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Why can’t I connect to my hotel’s wireless network?

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Leo, I can’t connect to my hotel’s wireless with my Win 7 laptop. It’s happened twice at different places. I can with the iPad. After it connects, a browser page pops up, asking me to agree to the terms. After I check the box, the browser closes and I’m on wireless. But for some reason, using Win 7, that browser doesn’t come up, but a bubble note says to click for browser; nothing happens. I tried disabling Norton’s firewall with the same results.

Many providers of free, open hotspots force you to agree to terms of service before they allow you to access their internet.  It’s a legal issue: they need to cover themselves in case people misuse or abuse their service and somehow hold them liable for it.

Sometimes that can get in the way.

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The first time your device connects to the internet at one of these hotspots, you’ll be routed to the hotel’s (or restaurant’s, or café’s) “interstitial” page. This is the place where you have to check a box to accept the terms and conditions, and maybe enter an email address, before you’re allowed to access the internet. Interstitials are designed to be simple. Ideally you should get through to the open internet in a few clicks.

Many devices have become very good at detecting when this interstitial happens. I know that on my Android devices, as soon as I connect to an open Wi-Fi hotspot that has one of these, the device will actually ask me: “Hey, there’s a page here you need to see before you can use the internet. Would you like me to show that to you?”

WirelessThe problem is that not all devices are good at determining that an interstitial is required, or that this kind of agreement has popped up. So what you need to do in a case like that is ignore what the computer may or may not be telling you.

Instead, open up your browser yourself; whichever browser you prefer. Type in any web address (with the exception of addresses starting with https, since these can confuse the server). You won’t get there. Instead, by attempting to access the web, you will force the interstitial page to come up. Once you agree to the terms and hit OK, your browser should go either to the address you initially tried to access, or to a corporate landing page. For example, once I click through the interstitial page at Starbucks, I get to a page with Starbucks-specific content. From there, I can navigate to other websites.

Bottom line: If that interstitial page doesn’t pop up by itself when you connect to Wi-Fi, fire up a browser; go to just about any page, and you’ll see the interstitial that should enable your internet access.

71 comments on “Why can’t I connect to my hotel’s wireless network?”

  1. Try using another browser. Sometimes (especially) Firefox doesn’t do the job–changing to IE makes the wanted page come up. After signing in you can change to any browser you like to use.

    • If you’ve tried the easy stuff recommended and you are using Explorer browser the problem can often be correct by doing the following:

      Open Internet Options
      Click on the Connections tab
      Click the LAN Settings button near the bottom
      Remove the Checked from the Proxy Server box.

      The Log In page should now come up, sometimes you have to just Navigate to any web page other than your company default internal web page (Google.com etc.)

      • Thank you thank you!!! Not any other forum after two hours of searching said the key words “with excrpyion to https” once i read that i typed www and the website and got the interstitial page is been looking for. Thank you

    • The problem is with the authentication. This is still a current problem in 2016. Not sure why people are using a windows phone but what ever. The only solution, if you have access to a linux computer or even boot off a Virtualbox or VMware. Make your computer that is connected to the hotel wifi have the same mac address as your windows phone. Then authenticate within a browser. And it does not matter what browser you use. I have seen people saying use yahoo.com/ Who ever that was you are a dumb ass! When you authenticate it on your linux box , you are good to go. SOLVED that is how you do it!!!!!!
      Check out my youtube channel for real fixes.
      {link removed}

    • Leo’s advice was helpful regarding “If that interstitial page doesnโ€™t pop up by itself when you connect to Wi-Fi, fire up a browser; go to just about any page, and youโ€™ll see the interstitial that should enable your internet access.” However, the interstitial hotel login page still could never be accessed… until I called the hotel’s IT support who said that it was probably something in my cache that should be cleared, but he told me to type in login.theborgata.com which automatically forces that hotel’s interstitial page forward. It worked like a charm. So, when in doubt, contact hotel IT, for their interstitial login address to force the site forward! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Cy, theborgata.com forced my hotel’s page forward after I spent an hour on theeads trying to find a solution. All my settings were already correct. This finally worked. Thank you!

  2. I travel every day within 50-miles or so of my office and connect my laptop through my smart phone hotspot. Works well except I have a limit on the monthy data usage. To conserve my data plan I connect to other Wifi whenever possible. I’ve tried what you suggest – open a browser and navigate to some site, but it hardly ever works. Most of the time I have to close all browsers I have open and start a fresh browser window. Annoying! Any suggestions to get around that?

    • Sometimes restarting your browser is the only way to do it. Clearing the cache might work but that’s probably more of a pain than restarting. You might try F5 to reload the page, this might un-confuse the browser.

