If you’re looking for places with free wifi near you, we have lots of options. Or are you wondering where you can get the fastest wifi connections? There are more than 92,000 locations in the U.S. that provide free internet access.
We’ve created a list of coffee shops, retailers and other places that give you free internet access AND we’ve provided the speeds you can expect too.
No matter how you use the internet in your life, you probably want easy, reliable, and affordable access to it.
According to Money Magazine, “Consumers now pay an average of $50 a month for a broadband connection to the Web, which is up from a monthly average of about $40 a decade ago. But costs can vary widely—ranging from $10 to $120.”
Luckily, there are many free ways to access the internet.
You may have to put some effort into finding the best spot for you, but your wallet will thank you! Take a look at this list to find the most reliable connection to the internet in your area.
1. Apps & Websites to Find Free Wifi Near Me
Finding free internet access in your neighborhood may be easier than it sounds. Many businesses offer free wireless to their customers and many public buildings have wifi access available to their users. You will need to find the most convenient and safe place for you to use wifi for free.
One of the easiest ways to find free wifi in your area is to use the website Wifi-Space (WifiSpc.com).
You simply have to enter your city and the website will discover all of the options in your area.
The website also shows you all of the password-protected wifi hotspots in your area, which makes it easier to rule out those before you drive over.
If you travel often, you may want to use the WifiSpc app.
Wifi Spc will show you all of your available options in your area, which is a great way to discover local places that give free internet access.
Another option is the many fast-food chains that offer wifi for their customers. You can check out these notoriously reliable chains below.
Free Wifi App – By Wiman
Wiman is a global WiFi network that allows people like you to connect to the Internet for free and share their WiFi safely without the password needing to be visible.
Thanks to the community of users, Wiman is becoming the largest WiFi database worldwide with over 60.000.000 hotspots, so you can surf the Internet for free anywhere in the world.
You can look for your travel destination and find out how many wireless hotspots you can connect to!
Unfortunately, this app is currently only available for Android users.
Open Wifi Spots
OpenWiFiSpots is a huge directory of free wireless (WiFi) hotspots. The site is continuously updated by a growing group of users who contribute their findings of Free Wifi spots. The interactive map is easy to use and allows you to find free hotspots in any area throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.
2. Which Chains Offer Free Internet
Although many businesses do offer wifi to their customers, not all wifi was created equally. You don’t want to set up at a business only to find that the connection is terrible.
Before you start hunting down a spot to pull out your computer, you should know which national chains offer the best and fastest wifi. The following chains consistently offer fast and reliable wifi to their customers.
Coffee Shops and Restaurants with Free Internet Access
There are more than 83,000 restaurant or coffee shop locations that provide free internet to patrons. Some provided faster wifi speeds than others. Use this list to locate the best and fastest internet service near you.
The coffee chain is known as a place that you can drink your coffee and work from your computer. Starbucks 13,000+ locations have a reputation for fast connections and easy access.
Once they switched internet providers from AT&T to Google they nearly doubled their speed. No wonder lots of entrepreneurs hang out there to build their businesses from their laptops and tablets.
It has been rated by Cnet.com as one of the fastest free internet connections nationwide. Starbucks speeds are reported to be 51 Mbps.
Taco Bell – Fast
The wifi speed at Taco Bell’s 5,600 US locations is more than three times faster than the wifi at McDonald’s. This may become a factor in your next tacos versus burger dinnertime debate.
According to RottenWifi.com Taco Bell’s wifi speed was seen to be 14.29 Mbps.
Arby’s – Fast
Arby’s restaurant chain has more than 3,300 locations in the US. They offer lighting-fast wifi speeds to customers around the country for free. It might seem unexpected, but Arby’s has one of the fastest wifi speeds available for free.
According to Wifispc.com Arby’s internet speed has been recorded as 12.24 Mbps.
Subway – Average
Subway’s 26,000 locations offer wifi that is a touch faster than McDonald’s. You will be able to work comfortably at this chain as long as you don’t want to stream movies.
