'What is a WPA2 password?': A guide to WPA2, the safest type of Wi-Fi password you can have

Casezy idea/ShutterstockWPA2 is the safest password setting you have on your router.


If you’ve had an internet router installed in your home recently, chances are that it’s using WPA2 password protection.

Short for “Wi-Fi protected Access 2,” WPA2 debuted in 2006 and has been the preferred security protocol since that time.

But how does WPA2 work? And is it even safe?

Here’s what you need to know about WPA2, including a guide on how to find your WPA2 password using a Mac or PC.

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WPA2 is the safest form of Wi-Fi password protection

WPA2 protection is immensely safe. WPA2 relies on a user-generated password to keep strangers out of your internet, and there’s currently no way for a hacker to infiltrate it remotely.

The original security protocol for Wi-Fi networks was called WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), but it had a number of serious vulnerabilities. Established in 1999, it had been cracked by 2001. It was then superseded by the first version of WPA in 2003, which was replaced by WPA2 in 2006.

If your router is using any security protocol other than WPA2, you should open the router’s settings and change it to WPA2.

The most common way to locate your Wi-Fi router’s security settings, which includes the WPA2 password, is by signing into your router’s settings page in a web browser.

If the router’s manufacturer offers a mobile app, you might be able to see the WPA2 settings there as well.

How to find your WPA2 password

1. To open the router’s security settings, you’ll need to know the router’s IP address. This is often written on the side or bottom of the router itself, but if you can’t find it there, you can look up the IP address on your computer. Check out our article on how to do just that.

Dave Johnson/Business InsiderThe ‘Default Gateway’ on Windows computers is your router’s IP address.

2. Once you have the IP address, open any web browser. In the browser, enter the router’s IP address in the address bar and press Enter or Return.

3. You’ll need to log into the router’s settings page using the username and password you used when you installed the router. Check the router’s setup guide, or the notes you took when you reset the username and password. Many routers also have this written on the side or bottom.

What is a WPA2 password 2Dave Johnson/Business InsiderLog into your router’s settings page to find the WPA2 password.

4. Every router is different, but you can typically find the WPA2 settings in a section called “wireless” or “security.” You should see a menu in which you can select the security protocol (such as WEP, WPA, or WPA2) and the current password.

What is a WPA2 password 3Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYou may need to browse the admin controls to find the security protocol.

If you find that you can’t log into your router, or can’t find your password, try contacting the router’s manufacturer or your internet service provider.

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