So let us first answer the obvious question; is it even possible to get a WiFi connection without an internet provider? Well, the answer is YES. However, a simple ‘yes’ won’t do it here, we must explain what do we mean by the internet provider and what solid ways exist for you to get online without a provider. We will do our very best to make things as clear as possible and provide you with tangible instruction that you can apply straight away.
However, before we dig into details on how to get wifi without an internet provider, we define some terms. This will make things a lot clearer for you and help you understand the concept of ‘getting online.
Basic Terms You Need To Understand Before You Learn How To Get Wifi Without Internet Providers
If you already know what the following terms mean or are not interested in understanding the concept of accessing the Internet, simply move to the next section.
The Internet is an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.
World Wide Web
World wide web (WWW) or simply web is what most average Joes and Janes have in mind when they think if the internet. The web is actually an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URL), which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible over the internet.
Internet provider is a company that has a network of regular internet cables or even fiber optic cables set in place. Thus, they can provide you with internet service by enabling you to connect to their network and use it to get online. Internet providers are also known as Internet Service Providers or short ISPs. ISPs are basically middlemen, enabling users to connect to the internet.
Wireless providers are basically cellphone service providers. Since the technology evolved, their transmitting towers and satellites now support 4G (or LTE) and even 5G (emerging) for data signals (the voice and data channels of cell phones are separated). Data signals are also connected to the internet once they reach transmitting towers via ISP, which enables you to also get online.
Some still believe that Wi-Fi stands for Wireless Fidelity, however, Wi-Fi is just a trademark phrase that means IEEE 802.11. Wi-Fi is a technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed internet and network connection based on IEEE 802.11 standards. When you connect to any Wi-Fi signal it is either using Wireless provider or ISP to connect you with the Internet.
The hotspot is essentially a device creating a Wi-Fi signal without cable by the use of a wireless provider’s signal. Hot spots can be created by standalone ‘hot spot’ devices or by smartphones (most modern smartphones have this option).
Tethering stands for when we connect a cell phone with a computer via USB cable and use it as a local modem device, which means we use cellular data to access the internet.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the terms and options on how to connect to the Internet, we can have a closer look at what are your options to getting online without paying a monthly fee to the ISP.
Is it Really Possible to Get Wi-Fi Without an Internet Provider?
Getting Wi-Fi without an internet provider is entirely possible. In fact, there are several different ways to get Wi-Fi without an internet provider. In the next chapter, you can see these clever methods. Keep in mind, though, that the internet you will get may not be high-speed internet, however, many of these options are both free and legal.
Best 12 Ways To Get Wifi Without Internet Providers
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that will charge you somewhere between $40-60 per month to let you use their connection to the internet. That is quite a lot of money and not everyone can afford to pay such a large some on a monthly basis.
Herein you will learn how to avoid paying ISP and still get online.
1. Mobile Hotspot
Almost all of us have mobile devices these days. Well, you can use your smartphone or tablet (if it has a SIM card) to create a Wi-Fi signal that you can connect to with a laptop or other smartphones and access the Internet that way.
Instead of using a smartphone as a hotspot device, you can also purchase a self-stand hotspot device. Both, a smartphone or a hotspot device use cellular data to provide you with access.
The cost of such services will depend on the wireless provider and on a deal or package you have. If you have a wireless deal that includes an unlimited amount of high-speed data, you can use it and send an email, browse the internet and even stream videos for no additional cost.
If you don’t have an unlimited amount of data, then use hotspot with caution. Especially laptops can be very tricky here as they tend to use three times more data when browsing the internet. To avoid paying extra fees or using up all your monthly data in a day make sure to pay attention.
Also, make sure you have the best and the most optimal data package to get the most out of the mobile hotspot option.
One hot spot can serve to connect several devices. This will, of course, affect the speed of the connection.
Tethering essentially uses a similar principle as creating a hotspot with your mobile device but instead of using Wi-Fi to connect your laptop to the hotspot, you used a USB cable to connect your mobile to your laptop. You are still using your mobile data and connectivity to access the Internet.
Tethering uses slightly less battery than hotspot, thus it might be smarter to use it if your phone’s battery is low. However, you should know that tethering has much greater limits when it comes to data transfer than a hotspot connection. Thus, tethering is suitable for simpler tasks like emails and browsing. Video streaming and other larger data will not work properly with the tether option.
3. Public Wi-Fi
As you probably already know, there are many cities all across the globe that offer free Wi-Fi. In some places, they cover a great area, while in others it is limited to a small radius. In addition to public Wi-Fi options, you can exploit Wi-Fi connections offered by restaurants, bars, offices, stores, and many other facilities.