      • I have a similar issue with my Dell Latitude E5500 and I’ve found a workaround. Basically, mine will not connect at all, despite clearing cache, flushing DNS, other browsers, reboots, resets – nothing worked.

        I then tried looking at the default gateway and realised is is a DNS issue with this useless machine. I fixed it like this:

        Windows key & R (Run), Type in CMD, Type in IPCONFIG. Somewhere in the listed text will be an IP address labelled as Default Gateway. Type this address into your Browser address bar and hit Enter – it has worked everytime since I discovered this. In most cases the address is something like 10.0.0.1 or 192.168.1.254

  3. I wonder too, perhaps some people aren’t getting a default browser to pop-up with this interstitial page (I learned a new word today, thanks Leo!) because maybe they’ve inadvertently installed/uninstalled a browser, which can wreck the default browser on that computer/laptop. I know in my office, if anyone upgrades their Adobe Flash or Reader, sometimes they accidentally forget to uncheck the “Install Google Chrome” box (grrrr, don’t get me started on that annoying setting) and it’s only afterward that they realize they need to uninstall Chrome. Unfortunately, by this time it may have changed their default browser and I believe the uninstall process doesn’t change the default browser back to anything. I’m going from memory and that’s how it used to be. Apparently I’ve trained the office personnel properly as it’s been awhile since anyone in the has done that.

  4. I had an install of Windows 7 which would not sign on to wifis. I tried proxy software and several other fixes. Since I was a Thunderbird user I did not activate a mail service within Windows. I found that Win7, at least at that time, requires the installation/activation of a Windows mail service to enable sign-on to outside services, even though you may never run the mail program . It may still be the same.

  5. It’s already been “said”, but it doesn’t hurt to be a support mechanism!! Firefox is very bad at connecting to hotel WiFi networks. I’ve even had some “hesitation” from IE, but Chrome jumps right into the sand box and starts playing. Then (as “said”), I switch to “my” most often browser.

  6. After calling the tech support hotline several times at different hotels, one of them told me the interstitial only works when the browser home page is not a secure site, http:// NOT https://. Once I made my home page a standard public web page (instead of my online banking login), it has worked nearly every time. And this is at multiple hotel chains.

  7. I found that with Win 7 x64 & IE 10 that changing my pop-up settings worked for me. I rationalized that the network is trying to open the default browser and go to a web page that is different from my home page, all without my consent. This may look like a security violation and is then stopped. By allowing certain pop-ups, I was able to overcome this and no longer have the problem.

  8. I’ve had that problem in several hotels worldwide, but only with IE (contrary to other posts); Firefox usually worked for me. I never tried the https/http trick; thanks Tom.

    • After searching for an hour and trying all kinds of complicated maneuvers with LAN settings and proxies and all, I read this and saw that I kept trying to access an https page. Changing access pages was the only thing that worked!!

      • THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I kept seeing that IE was supposed to work, but it didn’t no matter what. Switched to Firefox, and it worked. Thank you again!!!!

  9. I had a similar problem repeatedly on a recent trip to Italy. My Galaxy Nexus (Android) phone would seemingly “connect” to the hotel wi-fi, but no box would ever pop up to enter the required user name and password. So, I never could actually access the wi-fi. I tried bringing up the browser, but that didn’t work either. Meanwhile, my spouse used her Chromebook to access the wi-fi without a problem. Any thoughts on what else I could have done?

    • My guess is that there were multiple access points available, and that she connected to one which was open – perhaps even a neighboring business – and you connected to one that required some kind of additional information from the hotel.

  10. Actually, she and I were following the same procedure. For her, a username/pw screen popped up and she successfully entered the info. For me, no screen would come up. I even took my phone to one of the hotel owners to consult, and he had no better luck. He started to suggest changing a bunch of settings, but I was reluctant to mess with those, since (1) they worked fine in the U.S. and (2) they had worked fine at another hotel the week before.

  11. I’m currently on an extended ‘down-under’ tour and have come across this problem regularly.
    Will definitely try the https/http part as both my regular opening pages are https sites and that may be causing a problem.
    I am often using my computer on new sites from a ‘hibernated’ state and I find if the ‘lockout’ happens, then a soft restart will sometimes kick the systems into connecting happily again.

    • Yes, Ken, hibernation seems to cause lots of problems. I always do a complete shut down of my laptop. But I have a solid state drive so it boots up very fast so it is never a problem. I also find that not selecting “connect automatically” solves a lot of problems. It means an extra step for me, but I seem to have more luck connecting to wireless points when I’m fully booted.

  12. I’ve found that IE10 makes layout errors and input dialogue errors, on some sites.
    Site support staff have indicated that IE10 won’t be supported until they review their site code.
    If IE10 is switched to IE8 emulation (F12), problems can often be solved.
    Maybe these hotspots are using Login pages that are incompatible with IE10 (on Win7).

