People are still paying for internet because they don’t know the other options out there. There’s a ton of ways to get free internet. Or even highly reduced internet plans. You just wouldn’t think internet should be free because you’ve always paid for it. Just like how most people don’t realize your phone plan can also be free, because you’ve just always paid for that too.
The cheapest internet plans I’ve seen in my market generally run about $40-$60 a month. That adds up! There are 12 months in the year, so that plan then costs you $480-$720 a year! Imagine what you could do with that money instead. The average person in the US pays $50 for internet per month. A decade ago, the cost of internet was $10 a month. Isn’t that some insane inflation?
Note that this list isn’t for everyone. If you’re sitting at home watching Netflix for hours a day, you’re not going to be able to use these hacks at home.
- 1 How Is The Internet Free?
- 2 Freedom Pop
- 3 NetZero
- 4 Juno
- 5 ISP Hotspots By Service Provider
- 6 Citywide Free Internet (Municipal Wireless Network)
- 7 Public Wifi Hotspots In Businesses
- 8 Maps of Free Wifi
- 9 Free Internet or Super Cheap Wifi For Those Who Qualify
- 10 Ways To Get Cheaper Wifi
- 11 Hotspot Safety Tips
- 12 Get Free Internet Or Reduce Your Internet Bill
How Is The Internet Free?
These are all legal and legitimate ways to get free internet. We’re not going to be recommending things that will get you in trouble with the law.
There’s no magic wand to get unlimited free internet for 24 hours a day while watching videos. Most free providers provide a limited number of hours of internet, data, or show a few ads to make it free for you.
There really are free internet options though.
We’ll also go over public places you can access wifi for free, but if you’re like me, you want free internet at home too! We’ll cover that.
Saving $480-$720 a year is no joke. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to you. But just imagine what you’d be able to do with that money instead.
Freedom Pop offers 500MB of free data over their 4G network each month through a portable hotspot device. Basically, the portable hotspot device gets the wifi and delivers it to you for free. They also offer free phone service.
They offer 2GB of free internet the first month, and then 500MB after. Be sure to change your plan to the 500MB one to get free internet the next months as well, unless you’re willing to pay $9.99 for the 2GB plan. If you go over 500MB, they charge 2 cents per MB unless you’ve joined another plan.
The data network that Freedom Pop uses is from Sprint, which is great because their network is one of the largest in the US.
If you already have a mobile hotspot device, then FreedomPop is entirely free to you. The mobile hotspot device seems to be common in Asia, but is something that is much newer to the US.
FreedomPop has a hotspot gadget for $19.99, which is really cheap. They’re basically giving it to you at a discount so you can access the internet.
If you look at other mobile hotspot gadgets, you can’t find one below $50 on Amazon. Most of them cost upwards of $100-$150+.
Netzero gives you 10 hours of free internet access per month as long as your home has a landline. Though this is dialup, if you don’t have access to fiber-optic plans where you live, this could be a great option.
So, how do you get this free internet for free? Same way you get Google, Facebook, etc for free. Netzero embeds ads in order to deliver free internet to you.
You also get access to a free 200MB each month, but that’s only free for 12 months. Freedom Pop offers 500MB of free internet forever so I’d just go with that one instead if you were deciding between the two.
Juno offers 10 hours of free internet access per month as well. So if you use all three options listed in this section you’d get 500MB of data for free, and then 20 hours of internet a month if you switch between the three. You’ll need a landline to access Juno as well.
At-home free internet isn’t meant for days of video-watching — we just haven’t gotten to that level yet. Maybe in a few years we’ll get free internet with a lot of data, but as for now this is where we’re at.
A decade or two ago, internet companies would provide CD-Roms with an hour of free internet access. Now companies provide 10+ hours and 500MB for free. In another decade, maybe you’ll get free internet to watch all the videos you’d like. By that time, I’m sure we’d be on some super-bandwidth heavy software, like virtual reality processing or something.
ISP Hotspots By Service Provider
Did you know that the internet companies have a map showing their free hotspots? I didn’t either. It’s kinda cool, but should be used as a supplement to your home internet because you won’t be able to access this at home.
Sure, you can go to a coffee shop, but if you’re paying $5 a day at that coffee shop, your internet “costs” are huge. Find a free hotspot that isn’t a coffeshop and you can access free internet. Bring a bottle of coffee, water, some snacks, headphones, and pretend you’re at home.
- Spectrum hotspots – Formerly known as Time Warner Cable, Spectrum offers free hotspots that you can search via a map or zip code.
- XFinity hotspots – Xfinity offers a map and zip code search as well, with free hotspots even if you’re not a paying customer of their service.
Citywide Free Internet (Municipal Wireless Network)
A lot of large metropolitan cities in the US are blanketing the city in free wifi or have plans to. According to this article from a few years ago, at least 57 cities have installed free wifi.
