10 Best Internet Providers for Gaming 2020

These are the best ISPs for pwning noobs based on speed, latency, and availability across the US.
Best for Most

Monthly price:
$19.99$111.95
Download speeds:
151000 Mbps
Data cap:
11.2 TB
#2

Monthly price:
$39.99$79.99
Download speeds:
200940 Mbps
Data cap:
Not Available
#3

Monthly price:
$35$60
Download speeds:
100940 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TBUnlimited
#4

Monthly price:
$49.99$109.99
Download speeds:
100940 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited
#5

Monthly price:
$39.99$79.99
Download speeds:
601000 Mbps
Data cap:
400 GB6 TB

Everyone knows the worst part of gaming is laaag. So it’s important to get an internet provider that gives you the fastest download and upload speeds plus the lowest latency in your area.

With that in mind, we ventured forth to find the best internet service providers (ISPs) for gaming. We based our decisions on our weighted internet speed scores from our fastest ISPs report plus the average latency each internet provider saw through the year 2019.

We also picked internet providers that are more commonly available across the US. Yes, that’s why Google Fiber didn’t make our top five even though its internet service is stellar. (Google Fiber is limited to 0.48% of the US, so if you can’t get it in your area, that stellar service doesn’t mean much.)

So let’s go ham and “Leeroy Jenkiiinnnsss!” straight into our top 10 internet providers for gaming.

Check to see which of our top-rated gaming ISPs are available in your area.

Top 10 internet providers for gaming
ProviderWeighted speed score*Average latency in 2019Download speedsLearn more
Xfinity46.6 out of 10078.1 msUp to 1,000 MbpsView Plans
Verizon Fios Home Internet65.1 out of 100113.4 msUp to 940 MbpsView Plans
AT&T Fiber33.8 out of 10083.9 msUp to 940 MbpsView Plans
Spectrum35.6 out of 10095.3 msUp to 940 Mbps**View Plans
Mediacom32.1 out of 10087.5 msUp to 1,000 MbpsView Plans
Google Fiber75.6 out of 10073.6 ms1,000 MbpsView Plans
Frontier FiOS36 out of 100107.3 msUp to 1,000 MbpsView Plans
Cox33.4 out of 10070.6 msUp to 940 MbpsView Plans
Suddenlink37.1 out of 10090.4 msUp to 1,000 MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink20.2 out of 100136.4 msUp to 940 MbpsView Plans

Data effective 10/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).
**Wireless speeds may vary.

1. Xfinity: Best for most gamers

Xfinity’s combo of fast speeds, low latency, and a large service area make it our pick as the best gaming ISP for most.

Xfinity Internet - West
Download speeds:
151000 Mbps
Upload speeds:
235 Mbps
Data cap:
11.2 TB
Starting at $19.99 a month

Data effective 10/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
**For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.

Why we like Xfinity for gaming

When it comes to internet speed, Xfinity is the second-highest rated cable internet provider in our latest speed report. And as far as service coverage goes, Xfinity serves the third largest number of zip codes across the US, or 18.92%. That means, you’re more likely to find Xfinity internet in your area than other smaller ISPs.

Info Box icon
Why’d we choose the second-fastest cable provider?
Xfinity fell just behind its fellow cable provider RCN in terms of speed. RCN scored 47.4 out of 100, and Xfinity scored 46.6 out of 100.

But RCN is limited to 0.77% of the US, including eight states on the East Coast, which is why it didn’t quite make our list. With availability in mind, we think it’s more likely you’ll land decent internet speeds with Xfinity than with RCN.

Also, Xfinity maintained a low average latency, or ping, of 78.1 ms across its service areas throughout 2019. That’s great news for gamers who need a lag-free experience to wombo-combo some bosses in the face.

We also like that Xfinity gives you a lot of choices when it comes to download speed—up to 1,000 Mbps. And its prices aren’t half bad either. (That’s more money to spend on games.)

Xfinity internet rating for gaming
FeatureXfinity internet details
Connection typeCable
Weighted speed score*46.6 out of 100
Average latency in 201978.1 ms
% coverage in the US18.92%
Top 3 states with most coverageDelaware, Maryland, and Massachusetts

*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

What we don’t like about Xfinity

But on the other end of the spectrum, Xfinity is known for poor customer service. (Granted, so is every ISP. But none seem to have as bad a reputation as Xfinity.) Our recent experience with Xfinity customer service ended with us getting what we wanted, but we sure felt tired after jumping through so many hoops.

