You can wirelessly share your Wi-Fi or wired internet connection with other devices by turning a PC or Mac into a hotspot.
In an ideal world, you’d connect all your devices to a single Wi-Fi network and instantly be on the internet, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Maybe your hotel only offers a single Ethernet connection, or perhaps your airline Wi-Fi charges you per device and you’d rather just pay once for your laptop and phone.
In those situations, you’re going to need a way to share internet through another device. If you don’t have a mobile hotspot, and turning your phone into a hotspot isn’t an option (like on an airplane), you can actually share your PC’s internet connection with other devices over Wi-Fi. Here’s how to turn your computer into a hotspot so you can get all your devices online.
How to Share Your Internet Connection in Windows
Windows has this capability built into the operating system. You can even share your Wi-Fi internet to other devices without an Ethernet cable. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Hotspot and enable Share my internet connection with other devices (Windows 10) or Mobile hotspot (Windows 11)
How your connection is shared will default to whether you’re using Ethernet or Wi-Fi at the moment. If you’re using both, you can choose which connection you want to share. Pick whether you want to share internet over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (chances are you want to share over Wi-Fi).
Click the Edit button to create a name and password for your new network. When you’re ready, turn to your secondary device’s Wi-Fi settings and log into the connection you just set up for sharing using your newly created credentials.
Note that you may experience slower internet while doing this, due to the inefficiencies of Wi-Fi sharing. Still, it’s better than nothing, especially when you’re in a bind.
How to Share Your Internet Connection on a Mac
Apple’s macOS has had internet sharing built in for quite some time, and it’s simple to use. Just head to System Preferences > Sharing and click the Internet Sharing option in the sidebar. From here, you need to choose the connection you’re sharing from and what the other device is using before enabling the feature.
You can share a connection from Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Thunderbolt, or FireWire to computers using any of those protocols. However, you can’t share via the same protocol from which you’re currently receiving internet. (So, you can’t share your Wi-Fi connection over Wi-Fi—you’d have to share Ethernet over Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi over Bluetooth.)
Select the options you want—in my case, I’m sharing internet from my Ethernet connection to other devices over Wi-Fi—and check the box next to Internet Sharing in the sidebar to create your hotspot. You should be able to connect your other devices over Wi-Fi (or Bluetooth or Thunderbolt) and use the internet normally.
For more on how to optimize your Wi-Fi network, check out our tips for boosting your Wi-Fi signal. We’ve also tested the best wireless range extenders and top mesh Wi-Fi systems.