More often than not these Wi-Fi connections aren’t open to everyone. Meaning you will need to have an access code to connect. However, many times you can get this Wi-Fi password just by showing your interest in their services or ordering a drink in case of restaurants and bars.
NOTE: Not all public Wi-Fi connections are free. In many cases entering your name and email will be enough to get access to the Internet, however, often times you will need to use your credit card. Unless you are prepared to pay, we advise you not to share your credit card info.
- Wi-Fi Free Spot helps you locate businesses and locations in your area that offer free Wi-Fi. Visit www.wififreespot.com, click on your state and find available options.
- Wi-Fi Map is a free app you can use online or on your smartphone to locate free Wi-Fi: www.wifimap.io
4. WiFi USB Dongle
Wi-Fi USBs, also known as the Instant Internet are small USB devices, normally just slightly larger than a typical USB key, that use a SIM card to enable you Internet access via Wireless Provider.
Wi-Fi USBs work in a similar way as a tethering option, however, they do not have the limitation of not being able to process video streaming and other large-data actions. Of course, the data available to you will depend on your deal with a wireless provider, while the speed of the connection will depend on the quality of the signal. 4G or LTE is what you want for smooth browsing, 3G may work for emails but will struggle with images and larger files. Anything below 3G is not suitable for online work.
5. Share The Internet Provider
Whether you want to use your smartphone, your tablet, or your laptop to connect to a Wi-Fi signal, you are used to scanning available Wi-Fi connections, right. Well by doing so you get to see which networks are available, which require passwords and which are unlocked.
You can try your luck and perhaps there is one that you’ll be able to connect to without having to pride a passcode. If you are not that lucky, you can always ask a kind neighbor to let you use theirs. In that case, make sure to check with than what sort of plan are they on – the last thing you want is to inflict your neighbors with high costs.
Another option is to ask your neighbor to pitch in on their monthly internet bill and get access in exchange.
6. Free (Trial) services
Some ISPs offer free trial services. This depends on the provider’s current offers. Simply use Google and search for ‘Free Internet Service Provider trial’ or similar. These sorts of free trials are most common with the dial-up internet providers and come in a form of free hours (NetZero and Juno are the two ISPs who offer free hours). However, you can get free access for a whole month sometimes. However, be careful, sometimes you are required to sign a deal in order to get a free trial.
- FreedomPop actually offers free internet services. If available in your area, you can get 10GB of data free the first month and up to 500MB of data free every consecutive month. Visit www.freedompop.com, enter your zip code and email address to check availability.
- All Free ISP is an organization that helps you find all available ISPs in your state/area and it shows the prices of their services so that you can choose the most affordable one. It will also show if there are any free options available. Visit www.isp-in-area.com and select your state.
7. Schools’ & Employers’ Offers
Some schools and business offer their students and their employees free internet connections. Make sure to check with your school/employer if there might be such an option available for you.
8. Wifi Without The Internet
The majority of people use Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. However, WiFi signals may also be used to connect many modern electronic devices in a network without the actual need to connect to the internet. This type of use won’t enable you to get the data from or out to the Internet, thus it is appropriate for sharing data among the devices within the created network, streaming own media, controlling smart homes, having LAN parties, etc.
9. Get Wifi From Your Neighbors
If you don’t have an internet provider, it doesn’t mean that nobody in your building has it. On the contrary, as we live in the digital age, chances are that most of your neighbors have Wi-Fi and that your computer even picks them up. If so, you can ask a neighbor to share his or her Wi-Fi connection with you.
Make sure the person has a good and unlimited connection and as it is quite a big favor to ask, it may benefit if the person is also your friend. Make sure to offer to pay every second month. This way, both you and your neighbor will have free internet connection for 6 out of 12 months a year.
If you choose this option, treat the Wi-Fi the same as you would a public one and use a VPN service to encrypt your data and hide your activity. You can also ask your neighbor if their router supports a ‘guest’ network, which doesn’t allow devices to mix and provides more security.
10. Share a Friend’s Internet
If a random neighbor isn’t willing to share their internet connection with you, you should check with a friend – that is, if only the friend lives so close by that your device picks up the connection. Again, offer to pay 50% of the yearly expenses, and this way it may be a win-win situation for both of you.
11. Buy a Portable Cellular Router
In case you tend to travel a lot and you often find yourself without access to Wi-Fi (and constantly using mobile data with a hotspot is costly), you may benefit greatly from a portable cellular router.
This device is similar to a regular router. However, instead of being connected to the internet through a cable, the router has a SIM card slot, where you can put a data-only SIM card, which allows you to connect to 3G and 4G networks. This way you have a Wi-Fi network wherever you go. These devices are inexpensive and they last a whole day on one charge.
Nonetheless, make sure to have a sufficient data plan.