Then there’s Xfinity’s 1.2 TB data cap. Sure, you can upgrade to unlimited data, but it’ll cost you extra.

Last thing: We’re not big fans of cable internet’s slow upload speeds. Depending on which Xfinity plan you get, you might be stuck with 2–5 Mbps upload speeds. That’s not nearly enough if you want to stream games to your Twitch audience or upload YouTube videos of your gaming commentary.

Want to know more? Read our full-length Xfinity internet review.

Compare Xfinity prices and plans in your area.

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Love popping a cooldown and crushing the damage meters? We have a feeling you’ll also love tapping a button and having all your home’s settings at your fingertips.

Vivint Smart Home is our security experts’ smart home hub of choice, and it comes with dozens of smart controls and integrations for your lights, your thermostat, and your garage door—and everything in between.

Check Out Our Vivint Smart Home Review

2. Verizon Fios Home Internet

Known for great customer service and fast fiber speeds, Verizon Fios Home Internet is an A+ pick for gamers on the East Coast.

Verizon Internet - Fios Gig
Download speeds:
200940 Mbps
Upload speeds:
200880 Mbps
Data cap:
Not Available
Starting at $39.99 a month

Data effective 10/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*w/Auto Pay + taxes, & other fees.

Why we like Verizon Fios Home Internet for gaming

Verizon Fios Home Internet is another great choice for logging on and mopping the floor with raid bosses. It comes with a full-fiber connection and earned second place in our list of the fastest ISPs in the US.

We’ve also heard nothing but good things about Verizon’s customer service. All our friends lucky enough to live on the East Coast and grab this internet service have said every interaction with Verizon Fios Home Internet’s customer service was easy mode—from installation to troubleshooting.

And while Verizon Fios Home Internet’s latency score for 2019 is a touch above 100 ms, we’d bet zenny, gold, and bells that this is more to do with its high-speed DSL service than its fiber internet.

Verizon Fios Home Internet rating for gaming
FeatureVerizon Fios Home Internet details
Connection typeFiber
Weighted speed score*65.1 out of 100
Average latency in 2019113.4 ms
% coverage in the US9.92%
Top 3 states with most coverageNew Jersey, Massachusetts, and Delaware

*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

What we don’t like about Verizon Fios Home Internet

We tend to ding ISPs with data caps instead of unlimited data, but Verizon Fios Home Internet presents a conundrum there. It doesn’t specify how much data you get with its internet plans—but we have a hunch that it’s unlimited data. So don’t worry about downloading that patch, new expansion, or eight new games during a Steam sale. (Who, us?)

Verizon Fios Home Internet’s biggest drawback is that it’s still pretty much limited to major metropolitan areas on the East Coast. That small service area means that West Coast and Midwest gamers can’t get in on the fantastic service this ISP provides. (Though you might be able to check out Verizon 5G Home Internet instead.)

We’ve got more details in our Verizon Fios Home Internet review.

Look for Verizon Fios Home Internet in your area.

Megaphone icon
Get the internet and TV you want with Verizon Fios Mix and Match combos
Our eyes lit up when we saw that Verizon Fios lets you customize your internet speed and TV package. It’s like armor skins but for your internet and TV!

Our fave is the 400 Mbps internet + Your Fios TV combo—but you can customize your own to your heart’s desire.

Customize Your Verizon Fios TV and Internet Combo

3. AT&T Fiber

AT&T Fiber churns out fast speeds and low latency—if you can get it where you live.

AT&T Fiber
Download speeds:
100940 Mbps
Upload speeds:
100880 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TBUnlimited
Starting at $35 a month

Data effective 10/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*for 12 mos. 12 mo agmt. req’d. Incl Unlimited data allowance ($30 value) at no add’l chrg.

Why we like AT&T Fiber for gaming

AT&T Fiber gives you a leg up on your competition with a sweet, sweet fiber connection. And though it originally offered okay DSL internet service as well, the ISP recently decided to kick its DSL service out of the party and focus on fiber instead.1 

To be honest, that’s one of the reasons we dropped AT&T to second place—not everyone can get its fiber internet. But with its DSL service included, AT&T services 23.33% of US zip codes—that’s the largest coverage area aside from satellite ISPs.

