Chromebooks are mobile and versatile, so they're commonly used on Wi-Fi networks in libraries, cafes, and other public networks. This is why knowing how to easily connect a Chromebook to Wi-Fi is important. Chromebooks come with built-in Wi-Fi network cards, and Chrome OS makes viewing and connecting to Wi-Fi networks near you very easy.
How to View Available Wi-Fi Networks
The first step to connect to a Wi-Fi network with your Chromebook is seeing which open or password-protected networks exist nearby.
To view Wi-Fi networks, select the Wi-Fi network icon in the lower right corner of your Chromebook screen. In the pop-up window, select the Wi-Fi icon.
If you've already configured your Chromebook to automatically connect to a network, you'll see a Connected status here. Otherwise the status will read "Not connected."
This opens a Network window with a list of all available networks. If you're already connected to one of them, you'll see 'connected' underneath it.
You can select any of the displayed Wi-Fi networks to begin the connection process.
How to Connect to Wi-Fi Networks With Chromebook
When you select one of the listed networks, you see options to connect to it. The same window can be used to connect to either open Wi-Fi networks without any password, or a secure network that requires one.
If the Wi-Fi network you selected is an open network, just select Connect. Once you do, you see the status update to state you're connected.
If the Wi-Fi network you selected is a secure network, then select Configure. This opens a network configuration window with the network name, the network security type, and a field for you to enter the network password.
If the network you're connecting to is your home Wi-Fi network, or any other network that you connect to frequently, make sure to enable Prefer this network, and Automatically connect to this network. This ensures the network is considered your preferred network, and that your Chromebook automatically connects to it whenever you're nearby.
If you're running Chrome OS 89 or later, it's easier to connect a Chromebook to Wi-Fi. You can connect to trusted networks automatically if you connected to them previously from other devices with the same Google Account. You don't need to enter your credentials again.
With the password and automatic options selected, select Connect and the Wi-Fi network status changes to 'connected.'
Other Chromebook Wi-Fi Connection Options
If Wi-Fi networks are non-standard such as using non-standard DNS servers or hidden networks, you may need to go through some extra steps to connect a Chromebook to that Wi-Fi network.
If connecting to a corporate Wi-Fi network where the company uses custom DNS server names, you need to change this setting before you can connect. Open Chromebook's settings using the same process as above, select Network, select the Network dropdown. Under Name Servers, select Custom name servers, then type the custom DNS servers provided to you by your IT Department.
If the Wi-Fi network you're trying to connect to with your Chromebook is a hidden network, obtain the network name from the network administrator. Then, go into the Network settings, select the Add connection dropdown, then select Add Wi-Fi.
In the Join Wi-Fi network pop-up window, type the name of the network in the SSID field, the network security type in the Security field, and the password (provided to you by the network administrator) in the Password field. Select Connect to connect to that hidden network.
You'll also notice on the network screen that there's an option to connect to a VPN. This is not a Wi-Fi network, but Chromebooks are fully capable of connecting to any VPN network.