While everyone would acknowledge that WiFi is an essential part of modern day life, that doesn't mean it's always available to us at affordable rates. In fact, most WiFi plans, especially good quality ones, can be quite costly. Whether you want to stream movies and TV, do your work online, or simply respond to emails, the cost of staying connected to the internet can be expensive.
There are many different resources and locations where you can get free WiFi. And we're not just talking about going to coffee shops and asking the barista for the password, even though that can be one of the ways to get WiFi while you are away from home or the office.
In this blog post, we will go through the different methods to obtain free WiFi when you are at or away from home. If you, like many Americans, find it hard to access free wifi hotspots or have trouble getting your own private wifi hotspots, we have some good information for you.
Public Places With Free WiFi
While coffee shops are an option, they don't always work for everyone. If you're working on a project that require you to put in many hours, or have an online-based job, it's unrealistic to have to go to a coffee shop every day for hours. Besides, you typically have to buy something so it wouldn't be 100% free. But if you do not mind being away from home, here are a few places where you can get free WiFi access.
Local Public Libraries
No matter where you live in the US, chances are there is probably some sort of public library near you. Not only can you get free WiFi at most public libraries, but you can also get access to comfortable seating, a quiet environment, printers, and even free computers. Even if you join a library that isn't free, the cost for WiFi and all of their other amenities would be significantly lower.
School Computer Labs
If you or a member of your family are attending a university or college, more likely than not, the campus will have one or more computer labs or libraries with computers. You can use these facilities as a student or family member. Even if the campus does not have computer labs available -- which is unlikely -- they will definitely have free WiFi at many different spots around the school.
If you're not currently a student but have a loved one who's enrolled in classes, it's worth talking to the security manager or calling the security department about accessing the campus as a family member.
If you currently have a WiFi plan, you're probably used to seeing all of your neighbor's WiFi names on your nearby connections list. While this may not work for everyone, but if you live in an apartment and know your neighbors well, it may be worth asking them to share their Wifi networks. Surely it would require generosity on their part, but it's not unheard of for people to temporarily use their neighbor's WiFi, especially when they are under financial hardship.
What some people may do is share the cost of a plan with their neighbors. So while it may not be completely free Wi-Fi, this solution allows you get functioning wifi hotspots for only half the price. Keep in mind that, depending on where the router is, you may experience a less stable connection doing this.
How Can I Find Places With Free Wifi?
While there are many places that offer free WiFi access, they can sometimes be hard to find or navigate. No one wants to sit down at a restaurant and pay for a meal only to find out they don't offer WiFi at all. So how can you find exactly who's offering free Wi-Fi in your city before you even leave the house?
There are many different websites dedicated to exactly that. If you like to work or relax in a coffee shop or café environment, there are likely hundreds if not thousands of locations in your city or town that offer free internet access. You may even discover some of your personal new favorite spots. Below are a few free websites you can use to find these places with free public wi fi:
WiFi Map is a website or app that allows you to input your city and it will search for free Wi-Fi hotspots in your area. It also has many other features such as "offline maps," where you can download a map of your city's Wi-Fi spots to your phone so you can look at it on the go. Wi-Fi Map also shows you the password for these spots so you don't even need to ask!
Free WiFi Map
Free WiFi Map is another app to locate free Wi-Fi networks in your city. This website even gives you the option to input the exact type of location you want, along with other preferences, such as if you prefer coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, etc.
Open WiFi Map
Open WiFi Map is another great option for Wi-Fi maps. This website is also able to access your current location so you don't have to do any work besides search for your new Wi-Fi hotspot.
How To Stay Safe When Using Public WiFi
If you're accessing a public WiFi hotspot from your own device, it's always important to keep yourself protected. No matter what location you're using the internet from, if other people have access to the same WiFi, you could be at risk from cyber attacks.
It is indeed easier than you think for hackers to steal your data or mess with your device when they are on the same network as you. So when accessing any public WiFi hotspots, you should always have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) running on your device.
What Is a VPN?
VPNs are becoming very popular as they're an easy way to stay protected at all times. VPNs can come in the form of an app or a browser extension, and take seconds to set up on your device. Here is how a VPN keeps you protected:
When you access WiFi normally, you're making a direct connection from your device to the Internet Service Providers (ISP), and then to the internet. Hackers who are on the same WiFi as you can easily get access to all of your device's data. Even if you're using a public computer, someone can also get access to any info you've put in while using the device (passwords, files, accounts, etc).
When you use a VPN, it first connects your computer to the VPN service before it accesses the ISP. That means that by the time the potential hacker can see your device's data, it's all encrypted (masked as code or random data that doesn't make sense). Your VPN service will connect you to different locations all over the world before connecting back to the ISP.
