Shop EMF Meters & Shielding
Shop EMF Meters & Shielding
Shop EMF Meters & Shielding
Electricsense donation

Is WiFi safe ?

Posted by Lloyd Burrell on March 9, 2010 under WiFi and health | 27 Comments to Read

Is WiFi radiation safe?

Judging by the many devices that now use WiFi it’d be difficult to believe that it’s not safe.

10 years ago WiFi was virtually unheard of.

Now WiFi is everywhere.

It’s in the home, in the workplace and even in the street.

It’s in Internet connections, in video game consoles like the Nintendo Wii, the Playstation 3, the Xbox360, in PDAs, in mobile phones, and in a whole host of other types of consumer electronics.

So WiFi must be safe, right?


WiFi devices emit radio-frequency or microwave radiation.

Wireless modem routers and wireless computers contain transmitters that use this radio-frequency radiation to send information back and forth in the air.

This radio-frequency (RF) radiation can penetrate walls made of wood, concrete and metal. It can easily penetrate our bodies.

There are now thousands of peer reviewed studies conducted by scientists from around the world that show WiFi radiation to be harmful.

These scientists and medical experts are speaking out, here’s what some of them are saying:

Professor Olle Johannson Dept. of Neuroscience Karolinska Institute Sweden


Dr. Magda Havas Toxicologist at Trent University

In this article I explain what WiFi is, I explain the dangers and I explain what you can do to protect yourself.

What Is WiFi ?

WiFi is a registered trademark owned by the WiFi Alliance. The WiFi Alliance defines WiFi as any wireless local area network (WLAN). By is wifi safedefinition WiFi does not use any wires it uses radio frequency technology.

Webopedia defines radio-frequency as any frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation and gives the following analysis of the frequencies that make up the electromagnetic radiation spectrum :

  • Ultra-low frequency (ULF) — 0-3 Hz
  • Extremely low frequency (ELF) — 3 Hz – 3 kHz
  • Very low frequency (VLF) — 3kHz – 30 kHz
  • Low frequency (LF) — 30 kHz – 300 kHz
  • Medium frequency (MF) — 300 kHz – 3 MHz
  • High frequency (HF) — 3MHz – 30 MHz
  • Very high frequency (VHF) — 30 MHz – 300 MHz
  • Ultra-high frequency (UHF)– 300MHz – 3 GHz
  • Super high frequency (SHF) — 3GHz – 30 GHz
  • Extremely high frequency (EHF) — 30GHz – 300 GHz

Power lines operate at 50 to 60 Hz are located in the extremely low frequency range, ELF. An FM radio for instance operates in the VHF range, usually between 88 and 110 MHz. Analog TV operates in the 400 – 600MHz range, Digital TV is in the 600 – 1000MHz range. Cell phones operate in the range of 850 to 1900 MHz (0.8-1.9GHz), UHF, depending where you live in the world.

WiFi has a carrier signal in the 2.4 GHz range (which is nearly S HF) with some more recent devices operating in the 5-6 GHz range AND a digital pulsed signal of 10-250Hz which penetrates walls, ceilings, floors and not to mention humans.

WiFi radiation is commonly termed RF (radio frequency) radiation because it operates within the range 3kHz-300GHz. It is also called microwave radiation. Microwave radiation is in fact a subset of RF radiation, it operates in the range 300 MHz to 300 GHz.

Is WiFi More Dangerous Than Cell Phones?

So cell phones and digital TV are operating broadly in the same frequency. The reason why we don’t hear any alarming reports about cancer and digital TV usage is probably because your digital TV is not positioned a few centimeters from your head.

But WiFi is operating much higher up the spectrum than these other devices, more energy is in play. Fortunately WiFi modems and transmitters are not held in such close proximity to the human body as cell phones, or are they? Certain cell phones also offer a WiFi functionality.

WiFi Pollution Is Non Stop

For me the biggest problem with WiFi is that these things throw out electromagnetic radiation 24/7. And its pulsed microwave radiation just like cell phones.

The majority of people these days have a cell phone but invariably this cell phone is not switched on all the time. If you have a WiFi router at home this generally operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Sometimes people are sitting in offices completely oblivious to the fact that they are exposing themselves to WiFi radiation.

