While it is not recommend to use public Wi-Fi due to potential security and privacy issues, connecting to a public Wi-Fi network can save your life in a time of need. For starters, you may be just getting off your plane in a new country, and in that case, you need to contact the person that is going to pick you up and get in touch with your friends and relatives to let them know you landed.
Unencrypted, public connections often redirect you to a login page when you choose to enter the network. Even if your phone or device says you are connected, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to open pages and start sharing data. The most common occurrence is that you accept terms and conditions and log in to the public hotspot when the system loads the page.
Why Won’t Wi-Fi Login Work?
However, sometimes that little log in popup just won’t open, and you need to access that part of the public Wi-Fi to enable the connection. While this issue is not unusual, it is very annoying since many people need at least a few minutes of public Wi-Fi in different settings: a coffee shop, a library, an airport, or a restaurant.
Reality indicates that you need to connect to a secure network or change some detail in your phone or computer configuration. However, it is not always easy to identify the problem, since there is no magic button that says “tap here and you will connect to public Wi-Fi without issues.”
There are numerous methods you can try to access public Wi-Fi links that just won’t open. Among them are:
Disable alternative third-party DNS servers: If you want the Wi-Fi login page to load, try turning off alternative third-party DNS servers, because it usually gets the job done. When you don’t seek help from outside, your computer or device will select a DNS server from the Wi-Fi router. The issue is when you use an external DNS or Domain Name Service.
If you use anything other than your own network settings’ DNS, then you can experience this issue. Services like Google DNS can prevent the login page to open because most public networks implement their DNS to let your device know which login page will be opened. If the user implements a third-party DNS server, like Google DNS, the process is altered.
Here is how you can do this process in:
- Access the System Preferences.
- Select Network.
- Select Advanced.
- Click the DNS tab.
- Click on any DNS servers.
- Tap the – button to delete them.
- Apply the changes.
- Press the right-click in your network icon, in the system tray.
- Choose Open Network and Sharing Center.
- Click your connection name.
- Click on Properties.
- Select Internet Protocol Version 4.
- Select Properties.
- Once you are there, select Option an IP address automatically to use the default DNS servers.
- Access the Settings.
- Select Wi-Fi.
- Tap the I button next to your network name.
- Tap the DNS field.
- Delete the existing text.
- Select Configure DNS and tap Automatic to quickly turn off 3rd party DNS (available in iOS 11 or on an Apple TV.)
- Access the Settings page.
- Select Wi-Fi.
- Long-press on your network name.
- Tap Modify Network.
- Erase any text in the DNS field.
After you have completed the described steps in the respective operating systems, turn off your Wi-Fi and shortly turn it back on, and the login screen should appear
Open the router’s default page: If the first tip doesn’t perform to expectations, then try to load the router’s default page by entering 192.168.1.1, 127.1.1.1, 126.96.36.199, or http://localhost in your address bar.
If you are trying to enter a company’s Wi-Fi network, try finding the log in link on its official website. If that is not enough, go to your network settings to seek your IP address, then type it in the address bar of your browser replacing the last number with “1.”
Open a non-HTTPS site in Incognito: You can clear your browser cache, but to save you from the hassle, you should try opening a non-HTTPS site while Incognito, because the issue of the loading (or lack thereof) of the Wi-Fi log in page could be because your cache tries to use known sites’ DNS info. By opening an incognito tab and opening a non-secure page, the system will load an entirely new slate.
Create a new network location: an excellent method for Mac users. Since Network locations store settings for different places, you should make your device use a different DNS according to geographical position (home, work, etc.) It will do the trick.
Restart your Wi-Fi: If none of the other solutions work, perhaps you should try turning off your Wi-Fi connection and then restart it.
If none of the offered solutions solve the problem, then trying restarting your computer. Then, if the public Wi-Fi login page just won’t open, try contacting the manager of the connection and get him to restart the router.
How to stay secure in a public hotspot
You should try to avoid public Wi-Fi by all means, although we understand that there are times in which one needs to connect for a few minutes. However, try to use your data plan if it is at all possible, and accessing pages with HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.) If you can’t implement these measures, then get the services of a VPN.
VPN is Mandatory for Public Wi-Fi
In a public Wi-Fi network, hackers can easily position themselves between you and the wireless connection, putting yourself in the range of data and identity theft situations, not to mention the loss of vital files and documents. If you can access a private connection with solid encryption, you will be better off than leaving your cyber security exposed.
Covering yourself up with the shield that is VPN can reap a huge benefit for your online safety. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are online data encryption resources that make sure any external agents or third parties can’t have access to your browsing record, traffic, IP address or any other data.
By masking your IP address, a VPN service will make you safer, more private and ultra anonymous while you surf the web. Those features come in handy while you are using a public Wi-Fi connection.
How to set up your VPN connection to remain protected on public Wi-Fi
- Select a VPN from the dozens of options available on the web.
- Go to your chosen VPN website.
- Sign up for the service. You may need to enter personal details and a payment method.
- Download and install the VPN software or app on your computer or mobile device.
- Log in with your previously entered credentials.
- Choose a server and press “Connect.”
- Done! You are now free to navigate the web in a secure way.
Best VPN for accessing public Wi-Fi
After you have followed our advice and opened the login page of the public Wi-Fi hotspot, you still need secure encryption to avoid hackers attacking you or someone sniffing on your traffic. A VPN service of proven quality, like IPVanish or Private Internet Access (PIA) can work just fine. However, the top alternative in the market is TorGuard.
TorGuard: premier encryption
Known for being a responsible, serious, and reliable VPN whose primary priority is security and strong encryption, TorGuard also offers other services besides VPN protection, such as an anonymous email, anonymous proxy, and privacy bundle.
At just about $9.99, users can enjoy 3,000 servers in 55 countries, all the major protocols, connection for five devices simultaneously, an excellent live chat feature, and a stealth proxy, with unlimited speeds and bandwidth.
In conclusion, public Wi-Fi are insecure, but often necessary. However, the log in page sometimes just won’t open, so you need to implement a few tricks, such as disabling third party DNS serves, clearing the browser’s cache, restarting the devices involved, loading the router’s default page, or creating a new network location.
Once you are in, you should know that hackers are all over the web, and you need to remain anonymous while you are connected to a public hotspot. A VPN like TorGuard, with a reliable background and exciting features, can be your best friend.