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Where to Look for Free WiFi, and not just at Starbucks!

Updated on May 13, 2011

Where to Find Free WiFi, the Legal Way

WiFi is the lifeblood of the modern internet user. It feeds data to smartphones, and laptops, and does so without tethering a consumer to their desktop PC. Almost anyone can afford an inexpensive laptop and go out on the town, where they can work and surf from almost anywhere. Most people, however, are not going to spring for the expensive data contracts with Sprint and Verizon that allow them to surf the web over 3G and 4G connections anywhere on their laptop. Instead, most people search out locations and businesses that offer free WiFi as a free enticement to customers to go to their business, and browse the web.

Free WiFi is Usually Available at Public Libraries

Looking for Free WiFi, but don't want to spend a few dollars on food or drink? Your best bet is to seek out public libraries. Libraries often have computers set up for patrons to surf the web and do basic tasks like word processing and printing. If you have a laptop, you don't even have to wait for your turn at one of their computers, because libraries often carry free WiFi! The chairs are plentiful, and you can sit quietly, surfing away over the WiFi that your taxes have already provided. The Library is one of the best places to go to work over the internet, because it is quiet, and it provides free WiFi.

Look for Fast WiFi Connections at Cafes and Fast Food Restaurants

These days, every Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and McDonald's carries free WiFi for their customers. For the price of a coffee or soda, customers can spend hours on-line, surfing the internet over the WiFi these businesses provide. Often they do not question how long any customer remains in their establishment. Barnes & Noble, in particular, doesn't even mind if you don't buy a drink or a book, or even browse. Their staff will ignore you, while you spend hours on their WiFi network. (That said, it is polite to buy something! I mean, you are using their services, so why not also pick up a scone and a cup of tea?)

Starbucks is a great place to get WiFi because they offer free music downloads weekly, and other benefits to their customers. They tend to be noisier, so serious workers and surfers may need noise-canceling headphones to make sure they can keep working in peace.

McDonald's can be the noisiest of the bunch, with their active play areas and family-friendly credo. You never know when families will come in, and start enjoying themselves. If you plan on spending any amount of time at McDonald's, headphones are advised. However, the family-friendly atmosphere is ideal for parents who need to hop on-line to work or check their e-mail while their children remain busy in the play area. McDonald's is a great, clean, safe way to let your children play for hours, while you can keep an eye on them as you finish your tasks on-line. If you plan on using McDonald's to keep your children busy, I recommend against headphones. You need to be ready to be there for your child, and to shout encouragement when they want you to watch, and you want to tell them that you are watching.

No, really! I'm watching, honey! Go ahead! I'm not surfing the internet right this second! I'm watching you right from over the top of my computer monitor!

Restaurants and Bars Often Offer Free WiFi

Look around at the restaurants and bars in your community. Often quality bars will offer WiFi to their customers as a free service, to encourage aspiring screenwriters to pull out their laptop while drinking. Some restaurant chains offer WiFi, but charge for it, and these establishments can be useful in a pinch, but you might as well be home on your own WiFi signal if you're paying for it! If you keep your eye out while you are out with your friends and family members you will start to notice the signs that get put up all over town, for establishments that offer Free WiFi! Soon, you'll be able to work anywhere, anytime, even if plumbers are digging up your entire office with loud power tools!

Open WiFi Networks can Be Dangerous!

Always remember that open WiFi networks can be a security risk for your personal information. Exercise caution whenever you use an open WiFi network, and avoid checking things like bank balances and websites that require lots of personal information. You never know who might be sniffing your packets, or even just peering over your shoulder while you work. It is important to avoid any WiFi signal that is not explicitly intended for your use. If you happen to be in a parking lot somewhere, and notice an unsecured wireless signal, you probably shouldn't use it. At best, someone accidentally forgot to secure their signal, or you accidentally slipped into an open network for patrons of a nearby establishment that wouldn't mind if you hopped on for just a minute. At worst, you are putting yourself and your data at risk by pouring personal information into the hands of unscrupulous individuals who leave their network unsecured to take advantage of people.

Law enforcement officials, as well, would take umbrage if they found out you were sneaking onto someone's WiFi signal without their express consent. Instead of sneaking onto your neighbor's WiFi, look for legal establishments like Libraries, Cafes, and Restaurants that offer Free WiFi!


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    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Good stuff, and timely for me right now as my service seems to be iffy. Thanks for posting.


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