How to Get Free Internet at Home Without Paying Anything

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Why Do I Want Free Internet?

While our ancestors couldn’t even dream of this strange system of interconnected computer networks called ‘the internet’, our generations rely on it for almost everything. We need it to learn things, to work, to connect with our loved ones, to communicate, to cook, to shop, to find the right address, to track our health, to listen to music, watch movies, store information, for online banking, translations, organization, etc. Nowadays, we fully depend on having a solid internet connection at all times for both work and leisure. Luckily, in this day and age, almost every home, office, restaurant, library, shopping mall, and sometimes even street is equipped with a Wi-Fi connection. And as we all have our smartphones, tablets, or even laptops in our bags and pockets, we can always get connected.

However, even though we have come a long way in regards to the price, a fast and reliable internet connection is still a paid and sometimes a rather pricey privilege. Fortunately, many individuals and companies are trying to change that and to make the internet more affordable or preferably completely free of charge. Having free internet would benefit you in countless ways, but most importantly, it would save you a lot of money and improve your financial situation. In this article, you will find out if it is possible to get free internet legally, how to do so, the benefits and limitations of having free internet access, and much more. So, let’s get started.

Can I Get Free Internet Legally?

When you hear ‘free internet’, your mind may still automatically think of illegal methods. And some of you may even believe that using illegal methods is the only way to get free internet access. But that’s not true. Rest assured, you will not find anything in this article that could get you in trouble. To answer the question – yes, you can absolutely get free internet legally. In fact, there are quite many wonderful methods to get free internet legally.

In case you also need information High-Speed Internet Solutions for Rural Areas

How to Get Free Internet at Home Without Paying Anything

As we have mentioned before, there are plenty of legitimate ways to get free internet both in public and more importantly from the comfort of your own home. In this chapter, we will further elaborate on these methods and determine the pros and cons of each one.

1. FreedomPop (Free Broadband Wireless Wi-Fi)

FreedomPop is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). It is known for providing free (or low-cost) internet connection through AT&T’s network. The company provides data service, voice service, and the option to use your phone or hotspot, which would depend on compatibility. They offer a variety of Wi-Fi plans. Their basic free plan gives you 200 MB of free data a month, which may not be enough for music and video streaming, but it allows you to get the basic things done. FreedomPop also offers other low-cost plans with more data as well as special offers that may increase your monthly data.

PROS

  • They offer a completely free option
  • High-speed data
  • The use of a phone or wireless hotspot gives freedom and utility
  • The possibility to use your own device

CONS

  • If you don’t have a device, it’s rather expensive to buy one
  • Only works with AT&T wireless in your area
  • Congestion

2. NetZero (Free Broadband Hotspot and Dial-Up)

NetZero is a low-cost internet service provider. They offer both broadband and dial-up internet access and a variety of monthly plans. Their basic free wireless data plan provides 200 MB of data per month. However, you can’t use your own hotspot – you must purchase a NetZero mobile broadband device in order to use this service. If you have a working home phone line and a computer with a modem, you can get a free dial-up internet access plan with 10 hours of free access and pair it with a broadband plan.

PROS

  • They offer a completely free option
  • Broadband and dial-up options
  • A good amount of bandwidth

CONS

  • Expensive buy-in
  • Slow dial-up
  • Limited 10-hour dial-up

3. Juno (Free Dial-Up and Email)

Juno is a free dial-up email service that offers free email and internet access. To use this option, you will need a computer with a modem and a working home phone line. The free internet connection is limited to 10 hours a month, therefore it may be best to pair it with another service.

PROS

  • They offer a completely free option

CONS

  • No broadband option
  • Limited 10-hour dial-up

4. Mesh Networks (Community Construction Option)

If you are looking for a more lasting and sustainable free internet solution, the construction of mesh networks may be just for you. The setup of a community mesh network is quite challenging, however, with a bit of resourcefulness, the help of many resources, and the rich mesh network offer it shouldn’t be a problem. You can create a mesh network by connecting several wireless routers in a given area. This allows information to travel through other routers.

PROS

  • Sustainable long-term free Wi-Fi access

CONS

  • Requires some expertise
  • Low speed
  • The hoping from one router or node to another poses a potential security risk

5. Altice Suddenlink and Altice Optimum (Temporary Free Broadband Plan)

New Altice customers can sign up for the Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband plan. This plan is free but only for 60 days. This option is only available to households with any K-12 or college student residing in the Optimum or Suddenlink region.