How To Make WIFI Safe And Cut Down On Your Personal Electrosmog

The only way you can effectively reduce reduce your exposure to electrosmog is to measure your electromagnetic pollution using an emf meter. These have now become inexpensive easy to use devices which can easily detect and measure the radiofrequency pollution in your home or workplace.

You don’t have to take my word for it when I say that WiFi is very bad for your health. There are more and more studies which point to the adverse health effects of radio frequency radiation.

I have never had WiFi in my home. I make sure that the WiFi function is disarmed on my modem and also that it is disarmed on my laptop, and I test regularly with my EMF meter for WiFi radiation from my neighbors routers, I would advise you to do the same.

For more tips on WiFi protection click here.

Studies Showing Adverse Biological Effects From Wi-Fi Radiation

Akar A. et al., 2013. Effects of low level electromagnetic field exposure at 2.45 GHz on rat cornea.Int J Radiat Biol. 89(4): 243-249.

Atasoy H.I. et al., 2013. Immunohistopathologic demonstration of deleterious effects on growing rat testes of radiofrequency waves emitted from conventional Wi-Fi devices. Journal of Pediatric Urology 9(2): 223-229.

Avendaño C. et al., 2012. Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertility and Sterility 97(1): 39-45.

Aynali G. et al., 2013. Modulation of wireless (2.45 GHz)-induced oxidative toxicity in laryngotracheal mucosa of rat by melatonin. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 270(5): 1695-1700.

Ceyhan A.M. 2012. Protective effects of β-glucan against oxidative injury induced by 2.45-GHz electromagnetic radiation in the skin tissue of rats. Arch Dermatol Res 304(7): 521-527.

Chaturvedi C.M. et al., 2011. 2.45GHz (CW) microwave irradiation alters circadian organization, spatial memory, DNA structure in the brain cells and blood cell counts of male mice, Mus musculus. Prog Electromag Res B 29: 23-42. .

Chou C.K. et al., 1992. Long-term, low-level microwave irradiation of rats. Bioelectromagnetics 13(6): 469–496.

Ciftci Z.Z. et al., 2015.  Effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure of Wi-Fi on development of teeth and changes in teeth element concentration in rats : Wi-Fi (2.45 GHz) and teeth element concentrations. Biol Trace Elem Res. 163(1-2): 193-201.

Cig B. and Naziroglu M. 2015. Investigation of the effects of distance from sources on apoptosis, oxidative stress and cytosolic calcium accumulation via TRPV1 channels induced by mobile phones and Wi-Fi in breast cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Acta.

Dasdag S. et al., 2014. Effect of long-term exposure of 2.4 GHz radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi equipment on testes functions. Electromagn Biol Med.  34(1): 37-42.

Dasdag S. et al 2015. Effects of 2.4 GHz radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi equipment on microRNA expression in brain tissue.  Int J Radiat Biol.  Epub ahead of print.

Desmunkh P.S. et al., 2013.  Detection of Low Level Microwave Radiation Induced Deoxyribonucleic Acid Damage Vis-a-vis Genotoxicity in Brain of Fischer Rats. Toxicol Int. 20(1): 19-24.

Deshmukh P.S. et al., 2015.  Cognitive impairment and neurogenotoxic effects in rats exposed to low-intensity microwave radiation.  Int J. Toxicol.  Epub ahead of print.

Eser O., 2013. The effect of electromagnetic radiation on the rat brain: an experimental study. Turk Neurosurg. 23(6): 707-715.

Ghazizadeh V. and Naziroglu M. 2014. Electromagnetic radiation (Wi-Fi) and epilepsy induce calcium entry and apoptosis through activation of TRPV1 channel in hippocampus and dorsal root ganglion of rats. Metab Brain Dis. 29(3): 787-799.

Grigoriev Y.G. et al., 2010. Confirmation studies of Soviet research on immunological effects of microwaves: Russian immunology results. Bioelectromagnetics 31(8):589-602.

Gumral N. et al., 2009. Effects of selenium and L-carnitine on oxidative stress in blood of rat induced by 2.45-GHz radiation from wireless devices. Biol Trace Elem Res. 132(1-3): 153-163.

