How to Change Your Wi-Fi Password

It's different for every router, but this will help

Changing your Wi-Fi password isn't something you need to do often, but there are times when it needs to be done. If you suspect that someone is stealing your Wi-Fi, change the Wi-Fi password to something more complex.

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.

These are 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. Following the steps are some additional details about these steps.

How to Change Your Wi-Fi Password

The process unfolds along the following general steps.

  1. Find the Wi-Fi Password Settings.

  2. Type a new Wi-Fi password.

  3. Save the changes.

Log Into Your Router as an Administrator

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

Illustration of a password field with a lock on it
Dacian_G / iStock

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. Many 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, check the default gateway your computer uses to determine the router's IP address.

Find the Wi-Fi Password Settings

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.

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.

Create a new Wi-Fi Password

Type a new password in the text field provided on that page—one that'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.

Save Your Wi-Fi Password Changes

Save the changes when you're done. 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, 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 newer equipment—including the Xfi system by Comcast Xfinity and Google Mesh—streamline network management in a mobile app, and the app is favored over logging into the router directly. If your service provider offers a mobile-management suite, look there for tools to administer your Wi-Fi.

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