PROS

  • They offer a completely free option

CONS

  • Temporary
  • Limited to households with students
  • Limited to Optimum and Suddenlink area

6. HBC (Free Broadband Internet For Low-Income Families)

HBC offers programs and free broadband internet access for low-income families via its Temporary Free Internet Assistance Program (COVID-19). This offer will only give you two months of free Wi-Fi and is available for new and existing residential internet customers in the HBC service area who participate in either the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the Telephone Assistance Program (TAP). Note that taxes, fees, and surcharges apply, therefore, make sure to contact HBC for details.

PROS

  • They offer a completely free option

CONS

  • Temporary
  • Limited to residential internet customers in the HBC service area who participate in either the NSLP or the TAP program.

7. EveryoneOn (Free Internet for Low-Income Families)

This is another option for low-income families. If you qualify for this non-government program, you receive numerous resources that may help you find either low-cost or completely free home internet access. The program may also help you get an affordable computer.

PROS

  • Helps you find low-cost or free internet
  • Helps you get an affordable computer
  • Pair well with grant programs

CONS

  • Not available to everyone – you must qualify

8. PCs for People (Free Internet and Computers for COVID-19 Affected People)

Even though their main focus is to provide refurbished computers to low-income individuals and non-profit organizations, they also provide low-cost or even free internet access as a part of the deal. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are accepting Pell Grant documentation for college students affected by school closures.

PROS

  • Helps provide both free internet and refurbished computers

CONS

  • Available for eligible low-income individuals and non-profit organizations

9. Human-I-T (Free Internet Resources)

Their goal is to reduce e-waste by repairing reusable technology and providing repurposed devices to people in need. They provide both low-cost electronics and free resources that may help you find low-cost internet.

PROS

  • Helps provide repurposed electronic devices and free resources

CONS

  • Available for eligible low-income individuals
  • Only provides resources and not actual free Wi-Fi

10. All Free ISP (Free Internet Resources)

All Free ISP is designed to provide users with information about how to get free home Wi-Fi. While they are unable to provide free internet access themselves, they will communicate with several potential suppliers and give you all the resources and information. Simply enter your ZIP code to find out your options. As the website might provide you with several type of free internet and Wi-Fi providers, make sure to read customer feedback and reviews to choose the best option.

PROS

  • Helps provide free resources

CONS

  • Only provides resources and not actual free Wi-Fi

11. Cheap Internet (Free Internet Resources)

This website will keep you notified about low-cost and free internet deals available in your area. It allows you to find free and affordable Wi-Fi options in your state by choosing the ‘Plans By State’ option located at the top of their webpage. With the help of Cheap Internet, you will surely be able to find cheap (or sometimes even free) internet options for under $50 a month.

PROS

  • Helps provide free resources

CONS

  • Only provides resources and not actual free Wi-Fi

12. Wi-Fi Free Spot (Internet Application for Free Public Wi-Fi Networks)

If you are looking for free internet at home, this option depends fully on where you live. If you live close to any free Wi-Fi spot, you can easily use their connection. On the other hand, if there is no such place near your home, this option won’t work for you. To be sure whether or not you can find a free Wi-Fi spot nearby, you can check out Wi-Fi Free Spot – a directory of businesses, organizations, and other places that offer free wireless internet access.

PROS

  • Offers completely free Wi-Fi if available

CONS

  • Limited utility
  • Congestion

13. Wi-Fi Map (Internet Application for Free Public Wi-Fi Networks)

Similar to Wi-Fi Free Spot, Wi-Fi Map is another app designed to help the user find free Wi-Fi hotspots. Their crowdsourcing approach enables people to upload their locations of Wi-Fi spots, which allows others to have free Internet access on the go.

PROS

  • You may get free Wi-Fi
  • Convenient and user-friendly

CONS

  • May not be available near your home

14. InstaBridge (Internet Application)

This free internet app is designed for smartphones to provide users with Wi-Fi passcodes and spots on the go. It is a Wi-Fi sharing app that helps you identify the nearest free Wi-Fi access locations, the performance, and the distance. The app instantly connects users with high-performance connections and blocks the ones with low performance. It allows you to share your Wi-Fi with family and friends.