Gürler H.S. et al, 2014. Increased DNA oxidation (8-OHdG) and protein oxidation (AOPP) by Low level electromagnetic field (2.45 GHz) in rat brain and protective effect of garlic. Int. J. Radiat. Biol.  90(10): 892-896.

Havas M. et al., 2010. Provocation study using heart rate variability shows microwave radiation from 2.4GHz cordless phone affects autonomic nervous system. European Journal of Oncology Library Vol. 5: 273-300.  part 2.

Kesari K.K. et al., 2010. Mutagenic response of 2.45 GHz radiation exposure on rat brain.  Int J Radiat Biol. 86(4): 334-343.

Kesari K.K. et al., 2012. Pathophysiology of microwave radiation: effect on rat brain.  Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 166(2): 379-388.

Kumar S. et al., 2011. The therapeutic effect of a pulsed electromagnetic field on the reproductive patterns of male Wistar rats exposed to a 2.45-GHz microwave field.  Clinics (Sao Paulo) 66(7): 1237-1245.

Maganioti A. E. et al., 2010. Wi-Fi electromagnetic fields exert gender related alterations on EEG. 6th International Workshop on Biological Effects of Electromagnetic fields.

Margaritis L.H. et al., 2014. Drosophila oogenesis as a bio-marker responding to EMF sources. Electromagn Biol Med.  33(3): 165-189.

Meena R. et al., 2014. Therapeutic approaches of melatonin in microwave radiations-induced oxidative stress-mediated toxicity on male fertility pattern of Wistar rats.  Electromagn Biol Med. 33(2): 81-91.

Misa-Augustiño M.J. et al., 2012. Electromagnetic fields at 2.45 GHz trigger changes in heat shock proteins 90 and 70 without altering apoptotic activity in rat thyroid gland. Biol Open 1(9): 831-839.

Naziroğlu M. and Gumral N. 2009. Modulator effects of L-carnitine and selenium on wireless devices (2.45 GHz)-induced oxidative stress and electroencephalography records in brain of rat. Int J Radiat Biol. 85(8): 680-689.

Nazıroğlu M. et al., 2012. 2.45-Gz wireless devices induce oxidative stress and proliferation through cytosolic Ca2+ influx in human leukemia cancer cells. International Journal of Radiation Biology 88(6): 449–456.

Nazıroğlu M. et al., 2012b. Melatonin modulates wireless (2.45 GHz)-induced oxidative injury through TRPM2 and voltage gated Ca(2+) channels in brain and dorsal root ganglion in rat. Physiol Behav. 105(3): 683-92.

Ozorak A. et al., 2013. Wi-Fi (2.45 GHz)- and mobile phone (900 and 1800 MHz)- induced risks on oxidative stress and elements in kidney and testis of rats during pregnancy and the development of offspring.  Biol. Trace Elem. Res. 156(103): 221-29.

Oksay T. et al., 2012. Protective effects of melatonin against oxidative injury in rat testis induced by wireless (2.45 GHz) devices. Andrologia doi: 10.1111/and.12044,

Papageorgiou C. C. et al., 2011. Effects of Wi-Fi signals on the p300 component of event-related potentials during an auditory hayling task. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience 10(2): 189-202.

Paulraj R. and Behari J. 2006. Single strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells exposed to microwave radiation. Mutat Res. 596(1-2): 76-80.

Paulraj R. and Behari J. 2006b. Protein kinase C activity in developing rat brain cells exposed to 2.45 GHz radiation. Electromagn Biol Med. 25(1): 61-70.

Salah M.B. et al., 2013. Effects of olive leave extract on metabolic disorders and oxidative stress induced by 2.45 GHz WIFI signals. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 36(3): 826-834.

Saili L. et al., 2015 Effects of acute exposure to WIFI signals (2.45 GHz) on heart variability and blood pressure in Albinos rabbit. Environ Toxicol and Pharmacology 40 (2): 600–605.

Sangun O. et al., 2015. The effects of long-term exposure to a 2450 MHz electromagnetic field on growth and pubertal development in female Wistar rats.  Electromagn. Biol. Med. 34(1): 63-67.

