In this article, we will tell you the main differences between public and private networks and how to change from one network to another in the system settings.

What is the difference between a home network and a public network?

The distinction of the two networks lies in the access settings, which are applied automatically after you set the network profile:

Private or Home Network – When you select this, your computer will be detected on the network by other gadgets, and shared files and printers will be available. It is highly recommended that you only install this network profile for Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections if you are confident about the network itself.

A public or shared network functions just the opposite. It will not be detected by other devices and will be fully protected. This profile is recommended when connecting to a public, unknown Wi-Fi network or directly through your ISP’s network cable.

And if you do not know which one to choose public vs private network, it is best to proceed as follows: You can choose “private” If the Internet is connected by cable from your home router, you can choose “private”, and if the Internet is connected by your provider, you better choose “public”.

How to change your home network to a public network and vice versa.

The moment you connect to the network for the first time, you get asked whether you want your PC to be visible to other appliances. If you answer yes, you pick the private network, and if not, you pick the public network. But what if you wish to modify the configuration of a network that is already connected?

  • First, you need to find a rule at the bottom of the main “Network and Sharing Center” screen, under the name of the network that says if it is a private or public network
  •  Click on the name to continue changing the settings. If you want to edit the network to private, put a dot next to “Private”. If you want to edit the network to the public, put a dot next to the network name.

Network discovery and firewall settings

There are two ways to customize the firewall. Navigate to the “Network and Sharing Center” and in the first method, entering the command control.exe/nameMicrosoft.NetworkAndSharingCenter in the search bar or the “Run” menu. In the command window that opens, select “Change advanced sharing settings”. Here you can enable or disable other gadgets from detecting your device on the network.

If you follow the second method, the Windows Firewall also has many options for home and public networks.

You can open the firewall through the Network and Sharing Center. Select “Allow interaction with an application or component on the Windows Firewall” and configure how your applications work according to the private and public network.