According to RottenWifi.com Subway’s average internet speed was 4.78 Mbps.
McDonald’s – Average
The wifi offered for free at McDonald’s more than 14,000 locations is okay. It is easy to get work done with the speed offered at this chain.
According to QZ.com McDonald’s wifi speed has been clocked at 4.187 Mbps.
Panera Bread – Average
Panera Bread has free internet at its more than 2,000 locations across the U.S. Their wifi limits you to 30 minutes of connectivity before being logged out. You may or may not be able to log back on, it will just depend on the volume of customers coming in the door.
Yahoo Finance rated Panera Bread’s wifi speed at 4.18 Mbps.
Burger King – Average
The Burger King chain offers free internet that is less than stellar. The connection is workable but very slow.
According to RottenWifi.com Burger King’s 7,500 US locations boast wifi speed are on the lower end of others in the restaurant business. They clocked in at 3.58 Mbps.
KFC – Slow
KFC offers slow, but usable wifi for all of its customers at more than 4,200 US locations.
According to multiple sources, the speed at KFC restaurants is about 1.8 Mbps. That’s fast enough to load your Facebook page, but not good enough to stream videos.
Dunkin’ Donuts – Slow
Dunkin Donuts coffee shop offers free internet at their 7,600 locations. But the speed is quite a bit slower than Starbucks. However, this chain is typically less crowded, so the quiet may lead to more productivity overall.
According to Cnet.com Dunkin’ Donuts offers wifi speeds of 1.7 Mbps.
Buffalo Wild Wings – Slow
The sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings offers free wifi at many of its more than 600 locations. In addition to the free hotspot, you will have access to many live viewing of sporting events for free.
According to InstaBridge.com Buffalo Wild Wings has internet speeds of 1.12 Mbps.
Peet’s – Slow
Peet’s is a well-known coffee shop that offers wifi to its customers, but the speed is much slower than Starbucks. To connect to their wifi at their 200 locations, you’ll need to create an account using your Facebook account or your email address.
According to an evaluation by CNet.com Peet’s had speeds of less than 1 Mbps.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – Slow
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has more than 1,000 locations and is yet another coffee shop that has free wifi available. The problem is that their internet is not a very fast connection.
Their internet service provider is Wowfi. After sitting through a 15-second ad, users have to sign up for a Wowfi account.
Wendy’s – Slow
Wendy’s 6,500 locations have free internet access that is workable. Although the speeds are slower, the internet is still free.
According to RottenWifi.com Wendy’s wifi speed are some of the slowest in the restaurant business. They clocked in at .51 Mbps. That is the slowest free internet speed we’ve seen.
3. Retail Stores with Free Internet Access
Beyond coffee shops and restaurants, there are thousands of other retail locations where you can pick up free wifi for internet access. This list gives you speeds at more than 9350 retail locations in the U.S.
The Microsoft Store – Fast
There are 89 Microsoft stores across the US. While Apple boasts about beating out Microsoft, Microsoft wins out on the free internet speed race.
According to PCMagazine Microsoft stores have wifi speeds of 55.7 Mbps.
The Apple Store- Fast
The popular technology company offers free internet access to patrons within 282 US-based stores. You can find Apple stores in some malls in large metropolitan areas. It is possible to use the wifi without even entering the store, just sit on the closest bench outside to access the free network.
According to PCMagazine, Apple Stores have wifi speeds of 41.8 Mbps.
REI – Fast
REI is a seller of awesome outdoor equipment. Their 154 spacious stores and a great place to hang out. Some even have a meeting room.
According to PCMagazine REI stores have wifi speeds of 36.2 Mbps.
Best Buy – Average
Best Buy has two options for free internet at its 1,500 locations. You can access their wifi on your device to look things up or you can test out their display computers which are hooked up to their store wifi. Either way, this is a good option only for mobile devices not a workday with your laptop.
Cnet.com reports that Best Buy’s wifi speed is 3.8Mbps.
