The following free ISP comparison chart allows quick comparison of the important features of the best free internet access providers. For example, if you want a free internet access provider without ad banners you can quickly run down the "Banner Ads" column to find all the free isps with no ads. Likewise you can quickly compare free isp providers based on which supports Windows, Macintosh, Web TV, Linux, or other platforms, which are available in the USA or Canada, and many other features. (There is also a Discount ISP table, since there are not any good choices left for free isp service.)
For more details or to sign up for a free isp (you should read all the terms and conditions of the service agreements first), go to the free internet providers' websites through the provided links. For an explanation of the terms used in the table, please see our term definitions.
Recommended Free ISP
Unless you rarely use the internet, we don't really recommend any free ISP. Since there are not many free ISPs left, and the ones that remain are severely limited and unreliable, we recommend choosing a Discount ISP instead. The discount providers we include generally offer the same features and services of other pay ISPs, but for a lot less than the $20+ per month that most of them charge.
For more help including background information, feature explanations, and free isp recommendations, check out our free internet access guide. Also browse our list of the best free internet service providers.
|Free ISP||Banner Ads||56K||Usenet||Web Space||Platform||Available||Comments|
|Juno||Yes||Yes||No||12 MB||Yes||Win||USA / Canada||Large ad bar. Free internet access is limited to 10 hours per month. Speed, reliability and support problems. If you need more than 10 hours, sign up for Juno Platinum for $9.95 per month. From United Online, which also offers NetZero Platinum.|
|NetZero||Yes||Yes||No||No||POP3||Win||USA / Canada||Large ad bar. Free internet access is limited to 10 hours per month. Speed, reliability and support problems. If you need more than 10 hours, sign up for NetZero Platinum for $9.95 per month. From United Online, which also offers Juno Platinum.|
|NoCharge||No||Yes||No||No||Web||Win / Mac / Linux||WA State only||Very limited availability. Poor reliability. After the recent launch of their paid ISP, NoCharge users have reported that they can no longer access the internet for free, despite NoCharge's claim that they will continue to provide free ISP service. NoCharge.com still claims to offer free isp service, but after you sign up, you may only be able to see an ad for their paid isp. Support is available at a 1-900 number at $10 per call.|
The following free ISPs have all switched to paid internet services or ceased operations. They are NO LONGER AVAILABLE, but are listed here for reference:
|Free ISP||Banner Ads||Usenet||Web Space||Platform||Available||Comments|
|1 Nation Online||No||Yes||Yes||No||Web / POP3||Win||USA / Central & South America||Has just dropped their free internet service, and now offers paid internet access only.|
|3Web||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||POP3||Win||Canada||As of July 15, 2001, no longer offer free service. They are continuing to offer paid internet access available across Canada. 64K ISDN and up to 56K dialup supported. They charge $1.99/minute for telephone tech support.|
|Address||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win||USA||For advertising they interrupt constantly with commercial breaks instead of a banner ad bar. The software can be very difficult to uninstall and may keep displaying ads after you uninstall. To maintain free isp service you must maintain an active Address.com email address. (One that has been logged into at least 2 times in each 30 day period.) You must also agree to participate in Address Cash and to generate a balance of at least 7.50 cents per month, install any and all required components of the Address.com software, and maintain Address.com as your browser homepage, search page and start page.|
|Altavista||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win / Mac||USA / Canada||Powered by 1stup. Shut down on 12/10/00.|
|Bluelight||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win||USA||Discontinued the free isp service on August 29, 2001. Now offers discount access. Took over the financially struggling Spinway and although they are continuing the free isp service, it is now limited to 12 hours per month. As of Feb 28, 2001, Bluelight no longer supports the Mac. Unlimited free internet access is available if you meet minimum purchase requires at Bluelight.|
|Excite FreeLane||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win||USA||Excite shut down the free ISP on March 1, 2001. They had partnered with WorldShare to continue offering free internet access after 1stup folded, but without Mac support and Canadian dialup numbers. Now they have dropped the free isp altogether.|
|dotNOW!||Yes||Yes||No||4 MB||Web||Win||USA / Canada||DotNow has closed down their internet service. Prior to closing the following info applied: They charge a $19.95 setup fee. They have popup ads in addition to a large ad banner docked at the top of the screen. Users have complained of being billed multiple times for the setup fee, and not receiving the service even after paying. No one is able to get through for tech support or help with billing problems. There are frequent connection problems and many dissatisfied users. Before you join, read this Iowa Attorney General Lawsuit. Highly risky - best to avoid this free isp.|
