How To Change your Router’s Default Password


How to change your router’s default password, and why you should!

router_password_featureLast week we published an article relating to router security, you can catch up with that article here: Quickly Check that your Router Hasn’t Been Hijacked. At the end of the article I suggested that users should change their default router access password to help protect their settings and, in response, reader “Brummpa” posted a comment asking how to do that.

So, for Brummpa, plus any others who may not know, here’s how:

All router’s come with a configuration utility built-in which allows users to setup the device to suit their ISP, setup wifi, and generally manage settings. This configuration utility, which provides full exposure to the router’s settings, is accessed by typing a specific IP address into the address bar of the browser. From there, the user then needs to input a username and password, which are usually set to “admin” and “admin” by default. Once inside the configuration utility, the user can then change the password to something unique and strong.

Locate your Router’s IP Address

First, you will need to know your router’s IP address. These days, this information is often printed on a label affixed to the router, or in documentation which came with the router when purchased. If neither are available to you, you can find the IP address via a simple command.

To bring up a command prompt in Vista and Windows 7, type cmd into the search box in your Start Menu and then click cmd.exe:

win7-cmd

In Windows 8/8.1 press the Windows + X keys and select Command Prompt:


win8-cmd

Now type ipconfig into the command prompt box and hit Enter. This will return a bunch of information including your router’s Default Gateway – this series of numbers represents the IP address you will need to access your router’s configuration utility:

router_default gateway

As you can see from the above screenshot, my router’s IP address is 10.1.1.1.

Access your Router Settings

Now you’re all ready to go, open your browser (I’m using Firefox but the principle is the same for all popular browsers), type that IP address into the address bar and hit Enter:

access router config untility

Now you will be asked to input the credentials required to access your router settings. This will often be in the form of a popup where you will need to enter a username and password:

access router config utility

As I said earlier, this will usually be set to “admin” and “admin” by default, although some may be “admin” and “password” – either way, these default passwords are public knowledge so not at all secure. Type in the credentials and then click OK.


In the case of my particular router, the login is actually included at the top of the settings screen and requires just a password:

router login - boblite

Note that the default access password here is “admin” but I’ve already changed mine to something unique and strong.

Now, this is where it gets a bit tricky because different routers tend to include the password setting under different locations. It may be under Administration, Security, Advanced, or a combination of those. You’ll either need to look through the various locations or, if still unable to locate it, search for the information relating to your specific router online.

In my router, the password setting is under “Advanced Settings – modem password & remote management“:

Click image for full size

Click image for full size

Change your password to something unique and strong, and don’t forget to click the “Save” or “Save Settings” (or similar) button to make the change stick.

*Make sure to write the new password down somewhere safe, or save it in your password manager.

 

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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