Ever since Sharon and I started writing Your Mileage May Vary, we’ve learned that having reliable internet access is a necessity when we’re traveling. That’s not such a big problem now that most hotel rooms offer Wi-Fi connections. But even those connections aren’t always the best and occasionally we’ll find ourselves sitting in a hotel lobby updating the website because we just can’t connect from the room. Thankfully, this happens much less often than it used to.
There’s a whole different problem we’ve discovered since Sharon purchased a Chromebook. She loves it because it’s really light (and was a ton cheaper than getting another MacBook). The main drawback is that it requires an internet connection to do almost anything. More than once, we’ve gotten to a hotel and turned on the computer only to see this:
We’ll connect to the Wi-Fi network of the hotel but nothing happens. Or we’re supposed to go to the login page to provide the password so we can get onto the network but we can’t even get to the page to enter the information.
It tends to be my job to fix things that are technically oriented (Note from Sharon: That’s right, Dear. You do the techie stuff and I do the proofreading). Through trial, error and some hunting on the internet, here’s a shortlist of the things I’ve discovered that have worked to help get us back online:
Turn off your VPN
We always use a VPN when traveling (and you should, too!), and as I mentioned not long ago, we’ve switched to TunnelBear. I’ve discovered that when I’m trying to log in to a Wi-Fi network, it’s been necessary to deactivate the VPN service (I make sure to turn it right back on when I get online). I try to use a new browser window so I remember not to load any pages before reconnecting the VPN service.
Try reloading any webpage
Sometimes, it’s just as simple as reloading a webpage to prompt your browser to show the login page for the hotel Wi-Fi. This was how our MacBook always worked. However, I’ve learned that this doesn’t work with the Chromebook.
Try deleting third-party WiFi apps
Some apps that help you find Wi-Fi networks might be keeping you from logging into other networks. I’ve had fewer problems since deleting these apps from my phone.
Go to the webpage for the hotel chain where you’re staying
This one can be a bit tricky, as it’s a hit-or-miss process. I’ll usually start at the specific page for the hotel chain. That means the actual brand, not the chain.
For example, if you’re staying at a Courtyard by Marriott you’d need to go to the Courtyard by Marriott page and not the Marriott home page. The trick is knowing what the home page website is for the chain you are staying at. We had a small problem finding the Waldorf Astoria website. http://waldorfastoria3.hilton.com/en/index.html isn’t a website I’d remember. Luckily, www.waldorfastoria.com forwards you to the home page.
Every time I’ve tried this, the login page for the Wi-Fi network loads and I’m able to enter my information and get online. For this reason, I try to remember and check the website for the hotel before we leave (and even leave a tab in the browser open) where I can just refresh that page.
Look online for help
While these tricks have worked for us, there are sometimes I still can’t get online. The biggest problems have come when I’ve had to connect to networks in conference rooms or hotel lobbies. Searching the internet, I found a resource that helped me get online when nothing else would. This article from Zapier.com, while Mac-centric, does have some really good tricks like trying to log into the router address or using an incognito/private browser window. Since you’re probably not going to be able to get to the website to look up what you need to do, you can get a PDF copy of the document.
I’m by no means an expert on this matter, I’m just sharing some of the tricks I’ve learned. Several readers have added tips in the comments section if none of these tricks help.
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You can also check the connection to see the IP address of the router and enter that IP address into your browser and 5/6 times it will bring up the login page. Four points Sheratons are notorious for this.
Yep, I do this often. Many times it’s 192.168.1.1. This is a trick that even my software developer friend didn’t know (and I’m not a software developer)
I have had this problem many, many times. And I have found that going to a non-secure website (something that starts with http instead of https) will do the trick over 90% of the time. I don’t have enough tech knowledge to know why, but give it a try.
I’ve had problems with my chromebook and iPhone. A recent trick I learned to force the log in page was to attempt to go to any site with an http:// at the beginning (not https)
Just enter 18.104.22.168 in the address bar. Don’t need any of the other nonsense.
Works about 10% of the time.
Using an IP address outside of the network will usually redirect to the login page also and bypasses any DNS interception issues.
One of my go-tos is http :// 22.214.171.124 or http :// 126.96.36.199
Both are well known public DNS services. Google DNS and Quad9 DNS
You can also call the tech support for the hotel internet and have them whitelist your Mac address.
Try neverssl.com – specifically designed to load captive portals by avoiding HTTPS, HSTS, TLS, etc…
I have a backup plan tethering my chromebook to my Pixel 2xl and it is automatic when travelling. I also use Google Fi so I have data available in any areas I would likely visit outside the US at no added charge. So for frequent travellers this is a big plus. J
[…] 6. How To Log Onto A WiFi Network When You Can't Get The … […]
Just enter neverssl.com, works every time.
I had a similar problem with my laptop – refused to go to the log in page both at the airport and at the hotel. So I tried the classic approach of shutting everything down and rebooting, and it worked fine…