Free Hotspot Program for Laptops

Share your Windows laptop's internet with your other devices

Man using tablet pc, laptop and smartphone

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Many of us have more than one device we'd like to connect to the internet. However, hefty tethering charges — and fees for Wi-Fi hotspot access when you're away from home or traveling — can add up, so it isn't always economical to have your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or some other wireless device all connected at the same time.

With free software called Connectify, though, you can share your Windows laptop's internet connection over Wi-Fi with nearby wireless devices.

You can share your internet connection in other ways as well, using the built-in functionality of your operating system. This is possible through Windows as well as macOS.


How to Make a Free Hotspot With Connectify


  1. Download Connectify
    and install it to your computer. You might need to reboot your computer to finish the install.

  2. Click Try it Out and then Get Started with Lite on the next screen.

    If Connectify doesn't start automatically after the installation or reboot, you can open it from the gray Wi-Fi icon on the taskbar, on the bottom right-hand side of Windows near the clock.

    Screenshot of the Connectify welcome screen options
    Jon Fisher
  3. From the Internet to Share drop-down menu, in the Wi-Fi Hotspot tab, select the appropriate internet connection to share in order to form the hotspot.

    Screenshot showing how to pick a network adapter to make a Wi-Fi hotspot with Connectify
    Jon Fisher
  4. Click Routed from the Network Access section.

    Screenshot of the network access option in Connectify
    Jon Fisher
  5. Name the hotspot in the Hotspot Name area. Since this is the free version of Connectify, you can only edit the text after "Connectify-".

    Screenshot of a custom hotspot name in Connectify
    Jon Fisher
  6. Choose a secure password for the hotspot. It can be anything you like. The network is encrypted with WPA2-AES encryption.

    Screenshot of a secure Wi-Fi hotspot password in Connectify
    Jon Fisher
  7. Enable or disable the Ad Blocker option based on your own personal preference.

    Screenshot of the ad blocker settings in the Connectify wi-fi hotspot tool
    Jon Fisher
  8. Click Start Hotspot to start sharing the internet connection over Wi-Fi. The icon on the taskbar will change from gray to blue.

  9. Wireless clients can now access your personal hotspot using the information you customized in the above steps.

    Screenshot of an iPhone connected to a Connectify Wi-Fi hotspot
     Jon Fisher

Anyone connecting to your hotspot is shown in the Clients > Connected to my Hotspot section of Connectify.

You can monitor the upload and download traffic of the devices connected to the hotspot as well as 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, and change its gaming mode (like to Xbox Live or Nintendo Network).

Tips

  • If you have problems using Connectify with your wireless adapter, try updating the device drivers.
  • Click Stop Hotspot from the program's Wi-Fi Hotspot tab to stop sharing the connection at any time. Your hotspot settings will remain saved so that you can quickly start the hotspot back up again in the future.
  • 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 then start up the hotspot to beam the wireless signal even further.