AOL for Free?

Category: Cool-Stuff

I read somewhere that AOL is going to stop charging for their Internet service and make AOL access free. Is that true, and if so, are there any gotchas I should now about?

AOL Wants to Be Free

Yes, it true... AOL access is now free. But I have clarify up front that "AOL access" does not mean "Internet access". If you already have an Internet connection (dialup, cable, DSL, or fiber) then you can now access all of the services that AOL offers for free. So if you've been paying for AOL and recently have switched to a broadband connection at home, you can stop paying for your AOL account.

Really. Just go to Keyword: Change Plan on AOL and click the Free button. No strings attached, no "customer retention specialists" to talk with. Nothing to install or download. Anyone with a connection to the Internet can get a free AOL account. If you cancelled your AOL account in the last few years in favor of broadband, you can even get your AOL screen name back.

"Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear"

free aol account

With all due respect to Richard M. Nixon, let me reiterate this important point. Free AOL is only for people with some OTHER means of accessing the Internet. If you have AOL and a high-speed connection through some other provider, you can "go free" and pay nothing for AOL. But if you need the dial-up connection from AOL, you can still save a chunk of change. Switch your plan from the standard $25.90 a month to the $9.95 a month plan, and you can continue as usual.

You do have to take some action, though. AOL won't make the change to the Free or $9.95 plan for you. If you do nothing, AOL will be very happy to continue billing you for $25.90 a month forever.

What Does a Free AOL Account Offer?

First and foremost, an AOL account offers free web-based email on AOL.COM. I prefer web-based email over traditional email software, because I can access my email from anywhere in the world, as long as I have an Internet connection. With a typical email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird, your email is tied to one computer. I love being able to access my email from a friend's house, a hotel room, a cafe, or my car.

Here are some of the other services you can get with a free AOL account.

  • Online Storage
  • Xdrive is like a personal hard drive on the Internet, accessible from ANY computer. You get 5 GB of free online storage, and software for Windows that makes it easy to just copy files to and from your Xdrive. Stash music, photos, videos, or whatever you like on your Xdrive. And don't tell... you can use a different screen name and get another 5 Gb of storage. Xdrive is defunct, but here are some other places to look for Free Online Storage.

  • AOL's answer to YouTube is billed as the best all-around video portal. In addition to user-created videos, you can search through millions of pieces of video, buy and download full-length movies from most major studios, or watch re-runs of classic TV shows.

  • AOLRadio
  • Listen to your favorite music online, including XM Satellite Radio stations. Over 200 streaming internet radio stations, from Classical to Country, Hip-Hop to Alternative, Pop to Rock.

  • AIM Phoneline
  • AIM Phoneline gives you incoming calls with voicemail, integrated with your AIM buddylist. Get your "AIM digits" to give out as a no-hassle phone number to marketers, people you meet at social functions, etc. It's a free, local telephone number that comes with voicemail, delivered right to your email inbox. When you're online, it lets you screen and answer calls, using your PC microphone and speakers.

  • AIM Pro
  • Secure instant messaging and tight integration with Outlook contact management. Also gives extra collaborative functions for business users
    that the regular AIM doesn't provide. It's worth a look if you IM at work.

  • Security Tools
  • The AOL Safety and Security Center includes comprehensive anti-virus protection to protect computer and your e-mail. You also get spyware protection, as well as a firewall.

Granted, you can get many of these services elsewhere on the Web. But integration can be nice, and I applaud AOL for making the move to offer their services for free. It's especially good news for the many AOL users that have been paying a premium price to access AOL, on top of paying for high-speed Internet service. To get your free AOL account, go to then click the "Get a Free Username" link.

Got comments about AOL or the move to the Free model? Post your thoughts below...

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Most recent comments on "AOL for Free?"

(See all 100 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

21 Feb 2010

just recent i found out my eyes with diabete 2 arnt doing well. is there anyway i could receive free aol?

Posted by:

02 Apr 2010

A friend of mine mentioned I could get AOL free instead of paying £15.99 a month. I log on with Virgin Broadband.