Are There Any Free VPNs?
Most VPN services offer paid subscriptions, but if you are in the market for free WiFi, chances are you aren't looking to pay for an extra app either. So here are a few VPNs that are actually free to use and their quality are just as good as the others:
ProtonVPN is completely free to use for as long as you like. There is no set amount of time or free-trial period with this VPN service. You can also upgrade to a subscription for access to more countries and some other perks. It's one of the simplest VPNs out there and comes in the form of an app or as a browser extension.
ZenMate is one of the most undetectable and versatile VPNs. This means you can use it with many websites or games that typically detect other VPNs and refuse access. There's one drawback: this particular VPN may slow down your computer's internet connection a bit while in use, but that problem likely will go away with their paid version.
Hola VPN is another great choice. They currently only offer a paid version, but you can access it with a free trial for 30 minutes every hour, so you get a lot of time for free.
Note that when using a public computer, you should install a VPN on the browser (many public computers don't allow you to download apps).
Government Assistance: Lifeline/ACP Programs with EASY Wireless.
If you're looking to get free WiFi because you simply can't afford it, chances are you may be eligible for certain government programs that offer affordable connectivity. Here we bring you two of these: Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Furthermore, we want to share with you how EASY Wireless can help you stay connected and lower your financial burdens.
What are Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
Lifeline is a government program designed to make phone and internet services more affordable for eligible low-income individuals and families. It offers a subsidy that reduces monthly costs for phone services. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), on the other hand, aims to provide affordable internet access, helping eligible households overcome financial barriers to connectivity.
Using Other Assistance programs for Lifeline and ACP through EASY Wireless
The good news is that if you are already on certain government assistance program, you can leverage them to receive:
EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan
- FREE Unlimited Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- FREE Brand-new Smartphone
- FREE SIM Car Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
...when you sign up for Lifeline and ACP through EASY Wireless. EASY Wireless is an established provider with a 20-year history of offering reliable communication services to thousands of satisfied customers.
Are You Eligible For The ACP?
There are two ways you can qualify for ACP: either by your household income level or by taking part in certain government programs.
Qualify for ACP
You can qualify for the ACP if you participate in one of the following government assistance programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Pell Grant Awards
The second criteria is through your income level. You may qualify if your income is under the amounts on the chart below.
Do I Qualify For Lifeline?
The eligibility criteria for Lifeline service is similar to ACP. You can qualify if you or a member of your household has participated in one of the following support programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Certain Tribal Programs
You may also qualify if your household income is at 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. Visit their website for more information
Why Choose EASY Wireless?
EASY Wireless utilizes the same cell towers as national carriers, ensuring widespread coverage and reliable service. This means you can enjoy a seamless communication experience, even in areas where other carriers might face limitations. With EASY Wireless, you can stay connected wherever you go, without compromising on quality or reliability.
Over the years, we have assisted hundreds of thousands of customers in obtaining free wireless services.
How do I Get My Free Government Cell phone?
When you come to one of EASY Wireless's retail stores, our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.
You will first have to provide identity proof with a government-issued ID. With that easy step, you can confirm your participation in one of the qualifying programs or your household income amount.
The following U.S. Government Issued ID can be used for identity proof:
- U.S. Driver License
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
- Certificate of Naturalization
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Government, State or Tribal issued-ID
- U.S. Military ID cards
- Permanent Resident Cards
- Permanent Resident Alien Cards
You can show the following documents to prove that you are taking part in a government assistance program or use them as proof of active benefits
- Statement of benefits from a qualifying Program.
- Notice letter of participation, such as an award letter
- Program participation documents, such as a screenshot from an online account.
- In order to show income, you can provide any of the following proofs:
- Unemployment Documentation
- Copy of your State or Federal income tax return.
- Three months' worth of current pay stubs.
- Veterans Administration or SSI benefits letter.
- A divorce decree or child support document that states income.
- Retirement or pension statement.
To see if you qualify for ACP, you'll need to go through the National Verifier process. Since we understand that going through the National Verifier can be a bit confusing, our in-store agents are available to assist you. Just sit back and wait for confirmation.
You'll be able to connect to the Internet right away and stay in touch with your loved ones. We can't wait to see you and help you get connected!
Need More Than Just One Line of Service or an Additional Phone?
EASY Wireless is a full-service cellular store that cares about all of your communication needs. We have a wide range of pre-paid plans for every budget and usage requirement. Additionally, we offer a selection of brand-name phones that combine quality, reliability, and the latest technology.
And that's not all – we also provide an array of amazing accessories to enhance your mobile experience. At EASY Wireless, we're dedicated to delivering exceptional service and ensuring you find the perfect plan, phone, and accessories to suit your lifestyle and preferences.