Senavirathna M.D., et al., 2014.  Nanometer-scale elongation rate fluctuations in the Myriophyllum aquaticum (Parrot feather) stem were altered by radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Plant Signal Behav. 9(4): e28590.

Shahin S. et al., 2013. 2.45 GHz Microwave Irradiation-Induced Oxidative Stress Affects Implantation or Pregnancy in Mice, Mus musculus. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 169: 1727–1751.

Shahin S. et al., 2014. Microwave irradiation adversely affects reproductive function in male mouse, Mus musculus, by inducing oxidative and nitrosative stress. Free Radic Res. 48(5): 511- 525.

Sinha R.K. 2008. Chronic non-thermal exposure of modulated 2450 MHz microwave radiation alters thyroid hormones and behavior of male rats. Int J Radiat Biol. 84(6): 505-513.

Somosy Z. et al., 1991. Effects of modulated and continuous microwave irradiation on the morphology and cell surface negative charge of 3T3 fibroblasts. Scanning Microsc. 5(4): 1145-1155.

Soran M.-L. et al., 2014.  Influence of microwave frequency electromagnetic radiation on terpene emission and content in aromatic plants.  J Plant Physiol. 171(15): 1436-1443.

Tök L. et al., 2014. Effects of melatonin on Wi-Fi-induced oxidative stress in lens of rats. Indian Journal of Opthalmology 62(1): 12-15.

Türker Y. et al., 2011. Selenium and L-carnitine reduce oxidative stress in the heart of rat induced by 2.45-GHz radiation from wireless devices. Biol Trace Elem Res. 143(3): 1640-1650.

For a more complete list of studies click here.

  • Rudy said,

    Would definitely agree with you. There is certainly enough evidence out there to at lest call for further investigation into the possible harmful effects.

  • barbaralayne said,

    So, Lloyd, if you want to continue using a computer,
    for your health, would it be best to use a modem connection from your internet provider, instead of WIFI?

  • Lloyd said,

    Using a modem or router via WiFi means that RF radiation is emitted into the immediate environment ‘(up to around 100 meters). The studies tell us that that this radiation, even at low levels, long term, is very bad for our health. Disabling your WiFi and going hardwired is by far the safer option.

  • Christine said,

    Lloyd, I just bought a Samsung Tablet and a Belkin router to get wifi at home. If I turn the router off when not in use, does it continue to emit radiation. Reading the accompanying disclosures about radiation that came with the router is unnerving! Wondering if I return the router and don’t have wifi service to my home, could I use the tablet in internet cafes. A jungle of information, the deeper I enter. Thanks.

  • Lloyd said,

    Be careful about switching off the WiFi through the software….many routers are configured to receive software updates 24/7 and when they do they revert to factory settings…the WiFi switches back on again…only an RF meter will tell you whether this is the case with your router. If you don’t have an RF meter I advise pulling the plug at the wall to switch. Better still (for your health) remove the WiFi router from your home…

  • Ron Becker said,

    Hi Lloyd,
    I love your site, thanks for all of your dedication!
    I have a Netgear N600 wireless duel band router. I use it only with the wired function. I tested it with the Accustometer and found that the wireless signal leaks through when the router is on but not when its turned off.(3.65 v/m ) What do you recommend ?
    Thank You,

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Ron
    If your Netgear router is emitting radiation I suggest using it a strict minimum, better still, replace it with a model which does not have this problem. Your Acoustimeter will tell you exactly what the RF radiation sources are in your environment, then its just a question of eliminating/minimizing their effects as much as possible.

  • jon sid said,

    Digital TV operates in the same spectrum as analog TV. Where did you get your facts from? The reason TV signals are not discussed too much here as being harmful is because there are too many people who aren’t willing to give up their TV.

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    The biggest concern with TV broadcasts is the nature of the signal (analog or digital) rather than the frequency itself. Digital TV broadcasting emits a pulsed digital signal similar to that of cell towers and WiFi routers…. considered to be much more dangerous than the previous continuous analog signal.

  • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom said,

    Hi there. Just found your site. I am very interested in getting to the bottom of this. Can you tell me your thoughts about this? I have asked a number of professionals (in IT, for example) about EMFs from laptops. They have said something like, “Well, it’s nothing really – there are cell phone towers all over the place so you are getting radiation anyway. By comparison, your WIFI is nothing.

    Could you address that please? Thank you in advance.

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    Hi Adrienne
    WIFI exposures are not ‘nothing’ in 2011 they were classified as a possible class 2B carcinogen by the (ever so conservative) WHO….a research scientist recently won compensation for WiFi exposures in the workplace Cell towers and WiFi are both big health concerns…its difficult to say which is worst because each case, each exposure is different. The biggest difference, for most people, is one of choice if you don’t want WiFi in your home you hardwire, where as cell towers we don’t have a say.

  • Nell Angelo said,

    Do you mean there is no practical defense against ambient radiation, other than avoiding optional device and sticking to hardwired computing and normal landline phones?

    Sorry if you have already covered this: I have a Tracfone and leave it on in order to get messages. Is it generating radiation when I leave it on? How about when I retrieve and listen to messages (both voice and text?).

    FYI (1) In 2009 I got a meningioma at the precise spot where the antenna of my cordless rested against my head. (2) During the 70’s (sorry I can’t be more precise) the New Yorker published an article about the dangers of microwave devices and towers.

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    True EMF protection involves a 2 pronged approach, comprised of what I call direct EMF protection (= measuring, shielding and other forms of EMF mitigation) and indirect EMF protection (a multi-modal, multi-level approach to healing)…this is how I recovered my health when I developed severe electrical sensitivity in 2002, see

  • Sadie said,


    I am completely panicked. To the point I feel like throwing up. I am hoping you can help me reason here. We unplug all electronics in our bedroom at night. And only one cell phone charges at night in our bedroom. It is kept on airplane mode at night while charging. We also unplug our wireless when not in use. I am a teacher and we have wifi our school building. Will having wifi in school cause cancer? I’m petrified. I can’t simply give up my means of employment because they have wifi. Does it help that the router isn’t in my classroom? Also, when we use out laptop at home I can see all of the wireless signals. How bad is this? Does the intensity of the wifi radiation drop off the farther a person is from the router?

    Please understand that this issue causes me a severe amount of anxiety and I am looking for a little reassurance.

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    I also experienced considerable anxiety Sadie when I first became electrically sensitive…this is normal….over time you I learned to overcome this anxiety as I learned about EMFs and how to deal with them. Exposures fall off considerably (exponentially) with distance. My EMF Protection Free Report and newsletters will help you understand and deal with your exposures.

  • A said,

    I’m not electrosensitive, but researching all this is eye opening, and I see there are many simple things I can do to prudently limit my EMF exposure. My question is about wifi versus cellular. I am considering replacing my much used smartphone with an “emergency use” cell phone forwarded to a landline. But for some data and apps, I wish to continue to use an iPad. It sounds like I should get rid of wifi entirely in my house if I can, and I’m considering that as well. If I get rid of wifi, I would need to maintain and use a cellular plan for my iPad. I understand cellular is damaging as well, but I am thinking in this situation, it’s a better option because I’m not putting the iPad directly against my head to make calls as with a phone, and I can turn it off or to Airplane mode when not using the Internet. If I managed to get rid of all wifi in the house, that seems like a bigger fish to fry, and possibly has exponential gains since there would no longer be multiple wifi possibly devices magnifying each other (do they do that?), and it would eliminate the “always on” factor of wifi.

    Can you please help me brainstorm the pros and cons?

    I would not want to go through the trouble and sacrifice of eliminating all wifi enabled devices and router to then totally negate those gains by continuing to use a cellular iPad.

    And how would you rate the risk of the cellular iPad for someone in my position: not electrosensitive, attempting to be proactively restrictive of my exposures, but not needing (or wanting) to give up some of these conveniences and great tools in life?

    Thank you!

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    Ultimately your aim should be to eliminate your wireless exposures but better to take some action than no action….its difficult to compare these technologies (cellular vs WiFi) in absolute terms….the studies just don’t exist….whats important is how you use these technologies….in the short term, in the absence of symptoms opting for using cellular with your iPad taking care to deactivate the signal as much as possible when you are not using it is a good strategy.