12. Wi-Fi for Everyone
As you can see, there are plenty of options to get Wi-Fi for everyone. Simply review them and select the one that best fits your needs. However, if you prefer absolute stability and reliability, you may prefer to get your own fixed broadband connection. Otherwise, you can see the options on how to get Wi-Fi without an internet provider above.
Things to Consider Before Choosing Free Internet
While all of the above are great ways to get Wi-Fi without an internet provider, many of them come with a list of cons, which you should take into consideration before choosing free internet and committing to any of these options. Things that you should consider include:
Using a public internet connection, sharing the internet with neighbors, and other convenient methods to get free internet tend to be less safe and secure than using private Wi-Fi. As such, make sure to use a VPN service to protect your privacy and security. Also, make sure not to visit sites not using HTTPS, log out of your accounts after you finish using them, and disconnect from the Wi-Fi, when you are not using it.
Sharing an internet connection with many other users can slow down the internet speeds. If you are OK with slower internet speeds, go for it!
Upload and download
Ask yourself if you are planning to upload and download stuff from the internet often. If so, you may need to purchase a private connection with high speeds, as sharing the Wi-Fi will slow down the internet speed and make uploading and downloading a nightmare.
If you are using the internet for work, education, or other important tasks, you may think twice before choosing a free internet connection. If you are using the internet for important activities, you want it to be reliable and to work at any time you may need it.
What are the Benefits of Free Internet Access?
Getting Wi-Fi without an internet provider may have some cons, but it definitely also comes with a list of benefits, including:
Most of these ways to get Wi-Fi without an internet provider are much more affordable than purchasing your own internet service plan. For example, sharing Wi-Fi with a neighbor or friend will save you 50% of the expenses, while using public Wi-Fi costs nothing at all.
No contracts, freedom
Not selecting an internet provider and a private internet service plan also gives you more freedom and flexibility. This way, you can combine different free options, travel, move a lot, switch options until you find the right one, and even try out different providers without ever signing a contract.
Most of the free internet options listed above have a considerably simpler setup process. Instead of having professionals over at your house and setting up a router and additional hardware and software, most options allow you to simply log in and enjoy the connection.
How to Turn Your Tablet or Phone into Wi-FI Hotspot
Most modern tablets and smartphones come with a Wi-Fi hotspot feature that enables the user to turn the device into a temporary and portable Wi-Fi router. This way, you can use your mobile data on other devices, including laptops and desktop computers.
Keep in mind that mobile data is generally relatively expensive and the more devices connect to your mobile hotspot, the more you will have to pay. Make sure you have unlimited monthly or weekly data, otherwise, set a data limit. Also, make sure to set a password for your mobile hotspot to prevent others from using it.
Also, keep in mind that a mobile hotspot drains your device battery a lot faster. As such, it’s best to have a charger or power bank at hand.
To turn your smartphone or tablet into a hotspot, go to ‘Settings’, choose ‘Mobile Hotspot and Tethering’, and turn on the mobile hotspot. Most devices also have a shortcut to turn the hotspot on. Se the name of the network and set a password. Then, connect your laptop or desktop to the Wi-Fi as you would connect to any other Wi-Fi network.
What are the Best Internet Options if You Want to Use the Internet?
All of the options to get Wi-Fi without an internet provider are great, especially if you are on a tight budget. However, the option that is best for you depends on your lifestyle, your preferences, your needs, etc. Therefore, make sure to carefully review the options and find the one that suits you best.
In addition, there are other options to use the internet:
- Fiber optic internet
- Cable internet-only plans
- DSL internet
- Dial-up internet
Wifi Without Internet Provider FAQs
Can I Get Internet Where There is no Service?
Yes, there are numerous ways to get internet where there is no service. These options include using a Wi-Fi USB dongle, mobile hotspot, cable network, satellite internet, portable cellular router, and more.
Is a Portable Cellular Router a Good Option for Free Wi-Fi?
Yes. If your mobile data package is ample and if you travel a lot, this may be the perfect portable Wi-Fi option for you.
Can You Have a Wi-Fi Signal Without the Internet?
No, you cannot get Wi-Fi without an internet connection. Wi-Fi is simply a way to connect to the internet and transfer data. You can, however, connect to the internet without a Wi-Fi signal. You can do so with a cable, DSL, and/or satellite.
Can I Get Satellite Internet If I Live in a City?
Yes, satellite internet is available to both those who live in a city and those who live in rural and underpopulated areas.
Considering the fact that most of us have smartphones on us all the time, we have quite many options for getting wifi without an internet provider. We hope you will find a way to get online with one or more of the above-presented options for free or as little cost as possible. Browse safely and get the job done. Or simply have fun reading your favorite blog or watching a funny video clip.