Since people live in much denser areas in a big city, it’s much easier to provide free internet to everyone at a much cheaper price. I remember realizing there was free internet in the city one day as I lost signal to my mobile provider but then got linked back to a free internet hotspot.
Here is a list of free municipal internet providers in the US:
- Oakland County, Michigan
- Sacramento, California
- Silicon Valley, California
- St. Louis Park, Minnesota
- Tampa, Florida
- Waukesha, Wisconsin
For example, in NYC, there is a company that is blanketing the city in LinkNYC devices. Each device provides free internet within a block and you can even charge your phone! There’s at least a device on every block, everywhere in the city center. If you live only a few stories above the ground floor, you might be able to receive signal for free. How’s that for a super nice hack? The company is owned by Google and will probably expand, so look for them to go to a city near you in the future.
Public Wifi Hotspots In Businesses
Though these are free, you might have to make a purchase in order to stay in the establishment.
Keep in mind, some places might only print the wifi code when you buy something.
Here are a list of common places that have free wifi:
- Whole Foods
Basically any large fast food conglomerate, shopping mall, or grocery store usually has some type of free wifi.
Every library I’ve been at has offered free internet. Bring your laptop, or you can also use their computers for free.
You won’t have to buy anything at the library and can stay for as long as you want. That’s where your tax dollars are going after all! Use the resources they fund.
Maps of Free Wifi
Wifi Free Spot
This website shows all the businesses with free wifi in each state. If you live close enough to one to be able to access it in your home, you could get free fast wifi that way.
All-Free ISP Search Engine
All-Free ISP offers a pretty cool search engine for free internet that you can search based on your state or zip code.
The UI is a little outdated, but it offers information on different programs. Some of the free internet sites require some technical know-how, so be sure to keep that in mind before you go crazy there.
Mostly though, you’ll see Juno and Netzero on it. I looked at New York (where I live) and these were the only two options.Your state might show others though, so give it a try.
Free Internet or Super Cheap Wifi For Those Who Qualify
Connect To Compete/Everyoneon.org
Just like food, water, and a place to live are a necessity, the ability to access the internet should be considered a necessity in this day and age. Connect To Compete is trying to change that. They have both free internet and highly-subsidized internet. They aren’t a internet provider, but have aggregated free internet and reduced price plans and help people get access to them.
If your family is low-income, on public assistance, in government housing, or receives some kind of government or charitable assistance, etc you maybe be able to access free internet or extremely low cost high-speed wifi.
Check out the website to see if you qualify. It depends on income, household, location, and public funds.
If they don’t have free plans for you, you can also check out the reduced cost plans to see if you qualify.
If you’re a student, they also have free plans as well if you qualify.
Below are the programs some of the biggest internet providers offer. You can see other offers as well on Connect To Compete.
If you’re on SNAP, you can get unlimited high-speed internet for $5 a month from ATT via their ATT Access program. You need to not have had any outstanding debts from ATT in the last 6 months as well. If this is you, check out ATT Access.
Though this isn’t free internet, $5 a month is a pretty big discount compared to what the average person pays for internet.
Comcast Internet Essentials
Get unlimited high-speed internet for $9.95 with Comcast’s Internet Essentials. To qualify you must have one child in your household eligible for NSLP (reduced or free lunch program for children). You also must not have been a Comcast internet subscriber for 90 days, have no Comcast bills that are over 12 months past due, and no unreturned equipment to Comcast.
If you’ve had access to Comcast in the past 90 days, I’d suggest canceling and then applying for it after it has been 90 days. In the mean-time, you can use the other ways to get free wifi on this blog post.
Spectrum Internet Assist
Spectrum (formerly known as Time Warner Cable) offers unlimited high-speed internet for $14.99 per month to people who are part of the NSLP and people 65 or older who receive SSI (Supplementary Security Income). I mention NSLP here because not all internet providers are in all 50 states, so if Comcast is not in your state, Spectrum might be a good alternative.
Spectrum gives you a free modem, but if you want wifi, they offer the ability to rent a router for $5 a month. Personally, routers don’t cost more than $50-$100, so I’d recommend you just buy one on Amazon to save you money for the long-term.
You also can’t have used Charter, Time Warner/Spectrum, or BrightHouse within the last 60 days. So if you’re currently with one of these companies, you’ll need to cancel your subscription and use the other free options on this page for 60 days. You also can’t have any outstanding bills with the other 3 companies.
PCs For People
PCs for people offer high-speed internet at $10 per month. For this one, you need to make less than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The program is run through Sprint’s network.
For this one, you need to prepay for free internet. Here are the subscription fees:
- 3 months for $40
- 6 months for $75
- 12 months for $120
As you can see, the 12 month plan is the most cost-effective. If you get the 12 month plan, that’s $10 per month. You’ll also need a modem if you don’t already have one. PCs for People sells them for $74.95 or you can try to find one for cheaper. If you search Amazon, you might be able to find a cheaper one like this one here. If you’re low income or living paycheck to paycheck, try and get this plan if you’re not qualified for the others above.
