How To Log Into Your Router: A User's Guide

Your router (or modem router combo) is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home, even if you don’t think about it that often. And why would you? As long as it's working, it doesn’t require your attention. Yet every once in a while, you should check up on it as part of making sure you’re getting what you want out of your internet service. Part of this is perhaps dusting it off and making sure it is in the right place, but you need to log in to handle the software and settings side of things.

It may seem complicated, and there are a few steps, but there’s nothing scary or terribly complex about it. Just set aside a little time, open up a browser tab, and get started. Here’s everything you need to know about logging into your router:

Find Your Router’s IP Adress

In order to log into your router, you first need to determine your router’s IP address. To do this, you need to check one of several places:

Most routers will have a default IP address to start from, but it might be varied from this or have undergone some sort of change from the norm. To check for certain, you will want to look at the most reliable sources available.

We recommend going by the following steps:

1. Type “cmd” in the Windows search bar. Press enter and wait for the command prompt to appear.

2. Once you’re in the command prompt, type “ipconfig” and press enter.

3. Scroll through the information (it can be a bit). Look for “Default Gateway” which should be under the Ethernet adaptor or Wireless LAN adapter section. The number on the right will be the IP address you are looking for.

4. Write down the number and close the command prompt if you have no other business with it.

Alternatively, depending on your operating system, you might be able to check the IP address of your router more directly in the settings of your system. It changes slightly from one variation of Windows to the next, but for the most part, look under network and internet settings. Most people will find it under “view hardware and connection properties.” 

Note that the IP address of your router will be different from that of the device you are using right now or to look up the information. This is a common mistake and might be what you ran into before looking at this article. While you may want to note your device’s address for future reference, your router’s IP address is far more common than your unique IP address for your device.

Signing In

Next, all you need to do is type in (or copy and paste) your router’s IP address into the address bar of any browser. It doesn’t matter which one you use, it will all work just the same. Once you do this, you should be accessing the homepage for the browser, a menu, or something similar. In most cases, it is simply a couple of boxes. The exact results might vary from browser to browser. Once you do so, you’ll likely run into a login screen, with the exact details again varying. We promise it won’t be complicated, and you should be able to do it on just about any device.

Finding Your Credentials

If you haven’t logged into your router before, which is a strong possibility if you’re reading this, you will need to find or remember the credentials. This usually means just your username and password for the router. You might have created them when you set up the router, or you might never have created them in the first place. However, they exist by default with every router.

Perhaps alarmingly to some, you may see that the credentials of your router are by default something like “admin” for the admin and “password” for the password. We know, it’s profoundly insecure and a potential security risk should anyone be around your home and connected to your network. Fortunately, you can change that later. 

For now, use those or whatever the default might be for your router brand or model. If you don’t know what they are, then you will want to try to look them up online or in the router manual (which can also likely be found online if you don’t have yours). You can also try this site, which has a repository of the most common router passwords, and you can search by manufacturer.

Still not having any luck or can’t remember what you changed them to? Some routers might allow you to recover your password. Have your router’s serial number handy, and try to also make sure that you have the router itself close by enough that you can check what you need to. If you don’t see the option, you might need to try and fail to log in a few times first, so that it pops up. 

Failing all the above, which is unlikely, you may need to contact the customer or technical support for your router. It can be a hassle, but it needs doing and you don’t want to be locked out of your router forever. You might want to have them on speakerphone and do chores around the house if they leave you on hold.

What To Do Once You’re In

At this point hopefully, you have logged in and can do what you came there for. Yet if it's your first time, or it has been a while, you might want to do the following as well:

