or in public. Here are a few of those options:

9 Ways To Get Free Internet

1. NetZero

Do you remember the ancient history of dial-up, when you connected to the internet through your phone line? If you think the age of the dial-up is long gone, NetZero will surprise you. It offers free internet that you can connect to if you have a landline phone.

You can keep your internet free of charge as long as you do not want to use more than 10 hours of internet a month. If this is not enough for you, NetZero offers a paid option.

As they all work through dial-up, the prices are significantly lower than those from standard internet service providers. The connections may be a bit slow, as the dial-up technology is not the newest, but if you’re not planning to stream movies and aren’t bothered waiting a moment for a page to load, then it’s a perfect choice for a budget solution.

2. FreedomPop 

FreedomPop gives you the ability to use the internet both on your smartphone and computer.

Here’s how FreedomPop works:

  1. Set up your account and pay a deposit.
  2. FreedomPop sends you everything you need to set up internet at your house.
  3. That’s it! You now have internet

For your first month, you can enjoy 2 GB of internet data for free. The next month, you receive 500 MB data with a 4G speed.

It’s the perfect solution if you aren’t spending a lot of time surfing or downloading videos. That amount of data is sufficient to check your email daily or have a short video call with your family or friends once a week.

The best thing about FreedomPop is that it gives you, as its name suggests, a lot of freedom. The device works like a personal hotspot.

This means you can take it with you, wherever you go. You do not have to worry about changing your address and dragging your internet with you or paying fees for breaking your contract.

In case this amount of data is not sufficient for you, FreedomPop offers low-cost prepackages that you can buy, without committing to a long-term contract.

3. WifiMap

This app is one of the best free internet solutions when you are traveling. Having access to wi-fi when you can’t use your mobile data is essential.

The possibility to search for opening hours, the closest restaurant, or even uploading your status update on social media makes your journey more comfortable.

WifiMap is a database where you can find free wi-fi hotspots all over the world. It constantly expands and there are already over three million free hotspots added.

The phenomenon of this app is based on a crowdsourcing action, where people upload wi-fi spots for others to use. The free version provides you with a search around a two and a half-mile radius.

It is sufficient if you are looking for free wi-fi in the city. Once you find a free hot spot on the app, you can simply connect to it and enjoy free wi-fi.

4. Wifi Free Spot

This site is similar to the WifiMap app. It provides you with a map of Wi-Fi spots around you. It lists hot spots by state, but you can also search them through other categories such as:

  • Airports, bus stations, and railways;
  • Chain restaurant companies, such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and so on;
  • Temporary accommodation, for example, hotels, motels, resorts;
  • Camping spots and campervan parking;
  • Vacation rental properties.

5. InstaBridge

The very first concept of this free app was to give you the possibility to share your home wi-fi with family and friends through Facebook.

Nowadays, right next to the primary option, it gives you access to the wi-fi spots that are closest to you. InstaBridge also informs you how far away the spots are located and how they perform.

The biggest advantage of this app is that it connects you only to the spots that are actually working and reject ones with a weak connection. You do not need to waste your time to try to connect with invalid ones.

6. All Free ISP

Imagine Google, but for free internet service providers. That is exactly what describes All Free ISP.

On this website, you have to fill in basic information about your location: your state or province, and your local area code. After you click the search button, the list of free and cheap internet service providers appears.

You do not have to worry about choosing a bad provider. Right next to the name you can also see ratings by the other users. This way you know if the provider is trustworthy and which one is the best for you.

7. Use Coffee Shop and Library Free Wi-Fi

Good quality coffee and fast internet are always a perfect match. This is why libraries and coffee shops are a great place to go and enjoy free internet.

For most libraries, you can enter for free, and some can have a small annual or monthly fee. Usually, in the “price” of a library card, you get the possibility to borrow books, multimedia and of course use the internet. Some of them even offer computers in case you do not own a laptop.

If you are looking for a quiet environment where you can fully focus, the library would be a better choice than a coffee shop. It is also a perfect choice when you are living on a very tight budget and you want to spend almost nothing to use the high-speed internet.

My favorite places to work are cafes. Nowadays, it is really hard to find a place that would not provide wi-fi. Starting with high-quality hipster coffee shops, through local cafes, to McCafé at your local McDonald’s, you can find free Wi-Fi everywhere.

Something that may be considered a minus is that while using the internet in a cafe, you have to order something. But that’s fine with me because there’s no place better to surf the internet than an atmosphere filled with the smell of freshly brewed coffee. You do not have to spend a fortune in an expensive coffee shop in the city center. Instead, choose local cafes in less popular districts.

What you have to remember while using this type of connection is that there are other people who have access to it. If they are secured by a password, they are relatively safer than open networks such as public hot spots, but you still have to maintain basic security measures.

There are people who try to steal information from others when connected to a free wi-fi spot. So, it is always in your best interest to stay away from doing anything to do with your bank, credit cards, important passwords, or anything regarding your health, like logging into your health insurance provider site.

8. Use Your Phone as a Hotspot

If you are already paying for a mobile phone internet package and do not want to add an additional home internet contract, or you simply temporarily lost connection with the router and have work to do, using your phone as a hotspot is a great solution.

Simply turn on internet sharing on your smartphone. This way your cell phone becomes a router. Remember to be careful with data usage, as once you surpass your mobile data limit it won’t be free anymore.

On most smartphones, you can turn on the hotspot by going to the mobile settings and then searching there for the device you want to connect.

9. Ask Your Neighbors

This option may make you feel a bit socially awkward, but it is a great idea not only to save money but also to meet your neighbors. Who knows, maybe you are just about to meet new friends.

Paying for internet, especially when you live alone, can significantly impact your budget. That is why asking to co-share internet expenses is a great idea.

You can simply ask your neighbors if you can join their wi-fi in exchange for paying part of the cost. If you cannot afford to pay money or they refuse to accept payment, offer to help them with some chores, for example, taking their dog for a walk.

If going this route, it’s best to make sure to check the internet contract to make sure sharing isn’t against company policy. You wouldn’t want your neighbors to get a fine or have their internet provider drop them for breach of contract.

How can free internet improve your life?

Access to the internet gives you a lot of possibilities. From easier access to knowledge, the possibility to work remotely, and social interaction.

When you have a low income and are living on a budget, investing a lot of money into a pricey service plan can significantly influence your financial plan and quality of life.

Cutting paid internet expenses from your household can help you to save around $750 a year or more. Imagine what you could invest this money in!

Free internet gives you more freedom than signing a long-term contract with the network provider. While enjoying free internet, remember to stay safe as open connections are less secure than one protected by a password and private ones.

Final Thoughts

Even though access to the internet seems like an obvious thing, for many it stays in the area of luxury. Lack of internet access can put you behind in finding work, expanding your education, or accessing knowledge and entertainment.

Access to the internet is sometimes essential and it is important for everyone to be able to afford it. There are some plans to provide free internet to everyone in order to equalize internet access but well… so far they are just plans.

While waiting for the universal solution, you can go through the methods discussed above to get free internet at home and in public. Start trying them out to find the one that suits your needs best.

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Steffa Mantilla

Budgeting & Debt Payoff Expert

Steffa is the founder behind Money Tamer. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. Steffa’s background in operant conditioning and behavioral husbandry has given her an understanding of motivation and motivators. She uses this training to help people understand the reasons “why” behind their money behaviors and how to successfully change them. You can learn more about her here.

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