Compare Best Internet Service Providers
Choosing the best internet service provider (ISP) may seem like a daunting task. There are plenty to choose from, and they all come with advantages and drawbacks. You may be looking for the objectively best ISP. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing. The best ISP will be whichever one best fits your needs and desires.
What Makes for the Best Internet Provider?
When comparing the best internet service providers, you’ll need to take into consideration speeds and offers.
First, you can familiarize yourself with common stats in the internet provider game. For instance, standard internet speeds should start from 5 Mbps typically. This speed will give any individual enough bandwidth to surf the web and stream videos efficiently. However, 25 Mbps or higher is typically considered high-speed internet and will be necessary for high-definition streaming.
You can choose from DSL, cable, satellite, and fiber-optic ISPs. Fiber optics (like FiOS) is newer and is typically going to provide ideal service, if it’s available in your location. But you can still find good ISPs in any format.
AT&T, Verizon, HughesNet, Comcast Xfinity, Frontier, Spectrum, and CenturyLink — these names are among the top providers in the game.
What Are Your Internet Needs?
As you begin your search for the best ISP, you’ll first need to understand your internet requirements. Someone who lives with a big family in a city will have different needs than someone living alone in a rural area.
To personalize this experience, you’ll need to know your current internet speed. You can use various online sources, like SpeedTest, to test your speed. From there, you can decide if you need faster or slower speeds. Of course, if you don’t currently have internet access, you can skip this step.
Consider that 25 Mbps is becoming the norm for an individual. While 5 Mbps will work for some, the demands of streaming and browsing and video chatting require more speed. And the more devices and people you have in your household, the faster the internet speed you’ll need. You could easily reach the 100-200 Mbps range, depending on your circumstances.
Another factor to consider when comparing is the coverage you’ll receive. An ISP in a major city may not provide coverage in a more rural area. When you start your search, use a site like ISP Providers in My Area to enter your ZIP code and see which services you can get.
Then, once you have an idea, you can begin the comparison process. You’ll take into account your needs and price range and be able to narrow down your options.
Which Providers Are the Best?
Prices will vary by location, so the best provider will combine good prices with fast speeds. Not every ISP will initially advertise a price, though.
Here’s where things get a bit trickier. These deals are appealing as a base offering. Brands will sometimes add installation fees or additional charges when you start inquiring. You’ll want to do your research and find out the total costs for each deal.
The best way to do so is to contact the brands and walk through the prices. Compare and contrast until you have the best deal possible that fits your exact needs.
While it may be tempting to go with AT&T or Verizon, you could also consider Xfinity, which doesn’t list prices right away but advertises that there are no hidden fees during the process.
Elsewhere, HughesNet can start you off with the standard 25 Mbps speed, which is a good deal if that’s all you’ll need. Again, you don’t need to pay more if you only need standard speeds.
Remember, you can check customer reviews and testimonials, too. They’ll show you honest answers about which ISPs provide good customer service and deals without hidden fees or data caps.
Which Provider Is Right for You?
The best internet service provider will depend on your needs, but you can use the steps above to get a good feel for how convenient, affordable, and effective each service will be.
You can also consider bundling your internet service with phone or TV, too. That step may narrow down your search to bigger brands, but it could be cheaper to buy one deal rather than a few separate ones. It all comes down to your needs — they dictate how you’ll get the best ISP experience possible.
To start your search on the right foot, use ReHack’s informative guides on the best internet service providers for cities around the United States.