How to Connect a Chromebook to Wi-Fi

Enjoy wireless connectivity with your Chrome OS laptop

What to Know

  • Select the Wi-Fi network icon in the lower-right corner, then select Wi-Fi. Select a network, then choose Configure. Enter a password.
  • If you use the network frequently, select Prefer this network and Automatically connect to this network.
  • Now that everything's configured, choose Connect. The network's status should change to say "Connected."

Chromebooks are mobile and versatile, so they're commonly used on Wi-Fi networks in libraries, cafes, and other public networks. This is why knowing how to easily connect a Chromebook to Wi-Fi is important. Chromebooks come with built-in Wi-Fi network cards, and Chrome OS makes viewing and connecting to Wi-Fi networks near you easy.

How to View Available Wi-Fi Networks

The first step to connect to a Wi-Fi network with your Chromebook is seeing which open or password-protected networks exist nearby.

  1. To view Wi-Fi networks, select the Wi-Fi network icon in the lower right corner of your Chromebook screen. In the pop-up window, select the Wi-Fi icon.

    network connection status on Chromebook

    If you've already configured your Chromebook to automatically connect to a network, you'll see a Connected status here. Otherwise the status will read "Not connected."

  2. This opens a Network window with a list of all available networks. If you're already connected to one of them, you'll see 'connected' underneath it.

    Wi-Fi network list on Chromebook
  3. You can select any of the displayed Wi-Fi networks to begin the connection process.

How to Connect to Wi-Fi Networks With Chromebook

When you select one of the listed networks, you see options to connect to it. The same window can be used to connect to either open Wi-Fi networks without any password, or a secure network that requires one.

  1. If the Wi-Fi network you selected is an open network, just select Connect. Once you do, you see the status update to state you're connected.

    network settings window on Chromebook
  2. If the Wi-Fi network you selected is a secure network, then select Configure. This opens a network configuration window with the network name, the network security type, and a field for you to enter the network password.

    Screenshot of the network configuration window on Chromebook
  3. If the network you're connecting to is your home Wi-Fi network, or any other network that you connect to frequently, make sure to enable Prefer this network, and Automatically connect to this network. This ensures the network is considered your preferred network, and that your Chromebook automatically connects to it whenever you're nearby.

    If you're running Chrome OS 89 or later, it's easier to connect a Chromebook to Wi-Fi. You can connect to trusted networks automatically if you connected to them previously from other devices with the same Google Account. You don't need to enter your credentials again.

    setting a preferred network on Chromebook
  4. With the password and automatic options selected, select Connect and the Wi-Fi network status changes to 'connected.'

    a Wi-Fi with connected status on Chromebook

Other Chromebook Wi-Fi Connection Options

If Wi-Fi networks are non-standard such as using non-standard DNS servers or hidden networks, you may need to go through some extra steps to connect a Chromebook to that Wi-Fi network.

  1. If connecting to a corporate Wi-Fi network where the company uses custom DNS server names, you need to change this setting before you can connect. Open Chromebook's settings using the same process as above, select Network, select the Network dropdown. Under Name Servers, select Custom name servers, then type the custom DNS servers provided to you by your IT Department.

    setting up custom DNS name servers
  2. If the Wi-Fi network you're trying to connect to with your Chromebook is a hidden network, obtain the network name from the network administrator. Then, go into the Network settings, select the Add connection dropdown, then select Add Wi-Fi.

    adding a new Wi-Fi network in Chromebook
  3. In the Join Wi-Fi network pop-up window, type the name of the network in the SSID field, the network security type in the Security field, and the password (provided to you by the network administrator) in the Password field. Select Connect to connect to that hidden network.

    connecting to a hidden network with a Chromebook

You'll also notice on the network screen that there's an option to connect to a VPN. This is not a Wi-Fi network, but Chromebooks are fully capable of connecting to any VPN network.

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