Google Fiber is getting on with its fiber rollout and offers Fiber in a ton of cities now:
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Chicago, IL
- Denver, CO
- and so on…
Google Fiber currently exists in more than 19 cities and there are subsidies that allow you to get Google Fiber for less than $15 if you’re part of a low-income group. So if none of the above options work for you, check out Google Fiber.
Ways To Get Cheaper Wifi
If you’re willing to share a wifi account with your neighbor(s), then you could get a wifi extender (one time purchase of hardware) and share the internet. The wifi extender basically boosts the signal so that you can get access to the same internet strength as the person who is sharing their internet with you.
If you’re just watching videos and surfing the web, there’s no reason a few more people slow down the network. We’ve had more than 10 people watching videos and just chilling before and it hasn’t slowed down our 100 Mbps network. People really underestimate how much bandwidth they need.
Tip: If a salesperson tries to sell you “super high-speed” internet of 1TBps, really, you don’t need it unless you’re running a number of insane number of Mmorpgs or something. If you’re not or don’t know what that is, odds are you’re fine.
When we had Verizon Fios’s 100 MBPs base plan for $55 a month, those 10+ people didn’t throttle the network in any way. If you can get 1 or 2 neighbors to share the wifi that could bring the cost down to less than $10 per month per person (assuming each household has more than 1 person).
Make sure your neighbors are not doing anything illegal, using secure websites, etc. While not free, splitting the cost of wifi is a way to get almost free internet. In terms of utilities, wifi is one thing you can split that will still have the same fixed cost. You can’t do that with insurance, electricity, or water.
Call Your Provider Up Or Get Trim To Do It For You
If none of the free internet options are working for you, you should still try to reduce your internet bill.
Internet providers know most people are not going to try and negotiate their bill. Picking up a phone, talking to a customer service representative and negotiating a bill are not fun things most people are going to try and do.
But if you do decide to do it, they will most likely offer you a better deal. Once a year, pick up the phone and ask for a better deal and they’ll give it to you. If you say you might want to cancel, they will reroute you to the retention department, which has more authority to offer you a better deal.
The internet providers do this because it’s very expensive to set up high-speed internet in your home. For example, when we got fiber-optic internet in our apartment, it took the technician 4 hours to set up the wifi because they need to do things like splice wires, locate the right fiber access points, etc. Not to mention the hardware probably cost $100+ (wires, box, etc).
They’re spending a lot of money upfront to get you wifi access, so it’s more worth it to them to keep you on as a customer because it really doesn’t cost that much to actually pipe the internet to you. The actual cost lies in laying out all the fiber and cable lines and the labor setting up the wifi.
If you don’t want to manage the price of your internet service, consider using Trim, which negotiates your bill for you.
Hotspot Safety Tips
If you’re accessing your internet though a public hotspot (like a Starbucks wifi setup) with free internet, then you should make sure you’re using the browser in a secure way.
Make sure websites are starting with https. This means your information is sent to the website in a secure way.
If the website is selling something, make sure it is a reputable company before making a purchase. You don’t want to be giving away your information away.
Consider installing a VPN. Basically, it’s added security that is like a defender in between you and the hotspot. The VPN encrypts data going in and out of your network.
Get Free Internet Or Reduce Your Internet Bill
If you’re into stacking free internet options, consider getting the Freedom Pop 500MB each month, along with 20 hours of internet with Juno and NetZero combined.
If you qualify for subsidized internet, consider getting one of the low-cost high-speed internet options mentioned above.
If you’d rather be able to watch Netflix and stream video all day, consider getting a wifi extender and splitting the cost with a neighbor.
Don’t want to do any of those things? Call your cable internet provider and negotiate your bill.
No matter which option you choose, I hope you get a better deal on your internet bill.
So, are you going to get access to free wifi or at least start reducing your internet bill?
Let us know if there are other ways to get free internet or super cheap wifi that we haven’t written about here.
Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.
The average savings account rate is 0.1%. The big banks have incredibly low savings accounts rates. CIT Bank offers a 1.75% savings account. You can open an account with just $100 and no monthly fees or charge . Tired of being charged fees and getting peanuts in interest at your current bank? Open a CIT Bank savings account in less than 15 minutes online.
If you have a car, Rideshare apps allow you to pick a direction you want to go twice a day, so you can get extra money going somewhere you were driving to anyway at least twice a day. Get a $300 sign-up bonus with Lyft.
One of my favorite ways ways of monetizing my life is via credit card bonuses with cards that give you cashback or rewards. Check out our review of the Chase Sapphire cards, which give you at least $500 in cash or $625 in travel credit.