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Default gateway

Default gateway

Default gateway definition

The piece of hardware that sits between your home network and the rest of the internet. In most local networks, the default gateway is the Wi-Fi router. It allows you to access servers and devices outside of your network — all the traffic you send and receive goes through it. Without a default gateway, browsing the internet would be a much more laborious effort.

How to secure your default gateway

  • Change the passwords. Your Wi-Fi password needs to be changed every few months, just in case someone guessed it and is using up your bandwidth. But you must also make sure to change your router’s password. Routers used to come with “admin” or “1234” as the default password everyone could look up online, but newer models often have random letters and numbers as the password. Either way, it’s a good idea to change it as soon as you set it up.
  • Change the SSID. Leaving the default name can reveal your router’s manufacturer and model, which could help cybercriminals hack into it.
  • Update firmware regularly. Vulnerabilities can emerge at any time — regular updates will allow you to patch those gaps in your router’s security.
  • Install a VPN. When you protect your access point with bulletproof encryption, every other device you connect to it will be secure as well. NordVPN is compatible with many modern routers — set it up and keep your whole network safe.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security