How To Find Free WiFi Hotspots Near You

There are approximately 350 million public Wi-Fi hotspots available globally.

This number includes restaurants, shops, cafes, and hotels with free WiFi. In fact, recently, there has been an increase in the number of parks, bus/train stations, and airports offering free WiFi as well which is why it has become easier to stay connected wherever you go.

Even though they’re really convenient, a Free WiFi Hotspot open to the public is usually unsafe. You totally can connect to them, but we advise that you take the extra step: start protecting your online privacy by getting a 7-day trial with PureVPN.

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Top 10 places offering the Best Free WiFi

There are plenty of places like restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels offering a free Internet connection to customers. The following are some of the popular places offering the best and fastest free WiFi connections:

Starbucks Coffee Company

Your most favorite coffee house has partnered with Google Fiber to provide free and unlimited Wi-Fi access to its customers at approximately 15,000 stores in the US alone.

Finding a Starbucks near you isn’t much of a challenge because they’re everywhere. You only need to visit the café, order their cheapest coffee, and you can use the free Wi-Fi hotspot (and it won’t cost more than $2). Here is how you can access Starbucks' WiFi Network.

McDonald’s

McDonald’s offers free Wi-Fi access to all its 11,500+ franchises. The download speeds at McDonald’s are also twice as fast as most other national chains.

The food may not be good, but you can try out their coffee or soda while you’re using their free Wi-Fi hotspot. Check their website and restaurant locator to see if there’s a location with free Wi-Fi available near you.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin Donuts WiFi is incredibly popular across the globe. However, you may not be aware of the fact that it also offers free Wi-Fi at thousands of its locations.

Burger King

The Scrumptious Big King XXL Meal and mouthwatering Whopper Sandwich aren’t the only specialties of Burger King. Luckily, you can also enjoy high-speed Internet connectivity at Burger King while munching your favorite meal.

Walmart

Numerous Walmart outlets have been offering free WiFi services for over a decade now. The retail giant realizes that it could take 2-3 hours for a family to shop around once they visit a Walmart store. Hence, the company provides its customers with a free WiFi facility during their visit.

When you’re visiting a Walmart outlet, be sure to check if they’re offering free WiFi and carry on with your shopping while staying connected digitally.

Target

Target’s free WiFi service will keep you entertained while you’re shopping at the retail store. While you probably won’t be able to use their Internet service to browse the web for an extended period, you can certainly save a lot of your mobile data.

That’s not all,. Several Target locations now feature Target cafes, and so if a store near you happens to have the café attached to the building, you can connect to the internet.

Best Buy

When you’re visiting a Best Buy store, it’s easy to get distracted with so much tech around you, and a simple 15 minute stop can turn into an hour-long shopping spree. Fortunately, Best Buy offers free WiFi service for you to browse the web, send an urgent email, or do a price comparison online.

Best Buy is known for providing exceptional download speeds. You can head inside, connect your phone, and download whatever you want, using the latest gadgets without paying a dime.

Marriott Hotels

Marriott offers free WiFi service for anyone who’s visiting the hotel. Guests and visitors can connect to the hotels’ WiFi and enjoy browsing the web and stream their favorite TV shows and movies.

Having a free WiFi facility keeps you connected to your office, family, and friends while enjoying your stay at the hotel.

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotels also offer free WiFi in the lobby, so anyone who’s coming to the hotel or near the hotel’s premises can connect to the hotel WiFi and use the internet.

Local Library

A nearby library can gain you access to free Internet. Some public libraries that offer free Wi-Fi access include the New York Public Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, LA County Library, and Brooklyn Public Library.

Other Free WiFi Options

Since the corona-virus pandemic, many restaurants have been shut down. In the case that you do not have access to these food chains, you may need to resort to the alternatives to find free Internet.

You can use a WiFi Directory to find the nearest WiFi spot in your neighborhood. A WiFi directory will show you hotels, airports, RV parks, and gyms, hospitals, etc.

Vulnerabilities in Free WiFi Hotspots

It is important to understand that public WiFi, as the name suggests, is open to anyone who wants to connect to the Internet. Users on free WiFi networks could be anyone, even those harboring the evil intention of compromising your private information for personal gains. (It’s more common than you think.)

Here’s how they do it:

Unsecure Network: Yes. Even though Wi-Fi networks come with standard encryption protocols, you can never be sure if those protocols are 100% secure or not. Take, for instance, the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability, which could allow hackers to monitor or pry on your private information.

MITM Attack:KRACK or other types of vulnerabilities within public Wi-Fi networks can also lead to Man-in-the-Middle (MTIM) attacks. A MITM attack gives hackers the ability to listen in on the data transmission between a user’s machine and the server.

Hacking Kits: There are widely available hacking kits available that let cybercriminals compromise-free WiFi hotspots. By using such kits, they can see what web pages you are viewing and even what credentials you are using to access your online accounts.

Fake Hotspots: Remember that hackers continuously come up with unique ways to steal your online data, and using a fake WiFi hotspot is one way to do it. A hacker near you may lure you into his trap by creating a malicious hotspot through which he can easily infect your device with malware or a key logger. As a result, the attacker can easily take control of your device and your private information. In other words, that McDonald’s free WiFi network may not be run by McDonald’s.

Follow the Security Checklist before Connecting to a Free WiFi Hotspot

Now that you know the dangers of free WiFi hotspots, learn how you can use public WiFi securely:

Always Confirm Wi-Fi Authenticity

Since you know now that hackers can pry into your online data through malicious hotspots, it would be wise to verify the connection before joining it. The best way to ensure that the open Wi-Fi you want to connect to is genuine or not is by asking the employee of the establishment.

Whether you are using the Wi-Fi in an airport, café, or a restaurant, you can ask an employee if they host the Wi-Fi network or not.

Don’t Toggle On File Sharing

Never keep your device’s file sharing turned on, especially when you are connected to an open Wi-Fi. Unsuspecting users usually allow auto-sharing when they need to share documents, images or any other type of data with other devices. If the option is turned on, hackers can easily gain access to sensitive data.

Therefore, always make sure that file sharing is turned off before joining a Wi-Fi.

Avoid Checking Private Data

Public spots are not the places to conduct personal activities, such as, to check private emails or conduct online transactions. When you make online transactions on open Wi-Fi networks, you expose your sensitive data to cybercriminals.

It is best to not use such networks for checking sensitive data unless it is essential.