A secure Wi-Fi network is a necessity in every home. Not only will this protect your information from hackers, but it’s also a great way to block neighbors from trying to access free Wi-Fi on your dime.
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are extremely useful tools to help keep you safe, but encrypting your own Wi-Fi Network makes you even safer.
You’ll never be 100% risk-free, but you do want to make things as difficult as possible for Wi-Fi-stealers and hackers.
Encrypting your router and network is extremely easy. It only takes a few steps and won’t take much time out of your day. Here’s how to do it.
First, Understand Encryption
Before we begin with the tutorial, it’s important that you understand what exactly we’re going to do. As of right now, there are three main security protocols for your network.
The first protocol that existed was the Wired Equivalent Privacy or WEP for short. This was commonly used about two decades ago and is now outdated.
Fast forward a few years and the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) takes WEP’s place. This protocol was better than the outgoing one, but it was soon replaced by WPA2, which is the current and most secure protocol to encrypt a Wi-Fi network.
With this in mind, you’ll want to set your router settings so you have the WPA2 protection. You can do this with virtually any router that’s from 2006 and later.
1. Go to Your Router’s Settings Page
First, you’ll have to go to your router’s settings page. You do this by typing your router’s IP address into Safari, or any other web browser you use.
The most common address is http://192.168.1.1, but you can check out own IP address by doing the following:
If you’re on a Mac computer
- Go to System Preferences…
- Click on Network.
- Select Advanced… that’s located on the bottom-right corner.
- Click on TCP/IP on the tab located at the top of the window.
- Your IP address should be right next to the word Router.
- Copy and paste your IP address into Safari’s URL bar, then add http:// to the beginning of the address and hit enter.
If you’re on your iPhone
- Go to the Settings app.
- Tap on Wi-Fi.
- Tap on the “i” icon next to your network connection.
- You’ll see your IP address next to the word Router.
- Copy and paste your IP address into Safari’s URL bar, then add http:// to the beginning of the address and hit Go.
2. Log Into Your Router’s Settings Page
Now, after you’ve typed your IP address into your browser, you’ll need to log into your router’s settings. The page will likely ask you for a username and a password. If you’ve never gone here before, then you’ll probably use the default password.
You can try using Admin as the username. For password, there a few default passwords. Try using “password”, “admin”, “1234”, or leaving the field blank. If none of that works, you could try factory resetting your router and start from scratch.
3. Change Your Encryption and Password
Finally, once you’ve logged in, you can change your router’s encryption and password.
- Look for the Wireless Settings. This can be located either on a panel on the left of your screen or at the top of the screen. It will depend on the router you have.
- Look for the security section with a dropdown list.
- Select your encryption protocol of choice. If you can, you should choose WPA2. If you don’t have this option available, go for WPA. Worst case scenario, choose WEP.
- Change the password or passphrase. This is the password you’ll use on your devices to connect to your Wi-Fi Network. Make sure it’s hard enough!
- Once you’re done, hit the apply button.
- Remember to change the password on your devices too.
And that’s it. Your Wi-Fi network is more secure now. In the wireless settings, you can also change your SSID name AKA your router’s name. It’s better if you do so. Default router names are an easier target.