How to Change Your Wi-Fi Password

Illustration of a password field with a lock on it
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Changing your Wi-Fi password isn't something you need to do often, but there are times when it needs to be done. Maybe you've forgotten your Wi-Fi password and need to change it to something easier to remember. If you suspect that someone is stealing your Wi-Fi, you can change the Wi-Fi password to something they won't guess.

Regardless of the reason, you can easily change the password to your Wi-Fi by logging into the router's settings and typing a new password of your choice.

In fact, in most cases, you can change your Wi-Fi password even if you don't know the current one.

Directions

  1. Log in to the router as an administrator.
  2. Find the Wi-Fi password settings.
  3. Type a new Wi-Fi password.
  4. Save the changes.

Note: Those are very generic instructions for changing a Wi-Fi password. The steps required to make any change to a router's settings differ between routers from different manufacturers, and might even be unique between models of the same router. Below are some additional details about these steps.

Step 1:

You need to know the IP address, username, and password of your router in order to log in to it as an administrator.

Identify what kind of router you have and then use these D-LinkLinksys, NETGEAR, or Cisco pages to see what password, username, and IP address are needed to get into your specific router.

For example, if you're using a Linksys WRT54G router, the table in that link shows you that the username can be left blank, the password is "admin" and the IP address is "192.168.1.1." So, in this example, you'd open the http://192.168.1.1 page in your web browser and log in with the password admin.

If you can't find your router in these lists, visit your router manufacturer's website and download your model's PDF manual. However, it's good to know that lots of routers use the default IP address of 192.168.1.1 or 10.0.0.1, so try those if you're not sure, and maybe even change a digit or two if they don't work, like 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.1.1.

Most routers also use the word admin as the password, and sometimes as the username as well.

If your router's IP address has been changed since you first purchased it, you can find out the default gateway your computer uses to determine the router's IP address.

Step 2:

Locating the Wi-Fi password settings should be fairly easy once you're logged in. Look in a NetworkWireless, or Wi-Fi section, or something similar, to find the wireless information. This terminology is different between routers.

Once you're on the page that lets you change the Wi-Fi password, there will most likely be words like SSID and encryption there, too, but you're looking for the password section in particular, which might be called something like network key, shared key, passphrase, or WPA-PSK.

To use the Linksys WRT54G example again, in that particular router, the Wi-Fi password settings are located in the Wireless tab, under the Wireless Security subtab, and the password section is called WPA Shared Key.

Step 3:

Type a new password in the text field provided on that page, but make sure it's strong enough that it'll be hard for someone to guess.

If you think it'll be too hard even for you to remember, store it in a free password manager.

Step 4:

The final thing you need to do after changing the Wi-Fi password on your router is save the changes. There should be a Save Changes or Save button somewhere on the same page where you entered the new password.

Still Can't Change the Wi-Fi Password?

If the above steps didn't work for you, you can still try a few things, but the first should be to contact the manufacturer or look through the product manual for instructions on how to change the Wi-Fi password for the specific router you have. Just search the manufacturer's website for your router model number to find the manual.

Some new routers are not managed via their IP address, but instead are accessed through a mobile app.

The Google Wi-Fi mesh router system is one example where you can change the Wi-Fi password right from the mobile app in the Network settings.

If you can't even get past Step 1 to log in to the router, you can reset the router back to factory default settings to erase the default login information. This will let you log in to the router using the default password and IP address, and will also erase the Wi-Fi password. From there, you can set up the router using any Wi-Fi password you want.

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