How Do I Change My Wi-Fi Router Password?

Keep your password updated to keep your network secure

You should change your router, switch, and other network hardware password when your network security is compromised. Before this happens, though, change the password so these devices don't use the default password the factory set. These default passwords are published online and freely available.

Your Wi-Fi router uses two passwords. This article describes the password that's needed for logging in to the router's settings to make changes to it. More on this below.

How to Change Your Router, Switch, or Other Network Hardware Device Password

These are the very basic steps:

  1. Log in to the router using the existing username and password.
  2. Find the area in the settings where you're able to make the password change.
  3. Save the changes.

You can change the password from the Administration, Security, or other similarly named page within the administrative console for the device. See how to log in to your router if this is your first time.

The exact steps involved in doing this can differ from device to device, and especially from manufacturer to manufacturer. See how to change the default password on a network router for a tutorial specific to a Netgear router. The same general steps apply to most routers, switches, and other network devices.

If you have problems changing the password and need more specific help, the hardware manufacturer's website should provide specific information for changing the password. Most manufacturers also have downloadable manuals available for each device model they sell.

If the default password was changed, but you don't know the new one, you'll have to reset the device to factory defaults. You can do that by performing a specific sequence of actions on the hardware, details of which you can also find in the device manual.

After you reset the hardware, you can access it with the default login information and then change the password.

What Should the Password Be?

It's up to you! You can make it something meaningful to you or something completely random. Either way, there are a few things to remember when choosing a password for your router, switch, etc.

One of the reasons to change the default password is because new network hardware often come with a known password to make the first-time login easy. The password is usually something incredibly simple like admin. That password is completely fine the first day you use the router, because it means you won't have any complications getting into it. But the security risk leaving it that way is obvious: everyone else knows it, too!

At the very least, change the password to anything else—add a number or some other letters to the default password to make it marginally more complex. But ideally, just like how you're encouraged to make a strong password for your bank account and email, you should also use one here. Here's a list of strong password examples to help you think about how to make your own.

We recommend storing your complex password in a password manager. You can learn more about password managers here, including whether they're actually safe.

Router Password vs Wi-Fi Password

Your Wi-Fi router uses two passwords, and they're usually (and should be) different. The one this page describes is the password that lets you log in to your router to make changes to it; the other is the password your phone, computer, and guest devices use to access the internet. Learn how to change your Wi-Fi password if you need to do that instead.

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