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How to Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots Near You

Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
Written by Martins D. Okoi

According to World Wi-Fi Day, the global total number of public Wi-Fi hotspots will grow sevenfold from 64.2 million in 2015 to 432.5 million in 2020. While that’s an exponentially huge leap, the world is a really big place and that makes it difficult to randomly roll into places with free Wi-Fi.

Although the probability of locating free Wi-Fi hotspots ultimately depends on your location e.g. are you in a city or a village? There are a couple of ways through which you can locate free Wi-Fi hotspots not far from you and below is a list of the best that I know.

Visit Free WiFi Locations

The most popular free WiFi locations are restaurants, buses, trains, libraries, and galleries because they typically allow even bystanders to connect to their network. Granted, these days restaurants require you to buy an item or two before giving you their password, libraries require you to be a student or a registered guest, etc. – you get the idea.

If you want to be able to use their network at any time then meeting their requirements is a small price to pay. So just take a stroll to any of those venues around you with your laptop or phone, take a seat, and enjoy the WiFi-filled air.

Use Hotspot Databases

Would you have guessed that you could go through directories of WiFi hotspot locations before even leaving the house? Well, it is and it is with thanks to the awesomeness of WiFi enthusiasts out there who consciously add relevant locations to their preferred platforms such as OpenWiFiSpots for free. My recommendations for you are OpenWiFiSpots, Wi-Fi Space, and Boingo.

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OpenWiFiSpots

It is a free web platform that contains a comprehensive directory of WiFi hotspots continually updated by its users. As at the time of writing, it added 120 new free WiFi hotspots in the last 7 days and currently contains 66,198 free WiFi hotspots in the U.S alone.

You can search for locations by entering an address, city, state, or zip or by browsing through its list of cities, states, and countries. It also has a guide for several free WiFi locations in airports, coffee houses, hotels in New York, public parks, fast food restaurants, etc.

OpenWiFiSpots - Free Wifi Hotspots

OpenWiFiSpots – Free Wifi Hotspots

Boingo

It is a search engine that enables you to find locations with free WiFi by searching through its database containing over 1 million free hotspot points! You can search for locations by city, postal code, or address, and filter search results by the type of location e.g. airport, hotel, cafe, store, or bar/restaurant.

If you don’t want to search, you can peruse a map with listed locations complete with directions to your selected location and you can even export your selections to a PDF for offline viewing.

Boingo - Unlimited Wi-Fi Access

Boingo – Unlimited Wi-Fi Access

Wi-Fi Space

It is an online directory where you can locate WiFi hotspots by searching for cities, browsing its location catalog, or interacting directly with its color-coded map.

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Green signifies the WiFi network is free to use, yellow signifies private networks with known passwords, and red signifies private networks with unknown passwords.

Wi-Fi Space - Free Wi-Fi Passwords Map

Wi-Fi Space – Free Wi-Fi Passwords Map

Boingo and Wi-Fi Space are available to install on Android and iOS and two alternatives for smartphones include Wiman and WiFi Map.

Find Hidden WiFi Networks

All WiFi networks have SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers) and that’s what shows up as the WiFi name. There are different reasons why people choose to hide their WiFi from unconnected devices but they don’t really matter any longer because you can easily make them visible to you using a WiFi analyzer apps for on your laptop or smartphone. A recommendable mention for Linux is Kismet.

I hope this article helps you locate (free) WiFi hotspots around you more easily. Please spread the message and if you have any comments and/or suggestions to make feel free to add them in the comments section below.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and programmer.