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Connect to the Internet in 3 Easy Steps

5 min. read

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Establishing a connection to the internet on your own can feel like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. But in today’s age of technology, it is important to be connected. This step-by-step guide will have you surfing the web in no time, no matter what type of connection you need.  

Step 1: Decide on an ISP

First, you need internet service through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you’re not sure which internet service provider will work best for your home, check with your phone company or cable or satellite company to see what internet service options they provide, and don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors which internet service provider they use.

Step 2: Hardware Prep

Second, you need some hardware: a modem and a router, depending on the type of internet service you have. Most internet service providers will provide you with a modem or router.


Think of a modem as a device that pulls the internet into your home. Your gateway to the internet, so to speak. Your internet service provider can tell you exactly what modem you need, depending on the type of internet connection you will have (DSL, cable, fiber, etc.).


Think of a router as a device that allows the internet to connect with multiple internet-capable devices in your home, something that splits the signal the modem brings into your home. This means that if you have a computer and also a mobile device on which you want to be able to use the internet, you will definitely need a router to ensure all of your devices can connect to the internet. Use your internet service provider for advice on router options; again, most ISPs will have their own hardware they can lease to you. But some will let you use a router you purchased on your own. 

While you’re hooking up the router, make note of your router’s SSID and password/security key (usually located on the bottom of the router.)

Using the instructions that come with your modem and router, plug in the devices. If you have followed all instructions and the devices do not power on, you will need to call the device manufacturer’s Customer Service for assistance.  

Tip: If you later have trouble connecting to the internet, you may need to ask a service technician to check your coaxial cable connection (the metal nub and cable tubing that come out of your wall)  to be sure it is working properly.

Lastly, you need an internet-capable device like a computer (desktop or laptop), mobile phone, tablet or even most eReaders (ex. Kindle) on which you will try to access your internet. This device will let you know if you’ve hooked your internet up properly.

Step 3: Different Ways to Connect to the Internet 

How to Hook Up Ethernet

Most of the time when you hear people talking about the internet, they are talking about connecting wirelessly. However, ethernet or wired connections are still very widely used and can sometimes offer more reliable connections and speeds. If you are using a device that does not offer wireless capabilities, or just want to use a wired connection, you will need an ethernet cable that connects from your router to your internet-capable device and another ethernet cable that connects the router to the modem. 

  • Connect the modem to the WAN port on the router using an ethernet cable
  • Connect the computer to the LAN port on the router using an ethernet cable 

Tip: You cannot use an ethernet connection on a mobile device. Mobile devices are wirelessly connected, only.

  • Using your computer, open an internet browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari) and begin browsing 

How to Hook Up Wireless

If you have computers that offer wireless connectivity to the internet or are using a mobile device, you can connect to the internet from your device with no cables beyond what you already used to hook up the router and modem. If you’ve ever seen someone sitting with their laptop working on the internet with no cables attached, they are using a wireless (or WiFi) connection. 

To establish a wireless connection, you will use an ethernet cable to connect your router and modem using the WiFi port on the router. Once these have been plugged into a power source and are turned on, you can begin connecting from your computer or mobile device. 

Tip: You may need to open up the settings on your computer or mobile device to make sure wireless or WiFi is turned on.

  • Once WiFi is turned to “on” on your computer or mobile device, you will be prompted to enter a password to access the wireless network. This is the password you previously noted from the bottom of your router.
  • Open up a browser and begin using the internet

There are many other devices today that offer wireless connectivity, like smart tvs. Once the wireless connection is established in your home, connecting to your smart tv is as easy as connecting to your computer. Depending on the tv manufacturer, you will look for the tv settings, then wireless settings, select your WiFi network, enter your password, then connect. 

How to Hook Up Dial-Up

While a dial-up connection is typically the slowest internet option you can choose, it may be the only option in some areas. Tip: Dial-up internet service will not work on wireless only devices like cell phones, tablets, smart TVs, etc. 

  • Using a telephone cord, plug your computer into a telephone jack
  • Access your computer’s control panel, which can typically be found under “My Computer” or something similar
  • Select Network and Internet Connections (or something similar) and Next
  • Select Create New Connection (or something similar) and Connect to the Internet, then Next
  • Select Set Up Connection Manually (or something similar) then Connect using a dial-up modem, then Next
  • Choose a name for the service (it can be your name, your provider’s name, or anything you want it to be) then Next
  • Enter your landline phone number and click Next
  • Enter the username and password. Confirm password then click Next. 
  • Select Finish (or Connect)
  • You should begin hearing your computer dialing into the internet service
  • Once the connection is established, open a browser and begin browsing

Remember that when using a dial-up internet connection, if you have call-waiting on that line your internet connection could be disrupted/disconnected if someone tries to call.  

The Bottom Line

Connecting to the internet does not have to be a stressful task. Utilize your resources, specifically your internet service provider. Use this guide as an additional resource to ensure a headache-free connection to the internet. Happy web surfing!

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