(Updated 3/22/20) Would you believe me if I told you that some companies will happily give you free Internet access? Yes, it’s absolutely true. I’m talking about up to 500MB of free data every month. After all, there’s little worse than paying an arm and a leg for Internet only to use a small portion of your allotted data. If you’re a light user or looking for free Internet when on-the-go, this article’s for you.
Here are 6 simple ways to score a free Internet connection.
FreedomPop is by far my favorite way to score free Internet.
The service works by providing you with 500MB of free data every month via a free hotspot device (pictured above). They’ll even ship you the hotspot device for free.
All that’s required of you is a 1-time activation fee of $19.99.
The R850 hotspot device will work seamlessly with any WiFi enabled device, both at home and when you’re traveling.
They also offer a free 1-month trial where you’ll get 2GB of premium data at no-charge to test out the service.
FreedomPop is definitely worth a look, especially for light Internet users. If you know that 500MB is not enough, they have other affordable plans that range from 2GB ($19.99/mo) to 10GB ($74.99/mo).
Juno will gladly give you 10 hours of free dial-up Internet per month with NO contract required.
If you live on a fixed income, or just need basic Internet a couple hours a week, Juno is a great solution.
They’ll even let you create multiple email addresses along with mobile and web access for NO charge.
This free service works by Juno sending you a CD with software that you must install on your computer after you sign-up. It’s kinda like how AOL use to work if you remember those days.
The really cool thing with Juno is after you go over your 10 free hours, rather than just charging you, Juno will contact you to discuss better plan options.
I obviously love the name NetZero and their service is decent too. NetZero will give you 200MB of Internet data for free every month.
The one catch is that you’ll need to buy a “NetZero Mobile Broadband device” to qualify.
They currently sell 2 devices: the NetZero USB stick for $69.95, and the NetZero Hotspot device for $129.95.
It’s also worth noting that the free NetZero plan is only good for 12 months and is NOT renewable.
4. Businesses That Offers Free Internet
When you’re in a pinch, simply hit-up one of these national chains as they typically offer free WiFi.
(May vary by location)
- Apple Store
- Barnes and Noble
- Best Buy
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Jiffy Lube
- Krispy Kreme
- Panera Bread
- Sam’s Club
- Taco Bell
- Tim Horton’s
- Whole Foods
I’ll add new businesses to the above list as I discover them.
5. Search for Local Hot Spots
Many towns across the country are in the process of developing something termed Muni Wifi.
These programs allow county residents to sign-up for free (or highly reduced) Internet which is paid for using tax payer dollars.
Here’s a list of current programs in the United States so you can see if one is available in your neck of the woods.
Even if it isn’t, be sure to take advantage of your county public library as most offer free wireless Internet, often with no password or username required.
The same can be said for county offices and municipal buildings. They’re a great go-to when you’re in a pinch and need to get online ASAP.
6. Check If Your ISP Offers Hotspots
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) just might offer free hotspots for you to take advantage of when you’re on-the-go.
While this is most often the case around large metropolitan areas, everyone would be smart to investigate.
Here are the links for these major providers. You’ll just need to enter your zip code to check.
Any providers I might be missing?
Bonus: Things To Be Aware Of…
– Never Enter Personal Information: Try to avoid entering sensitive information and passwords when using a public Internet connection. In other words, it’s a great time to check out FOX News or CNN but a bad time to do your online banking.
– Don’t Connect Automatically: When accessing a public hotspot, be sure to unclick the “connect automatically” box on your phone or laptop. By doing so, your device won’t connect automatically when you visit again, thus keeping your personal info safe from hackers.
– Turn Off File Sharing and Air-Drop Options: This one seems kinda obvious, but it’s definitely an important step to protect your personal information and pictures.
– Use Https Sites When Available: While not always an option, try and stick to websites that start with Https rather than Http as it means the site is safe and secure.
Ask the Reader: How do you find free Internet access when you really need it?
By Kyle James
Photo credit to David Goehring.