Just have one question: if I use AOL Free can I keep my current screen names. I use 3 AOL names

Posted by:

Anna Carnes
21 Jun 2010

I have had Free AOL for almost 4 years and love it. However, for about the last 9 months at 2 or 3 month intervals I get emails from AOL that I must supply new billing info or they will block my access. I keep replying to them that I am FREE AOL and to just look at my account - but to no avail. Also, can't get thru to billing by phone. It is all automated. DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sounds like you should do nothing, probably a billing glitch that sends those emails.

Posted by:

Shyke Bagley
07 Oct 2010

How do I find out if I can get a verication that an email receipient has opened an email from me? Does AOL free account have this option?

Posted by:

12 Nov 2010

If someone has lost a account due to TOS is it possible to retrieve a screen name from that account back? If so how can this be done? Thanks!

Posted by:

28 Nov 2010

I just change my aol to a free account do I have to cancel my McAfee or will it so it automatically.

Posted by:

Alice Kepler
07 Dec 2010

I canceled my aol this morning. 4:30 am. I found out a few days ago aol was free, from a friend. Then I found this site to see how true it was. Well i called my bahk, and thay said i had to call aol, so I did. And thay told me I had to send a letter with all my information.I wrote a letter.
And sent it out this morning,certifed mail. Well thay will not be getting my $14.95,ever month any more. It was comming out of my checking account, that is why i had to send a letter,and a copy of my bank ststment.It cost me $5.54 dollars, but it is worth it. The way things are today, ever little bit helps. Hope this will help someone else out there. Thank-you Bob Rankin for you site.

Posted by:

22 Dec 2010

If I switch to free AOL, will "my favorites" list remain or disappear? The list is very long, huge.

Anyway, I could kick myself for not knowing that I didn't need to pay for AOL.

Posted by:

william j currie
29 Dec 2010

i woul like to have free download and install thank you william j currie

Posted by:

05 Jan 2011

Anna Carnes You sed AOL and to just look at my account - but to no avail. Also, can't get thru to billing by phone. It is all automated. DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. I had the same problems My Name Is Ace and here is the Number for you
Aol's #1866-834-4572 Good Luck

Posted by:

19 Jan 2011

I'm furious..a friend told me aol was free and why was I still paying? I've been paying for 14 years...when I had AT&T Dsl.
How dare they charge me for a service that is free to the public. When were they going to tell me?? They just charged my credit card every month.
I'm writing Aol Corporate and reporting to the Attoney General.

Posted by:

12 Feb 2011

how do you get a aol account just wondering cause i need and want one

Posted by:

03 Nov 2011


EDITOR'S NOTE: To get your free AOL account, go to then click the "Get a Free Username" link.

Posted by:

14 Jun 2012

You are doing a wonderful job. I will like to create new AOL account, i clicked on the link you gave above this is what i get after clicking on Get a Free Username:

Whew! Thanks for putting 110% into signing up for AOL accounts. Love your passion! We'd also love a quick break to process your requests. Take a breather. Maybe grab a bite? You may qualify for additional registrations in 24 hours. Error code 420

Posted by:

29 Aug 2012

i Want AOL To Be Free For The Dail Up Internet like for 2 hrs

Posted by:

john klingelhoffer
04 Feb 2013

You can get free aol service if you have dsl internet connection. Do not at anytime update unless you call aol first and do it over the phone because if you do you are opening yourself up to a hacker some where. That is how hackers get your personal info and once they get that some will try and do damage to you.

Posted by:

03 Apr 2015

I want to switch over to the free AOL but I dont want to lose any of my folders will that still be accessible to me. and will I still be able to keep my email address and send and recieve emails. so if these things are a yes how do i cancell or do i need to call a number to do it?

Posted by:

06 Aug 2015

I have been messing with AOL charging my credit cards since Oct. of last year. I've had a free account for 11yrs. Now they are charging me $12.99 mo. Didn't notify me. For the month of July they charged it about 8 X $12.99. The credit card company is investigating it, because they charged the new one before they even sent it to me. Now tell me how they did that.

Posted by:

kenneth bulkowski
09 Sep 2015

I have a new tower or can I continue to get my mail thru aol.and not express or what ever..thank you

EDITOR'S NOTE: Do it the same way you did on the old computer. Open your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome) go to, and login with your AOL username and password.

Your mail is on the web, not your computer. So you could follow the procedure above on ANY computer with an Internet connection.

Posted by:

27 Dec 2019

Thank you for the guidance.

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