Your Wi-Fi router is the beating heart of your home network. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to stream Netflix to your Roku Stick or follow Kanye West’s latest Twitter tirade from the throne.
But searching for that Post-it note on which you scrawled your network’s obscure default password whenever you want to get online from a new device? That’s seriously annoying.
Fortunately, it isn’t that hard to change that never-ending stream of numbers and letters to something you’ll actually remember. There are innumerable routers out there, but the following instructions should work on most of them.
First, from a device that’s already connected to your Wi-Fi network, type the following string of numbers into a Web browser address bar: 192.168.1.1 or 184.108.40.206.
That should bring you to your router’s administrative login screen. (Some routers have more human-readable addresses for those screens; if, for example, you have a Netgear router like mine, you’d go to www.routerlogin.net.)
Once you’re there, you’ll be asked to enter your router’s username and password. Note that these credentials are probably not the same as your wireless network’s credentials. In fact, a lot of router makers set their routers’ default username to “admin” and the password to — yes — “password.” I’m serious.
Once you’re logged in, locate the Wi-Fi settings menu and enter the new password you want to use for your network. Make it something you’ll remember but also something that isn’t too short or too obvious. (There are many online guides to choosing memorable-yet-hard-to-guess passwords. Here’s one. Here’s another.)
If you’re feeling especially frisky, while you’re here you can also change your network’s name to something that’ll help make it easier to find when scrolling through the endless list of available networks in your area.