Selecting the best internet provider in your area may seem like a daunting task if you're not familiar with the features each one offers.
In addition, you may only have a choice of one or two internet providers available at your address, which means it's even more important to be able to evaluate the available packages.
As technology advances, new types of connections become available, such as fiber optic internet. In this guide to broadband internet and more, I'll give you tips and information that will help you choose the right internet service for your household.
Quickly and easily find out which internet companies operate in your area by entering your ZIP code into our convenient ZIP code checker tool. Get information on speeds, packages, and pricing, all with the click of a button.
The Best Internet Service Providers
Best Cable Internet Provider: Spectrum
Spectrum (formerly Charter), is well known across the country - and for good reason. Their internet plans start at 200 Mbps and they also offer fiber coverage.
We've chosen Spectrum for best internet cable provider. Here's why:
- Large Coverage - Spectrum covers 24 of the 50 states. Check our coverage map to see if they're available in your area.
- Contract Buyout - Spectrum offers an awesome contract buyout promotion for qualifying packages. That means if you're looking to pair TV and phone with your internet Spectrum will cover your fees up to a certain amount.
- Improvements - Since charter acquired Time Warner Spectrum, customer service has drastically improved.
- Promotions - Oftentimes Spectrum offers deals or sign-up bonuses that can help you out for up to a year.
You've heard the ups but we all know every provider has its downs:
- Bill Increases - Remember those promo deals we mentioned? Keep in mind that they do end and oftentimes when your contract is still in play. Additionally, customers often say that their prices increase the longer you stay with them.
- Expensive - Spectrum isn't exactly known for the best provider for consumers on a budget. While their promo deals can be tempting you'll want to make sure of what the price will be when they end and factor that into your budget.
Spectrum Internet Plans & Prices
|Spectrum Internet||100 Mbps||$44.99|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||400 Mbps||$64.99|
Best Fiber-Optic Provider: Verizon FiOS
- FiOS has Speed - Verizon FiOS offers speed up to 940 Mbps. This works well for high-streaming households, gaming households, or even a small business.
- Customer Service - Verizon has the best customer service rating amongst all other providers.
- Discounts - Like most providers, Verizon FiOS offers promo discounts for new users. And unlike Spectrum, the longer you commit, the better the deal.
Sounds great right? Now here is the downside:
- Coverage - Verizon FiOS is only available in nine states. Check out our coverage map of Verizon FiOS to see if it's available in your area.
Verizon FiOS Internet Plans & Prices
|Verizon FiOS FiOS Internet 100 Mbps||100 Mbps||$39.99|
|Verizon FiOS FiOS Internet 300 Mbps||300 Mbps||$59.99|
|Verizon FiOS FiOS Gigabit Internet||940 Mbps||$79.99|
Best DSL Provider: AT&T
- Budgeting - AT&T DSL is great for any consumer on a budget. You'll pay far less than what you would with any cable internet or fiber-optic consumer.
- Customer Service - AT&T has you covered with their customer service. They've blown the competition away in every one of J.D. Power's Provider Satisfaction Study including performance and reliability, cost, billing, communication, and overall satisfaction.
Unfortunately, there is a downside:
- Speed - If you've got the need for speed you'll want to look elsewhere. DSL isn't exactly known for its fast download speeds.
AT&T U-verse Internet Plans & Prices
|AT&T Internet 1000||1000 Mbps||$49.99|
Best Satellite Internet Provider: HughesNet
Satellite internet providers offer nationwide coverage, meaning you can almost certainly choose this provider. But with coverage not being an option what else do they have to offer? Lots.
- Speed - HughesNet service can support up to several devices no matter what plan you choose.
- Coverage - obviously.
- Price - Compared to ViaSat, HughesNet offers cheaper plans.
As a consumer, you should keep in mind that there's often cons that come with pros like the ones HughesNet has.
- Customer Service - HughesNet has low customer service rating with complaints from tech support to reliability.
- Speed Limitations - HughesNet has data caps that reduce your speed after you allocated billed amount.
HughesNet Internet Plans
|HughesNet Internet 10GB||25 Mbps||$39.99|
|HughesNet Internet 20GB||25 Mbps||$49.99|
|HughesNet Internet 30GB||25 Mbps||$79.99|
|HughesNet Internet 50GB||25 Mbps||$129.99|
Best Cheap Provider: Frontier
We know the internet is a "must-have" these days but let's be honest.. it comes with a price.. literally. And it's not cheap! If you're looking for internet on a budget, Frontier is your provider.
- Speed - As far as cheap internet goes, this will be your fastest provider.
- Bundle and Save - Frontier offers both TV and home phone and the more you bundle, the more you save.
- Data - Does your household require high data? You're in luck. Frontier supports streaming and gaming.
Remember what we've taught you though, there's always some sort of downside. For Frontier it's:
- Data Caps - your service will slow after you've reached the allotted amount.
Frontier Internet Plans & Prices
|Frontier FiOS TV Prime||230||$85|
|Frontier FiOS TV Extreme||375||$95|
|Frontier FiOS TV Ultimate||500||$110|
Key Considerations When Choosing an Internet Provider
Information about Internet providers can be scattered and sparse. A lot of info varies by area as well.
So before we dive in it's important to figure out what you want out of a provider so we can better assist you.
- What providers cover your area? Use our handy tool to search providers in your zip code.
- What type of connection are you looking for? Sounds silly but are you looking for satellite, cable internet, or fiber-optic?
Location, location, location. That's ultimately going to be the dictating factor when it comes to choosing an internet provider. Be sure to check your area using our convenient internet provider ZIP code checker to see what is available to you.
With many great options on the table, knowing what you can actually get in your home should be the first thing you consider when shopping for an internet provider.
For urban dwellers, the fastest internet provider available will likely be one that offers cable or fiber. If you live in a rural area, far from the reach of cable internet providers, you might need to consider satellite internet.
Though it's not the fastest connection type, it can reach virtually anywhere in the U.S. For those looking for the cheapest Internet option available, DSL service will do the trick.
No matter where you live, you'll be sure to find an option that works for your household and budget.