  13. Non – secure, web address did it for me…as mentioned by Tom in Maine. HTTP…without the “S”.
    For example, you can get to google with either http://www.google.com…or https://www.google.com
    In order for the Public wireless logon page to come up…you need to use an address that is non-secure….with the “http”.

  14. I have a similar problem. The connections are fine to the wireless but the interstial or landing page will not come up. Says no connection or times out. Any suggestions.

  15. Thanks so much, it worked. I am desktop support and had a customer in the field not detecting the Hotel authentication pop up on his Windows 7 laptop although he could his phone and Ipad. Had him type directly the web address and boom! it popped up!

  16. Does anyone have a fix for this issue on iPad/iPhone? I’m at Dunkin donuts and cannot get the interstitial page to load at all. I’ve tried all the tricks above. No luck. If anyone has new suggestions for a Mac user they would be greatly appreciated.

  17. Rob – this was the solution. However, once I was connected and I ran the cmd, the IP address I had to enter was the wifi IP address I was trying to connect to, and it had 12-15 numbers to enter.
    Thx!

    • I almost got mine to work, changed home page to http:\\google.com and typed in the gateway, and everything came up and I accepted the terms then it was never able to connect to anything again, I’ll probebly just reinstall windows, I’m on windows 8.2 btw.

  18. Trying to connect to library wifi but can’t get the authenticity page to pop up. Tried to access the default gateway, reset the dns cache etc…on windows 8. My wifi works on all other public networks…I am stumped! I tried to redirect my browser as well to an http site. Nothing seems to work! Please help.

  19. No idea why this works, but it does. I travel a LOT for work and when I can’t get the log on page up, I type in abc.com. No ‘www’ or anything, just abc.com and it works every time. Good luck!

  20. Hi,
    Thanks a lot for your article. I was really struggling to connect to my office and gym’s wifi on my mobile’s Chrome browser.
    Now it works like magic ๐Ÿ™‚

    -Neha

    • That’s what’s supposed to happen. Any attempt to access the internet from your browser should open the hotel’s interstitial (sign on) page before allowing you to use the internet.

  21. I can’t connect to motel Wi-Fi!!! No log in page comes up. Not on Silk, SeaMonkey, Mozilla nor IE!!
    Restarting router won’t help. I tried NO https page, http google, yahoo etc,
    NOTHING!!! Both on my vista laptop & android tablet. I typed the IP onto browser bar, NOTHING!!!
    What other solutions can you please offer????

  22. I recently had this problem at two hotels in two different places. My homepage is set to Google, so the hotel (interstitial) page would not come up despite being connected to the Internet via the hotel WiFi at two hotels in two different states. I really needed this to use my work computer. Because I do have an education and background in working with computers and networking I was really frustrated and stressed out that I couldn’t figure it out! The help desk/IT person I called at hotel #1 in Las Vegas and on the Strip offered no assistance and did not resolve the issue. The help person at hotel #2 in San Diego who saved me told me to go to a web page that you can not log into (now, thanks to the explanations here I know he meant to not go to an https/SSL page, which Google as my homepage appears to be; hey, Silicon Valley, maybe that’s why he knew). I appreciate all the comments here and to Leo for sponsoring this page!

      • LOL. Better hope I never take that to https. ๐Ÿ™‚ I tend to just type in something short, like “msn.com” – the initial connection is always http, which is enough to trigger the interstitial, even if it would normally redirect to an https thereafter. By that reasoning “askleo.com”, without the https, should work as well.

  23. any help will be highly appretiated so a month back i stayed at this hotel and connected to its wifi with a password after leaving today i have come back got a new user name and password for the same hotel wifi problem is my iphone 6s plus automatically connects to the wifi but there is no login window for password or user name this time round so am connected to the network but no internet access . what to do i tried forgeting the network but still the same thing happens please help

  24. I have the same problem but only with certain hotel chains – for me I cannot connect my iPhone6s in Marriott hotels, it just will not bring up the login screen, no matter what I try. Must be something in the setup and in this day and age, connecting to a wifi network should be the simplest thing in the world, not a monumental challenge requiring an MSc in Network Engineering…. Isn’t this why there should be industry standards and protocols?

  25. I work with users that go to a lot of hotels and have this issue. One way I found that works (if the sign in page doesn’t display) is to put the default gateway IP address for the hotel into the web browser. So, connect to the wireless – find what your ip address is and then just replace the last part of your IP with the number 1. Or it may even be displayed if you enter ipconfig/all in a command prompt.

    • Thank a million! We needed to desperately connect to do some very important work and the ip address in the website address saved the day!

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