AT&T’s combo of DSL and fiber internet also scored a respectable score in our fastest ISPs report. It also kept latency to an average of 83.9 ms over the course of 2019. Not bad at all.

AT&T Fiber internet rating for gaming
FeatureAT&T Fiber internet details
Connection typeFiber
Weighted speed score*33.8 out of 100
Average latency in 201983.9 ms
% coverage in the US23.33%
Top 3 states with most coverageMississippi, Michigan, and Tennessee

*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

What we don’t like about AT&T Fiber

The major downside to AT&T is that its fiber internet is limited to bigger cities in the 21 states it serves. The best way to check if AT&T Fiber is in your area is to enter your zip code below. We’ll search for all the ISPs in your area—just look for AT&T and “Connection: Fiber” in your results.

Find out if AT&T Fiber is available near you.

You can also check AT&T’s map of cities with fiber internet. (Instead of zooming in and scrolling, we recommend using the search bar just above the map.)

We cover AT&T internet speeds, customer service, and more in our AT&T internet review.

4. Spectrum

Spectrum’s download speeds and latency a-okay, but if you need gig speeds, get ready to pay a lot more.

Spectrum Internet
Download speeds:
100940 Mbps
Upload speeds:
1035 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited
Starting at $49.99 a month

Data effective 10/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change. Wireless speeds may vary.
*For the first 12 months.

Why we like Spectrum for gaming

Spectrum brings decent speeds to the table, ranking seventh out of 22 cable internet providers we analyzed in our fastest ISPs report. It’s also widely available across the US, including often overlooked states like Ohio and Maine.

On top of that, Spectrum comes with unlimited data. So no more stressing about downloading that new game at the end of the month. You’re good to go.

As for latency, you may see a little lag while gaming with Spectrum. It averaged 95.3 ms during 2019—but anything under 100 is all right. So don’t let that latency score turn you away from Spectrum Internet.

Spectrum Internet rating for gaming
FeatureSpectrum Internet details
Connection typeCable
Weighted speed score*35.6 out of 100
Average latency in 201995.3 ms
% coverage in the US22.65%
Top 3 states with most coverageOhio, Maine, and New York

*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

What we don’t like about Spectrum

Our biggest gripe with Spectrum is the extremely high price for its up to 940 Mbps plan.* As of the time we’re writing this, that plan costs a little bit over $100 a month, making it one of—if not the—most expensive gig-speed plans we’ve seen.

You should also note that Spectrum Internet is a cable connection. That means your upload speeds won’t be that fast—but this really isn’t much of an issue unless you want to livestream or upload YouTube videos.

Get all the juicy details in our full Spectrum Internet review.

*Wireless speeds may vary.

Compare Spectrum Internet prices and plans near you.

5. Mediacom

You’ll get decent download speeds and latency with Mediacom, but watch out for small data caps on some of its plans.

Mediacom Internet
Download speeds:
601000 Mbps
Upload speeds:
550 Mbps
Data cap:
400 GB6 TB
Starting at $39.99 a month

Data effective 10/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*for 12 months. Plus activation, installation and monthly modem rental fees.

Why we like Mediacom for gaming

If you live in the Midwest, chances are you’ve heard of Mediacom internet. This cable provider earned ninth out of 22 cable ISPs analyzed in our fastest ISPs report, which isn’t bad at all. And while its download speeds start out at a questionable 60 Mbps, they cap out at 1,000 Mbps. So you’ll get enough speed to keep a whole house full of gamers happy.

Mediacom’s latency hit an average of 87.5 ms through 2019, which isn’t bad at all. Sure, that much ping (or latency) isn’t great for a player versus player (PvP) match, but it’ll do for games like World of Warcraft and Among Us.

Best of all, Mediacom doesn’t tie you to a contract. So if you grab its service and don’t like it, you can cancel any time without paying Tom Nook early termination fees.

Mediacom internet rating for gaming
FeatureMediacom internet details
Connection typeCable
Weighted speed score*32.1 out of 100
Average latency in 201987.5 ms
% coverage in the US4.47%
Top 3 states with most coverageIowa, Illinois, and Minnesota

*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

What we don’t like about Mediacom

But! Some of Mediacom’s internet plans come with a kicker of a data cap. For example, its 60 Mbps plan gives you only 400 GB of data each month. Not that we’d recommend that plan for gaming anyway, but you see our point.