  • Whatever reason you are logging into your router in the first place, this would be a great time to update your security settings. You can change your WiFi password here, which we strongly recommend. If someone can access your network, they can spy on a lot of what you are doing, potentially getting confidential information. You can similarly change the name of your network if you are in a crowded area, to make it easier for yourself and the people around you. 
  • Outside of names and passwords, you can update the security protocols you want to use. You will likely want to use WPA2-PSK [AES] if it is available. It is the strongest option and should keep your network safe. Many routers also have proprietary security features, and you may be able to access and control them here. Whether it is providing an extra layer of protection or giving you more information about potential intruders, try to make sure these are active unless they actively inconvenience you. 
  • For future reference, see what features and information are available to you on the browser page. You never know what troubles you might run into in the future. It’s helpful to know what you can and cannot change from logging in. There are some default features to be expected for sure, but there may be variations depending on the model and (more likely) brand of router.
  • You may want to create a guest network for people who may visit but you don’t want to access your main network. This is a feature that will be more helpful to business owners and managers than the average renter or homeowner, but it can also help you be a good neighbor when you want to.
  • Note the limits and specifications of your router. They might not be available on the page itself, but now is the perfect time to do so. If you’ve had it a few years or have changed your internet service plan since getting it, an upgrade might be due.
  • You can check the attached devices. Perhaps there are some devices you don’t want to access your network, or you are curious if there is anything on there that there shouldn’t be. In any case, it's much easier to go through everything on the screen than walk through your home and hope you notice everything.

Via Mobile App

A more recent trend, some more advanced routers might allow you to log in via a mobile app. This is by far more convenient, at least once you set up the app. Also, note that the features that you might have access to via the app may or may not be the same as those available via the method above. There might be a few more bits of information you can glean from the app, but others might be blocked off. We recommend that you check both the browser and the app to get the lay of the wireless network, so to speak.

You will likely have a simplified home screen on the app for your router or modem/router combo and may need to dig into the options more to get the full details. Experiment a little and learn everything you can. If you have a data plan, you probably don’t even need to be home to get at least some helpful information.

If you haven’t used it in a while, make sure that it is updated. There are rarely vast updates that entirely change the system, but you don’t want to cause confusion or an error when you can avoid it. 

Additional Router Tips and Notes

If you’re reading this, then you might be having some trouble with your router or are hoping to learn more. If this is the case, or you’re just about done logging in, we recommend the following while it is on your mind:

  • Check to make sure you are getting the download speeds that your ISP and router promise. You will be limited to your weakest link, but you should have a router that can handle the service you are getting. If not, it’s time to get a new router, modem, or both. If your router seems to be fine but your internet speeds are not what you’d like them to be, perform a few additional speed tests and contact your service provider if you feel the need. 
  • While we are mostly talking about routers here, don’t forget to check on your modem as well. It’s just as important, if not more so. Remember that it could be the very same device as your router, especially if there are no two separate pieces of equipment
  • Now is a great time to check to see if there is any interference with your network or equipment. While modern routers can have quite a range and work almost anywhere, there are still materials and places where the signal might get blocked.
  • As a rule, keeping your router in an open place closest to most of your devices is best. Do make sure that your router can reach your entire home, though.
  • Additionally, while WiFi technology has come a long way, if you want the best connection, use an ethernet cable.
  • Try to keep your settings so that they’ll be useful at all times. While you might want to turn off a bit of security when it annoys you at the moment, most people won’t remember to turn it back on. This leads to security breaches and identity theft, so watch out.
  • If you absolutely must change something, keep the tab open until you change it back, so that you don’t forget.
  • If you are using something like a mesh network or extenders, it is possible that managing everything could be a little more complicated or require separate logins or steps. When you are working with such gear, consult the manuals for the extenders, etc. to be certain of positive results.
  • If you are installing a range extender or similar equipment, also make sure that it is compatible with your router. You should not run into issues, but some combinations work better than others.

Conclusion

While you might often rely on experts or technicians to handle the issues, you want to be able to look into your router on your own time and for your own purposes. Maybe you need the information to install new programs. Maybe you’re hoping to change some settings. Maybe you want to be more security conscious. Whatever the case, we hope this information helped you and that you can log in within a matter of minutes. We wish you the best of luck and invite you to bookmark and return to this page as needed.

InternetAdvisor Team

We are passionate about aggregating large, accurate data sets and providing it all to our users in an easy-to-use format. Simply put, shopping is easier for the consumer when he/she knows all available options. We are not beholden to any single provider and therefore are dedicated to transparency and giving you unbiased information on all providers.

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