How to Turn Your Windows Laptop into a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Share your Windows laptop's internet with your other devices

Man using tablet pc, laptop and smartphone

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Tethering charges and fees for Wi-Fi hotspot access when you're away from home can add up, so it isn't always economical to have a smartphone, tablet, and laptop connected at the same time. With a free program called Connectify, it's possible to share your Windows laptop's internet connection over Wi-Fi with nearby wireless devices.

Instructions in this article apply to laptop and desktop computers running Windows 7 or later. Alternatively, you can share your internet connection using the built-in functionality of Windows or macOS.

How to Make a Free Hotspot With Connectify

To turn your PC into Wi-Fi hotspot with Connectify:

  1. Download Connectify, install it on your computer, then reboot the computer to finish the installation.

    Download Connectify and install it to your computer.

    Connectify is free to download, but there is a premium version available that includes extra features.

  2. Open Connectify, select Try it Out, then select Get Started with Lite.

    Try it Out button on Connectify web page
  3. Select the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab.

    Wi-Fi Hotspot tab in Connectify's web interface
  4. Select the Internet to Share dropdown arrow and choose your Wi-Fi network.

    Internet to Share menu in Connectify's web interface
  5. Select the Network Access dropdown arrow and choose Routed.

    Routed menu in Connectify's web interface
  6. In the Hotspot Name text box, enter a descriptive name.

    Hotspot Name field in Connectify's web interface

    With the free version of Connectify, only the text after "Connectify-" can be changed.

  7. Create a secure password for the hotspot.

    The network is encrypted with WPA2-AES encryption so the password can be anything.

    Password field in Connectify's web interface
  8. Select or clear the Ad Blocker check box based on your personal preference.

    Ad Blocker checkbox in Connectify's web interface
  9. Select Start Hotspot to share the internet connection over Wi-Fi. The Connectify icon on the taskbar changes from gray to blue.

    Start Hotspot button in Connectify's web interface
  10. Other wireless devices can now access your personal hotspot using the network name and password you specified in the steps above.

If Connectify has problems with your wireless adapter, update the device drivers.

How to Use Connectify

To see who has connected to your hotspot, go to Clients > Connected to my Hotspot. From here, you can monitor the upload and download traffic of the devices connected to the hotspot.

Connected to my Hotspot data in Connectify's web interface

Right-click any device to rename how it's listed, disable its access to the internet, disable its access to the computer hosting the hotspot, copy the IP address, or change its gaming mode (for example, to Xbox Live or Nintendo Network).

To stop sharing the connection, go to the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab and select Stop Hotspot. Your hotspot settings are saved so that you can quickly start the hotspot again in the future.

Stop Hotspot button in Connectify's web interface

If you pay for Connectify Hotspot MAX, you can also use the Wi-Fi hotspot tool to extend the wireless internet in your house. Instead of installing a second router or a Wi-Fi extender, put the laptop within range of the wireless connection and start the hotspot to expand the reach of your wireless signal.