  • A said,

    But if I were to forego the iPad, and get a MacBook Air with a USB or thunderbolt Ethernet adapter, I’ll still be using the attached keyboard. (Seems silly to get a small lightweight laptop and then need to attach a klunky, corded keyboard, in addition to the now-corded Ethernet.). Going full circle, would an iPad with a separate corded keyboard and Pong case be better or just as good? Or would a MacBook Air with corded Ethernet via an adapter! and a placemat-thingy protector under it be sufficient for a non-ES-er to be minimally prudent?

    Another aside: the Pong Research case seems to make a lot of sense for am iPhone; it directs the radiation away from your brain when you hold it up to your ear. But using a Pong case on an iPad doesn’t seem as surefire of a protection option. If using it in your lap, it would (presumably) concentrate the energy right into your lap. I guess you shouldn’t use it in your lap ever, which means you need a stand and a table, and hope it directs the energy appropriately away from you? And at the best angle?

  • Frances said,


    When I am in Europe I stay with a friend. The person with whom I stay has her LiveBox in her bedroom and is terrified that she is going to get cancer, however, she says she has no place else to put it. She thinks as long as the lights are blinking she is exposing herself to the waves. So when she goes in there to use her phone or to sleep, I turn off the wifi on my laptop and iPod, however, I continue to work on my computer or listen to podcasts on the Pod. The lights still blink even with wifi turned off. Is this from my computer? Do I have to completely turn off my devices? And does it matter anyway? Is the box still emitting waves even if the lights are not blinking and the devices are turned off? By the way her Livebox is connected to the television and the phones.

    I hope this was not too confusing.

    Thank you,


  • Frances said,

    I forgot to mention in my above post that I live in an apartment building.

  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    I’ve done some testing with Liveboxes….even when you dis-arm the WiFi, periodic system updates….done automatically……can re-initialize the WiFi function. My advice with LiveBoxes is the same as with all these kind of devices……assume nothing….the only way you can be sure WiFi is deactivated is to test with an RF meter OR to unplug at the wall.

  • Question said,

    Great information, thank you! I’m assuming that having multiple routers in your house or office just doubles, triples, etc. your exposure/danger? If so, can you explain this in terms that I can explain to someone who lives with me (in IT) who says he needs multiple routers? (Also, can these routers just be wired to avoid wifi exposure altogether?) Thanks!

  • steve said,

    Hello Lloyd,

    I saw a commercial yesterday about Chevy putting wi-fi in their cars. Would love to see an article from you on this subject. Also cars with anti-crash features must be emitting some sort of EMF’s


  • B. Black said,

    Hi Lloyd,

    Many thanks for this WONDERFUL site and info source! One question: regarding the statement “If you really can’t bring yourself to remove your wireless router you can install a simple mechanical electrical timer on the socket where you plug your router in. Then just set it to turn the power off during sleep time.” Am I correct in assuming that means that, as this device will be turning the power OFF on my WiFi modem router during sleep hours, the radiation emissions from the device will actually be zero during those hours?


  • Lloyd Burrell said,

    Correct – if the timer switches the power off to the modem it will no longer emit a WiFi signal.

  • B. Black said,

    Many thanks Lloyd! I will now go ahead and buy myself a mechanical electrical timer, and set it to turn OFF my modem during sleep hours.

    You’re a fantastic resource….and I am grateful for your help on this subject.


  • Sandy said,

    Hi Lloyd,

    Been reading your articles about cell phones and wi-fi and I just wanted your feedback…I didn’t realize my wi-fi connection on my cell phone was on (not connected to any network, just “on” instead of “off”) as I don’t use it. I usually turn off my cell phone and data connections when not in use after reading some of your articles, my questions to you is, is it still emitting radiation even though my wi-fi is not connected to a network, but just on? How far should a cell phone or PDA using wi-fi be from our bodies if you can? I try to keep my kids from using/touching cell phones or any other wireless devices if I can, but sometimes it’s in my purse or somewhere a couple feet if that away from them, is this extremely harmful to them? Also, does airplane mode shut all connections off? Thanks for your time and feedback.

Add A Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.