How to Share Your Internet Connection on Windows

Windows has a built-in feature to share its connection

Many hotels, virtual offices, and other locations only provide a single wired Ethernet connection. If you need to share that one internet connection with several devices, use the built-in internet connection sharing (ICS) feature in Windows 7 and Windows 8, or the Mobile Hotspot feature in Windows 10, to allow other computers or mobile devices to go online as well. In essence, you can turn your computer into a wireless hotspot or wired router for other devices nearby.

This procedure requires your host computer to be connected via cable to the internet modem (DSL or cable modem, for example) or by means of a cellular data modem on your computer. To share a wireless internet connection with other devices, turn your Windows laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot using Connectify.

Use Your Windows 10 Computer as a Mobile Hotspot

  1. Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile hotspot.

  2. Pick the connection you intend to share from the Share my Internet connection from a drop-down box.

  3. Tap or click Edit, then modify, as needed, the network name and password for this new connection. When you're finished, Save your settings.

  4. Activate Share my Internet connection with other devices.

  5. From any other device, search for the wireless network you just established to verify the connection.

Use Your Windows 7 or Windows 8 Computer as a Mobile Hotspot

  1. Log on to the Windows host computer, the one connected to the internet, as an Administrator.

  2. Go to Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center and then click Change adapter settings.

  3. Right-click the internet connection that you want to share (e.g., Local Area Connection) and click Properties.

  4. Click the Sharing tab.

  5. Check the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection option. For the sharing tab to show up, you will need to have two types of network connections: one for your internet connection and another that the client computers can connect to, such as a wireless adapter.

  6. After ICS is enabled, you can set up an ad hoc wireless network or use newer Wi-Fi direct technology so that the other devices can connect directly to your host computer for internet access.

Other Operating Systems and Some Tips

Windows XP and Windows Vista instructions for using ICS are similar. If you have a Mac, you can share your Mac's internet connection via Wi-Fi as well. Remember these considerations also:

  • Clients who connect to the host computer should have their network adapters set to get their IP address automatically (look in the network adapter properties, under TCP/IPv4 or TCP/IPv6, and click Obtain an IP address automatically).
  • If you create a VPN connection from your host computer to a corporate network, all of the computers on your local network would be able to access the corporate network if you use ICS.
  • If you share your internet connection over an ad hoc network, ICS will be disabled if you disconnect from the ad hoc network, create a new ad hoc network, or log off from the host computer.