|Family Connect||No||Yes||Yes||5 MB||Web / POP3||Win||USA||Discontinued their free ISP. However, they still offer a free trial of their FilterPak that works with most ISPs to make them Family safe (i.e. pornographic and illegal content blocked.)|
|fanz||Yes||Yes||Yes||2 MB||Web / POP3||Win||USA||Up to 5 email accounts. They seem to have shut down and their website no longer works.|
|FreeAtLast||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win||USA||This free isp did not have banner ads. They have closed down all operations and are no longer in business.|
|FreeInternet||Yes||Yes||Yes||12 MB||POP3||Win/Mac||USA||FreeI has filed for bankruptcy. Users were transferred to NetZero as new free isp.|
|FreeWWWeb||No||Yes||Yes||No||POP3||Win / Mac / WebTV / Linux||USA / Canada||FreeWWWeb went bankrupt and is no longer available. Existing users were transferred to Juno.|
|FreeXDSL||Yes||DSL||Yes||No||Yes||Win/Mac||USA||High-speed DSL service and free modem. Be careful since this is the same company that owned the now bankrupt FreeWWWeb. See High Speed Internet Access Providers to check for other high-speed providers.|
|FunCow||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win||Canada||Shut down their website and free isp service in May 2001.|
|Going Platinum||No||Yes||??||No||Web / POP3||??||??||This ISP is part of a MLM program. Before joining, be sure to read this article at CNet. Highly risky - best to avoid this isp.|
|iFreedom||Yes||Yes||Yes||16 MB||POP3||Win||USA / Canada||iFreedom is no longer a free isp. Users were transferred to NetZero.|
|InFree||No||Yes||No||No||Web / POP3||Win||USA / Canada||This used to be a free isp with no ad banners. They switched to a paid internet service. Now they have gone out of business and it doesn't appear that they will offer refunds to those who prepaid for up to a year of access.|
|Irish Abroad||Yes||Yes||No||No||POP3||Win||USA||Free internet access from the largest online gathering place for Irish people. Powered by Start Free, which has ceased operations.|
|Lycos||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win / Mac||USA||They have closed the free isp service due to 1stup shutting down.|
|MyPoints||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win / Mac||USA||Not just a free isp, you earn great rewards by reading email, shopping online, touring websites and more. Powered by 1stup. They have closed down the free isp service.|
|NBCi Free ISP||Yes||Yes||No||No limit||Web||Win||USA / Canada||NBCi members must agree to accept frequent email messages as part of their free service. Explorer must be installed, but any browser can be used for browsing. Powered by 1stup. Shut down the free isp service.|
|NetTaxi||Yes||Yes||No||25 MB||Web||Win||USA / Canada||Powered by Spinway. SpinWay has been taken over by Bluelight and all other Spinway partners including this free isp have shut down.|
|Start Free||Yes||Yes||No||No||POP3||Win||USA||This free isp has ceased operations.|
|Web Flyer Net||Yes||Yes||No||No||Web||Win||USA||As of 12/6/00 WebFlyerNet has terminated its free isp service.|
|Winfire!||Yes||DSL||No||No||Web||Win||USA||They stopped taking new members on March 1, 2001 and now have completely shut down. It takes up to 4 months to receive free dsl service and is not widely available. (See High Speed Internet Access Providers to check for other high-speed providers.) Free high speed dsl internet access. Must purchase an adsl modem. The paid plans have no ad banners, higher speed, and may come with a free modem. You must keep the service for 13 months, or pay a $200 cancellation fee.|
|WorldShare||Yes||Yes||Yes||20MB||Web / POP3||Win||USA||Has just dropped their free internet service, and now offers paid internet access only.|
|WorldSpy||No||Yes||No||No||Web / POP3||Win||USA||WorldSpy went bankrupt. Existing users were transferred to Juno.|
1stup is a company that powers over 100 different free internet access brands. Since they all provide the same capabilities, only Excite FreeLane, NBCi, Lycos and Altavista are included here since they are among the biggest and most popular. Currently 1stup is in financial difficulties and may close down and cut off free isp service to all of its partners. Altavista and Lycos are no longer allowing new members and Altavista is terminating free isp service on 12/10/00. While the other 1stup partners have generally all shut down, Excite has partnered with WorldShare to continue offering free isp service with Freelane version 2.0.
Spinway is another company that powers many different free internet access providers. Since they are all similar, we only list a few biggest such as Address, NetTaxi, and since they offer other services such as free disk space and email as well. Bluelight has taken over Spinway. Other free ISPs powered by Spinway, besides for Bluelight, have been shut down. Although newspaper and online news reports have suggested that Bluelight may cancel its free isp service after the end of the year, a Bluelight spokesman has assured us that they plan to always offer some form of free service.