How to Get Free WiFi Anywhere

Even though total public WiFi hotspots are forecast to grow sevenfold from 2015 to 2020, from 64.2 million in 2015 to 432.5 million by 2020, free WiFi hotspots are not always easy to find. In this article, we describe five ways how to get free WiFi anywhere and with minimal effort to help you connect to the internet regardless of where life takes you.

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1. Share Your Smartphone’s Internet Connection


If you have a smartphone and a mobile data plan, you should be able to create a mobile WiFi hotspot to share your 3G or 4G connection with your other devices.

Android

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap the More button at the bottom of the Wireless & networks section.
  3. Select Tethering & portable hotspot.

  4. Wi-Fi hotspot Android Photo from www.gottabemobile.com

  5. Tap Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.
  6. Specify a network name and password and click Save.

  7. Set up Wi-Fi hotspot Android Photo from www.gottabemobile.com

  8. Turn on the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot option.

iOS

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Tap Personal Hotspot.
  4. Tap the slider to turn it on.

  5. Set up Wi-Fi hotspot iOS Photo from www.9to5mac.com

  6. You can use the Wi-Fi Password option to change the hotspot’s password.

  7. Change the hotspot’s password iOS Photo from www.9to5mac.com

Always make sure to protect your mobile hotspot with a strong password to prevent other people from using your data plan to connect to the internet. You should choose a password that’s at least 12 characters long, consists of numbers, letters, and special characters, and cannot be easily guessed. Avoid common passwords such as 12345QWERTY and don’t share your password with anyone else unless you’re willing to change it right after.

Keep in mind that your smartphone’s battery will deplete faster with a mobile hotspot active. How much faster exactly depends on many factors, including the number of devices connected to the hotspot and the type of mobile connection.

2. Use a Hotspot Database App

There’s such a massive demand for free public hotspots that there are entire apps dedicated to helping users find them. Hotspot database apps contain a huge list of WiFi hotspots around the world, and some even have passwords for hotspots that are not available to the public without paying. Here are our top 3 favorite hotspot database apps:


WifiMapper

This excellent and easy-to-use hotspot database app contains a long list of hotspots and information about them. For each hotspot, you can display Foursquare and WifiMapper comments, the hotspot’s type, and its exact place.

WifiMapper OpenSignal

In the future, the developers behind this app would like to implement password sharing functionality and offline hotspot maps.


Wiman

Quickly becoming the largest hotspot database in the world, Wiman can help you find free WiFi hotspots everywhere you go. Wiman works like the built-in WiFi connection manager on your smartphone, offering you free WiFi hotspots and classifying them based on their quality.

Wiman

You can even earn special rewards for using the app and compete with your friends to see who can find the most free WiFi hotspots.


Avast Wi-Fi Finder

Cybersecurity software company Avast has created an incredibly convenient WiFi finder that can give you an answer to the question, “Is there free WiFi near me?” with a single tap on the screen.

Avast Wi-Fi Finder

Avast Wi-Fi Finder works even without an internet connection, and it has a large database of WiFi passwords provided by Avast community members from around the world.

3. Buy a Portable Router


Portable routers, also known as travel routers, are not too different from the router you have at home. Instead of being connected to the internet via a cable, they have a slot for a SIM card, allowing you to connect to 3G and 4G networks practically anywhere in the world. Once connected, a portable router can create a WiFi network, so you can connect all your electronic devices to the internet.

Portable routers are relatively inexpensive, and they often last a whole day on a single charge. When selecting a portable router, pay attention to how many simultaneous connections it supports and how fast it is.

Portable routers

Cheaper portable routers typically support only three simultaneous connections, while premium portable routers can often handle more than 10 simultaneous high-speed connections. Of course, the free WiFi hotspot created using a portable router won’t technically be free since you have to pay for the router and the SIM card, but its convenience makes up for the initial investment.

4. Visit Popular WiFi Hotspot Locations


There are certain places where you’re almost guaranteed to find a free WiFi hotspot. If you’ve ever wondered how to get free WiFi at home, then you should consider moving right next to one of the places listed below:

  • Libraries – The purpose of libraries is to further the education of the local community, and providing free access to the internet is just one way how libraries accomplish their goal. Besides public libraries, your local bookstore is also a good place where to look for a free WiFi hotspot.

  • Public plazas – In recent years, cities around the world have started to cover public plazas with free WiFi hotspots to attract more foot traffic to local stores. With hundreds and potentially thousands of people connected at the same time, you shouldn’t expect the WiFi hotspot in the historical center of your city to rival the fiber optic connection you have at home, but even a slow internet connection is better than no connection at all.

  • McDonald’s/Starbucks – McDonald's, Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's, and other popular fast-food chains, ice cream parlors, and restaurants have long discovered the revenue-generating power of free WiFi hotspots. Yes, you might have to order a cheeseburger or a latte to connect, but that’s a small—and tasty–price to pay for fast internet access.

5. Look for Hidden WiFi Networks


Wireless networks are identified by SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers), which essentially serve as network names. Without much work, it’s possible to hide a network’s SSID and thus create a hidden network that won’t be readily visible to various WiFi-enabled devices.

But just because a WiFi network is hidden doesn’t mean it can’t be discovered. Using a WiFi analyzer app such as NetSpot, it’s possible to find all nearby hidden networks. NetSpot works on Windows and macOS computers, and it offers two WiFi analysis modes and support for all 802.11 networks, both in the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands.

Discover Mode

To discover hidden WiFi networks with NetSpot:

  1. Launch NetSpot.
  2. Activate Discover mode.
  3. Wait for the automatic scan to discover all nearby networks.


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