In the early days of wifi connectivity, you could park in virtually any street and pick up a wireless connection.
They were often unsecured, allowing you free access.
Of course, the security risks associated with the internet have changed and the majority of networks are now secure.
In short, you need a network security key to get online.
However, if you’re not at home it is still possible to access the internet for free.
It’s time you learned how to get free wifi regardless of where you are.
Why Most WiFi Networks Are Password-Protected
The simple truth is that an open wifi network, without a password, is a security risk.
If you use any public network and don’t take the right precautions then your data is likely to be stolen and you could be looking at identity theft.
The increase in the prevalence of cybercriminals is why most networks are now password-protected.
Your Location Doesn’t Matter
The good news is that you can find free wifi almost anywhere.
It is slightly dependent on your location. If you live in a big city then you are likely to be surrounded by wifi networks.
This can make it possible to connect to one for free within a few metres of your home or even at home.
If you’re more rural then you’ll need to work a little harder.
But, once you understand how to get free wifi you’ll find it is always possible.
How To Get Free WiFi
To get free wifi you’re going to need to find an open network and safely connect.
It’s easier than you think if you know how.
1. Public WiFi Hotspots
Your first stop should always be local businesses. It’s common to find these offering free wireless internet access.
In the modern world, it helps to attract customers.
The places near you that are most likely to have free wifi networks are coffee shops, fast-food outlets, restaurants, hotels, and even big department stores.
If the business is offering free wifi access it’s legal to access and use it. Naturally, most businesses want you to buy something from them but this isn’t essential.
It’s worth noting that the majority of cities and even smaller towns now offer a free wifi network.
The wifi will cover the areas favoured by tourists, its aim is to ensure tourists know how to get to all the major attractions in town.
You don’t have to be a tourist to use the wifi.
In fact, you may be surprised at which of your local institutions are likely to allow you free internet access:
Libraries are the perfect place to connect and get some extra work done. You’ll find plenty of spots to sit and relax while you connect.
There is no charge and you’re guaranteed a peaceful environment, allowing you to focus.
As the internet has exploded in popularity transport chiefs have realized how important it is to make their services more attractive.
That’s why most trains, buses, and train/bus stations have free wifi. All you have to do is connect.
It’s worth noting that transport-based wifi networks are likely to have limits on the amount of bandwidth you can use.
This helps to ensure everyone can access the internet.
The Local University
Universities and colleges need to offer wireless internet. It facilitates the studies of students.
Best of all, there is always somewhere comfortable to sit in and around the university. You’re unlikely to be bothered by others.
Some of the above networks will be password protected. In many cases, simply asking for the password will be enough for someone to give it to you.
In other cases, you may need to make a small purchase to get the code.
2. Make Your Phone A WiFi Hub
You probably have a smartphone, most people do. It’s probably normal for you to access the internet via this when you’re out and about.
You may not have realized that you can use the phone’s internet as a wifi internet connection, allowing you to get online with your laptop and finish any assignment.
Of course, you’ll be limited by the amount of data included in your monthly contract and the speed is often a little slower than a fibre-based connection.
The exact way to create a wifi hub with your phone will depend on your operating system.
You’ll need to go into the settings on your phone and then select the wireless/network option.
Once you’re in this menu you’ll find an option for tethering. Select this and turn on the portable hotspot.
You will need to create a name for the connection and a password. This ensures only you can access the internet via your phone.
The process is similar but slightly shorted on an iPhone. Simply go into settings and choose the personal hotspot option.
Turn it on, set your ID and password, and you’re good to go.
3. Find WiFi With An App
You can type ‘free wifi’ into your browser before you go anywhere. Providing your internet is on you’ll be shown a variety of options near you.
However, there is a risk with this that you’ll be directed to a hacker’s wifi connection.
That’s why, when looking at how to get free wifi, it’s generally safer to use an app.
Simply open your play store and add one of the following to your phone.
This app is available for all types of phones. It will provide you with a list of local wifi spots, the app has over 100 million spots in its memory.
The good news is that the app is open and encourages feedback from users. This means you’ll know about all the latest networks and which ones no longer work.