On the other end of that spectrum, Mediacom’s 1,000 Mbps plan comes with a whole 6 TB of data. We might as well call that unlimited data, unless you’re an absolute power user who churns through that much data in a month like it’s butter. (Or the aforementioned house full of gamers who all need to update their games on patch day.)

And, even though we mentioned that Mediacom serves the Midwest, it’s pretty limited in terms of coverage. The ISP serves only 4.47% of US zip codes.

Read more about the pros and cons in our Mediacom internet review.

Find out if Mediacom internet is available in your area.

Recap: The 10 best internet providers for gaming 2020

When it comes to gaming, don’t leave your download speed, latency, or data caps to RNG. These 10 internet providers had some of the best speed scores and average latency to keep your gaming session running smoothly:

  1. Xfinity: $19.99–$84.99/mo.,* 25–1,000 Mbps download speeds, 1.2 TB data cap (upgradeable to unlimited)
  2. Verizon Fios Home Internet: $39.99–$79.99/mo.,** 200–up to 940 Mbps download speeds, unlimited data (unconfirmed )
  3. AT&T Fiber: $35–$65/mo., 75–1,000 Mbps download speeds, 1 TB data cap for DSL plans, unlimited data for fiber plans
  4. Spectrum: $49.99–$109.99/mo.,†† up to 100–up to 940 Mbps download speeds, unlimited data
  5. Mediacom: $39.99–$79.99/mo., 60–1,000 Mbps download speeds, 400 GB–6 TB data cap
  6. Google Fiber: $70/mo., 1,000 Mbps download speeds, unlimited data
  7. Frontier FiOS: $29.99–$74.99/mo.,‡‡ 50–1,000 Mbps download speeds, unlimited data
  8. Cox: $19.99–$99.99/mo.,§ 10–940 Mbps download speeds, 1.25 TB data cap
  9. Suddenlink: $34.99–$74.99/mo.,§§ 100–1,000 Mbps download speeds, unlimited data
  10. CenturyLink: $49–$65/mo., 15–940 Mbps download speeds, 1 TB data cap for DSL plans, unlimited data for fiber plan

Data effective 10/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
**w/Auto Pay + taxes, & other fees.
†for 12 mos. 12 mo agmt. req’d. Incl Unlimited data allowance ($30 value) at no add’l chrg.
††For the first 12 months. Wireless speeds may vary.
‡for 12 months. Plus activation, installation and monthly modem rental fees.
‡‡for 24 months with 2-year agreement. Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, Internet Infrastructure Surcharge, early term, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.
§For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
§§Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
⬨New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.

How to pick the best internet for gaming

Consider this your walkthrough guide to defeating the uncertainty boss and picking the best internet for your gaming habits.

So here’s what you should look for when choosing an ISP for gaming. Ready? Queue it up!

Fast download speeds

What’s a good internet speed for gaming? At least 75 Mbps.

You don’t necessarily need gig speeds to game, but you should have enough speed to support your adventure through Asteria on Monster Hunter: World while all your other devices and roommates are connected to the internet too.

So, even though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends a measly 3–8 Mbps for gaming,2 we recommend much faster download speeds than that.

Why? Because you’ll likely need extra speed to watch a YouTube video while you game.  And you don’t want to start lagging when your buddy catches up on the latest plays his team made over the weekend. And your mom might be watching Facebook cat videos on her phone while you try to earn Play of the Game on Overwatch.

For example, we’re currently gaming on a 40 Mbps cable internet connection with two other adults who usually just email and stream a few videos. Even though this is far above the FCC’s minimum recommended speed, we still lag while playing games like World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth if someone decides to stream football or download a PDF file. Yuck.

Fast upload speeds

What’s a good upload speed for gaming? Don’t worry about upload speeds unless you livestream or upload YouTube videos. (Or work from home to support your gaming habits.) If you do do these things, aim for at least 2–5 Mbps upload speeds.

If you want to become the next Twitch star, you’re gonna need some upload speed to keep your fans happy. Twitch recommends 3–6 Mbps upload speeds for livestreaming, but just like download speeds, more is always better.

