The Advantages & Disadvantages of Internet Cafes

By Jessica Ring

An Internet cafe is a business that provides public Internet, usually at a time-based rate. Some cafes offer snacks or coffee. In Asia, Internet cafes are commonly set up like computer labs and are geared toward high-speed gaming. In Western countries, Internet cafes are areas that provide Wi-Fi to the public in addition to some computer terminals. Many restaurants, coffee shops and public libraries offer Wi-Fi and Internet service for free. Utilizing public Internet has its advantages and disadvantages.


The biggest concern for most PC users is privacy. Wi-Fi hotspots in most public areas are unsecured, which means that others could potentially access information on your computer. If you forget to log out of a public computer terminal, someone could access your email or other sensitive accounts. On a physical level, the person next to you in an Internet cafe can easily look over your shoulder. Internet cafes or public terminals are not ideal for sensitive or work-related information.


Internet cafes geared toward gaming have high-performance computers. Most PC games have much higher requirements than the average personal computer. If you play the game at an Internet cafe, you will enjoy the game at its full optimization without the burdensome cost of buying a special gaming PC. The Internet speed at gaming cafes is also much faster than the average home Internet speed, which reduces lag and timeouts from interrupted Internet connections.


The cost of Internet at cyber cafes is relatively low and varies between countries. Most places charge hourly, though some offer a one-time purchase fee. If you are traveling, purchasing an hour at an Internet cafe to write home is significantly cheaper than paying for a monthly satellite fee. As Wi-Fi grows in abundance, more businesses are offering free Internet access to attract customers.

Comfort and Convenience

Most Internet cafes are not as comfortable as your own home. The cafe could be crowded, smoky or have uncomfortable seats, making it difficult to patronize the cafe for hours on end. Most Internet cafes in the West are not open 24 hours, which limits your time for work or recreation. Downloads might be restricted to preserve bandwidth.