How to Change the Default Password on a Network Router

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Getting Started

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Network routers are managed through a special administrative account. As part of the router manufacturing process, vendors set a default username and default password for this account that apply to all units of a particular model. These defaults are public knowledge and known to anyone who can perform a basic Web search.

You should immediately change the router's administrative password after installing it. This increases the security of a home network. It doesn't by itself protect the router from Internet hackers, but it can prevent nosy neighbors, friends of your children, or other household guests from disrupting your home network (or worse).

These pages walk through the steps to change the default password on a common Linksys network router. The exact steps will vary depending on the specific model of router in use, but the process is similar in any case. It only takes about one minute.

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Log In to the Network Router

Example - Router Administrative Console Home Page - Linksys WRK54G
Example - Router Administrative Console Home Page - Linksys WRK54G.

Log in to the router's administrative console (Web interface) through a Web browser using the current password and username. If unsure how to find your router's address, see What is the IP Address of a Router?

Linksys routers typically can be reached at Web address Many Linksys routers do not require any special username (you can leave blank or enter any name in that field). In the password field, enter "admin" (without the quotes, the default for most Linksys routers) or the equivalent password for your router. When successfully logged in, you should see a screen like that shown next.

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Navigate to the Router's Change Password Page

Router Console - Administration Tab - Linksys WRK54G
Router Console - Administration Tab - Linksys WRK54G.

In the router's administrative console, navigate to the page where its password setting can be changed. In this example, the Administration tab at the top of the screen contains the Linksys router's password setting. (Other routers may keep this setting under Security menus or other locations.) Click the Administration button to open this page as shown below.

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Choose and Enter a New Password

WRK54G Router Console - Administration Password
WRK54G Router Console - Administration Password.

Choose a suitable password based on common guidelines for strong password security (for a refresher, see 5 Steps to a Good Password). Enter the new password in the Password box, and re-enter the same password a second time in the space provided. Most (not all) routers require entering the password a second time to ensure the administrator did not accidentally mistype their password the first time.

The location of these fields on the WRK54G console is shown below. This router intentionally hides the characters (replaces them with dots) as they are being typed as an added security feature in case other people beside the administrator are watching the screen. (The administrator should also ensure other people are not looking at the keyboard when typing in the new password.)

Do not confuse this password with the separate settings for WPA2 or other wireless key. Wi-Fi client devices use wireless security keys to make protected connections to the router; only humans use the administrator password to connect. Administrators should avoid using the key as the administrative password.even if their router allows it.

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Save the New Password

WRK54G - Router Console - Administration Password Change
WRK54G - Router Console - Administration Password Change.

The password change is not applied on the router until you save or confirm it. In this example, click the Save Settings button at the bottom of the page (as shown below) to have the new password take effect. You may see a confirmation window appear briefly to confirm the password change was made successfully. The new password takes effect immediately; rebooting the router is not required.