Our resident video experts over at the Reviews.org YouTube channel recommend aiming for 10 Mbps or faster upload speeds. Having faster upload speeds lets you publish your videos faster—and it lets you handle longer videos with larger file sizes without pulling out your hair over 2004-style wait times.

“If your file is more than 500 MB or so, 10+ Mbps will serve better. When I had 10 Mbps, it took about 30-45 minutes per video to upload,” says Craig.

Low latency

What’s a good ping rate, or latency, for gaming? Look for cable or fiber ISPs with a history of latency under 100 ms.

Latency isn’t really under your control, but you can kind of get an idea of how much latency, or lag, an ISP will have based on its connection type and past performance.

Both cable and fiber internet providers tend to have low latency, which is exactly what you want. DSL, on the other hand, can creep up past 100 ms because it’s an older technology.

And satellite internet will always have over 100 ms latency because your internet data has to travel thousands of miles just to roll out of the way when a mob lunges for you.

Light Bulb icon
Wanna know what your latency is?
It’s easy to check with a speed test. If you use ours, click Test Your Speed to see your current download and upload speeds. (Hopefully they don’t want to make you cry.)

Then, click Details on your results page to see your minimum and maximum latency plus jitter. (A high jitter score is just as bad as high latency—it’s probably causing that lag.)

Test Your Latency & Internet Speed

Enough data for downloads

Our recommendation: At least 1 TB of data per month for most users, unlimited data for power users or large households.

The last thing anyone wants to see is that snarky email from your ISP warning that you’re about to hit your data cap. Especially when patch day is just around the corner.

For most of us, the usual 1 TB of monthly data most ISPs offer should be enough. But you should always double-check data caps when searching for a new ISP, because some providers won’t give you more than a handful of gigabytes each month.

And if your home is full of gamers, first off, lucky you. We’re jealous. But the more gamers you have, the more data you’ll need to keep up with everyone’s downloads. So go for unlimited data where you can.

Last but not least, internet power users will want unlimited data too. That includes anyone who hosts a server or downloads large files (like PDFs, videos, and photos) on a regular basis.

Don’t forget to optimize your equipment

But all that internet speed and data could be for naught if your equipment isn’t optimized. Here are a few tips to get your gaming house in order:

  1. Use an Ethernet cable, always. Wi-Fi is great and all, but a wired connection will give you the best speeds and lowest latency.
  2. If you have to use Wi-Fi, position your router as close to your gaming station as you can. Try to avoid walls, furniture, and other objects sitting in between your router and your gaming rig or console.
  3. Update your modem’s and router’s firmware. This can alleviate performance issues with the equipment itself, and it can potentially boost your speed since you’ll have the latest and greatest software.
  4. Use Quality of Service (QoS) and network prioritization options on your router. If your router comes with QoS or prioritization features, you may want to set them up to prioritize your console’s or desktop’s internet traffic over other people and devices in your household. Of course, if your kiddo starts to see the buffering icon more than Paw Patrol, you’ll probably hear about it.

Methodology

How’d we pick our top ten internet providers for gaming? First, we narrowed down our choices to the top 20 ISPs in our fastest internet providers report.

Next, we looked at data caps and pulled ISPs out of that top 20 that offer at least 1 TB of data. (Except for Mediacom, which does offer 400 GB for its slowest plan, but saves face with 1–6 TB of data on the rest of its plans.)

After that, we dug into internet speed test data from 2019 to find the internet providers with low latency (no more than a little over 100), and also checked our availability data for ISPs with larger coverage areas (at least 3% of US zip codes serviced). We did add the following ISPs into the list even though they didn’t quite meet the original criteria:

  • Google Fiber, which earned the rank of fastest ISP in our report but had a service area of 0.48% of US zip codes.
  • CenturyLink, which scored low on our report and had a higher latency of 136.4 ms but also had a coverage area of 15.7% of US zip codes. (CenturyLink also has a fiber internet plan alongside its DSL plans, which should serve up better speeds and lower latency.)

Sources

  1. Rob Pegoraro, USA Today, “AT&T Shelving DSL May Leave Hundreds of Thousands Hanging by a Phone Line,” October 2020. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  2. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “Household Broadband Guide,” February 2020. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  • Chad Moore

    Yes I’m trying to connect Xbox one with my att hot spot and it keeps coming up with double nat type