There are many different ways to turn your PC into a virtual WiFi router, so in case you’re looking for ways to do that, let’s take a comprehensive look at all of them and let you decide which one works best for you. While there are a plethora of third-party software that will convert your computer into a WiFi router, you can also create an on-demand WiFi hotspot on your PC natively either by running a few lines of code through the command prompt or, via the Windows GUI by just clicking through a few options. Today, we’ll take a look at all these methods, so let’s start off by checking out the 7 best WiFi Hotspot software for Windows available right now:
Best Third-Party WiFi Hotspot Software
1. Connectify Hotspot
Connectify Hotspot is, by far, the best-known and most popular software to turn your PC into a WiFi hotspot. The program is available in a free avatar that would be good enough for many, but for a more comprehensive feature set, you will need to opt for one of the two paid versions: Pro or Max.
The main difefrence between the free and the paid versions is that the free version allows users to share internet from Ethernet and WiFi networks only, while the paid versions also bring the ability to share cellular data. Real-time network usage monitoring is another feature that’s common to all versions of the software, and so is ad-blocking for connected clients.
What you don’t get in the free version, however, is the ability to choose a custom SSID, firewall controls and a wired router mode, all of which are available in the ‘Pro’ version that costs $34.98 per year.
The company also offers a ‘Max’ version that comes with more bells and whistles, like a bridging mode, WiFi repeater mode and custom DHCP controls, all of which can be yours’ for a cool $59.98.
Platform: Windows Download: (Free, Paid versions start at $34.98)
Like Connectify, mHotspot is also a Windows program that transforms your PC into a virtual WiFi router, but unlike its more well-known counterpart, it is a completely free software without any premium versions, which means you get to use all its features for free. mHotspot allows users to share LAN, Ethernet, cellular and WiFi connections with multiple devices across platforms, including, laptops, smartphones, tablets, PDAs and other PCs. It is one of the most feature-rich free software in its category, and is officially available on Windows 7, 8 and 10.
You can connect up to 10 devices to a hotspot created by this software that can also act as a repeater to extend the WiFi range. In terms of security, mHotspot secures your WiFi hotspot with WPA2 PSK password security.
HostedNetworkStarter is yet another software that you can use to turn your PC into a WiFi hotspot. It is a great little utility that works similarly to the two programs mentioned earlier on this list, insofar as it creates a WiFi hotspot with the help of the wireless network adapter of your PC and, allows any device with WiFi support to access the network and the Internet connection available on your computer. It supports Windows 7 thru 10 (both 32 and 64-bit versions), but doesn’t work with Windows Vista or XP because of the lack of support for the WiFi Hosted Network feature in those versions of Windows. One of the coolest things about the program is that you don’t need to install the program on your computer in order to run it. You can just download the zip file, unzip it, and run the executable file right off the bat. Power users can also use command-line parameters to enhance the functionality of the software.
MaryFi is yet another free software that can turn your Windows PC into a virtual router. It’s way more feature-filled than Connectify’s free version, given how it supports all kinds of internet connections, including, but not limited to, Ethernet, WiFi and cellular.
As is the case with the other programs on the list, a wide variety of devices can be hooked up to connections created by MaryFi, so whether you’re looking to get WiFi connectivity for your phone, tablet, music player, gaming console or other laptops and desktops, MaryFi’s got you covered. The program uses password-protected WPA2 Encryption for privacy and security. One thing to remember here is that software is only said to compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 officially, and not with Windows 10.
Virtual Router Plus is a free and open source WiFi hotspot program that’s based on Chris Pietschmann’s Virtual Router project that’s hosted on Codeplex for now, but as with just about all other open source projects on the site, will be migrating to GitHub by the end of this year. The program is written in C# and, is officially available only on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012, although, during the time we spend with the software, it did seem to work alright on a Windows 10 laptop, effortlessly creating a WiFi access point for my Android smartphone.
Like HostedNetworkStarter, this one also doesn’t need an installation to work on your computer, so you can just unzip the compressed file and run the .exe file to get started. The program doesn’t have any ads and nor does it track users’ web activity. It uses the WPA2 encryption for privacy and security.