Steps for turning your computer into a hotspot

Anton P. | March 21, 2022

Turning one of your devices into a mobile hotspot can be highly beneficial. Most modern phones and computers can work as router alternatives. For instance, if you have a device that does not have built-in VPN support, you have a workaround available. You can set up your computer to share the internet connection with gadgets nearby.

Scenarios when you need to set up a hotspot

It does not matter which connectivity type your device has. You can share Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or cellular data connections. Of course, be wary of your data plans and limits whenever you share a cellular connection. 

Usually, users consider setting up hotspots from their devices when they only have a single internet connection point. For instance, you visit a coffee place and decide to conduct some work via your laptop. 

However, the establishment either does not offer Wi-Fi, or you know how unsecured free networks can be. Then, you take your smartphone and start sharing your cellular connection. Finally, you connect your laptop to the hotspot you have prepared. 

Enabling a VPN on unsupported devices 

Not all internet-connected devices have innate support for Virtual Private Networks. It essentially means that you cannot install VPN apps directly on them. 

An illustration of such a lack of compatibility would be comparing Android devices and Xbox consoles. You can easily install a VPN app on Android after finding it on Google Play Store. However, consoles like Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch do not have built-in support for VPNs. Thus, users have several options: 

  • Installing a VPN on routers. Once you set up a VPN on compatible routers, all devices connected to them will get VPN protection. While beneficial, it also means less control over connections on individual systems. 
  • Creating a hotspot. You can enable a VPN on consoles by connecting to hotspots from devices with active VPNs. For instance, you can connect to a VPN on Windows, create a hotspot, and connect your console to it. 

How to turn Windows device into a hotspot

Here are the steps for sharing your connection on Windows devices. Remember that you can connect up to 8 devices to such mobile hotspots. 

Windows 11

  1. Click Start and open Settings

  1. Navigate to Network & internet.

  1. Open Mobile hotspot

  1. Find the Share my internet connection from option and decide how you wish to share your connection. 

  1. There are two options: over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. We recommend over Wi-Fi. 
  2. Pick Edit to name your hotspot, create a password, and choose a network band. 

  1. Hit Save
  2. Turn on Mobile hotspot

Windows 10

  1. Select the Start button and open Settings

  1. Open Network & Internet.

  1. Select Mobile hotspot

  1. Find Edit to create the name and password for your network. 

  1. Click Save
  2. Enable the Share my Internet connection with other devices setting. 

Note that older Windows versions do not have the built-in support for creating hotspots. Workarounds include creating ad-hock networks or using third-party programs like Connectify. 

Enable a hotspot on your macOS

You can also create hotspots via your Mac devices. Imagine that our Mac uses an Ethernet connection. Then, we configure that other devices would connect to our hotspot via Wi-Fi. 

Note that if your Mac uses Wi-Fi, other devices cannot connect to the device’s hotspot via Wi-Fi. 

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner. 

  1. Open System Preferences and pick Sharing

  1. Choose the Internet Sharing option in the sidebar. 

  1. Select where you want to share your connection from. For this, we select the Ethernet Adapter
  2. Pick what devices you want to share your connection with. For this, we choose computers using Wi-Fi
  3. Name your network and assign it a password. 
  4. Select Ok
  5. Look at the box next to the Internet Sharing
  6. Click Start to confirm. 
  7. Exit System Preferences

Bonus instructions: Android and iOS

Sometimes, you will want to transform your smartphone into a mobile hotspot. Here are the steps to do it. 

On Android:

Note that depending on your Android OS, the instructions might differ. 

  1. Open Settings
  2. Choose Wi-Fi & Network

  1. Click on Hotspot & tethering

  1. You will find options for enabling the hotspot and changing the name/password. 
  2. Customize the hotspot to your liking. 
  3. Save and enable the hotspot. 

On iOS

  1. Open Settings

  1. Navigate to Personal Hotspot

  1. Toggle the option to enable it. 

  1. Change password and other available settings if necessary. 

You can find your hotspot by accessing the network settings via the device you wish to connect to it.

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Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.



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