PROS

  • You may get free Wi-Fi
  • Convenient and user-friendly

CONS

  • May not be available near your home

15. Check with Local Internet Service Providers for Hidden Prices and Deals

Sometimes the easiest place to look for low-cost internet is your local internet service provider. Most of their well-known plans may be quite expensive, but they usually also offer some lesser-known and less advertised plans, which tend to be rather affordable. However, in most cases, these plans offer low speed and data cap. Local internet service providers also often offer special deals and discounts, but make sure to cancel any free trials on time. If you already have a phone and cable service, you may be able to add an inexpensive or even completely free internet package. Your provider may be willing to meet your requirements, especially if you tell them you are considering changing your phone and cable provider.

PROS

  • Digging a bit deeper may help you discover good deals at your local provider
  • You can combine their deal with an assistance program

CONS

  • Not every service provider offers low-cost or free deals
  • These kinds of deals are seldomly completely free

16. Ask Your Neighbors

If you have generous neighbors and get along well with them and if you get good reception of their Wi-Fi connection in your home, you may ask them if they are willing to share. If they have a router capable of activating a guest network and if the bandwidth ever becomes a problem, they can simply turn it off. Perhaps offer to pay them for their generosity or to provide an exchange service, especially if you are planning to use a lot of bandwidth. Keep in mind that they may refuse due to security concerns or other reasons.

PROS

  • Depending on their generosity, you may get free internet access
  • Depending on their speed and location, you may get good speed

CONS

  • Lack of security
  • You depend on your neighbors not to move their router or turn off the guest network
  • Asking them for this favor may feel uncomfortable

17. Free Municipal Wi-Fi

If you live in a city that offers free municipal Wi-Fi designed to serve an entire municipality, using their free network in the comfort of your own home may be a good option for you. Check to see if your city offers free city-wide Wi-Fi and whether or not you live within the coverage area.

PROS

  • If available, it can be completely free of charge

CONS

  • Most cities don’t offer it
  • Potential congestion

18. Free business and organization Wi-Fi

Lots of businesses, organizations, and institutions that serve the public offer free Wi-Fi for their customers. If you live near any of those establishments you may be even able to use their Wi-Fi at home. Such businesses and establishments include cafés, restaurants, chain stores, book stores, libraries, hotels, campgrounds, gyms, hospitals, airports, museums, etc.

PROS

  • If available, it can be completely free of charge

CONS

  • Potential congestion
  • Safety concerns

19. Free School District Internet for Students

If you have a school-aged child or if you are a student yourself, consider checking with your school district if they have any resources. They may be able to help you with hardware, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, free wireless data, or connections to a low-cost or free internet connection.

PROS

  • You may be able to get free hardware and a free data plan

CONS

  • Not available at every school district
  • You may get a low-cost internet connection instead of a free internet connection

20. Use Your Phone as a Hotspot

If your phone has tethering or a hotspot feature (the ability to share the internet between devices, which most smartphones have) and if you have a plan with a considerable amount of monthly data, as hotspots tend to consume lots of data, you should consider using your phone as a hotspot. Luckily, nowadays, many mobile service providers offer very affordable plans with unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot data.

PROS

  • You may get free Wi-Fi

CONS

  • You need a mobile hotspot data plan and a smartphone
  • If you don’t have an unlimited mobile hotspot data plan, you will have to pay additional fees, which tend to be quite expensive

Is There A Government Program For Internet Services?

There are several government programs that offer affordable or even free internet access to low-income families.

Lifeline

Lifeline is probably the most well-known government-funded program that offers low-cost communication services to low-income consumers. It is designed for senior citizens and other low-income individuals and families (for example, those who use SNAP or Medicaid). Instead of a direct free internet, the program provides a monthly stipend, which can be used to pay for your internet connection. To use this program, you must first qualify.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program) is a new government assistance program by the FCC. It is designed to support low-income families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides an up to $50 discount to eligible families and up to $75 discount to tribal households, plus a one-time up to $100 discount for purchasing internet devices (for example, laptops or tablets). Households that qualify for another government assistance program, such as Lifeline, are also eligible for the EBB program. The program hasn’t yet come into effect, but it has been authorized.

More Ways To Get Free or Low-cost Internet

In addition to all the government, non-government, and other programs and services that offer free internet access, there are also some other methods that provide very affordable internet connection.

1. Low-cost Comcast Xfinity Internet

Comcast Xfinity Internet Essentials program offers a reliable internet connection to qualifying customers for just $9.95 a month. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have even increased the speed and made this change permanent. The teachers who sign up can also receive a $150 Visa prepaid card to help them with the initial cost. This offer is valid until June 30, 2021.

