The internet is a wonderful, weird, exciting, dangerous place. Nearly everyone uses it every single day to communicate, learn new things, and be entertained. But are we all making the most out of it? There are so many things we can do online that aren’t just fascinating and interesting; they’re also free.
Whether it’s through streaming movies and audio or downloading books, the internet has brought us so many more ways to stay entertained easily. But the majority of these services are subscription only, and if you haven’t stolen a friend or relative’s login, you’ll need to pay for them. Luckily, there are free ways to stay entertained online.
Documentary Heaven is exactly what you’d imagine it is. It’s a place where you can watch thousands of documentaries, for free, online. You’ll find some fantastic docs on crime, health, politics, history, and more on the site.
If you’re looking for something to read on your phone or on your laptop and don’t want to pay for expensive e-books, then you should head to Project Gutenberg. The site features over 56,000 free books, some of which can be downloaded onto a Kindle. Most of the titles available have entered the public domain, so it’s more classics rather than the latest releases, but it offers a fantastic reason to dive into the works of some of the greats of literature.
Open Culture offers a little of everything, and all of it for free. This includes movies, audiobooks, e-books, and even textbooks.
One of the greatest and sometimes most under appreciated miracles of the internet, is that you can access the entire accumulated knowledge of humanity with a click of a button. And there are plenty of ways to improve yourself online through learning, whether that’s mastering a new subject or a new skill.
Coursera is one of the more popular sites hosting online classes. The platform features hundreds of courses and classes designed specifically for Coursera by professors. They include assignments and opportunities to interact with other students.
One of the most important skills to learn in the modern world is coding. To be able to program computers in a world which is run by them gives you an obvious advantage, while an increasing number of jobs require coding as a skill. Code Academy is a free way to learn coding and could be the first steps you need to take toward a lucrative career in technology.
If you want to go to college, or even go back to college, but don’t want the crippling debt usually attached to the experience, websites like Class Central can help you out. The site gives you access to full college courses to help you study college-level subjects for free.
We all have plans to learn that second language, but somehow it’s never the right time: the class is too expensive, or you just can’t seem to get into it. Duolingo is one of the best apps out there for learning a new language and having fun at the same time. The app offers a gamified approach to learning, meaning you’re learning without really ever feeling like you’re being taught.
Ivy League educations are hard to come by and extremely expensive. But there is a way to take classes from Yale University, one of the most respected in the U.S., without leaving your home. A number of top colleges have systems similar to this one, but Open Yale is perhaps the best.
The internet is also home to a number of tools and services that can make our lives easier or more enjoyable. Of these, a surprising number are free.
If you want to shut the world out, knuckle down with some work, or just ignore someone who’s loud and annoying, Rainy Mood is a great way to improve your concentration. The site is pretty simple: it plays stormy rain sounds in the background while you work. It doesn’t sound groundbreaking, but try it next time you need to focus and you’ll probably be surprised.
There are few things more embarrassing than sending an email to someone you don’t know and realizing too late it contains spelling and grammar errors. It’s even worse when that someone is your boss or even the recipient of your job application. Grammarly is a completely free tool which solves this problem, pointing out grammatical errors before you send anything.
If you’re really struggling to keep your mind on the task in hand, you may want to go to more extreme measures. StayFocusd is a browser add-on that blocks websites that distract you. It’s easy to use and, of course, free.
Sometimes life can be a little too much and one of the ways to cope better is to talk to someone. 7Cups is a service for people who feel they need therapy but can’t afford it. You can chat directly to a listener or a therapist for free, completely anonymously, and also find community in group chats.
Being creative with technology can get pricey, but there are free alternatives which can get the job done.
Pixlr offers a free photo editing tool that is similar to an older version of Photoshop. While it may not be as comprehensive as its pricier alternative, if you want to touch up photos for your Instagram or blog, it does everything you need.
Musescore helps you create, play, and print music. The notation software allows you to write music for the guitar, piano, an orchestra, a band, and more.
If you loved MS Paint growing up and want to get back to drawing slightly dubious images with not immediately brilliant tools, then head to Paint.net to start some nostalgia drawing and painting.