How to access and change your wi-fi router settings

Your router stores the settings for your home Wi-Fi network. If you want to change anything on your network, you need to log into your router’s software, also known as firmware. From there, you can rename your network, change the password, adjust the security level, and set or modify a variety of other options.

But before you can do all this, you need to access your router first. The process for connecting to your router should be the same whether you are using your ISP’s router or you purchased your own router(Opens in a new tab). It should also be the same whether you’re using a dedicated router or a modem/router combination provided by your provider(Opens in a new tab).

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Find your router’s IP address

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You log into your router’s firmware through a browser. In the address field, type your router’s IP address. Most routers use a address, but this isn’t always the case, so you might want to confirm your router’s address first.

To find your router’s IP address(Opens in a new tab)type cmd in the Windows search bar open Command Prompt. Type ipconfig and run the command. Scroll through the information until you see a setting for Default Gateway on the Ethernet Adapter or Wireless LAN Adapter. This is your router and the number next to it is your router’s IP address.

Hardware and Connection Properties window

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You can also find your router’s IP address in Windows. On Windows 10(Opens in a new tab)I’m going to Settings > Network and Internet > Status > View hardware and connection properties. On Windows 11(Opens in a new tab)I’m going to Settings > Network and internet > Advanced network settings > Hardware and connection properties.

The next screen shows details of your different network connections. Scan the entry for Ethernet or Wi-Fi and look for the Default Gateway setting to find your router’s IP address. Once you have the correct IP address, type it into the address field of your browser and press Enter.

Enter your login credentials

login screen for router firmware

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After entering the IP address, you are prompted for a username and password to access your router’s firmware. This is either the default username and password for your router or a unique username and password you may have created when setting up your router. If you don’t remember your login credentials, logging in becomes a bit more difficult.

Some routers offer a password recovery feature. If this is the case for your router, this option should appear after entering the wrong username and password a few times. Typically, this window will ask for your router’s serial number, which you can find on the bottom or side of the router.

Password recovery for routers

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If you’ve never changed your router’s login credentials, many use a default admin username and password. Try this combination to see if it works. Otherwise, your best bet is to perform a web search for the default username and password for your router brand, such as Netgear, Linksys, Asus, or TP-Link.

Default passwords and usernames for routers

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Another option is to look at the Router Passwords website(Opens in a new tab), where you can select your router manufacturer to get a list of default usernames and passwords. Try each of the suggestions to get into your router.

Router password website

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If you still can’t connect to your router’s firmware, you’ll need to reset the device to return all settings to their defaults. You’ll usually find a small reset button on your router. Use a pointed object such as a pen or paper clip to press and hold the reset button for about 10 seconds. You should now be able to log into your router using your default username and password.

Change the router settings

Orbi website

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Once you have access to your router’s firmware, you will be free to change any items you feel need to be modified. These include your router name and password, security level, and Wi-Fi password. You can also set up parental controls, create a guest network(Opens in a new tab)and manage connected devices. Just remember to apply any changes before moving on to the next screen.

Documentation and built-in help should be available to help you with the various options if you’re not sure how to set them. Most current or recent routers also have setup wizards that can take on some of this work for you.

Change router connection

Change router connection

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You should change your router’s username and password if they are still set to the default values. Look for an option that is usually nested under the Manage tab. The screen will likely ask for your router’s current password and then ask you to enter a new password. Some routers allow you to change the username and password, while others only allow you to change the password.

As you create your new password, remember the usual recommendations for creating a secure password(Opens in a new tab)— not so hard that you can’t remember, but complicated enough that it’s not easy to guess. A passphrase with a combination of words that is easy to remember is also a good choice.

Be sure to remember the new password(Opens in a new tab) so you don’t have to reset the router in the future. Your router’s firmware may also ask you to set security questions and answers, another handy way to prove your identity. You should then apply the settings and reconnect to your router.

Check your Wi-Fi password

Check your Wi-Fi password

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You should also check your Wi-Fi password(Opens in a new tab) to make sure it is strong and safe. To do this, look for a wireless or Wi-Fi section in the router’s firmware. You will see your current Wi-Fi name and password listed. Create a more secure password if you think your current one is too weak. Again, keep the usual password recommendations in mind as you do this. If you’re still using the default Wi-Fi name, change it to something more unique.

Under Security Options or a similar section, make sure the security for your network is set to at least WPA2-PSK [AES], which will be the strongest level available for most home wireless networks. Newer routers will have the more secure WPA3(Opens in a new tab) selection. Apply your new settings and close the browser window when you’re done.

This article originally appeared on in a new tab), Mashable’s sister site. in a new tab) is a leading authority in technology, providing independent, lab-based assessments of the latest products and services.

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