Default Passwords FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Default Passwords

A popular topic on this site, and the subject of several emails in my inbox every day, is about default passwords.

We've put together this FAQ to help answer some of the more common questions we receive about default passwords.

Password field
Steven Puetzer / The Image Bank / Getty Images

"What are the most common router default passwords?"

Without a doubt, the most common router default password is admin. If you can't find a mention of the default password for your router or switch anywhere on this site, or elsewhere online, give admin a try before anything else.

If admin doesn't work, try password. Seriously. It might seem strange that these devices come with such simple passwords but the manufacturer assumes that you'll change them once in use.

While it often doesn't matter one way or the other, some router manufacturers require that the username field be blank when logging in with a default password. Other companies require the username to be admin. Try the other if one doesn't work.

Take a look at these default passwords for popular routers to see which ones use admin or password as the password, or which password fields can remain blank to log in: NETGEAR, Linksys, D-Link, Cisco.

"Where does all of this default password information come from?"

Manufacturers of routers, motherboards, and other password protected computer hardware publish the default passwords, and other default information, for their hardware in their product manuals.

You can often view a device's product manual by visiting the manufacturer's support website.

"Publishing default password, username, and IP data only helps hackers! None of this should be public information!"

I disagree completely.

Default data for a piece of hardware is valuable information to have after resetting a hardware device or when troubleshooting a hardware issue. Aside from the value for our readers in particular, default data is often times an absolute must when first setting up a hardware device, especially networking devices like routers.

Additionally, as you read above, manufacturers have always made this information accessible via their product manuals. We're just helping to make it more easily available to those who need it when facing an issue.

At the end of the day, security is the responsibility of the owner. A properly configured router means, at very least, a secure password. A new computer owner that decides to use the BIOS or system password should actually set their own. You get the idea.

"There are lots of default password lists on the internet. Aren't you just republishing information that's already available?"

Absolutely not.

It's true that there are many default password lists, especially for network devices like routers. However, most of these default password lists are rarely updated, contain only a few popular hardware models, and have been created almost entirely by user submissions.

The huge majority of default passwords and other default data that you may have found on this site have been sourced by us, directly from the hardware device's manufacturer-issued product manual.

"The default password for [abc] is wrong and you should correct it."

Just let us know and we'll get the information corrected as soon as possible.

We'd prefer to stick with information clearly from the manufacturer, so we'd greatly appreciate it if you could link us to the product manual where you found this better default data information.

If the correct information didn't come directly from the hardware manufacturer, please let us know how you know it to be true.

"Help! The default password, username, or other data doesn't work!"

Aside from a rare problem with the hardware or a bad firmware image, this means that someone has changed the password, username, or whatever data, from its default to something else.

In most cases, the solution is to "reset" the hardware. Your best bet for figuring out how to reset a piece of hardware is to reference the instructions for doing so in the hardware device's manual, available from the hardware maker's website.