Barnes and Noble – Average
Barnes & Noble offers free access to its patrons at 633 stores through its small Starbucks cafe. Although the wifi is not always available throughout the entire store, it usually is. You can bring your laptop and work comfortably with this wifi.
According to Yelp wifi speed at some Barnes & Nobles is around 3 Mbps.
Lowe’s Home Improvement – Slow
Lowe’s is another store that offers free wifi at it 2000 plus locations. The speed isn’t fast, but you will be able to pull up anything on the web through your phone. If you really need to work on your computer, then you may be able to find a quiet table in the garden section but you may want to find a different option.
According to Cnet.com Lowe’s internet speed tops out at 1.96 Mbps.
Target – Slow
Target has free wifi available in all 1800 retail stores. Although there is not a dedicated work area to use the wifi, it is a good option if you need to look something up on your cell phone. Plus, some Target’s have a snack place with tables that you could potentially bring your laptop.
According to Cnet.com the average speed of Targets free internet is 1.868 Mbps.
Staples – Unknown
Staples 1,142 office supply stores offer free wifi that is fast but not the best option for a long workday. However, the wifi is free and accessible to the public.
Office Depot – Unknown
Office Depot, a competitor to Staples also offers acceptable free wifi that can help you get a few things done. They have more than 1,300 locations where you can hook up to the internet.
Whole Foods – Unknown
Whole Foods 450 locations offer a free internet connection to their customers that is usable for work. Most stores conveniently have a small cafe area that offers a space to complete your work while enjoying a snack.
Since Amazon has taken over you can be sure that the wifi is really good. But some people are concerned that Amazon will use some of your personal information from your use of their wifi.
4. Other Free Wifi Options Outside of Your Home
Many of the chains above will expect you to purchase something in exchange for your free wifi. Although a purchase is not required, it may lead to some awkward situations. In order to avoid that, you may choose to find wifi in less busy places like these 9 types of locations.
Libraries no longer just offer books to their patrons, they also offer free wifi. Many even offer free access to computers, so you may not even have to bring your own laptop. You may have to sign up for a library card but sometimes that is not even necessary.
Some buses, trains, and airplanes offer you free internet access. If you happen to be on the go, then these are great opportunities to check-in through free wifi.
Larger cities are starting to introduce wifi to their park areas.
Many museums have free wifi access available. Try not to let the access to wifi ruin your appreciation of the exhibits though!
Hopefully, you do not have to spend too much time in a hospital, but most offer free wifi.
Most college campuses have free wifi available to guests on campus. Typically the connection is very fast but you may only have access for a limited number of days.
Many airports offer free wifi access to their travelers. If you need to accomplish something while traveling, then a layover at the airport may be the perfect place.
You may already pay for a gym membership and many offer wifi to their patrons. It isn’t completely free because you have to pay for the membership but it is a good bonus if you are already a member.
Some hotels offer free internet to their guests. Oddly enough, mid-range hotels offer free wifi but high-end hotels charge for their wifi. Even if you are not a guest, you could potentially access the free wifi through the lobby or even in your car.
5. Safety Measures to Keep in Mind While Using Free Wifi
Although free internet is amazing, you will need to be careful about how you use the free networks. Many of them of not secure networks and could potentially open your computer up to threats from hackers and information thieves. In order to avoid a bad situation, just play it safe while using free internet.
- Try to stick to “https” sites. The “s” at the end means that the site is secure, unlike HTTP sites which are less secure.
- Never remember the network. It is easy for your computer to just remember each hotspot you connect to but you should make a point to forget each network you visit. Otherwise, you may reconnect unknowingly and leave your information open to threats.
- Finally, never enter sensitive information on a free wifi connection. Do not enter banking or credit card information while browsing the internet away from your secure network.
Free internet is everywhere, you just have to go look for it. It is likely that the closest free hotspot is only a couple of miles away from your home.
Explore your options to find the best free hotspot in your neighborhood! If you are looking for more ways to save on your internet costs, then check out this article.