2. Low-cost AT&T Internet

AT&T is currently offering free data plans for certain school-issued tablets for 60 days. In addition, they offer free telehealth services for 60 days to business customers and special deals (including free smartphones and unlimited plans) to first responders. Their AT&T Access program is available to families with low income who either participate in SNAP or receive SSI benefits in California. The eligibility requirements have been expanded to households that participate in Head Start or the Nation School Lunch Program (NSLP) due to the pandemic.

3. Low-cost Cox Internet

Cox participates in the Connect2Compete program, which offers low-cost internet connection and access to their Internet Starter 10 plan, which comes with a 10 Mbps speed and a $9.99 monthly price for the first month and $19.99 for each following month until the end of the year when the price goes up again.

4. Low-cost Mediacom Internet

Mediacom also participates in the Connect2Compete program. They offer 25 Mbps internet access for an even lower price of only $9.99 a month.

Read one of our past articles Spectrum Internet Assist for Low-Income And Senior

Benefits and Limitations of Free Internet Access

Like almost everything in life and especially in the world of technology, free internet access comes with its pros and cons. In this chapter, we will take a look at the benefits and limitations of free internet access.

Benefits:

  • It can save you lots of money.
  • It frees you from the obligation to sign a contract.
  • You can find free internet options at home and on the go.
  • Coffee shops with free Wi-Fi can be used as your personal office space.

Limitations:

  • Security concerns – using free public internet networks may expose your data to hackers and other criminals.
  • Free public Wi-Fi is often unreliable – many places have limited hours, experience congestion, or may not be available.
  • Some of the options listed above are only available in certain areas, for certain people (for example, families with low-income), and for a limited amount of time.

How to Be Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi

As we have established before, using free public Wi-Fi is not always safe. Therefore, it is important to know the risks and protect your device and information.

  • Protect yourself from malware: Malware or viruses can infect your device regardless of how safe the Wi-Fi you are using is. However, public internet networks are even more prone to malware. To avoid it, make sure your computer is updated and thus more resilient and use anti-malware or anti-virus software (it can be paid or free).
  • Check if it is a legitimate Wi-Fi network: Hackers often set up fake internet connections that enable them to access your device and information. You can make sure you are using a legitimate connection, instead of a fake one by looking for a sign or asking an employee of the establishment about the network’s name.
  • Avoid using Wi-Fi networks that aren’t password protected: While open networks are easy for you to access, they are also easy for hackers and other criminals to access. Sharing an open network with a hacker may result in losing your data and identity and getting a virus. Make sure to stick to free Wi-Fi networks.
  • Use a VPN: Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to browse the internet anonymously and thus protects your privacy. In other words, it turns any public network into a private connection. Free VPN services are a great option and paid ones maybe even better.
  • Avoid entering sensitive information: When you are using public Wi-Fi avoid using your banking and shopping apps and inputting any related sensitive information. This will protect you from credit card fraud and identity theft.
  • Disable file sharing: File sharing on public Wi-Fi, especially if you leave it on for a longer period of time and unsupervised, may get you into all sorts of trouble. Check out your settings and make sure file sharing is disabled when using public Wi-Fi.
  • Stick to secure websites: Some browsers allow you to install an extension that encrypts data and automatically converts URLs to a safe connection. Secure websites use the ‘HTTP’ URL instead of the ‘HTTP’.
  • Use two-factor authentication on password-protected sites: Avoid visiting password-protected websites or if you do, make sure to use two-factor authentication, which will give you an extra layer of security.
  • Don’t leave Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on without using it: As one of the easiest ways for hackers to access your device is through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, make sure to turn both off as soon as you stop actively using them.
  • Forget the network: As soon as you stop using a public network, make sure to ‘forget’ it. If you click the ‘remember the network’ option instead, your device will automatically connect to it even when you are not actively using it, which would leave you open to unnecessary attacks.

FAQ

Can students get free internet?

Yes, some of the programs mentioned above (for example the Connect2Compete) offer a free or low-cost internet connection for students and families with school-age children.

Can seniors get free internet?

Yes. Seniors can get free internet through the Lifeline program if they participate in Survivors Benefit and the Veterans Pension. In addition, the Comcast Internet Essentials program, EveryoneOn, and other programs offer free or low-cost training courses for senior citizens.

Can I get free lifetime internet access?

The best options for long-term or even lifetime free internet access are probably FreedomPop and NetZero. Other sustainable options include creating a community mesh network or helping establish a digital inclusion program in your area.