If you’ve ever shared your mobile phone’s Internet connection with other devices using its hotspot feature, you may have wondered why you couldn’t do the same thing with your computer’s Internet connection. Great news… Connectify Hotspot software lets you do just that! 🙂
Note: This solution involves network sharing, a topic I know very little about and generally find very confusing. So this post is going to discuss the very basics of how this particular aspect of sharing works and will then direct you to the Connectify website to learn more.
Why Would You Need Connectify Hotspot?
The benefits of creating your own hotspot is fairly obvious. It lets you share the Internet connection from your computer with other computers and devices.
But it also raises an obvious question: If your computer is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, why can’t all the other devices just connect to the same Wi-Fi signal? Well, there are several possible reasons:
- You may need to pay for the Wi-Fi connection. For example, if you’re using a hotspot service in a hotel, airport, or other public place that requires a fee, each individual device would incur a cost when connecting.
- You may have a free connection but don’t want to share your personal username and password with others. For example, my Comcast service includes free access to Xfinity hotspots, but requires me to login with my Comcast account information. I don’t really want to hand that info out to my friends, but I can create a hotspot with its own username and password that they can use.
- You may be using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service that doesn’t work natively with certain devices. This is how I learned about Connectify Hotspot when I was in Canada and wanted to watch TV shows and movies on my streaming media devices but they couldn’t work directly with my ExpressVPN service. Instead, I would connect my laptop to a U.S.-based server using ExpressVPN, then use Connectify to create a hotspot that the streaming players would use to connect to the Internet, allowing them to access U.S. content.
There are other benefits as well—for example there’s some advantage to having gamers on the same network—but this is one of those places where it’s over my tech head.
How Does Connectify Hotspot Work?
Set up your hotspot.
The basic steps for using Connectify are very simple. After you download and install the software, it brings up a dialog box where you enter the settings you want for your hotspot.
There are lots of settings, but don’t let that overwhelm you. I used the default settings, which worked great with my streaming players. The only thing I changed were the Hotspot Name and Password, which is what the other devices need to connect to your Internet service.
Then you just click Apply Settings and wait maybe 15-20 seconds and your hotspot is created. While this is happening, the dialog box will also switch from the Settings tab to the Clients tab, which shows you all the devices connected to your hotspot.
Connect a device.
Connecting to your hotspot is exactly the same as connecting to any other wireless network. For example, here is the connection screen from my Amazon Fire tablet.
Once it’s connected, it will show up on the list of devices in the Connectify dialog.
NOTE: Each device that is connected to your hotspot will be using data from your Internet provider so if you are responsible for overage fees, make sure you keep track of how much data you’re using.
And that’s it! When you’re ready to end the session, just click the Stop Hotspot button.
Ready to Buy?
Connectify Hotspot comes in three different flavors: Pro and Max. Max includes additional features (that I don’t really understand…) and you can purchase a one-time version of the current version or a lifetime license that will include all future updates.
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