ChatGPT’s launch in late 2022 sparked a surge in AI chatbot popularity, attracting over 180 million users as of the latest statistics. The AI platform has undergone a series of system updates, with GPT -4 being the most recent. One of the most common concerns of AI chatbot users is the tool’s capability to search the web. Does ChatGPT 4 have access to the Internet? Let’s find out! 

ChatGPT 4 has access to the Internet, but only for some users. 

ChatGPT can search the Internet through Microsoft’s “Browse with Bing.” This feature can only be used through a paid subscription in the GPT-4 model. OpenAI introduced this web browsing feature to the ChatGPT platform last year. It enables users with paid subscriptions to select ChatGPT accounts (Plus/Team/Enterprise) to pull real-time information from the Internet. So, if you’re using the free version of ChatGPT, you won’t be able to access the Internet. 

Users can get detailed answers to their queries and dig deeper into topics, but again, when they are on a paid subscription. The GPT-4 model used in ChatGPT Plus has no information cutoff unline in the free version (ChatGPT-3.5). Furthermore, they can ask the chatbot whatever they prefer, which will fetch all the latest information. 

How does ChatGPT access the Internet?

In May 2023, OpenAI introduced a game-changing update for ChatGPT: real-time internet access. This update, “Browse with Bing,” partnered ChatGPT with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. This functionality was exclusive to paying ChatGPT Plus and Enterprise subscribers at launch. Previously, all ChatGPT users were limited to information the model was trained on, with a cutoff of September 2021 or January 2022 if you’re using GPT-4. This meant ChatGPT couldn’t access current events or information not included in its training data.

Initially, enabling “Browse with Bing” required users to activate a beta feature toggle. Thankfully, this extra step has been removed. Enterprise subscribers can seamlessly leverage Bing’s search capabilities directly within ChatGPT. This allows them to access real-time information, stay updated, and get answers to queries beyond the model’s original training data.

Features and Plugins

Before the release of OpenAI’s latest model, users couldn’t ask the AI chatbot about current world events or real-time data. ChatGPT internet access is relatively recent. The capabilities that come along with it and the apparent chat functionality make it much more potent than search engines like Google. ChatGPT Enterprise and ChatGPT Plus subscribers can use beta features and ChatGPT plugins like:

  • Klarna
  • Code Interpreter
  • Wolfram Alpha
  • Toggle
  • Trello
  • Slack
  • OpenTable
  • Shopify
  • Gmail

Challenges Limitations of ChatGPT accessing the Internet

While ChatGPT’s ability to access the Internet is beneficial for AI chatbot users, there are still some apparent drawbacks:

Data Quality

The fast information-sharing on the Internet can be inconsistent and unreliable. If ChatGPT is giving complete access to the Internet to get that information, it can bring misleading and incorrect information. As a result, this feature could raise serious questions regarding its credibility.

Ultimately, allowing them full internet access can hugely impact the quality of data the bot uses and provides to others.

Threats on Privacy and Security

AI chatbot’s ability to completely access a live internet connection is prone to serious privacy and security issues. For example, malicious individuals can easily access ChatGPT users’ sensitive information.

Likewise, they can spread misinformation while having full access to the personal information of users. In short, allowing access to ChatGPT or any AI tool could be seriously threatening.

Bias and control

OpenAI guarantees that its system’s model is bias-free and based on high-quality data. However, it starts to control conversational data by accessing an internet connection. In that case, it could stop producing bias-free content and potentially deliver inappropriate responses.

Such changes would cause severe questions about its performance and credibility. Generally, these AI bots are better off without full internet access to avoid inappropriate incidents.

ChatGPT 4 Alternatives 

Accessing information on the Internet through a chatbot is useful in all industries because it allows conversations with AI tools to be relevant. Sadly, the need for a Plus or Team paid subscription made the benefits limited to selected user groups. If you’re looking for other AI tools that have access to the Internet, explore the following alternatives.

1. Google Gemini

Google’s Gemini family takes large language models to the next level. Unlike models like GPT, Gemini isn’t just a text whiz, thanks to its multimodal model. Google Gemini can understand and work with information beyond text, including images, sounds, videos, and computer code.

2. Chatsonic

ChatSonic is a powerful AI chatbot that uses the latest NLP technology to answer questions accurately and informatively. ChatSonic is easy to use, reliable, and secure, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to automate customer service interactions.

3. YouChat

YouChat is your conversational search assistant, similar to ChatGPT but built into your search results.  The app stays on top of current events and provides citations for its information so that you can trust its answers. In addition, YouChat keeps learning and improving the more you chat with it, making your future searches even more helpful.

The AI chatbots listed above offer similar functionality with real-time internet access, many for free or at a lower cost.  Explore these options if a paid ChatGPT subscription is not your option. 


ChatGPT’s web browsing presents an exciting development. You won’t need a browsing plugin to access the feature. With no installation needed, the ChatGPT 4 web browsing feature can significantly impact the Internet in the future. 

Again, ChatGP 4 can access the Internet, but it is only available for paid subscribers. As of this writing, OpenAI has revealed nothing about making it available on the free version, GPT-3.5. This could mean users on the free version of ChatGPT will either have to upgrade to paid versions or try another AI tool.