Alongside this, users will share passwords, making it easy to get online for free.
The app can provide directions to help you locate your chosen free wifi.
Instabridge allows you to create an account on the app and then, when you’re near a free wifi connection, it will automatically connect you.
Again, this is crowdsourced, meaning it’s open and encourages communication between users.
The app will show you what types of connections are available and what security they have.
It will give you passwords and even show you the relevant statistics for each network.
It’s a good choice.
4. Invest In A Portable Router
If you regularly need to access the internet away from home then you can purchase a portable router. It’s not an entirely free option.
It is a safe and very inexpensive way to access the internet securely, regardless of where you are.
You’ll need to purchase a portable router. They are very small and can be recharged in the same way your phone can. You will need to invest in a data sim card.
All you have to do is put the card in and set up the network name and password.
Enter the same details in your computer and, whenever the portable router is on, your computer will automatically connect.
This is the safest option as you have control over the security of the network, access, and it won’t unexpectedly turn off.
It is advisable to pay for a known brand when choosing your router. It will give you better connectivity.
The Risks Associated With Public WiFi
You’re probably already aware that connecting to free public wifi carries risks. The main ones are:
A hacker can connect to the same free wifi network as you. They are likely to lurk on the network.
Each time a new connection appears they will check it out. This usually means adding tracking or data-collecting software to your laptop.
You won’t know they have done so and they will be able to access all your data.
That’s not just while you’re at the wifi hotspot. Many hackers can leave the connection open, allowing them to monitor your online behaviour.
They can use this to gain personal information about you. This allows them to steal your data ort to target you with a phishing site.
2. Fake Networks
Cybercriminals have noticed that free wifi is popular and some will create their own free wifi networks.
You connect and access the internet but, because you are doing it through their network, they see all your information.
Be wary of any wifi connection without password protection.
3. Data Tracking
All wifi apps will collect data about you and use this to create a portfolio. This can be sold to third parties.
They will then be able to target you with specific marketing campaigns or encourage you to use fake websites.
It’s even possible that hackers can create a free wifi location app to collect your information and even triangulate where exactly you live.
That’s why, before you connect to any free wifi network you should verify with online users that it’s safe to use.
Top Tip To Stay Safe When Accessing Free WiFi
Free wifi connections are useful. But, if you’re going to use public wifi you need to know how to keep your devices safe.
If you don’t, you’re likely to lose sensitive information, such as your financial details, emails, and your logins and passwords to various systems.
1. Invest In A VPN
The best way to stay safe online, at home and on public networks, is to invest in a good VPN.
These high-quality VPNs will keep you safe online:
VPNs are designed to encrypt all your data, ensuring that only you and the intended receiver can read the information.
It’s effectively a tunnel and no one else can see or get into it.
Your location is visible to anyone on the network, all they have to do is look at the IP address you are surfing from.
This is possible on any network and very easy when using public free wi-fi.
A VPN hides your IP address, effectively disguising your location and even allows you to select which region you are operating from, even if it’s not where you actually are.
The best VPNs offer extras, such as kill switches. These disconnect you the moment your VPN drops or if a threat is detected.
2. Don’t Trust the Network
Whenever you join a new network, regardless of which network it is, you’ll be asked whether you want to share information across the network.
Always say no to this option when using a free public wifi service.
In fact, you should say no to any network unless you fully trust it.
If you are in a rush and just say yes you are permitting other users to access the information on your computer. That’s not a good idea.
3. Make Sure Your Firewall Is Active
Your computer will have a built-in firewall and it should be turned on.
The firewall blocks a variety of threats when you’re online. It does mean you’ll need to give specific programs permission to go through the firewall.
But, it will also help to keep your data safe.
Summing Up Free WiFi Options
Whether you use free public wifi or not, you never know when you may need it.
It’s better to be prepared and learn how to get free wifi safely today.
This will help you to surf when you need to, find the right information, and keep your personal details safe at the same time.
It is possible to access the internet for free. Once you know how you may be surprised by how often you need to.
Just make sure you take the relevant precautions before doing so.