So you want to get free internet, huh? I don’t blame you.
It seems like every year my internet and cable provider try to raise the prices. Then I have to call, negotiate, play their games and keep paying a monthly fee.
But let’s face it, in today’s world, the internet isn’t negotiable. It’s a must-have option especially if you work at home as I do.
While you can always go to Starbucks or McDonald’s, you might not always want a coffee or Big Mac. Or the “ambiance” that goes along with it. Sometimes you want to have the ability to get free (or discounted) internet at your house.
So here are some alternatives to help you get free or very low-cost internet to save you money and time.
9 Ways to Get Free Internet
It’s important to note none of these options are guaranteed 100% of the time. Some of them have eligibility requirements and others vary by location.
NetZero was one of the first ways I ever used internet back in the dial-up days. Remember that thing called dial-up before the DSL and high-speed internet days?
Somehow, Netzero has lived on. And they have some great options to help you with free internet.
Like anything free, there is almost always a catch. In this case, NetZero is actually still using dial-up internet which is astonishing! But if you have an extra phone line that you want to dedicate to the internet, you can do it. It’s 100% free!
The downside is that you only get ten hours of use per month. That said, ten hours is better than nothing. As the connection is dial-up, I recommend not trying to do things like video games or video editing. It’s too slow of an internet speed.
Like some of the other plans, there are paid options as well. Although you will save money over big internet companies, even their paid plans come with dial-up. So don’t expect a very fast connection.
EveryoneOn is a government partnership with the FCC. It makes internet access available for low-income and disadvantaged families. They understand how important it is for students to stay ahead in school by having access to the internet.
With Everyone On, there are specific requirements to make sure that you are eligible for the free internet plan. All you have to do is visit their website, enter your info, and they will determine if you’re eligible or not.
Don’t worry; if you don’t qualify for the free internet plan, there are other low-cost options as well. Depending on your location, you might find plans there are only $10-$15 per month! This is a significant discount from the typical $50 or more than most families are paying each month for internet.
FreedomPop is another great place to get 100% free internet for your laptop and smartphone. Before I learned about this service, I was a little skeptical as I’m sure a lot of you are when reading “100% free.”
But here’s how the service works:
- Go onto their website. Then enter your zip code and email address to see if your location qualifies for the deal.
- If it does qualify, set up your account online and pay a small deposit.
- FreedomPop will then send you the equipment you need to get started. Your first month you receive 2GB of free data. (This isn’t that much, so this plan is best for someone who isn’t using the internet regularly).
- After your first month, you get 500MB of free data on the LTE network. (This is even lower than your first month).
This is a great option if you’re someone who rarely uses the internet and just needs to check emails or shop online. A perk of using Freedompop is that they do have a 14-day deposit refund policy. Also, they have other low-cost options as well.
It’s extremely portable, and you can transport it with you if you’re traveling.
4. Ask a Neighbor
I remember when I was living in my first apartment out of college. One goal I had was to save money on my utility bills and internet costs. In fact, I think I mooched about three months of free internet from a neighbor before they enabled a password.
I’m not recommending doing what I did. But maybe you have a neighbor who would be willing to help you save money on your internet.
Whether you choose to go 50-50 with someone or trade out other services, it might not be a bad idea. One thing to note, anytime you’re sharing a password with someone, it’s vital to ensure you trust the other person.
If you want to really play it safe, you can also draw up a formal agreement. Just make sure you outline everything for both parties involved.
5. WiFi Map
WiFi Map is an awesome resource to help you find free internet near you. Unlike the others on the list, it’s not actually an internet provider.
It’s an app to help you find free hotspots close to you. And the best part is that it works worldwide with over 100 million free hotspots in their network!
Global plans with your cell phone provider can get expensive. So this can help you save big money when traveling overseas. With WiFi Map, there is a paid and a free version of the app.
With the free version, you only get a 2.5-mile radius from where you’re located based on the
GPS on your phone. There’s also a feature where you can watch video ads and get access to user-provided passwords to a WiFi hotspot near you.
With the paid plan, you get extended coverage and a few other benefits like removed advertising.
If you’re a big-time traveler, this is one of the best options out there! It’s helpful when you’re overseas. Plus, the app will save you money on gas since you won’t need to drive around locally looking for a WiFi hotspot.
Plus, if you’re a business, it helps people find you. And you can sign up with a business account as well.
6. Check With Your Internet Service Provider
Have you ever negotiated a cable or internet bill with your provider? Then you know there is always an option for a lower cost or special plan.
It never hurts to ask and check with your internet service provider for a better price. Their website might not even feature certain plans since they try only to promote high-speed plans and expensive bundles.
I once contacted Dish Network and spoke with several people. I got a massive discount with a price lock of 12 months. The point is, you might uncover a really low-priced internet package that gives you everything you need at a fraction of the price.
Another thing to note is that a lot of internet providers will have free WiFi hotspots across their service areas. Make sure to double check online or ask when you call about access to free internet in your area.
7. Check With Your School District for Free Internet for Students
Similar to Everyone On, some school districts might offer free internet for students. Again, schools are using the internet for teaching resources and know the importance of having their students connected.
I can’t provide specific instructions as it will differ based on location. But I recommend checking out Google and contacting someone within your school district. Like contacting your internet provider and asking for a lower plan, it never hurts to ask. Plus, as a parent, you get access to the internet as well.
8. Use Lifeline
Lifeline is similar to some of the other federally funded discount programs. They help people lower their internet and phone bills. But unlike the others, it’s not just for students.
You need to qualify with your income or be receiving some type of government assistance, like Medicaid or SNAP benefits.
If eligible, you can get at least a $9.25 reduction on your monthly internet or phone bill. Yes, Lifeline works for either, but it doesn’t work for both.
9. All Free ISP
All Free ISP is similar to Wifi Maps as it helps you find free internet service providers. To get started, enter your state or zip code. Then it will give you a list of all the free and cheap internet service providers in your area.
They give you reviews of each of the free hotspots, which is nice. Although, there is one big drawback…they’re dial-up! But at the end of the day, free internet can’t always be the fastest, so it’s better than nothing.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get free internet, but you have to get creative. It also depends on your location as some areas have more access to free internet than others.
Again, you can always find a Starbucks or local shop with WiFi. But it’s not always fun having to leave your house and spend money on food or drinks there as well.
Do you have free internet? Do you know of other legit ways to score free internet at home? If so, tell us about it in a comment!