Best Internet Service Providers 2020

We put the biggest internet titans to the test. Do they have the speed and data you need? And at what cost?
Best Cable
Monthly price:
$19.99$299.95
Download speeds:
152000 Mbps
Best Value
Monthly price:
$49$65
Download speeds:
15940 Mbps
Best Bundling
Monthly price:
$49.99$50
Download speeds:
100940 Mbps
Best Satellite
Monthly price:
$30$150
Download speeds:
12100 Mbps
Best Fiber
Monthly price:
$39.99$79.99
Download speeds:
200940 Mbps
Recent Updates: 5 days ago
Frontier has removed its Vantage plans and now offers only FiOS internet. We've removed Frontier Vantage from our alternative recommendations for good internet providers, and we're keeping an eye on Frontier as it goes through the process of declaring bankruptcy. We'll keep this page and our Frontier internet review updated, so stay tuned.

We found the best internet service providers (ISPs) based on speed, prices, and data allowance, with some minor consideration for customer service rankings.

We broke it down by the type of connection (fiber, cable, DSL, and satellite) and looked at internet-only provider plans. But keep in mind most ISPs serve different areas with different speeds, prices, and connection types, so what you see may differ from our comparison.

5 best home internet options
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsData capDetails
Xfinity Internet$29.99–$299.95/mo.*15–2,000 Mbps1 TB–UnlimitedView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$49–$65/mo.†15–940 Mbps1 TBView Plans
AT&T Fiber$49.99/mo.‡940 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Viasat Internet$30–$150/mo.^12–100 Mbps12–150 GBView Plans
Verizon Fios Home Internet$39.99–$79.99/mo.°200–Up to 940 MbpsNot AvailableView Plans

Data effective 3/6/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months with a 1- or 2-year agreement.
†Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. CenturyLink Fiber Internet plan comes with maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.
‡for 12 mos plus taxes & equip fee. $10/mo equip fee applies. Incl unlimited internet data allowance ($30 value)
^For the first 3 months.
°w/Auto Pay + taxes. Equipment charges may apply.

Depending on where you live, you’ll have a lot of options, so help yourself narrow it down immediately by finding out which providers are near you, deciding on a monthly budget, listing out all your devices, and then seeing which plans fit your speed and data needs.

Find the best internet prices and speeds near you.

Xfinity: Best cable internet

Xfinity covers most of the country, and it has gig speeds in a few areas too.

No other business serves as many customers (41+ states), delivers such fast speeds (up to 2 Gbps), or provides as many package options. You can do anything from basic internet to full-on bundling options combining broadband internet, TV, phone, and home security. We dig the whole connected-home vibe.

Xfinity’s prices are even pretty reasonable (say what!?).

Xfinity internet packages and pricing
PlanPriceDownload speedDetails
Performance Starter$19.99*25 MbpsView Plan
Performance Plus$39.99*60 MbpsView Plan
Performance Pro$49.99*200 MbpsView Plan
Blast! Pro$64.99*300 MbpsView Plan
Extreme Pro$60*600 MbpsView Plan
Gigabit$70*1000 MbpsView Plan
Gigabit Pro$299.952000 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
With a 2-year agreement.

Depending on what you’re ordering, Comcast Xfinity contracts come in one-year, two-year, or even no-term options. We like that Xfinity gives customers more control. You’ll usually save $10 or so a month for opting into a contract with Xfinity, which could end up saving you about $120 a year.

If you’re not into long-term commitments, the no-term plans make more sense to avoid potential early termination fees (costs up to $240+, yeesh!).

Why we like Xfinity cable internet

Xfinity internet works best for the following kinds of users:

  • Large households that want to bundle
  • Gamers
  • HD video streaming fans

You can get fast internet for a good deal with Xfinity. Xfinity’s high internet speed, discount TV and broadband internet bundles, and varied contract options outweigh its controversial reputation—especially when you look at the rest of the ISP customer service options.

To top it off, all Comcast Xfinity customers get access to thousands of wireless hotspots across the US through the XFINITY WiFi app. This is a lifesaver if your home internet goes down and you have an assignment due tonight, or if you just want to check the news while you’re out of town.

Want more details? Find them in our full Xfinity internet review.

Other cable options worth considering

With plenty of cable providers to choose from, you should be able to find a good option easily.

Cable internet alternatives
Monthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
$39.99$64.99200400 MbpsView Plans
$29.99$99.99*10940 MbpsView Plans
$49.99$109.99^100940 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
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.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
^ For the first 12 months.

CenturyLink: Best value

If you can land its faster speeds, CenturyLink’s prices are a bargain that comes with a Price for Life guarantee.

CenturyLink offers DSL internet service that ranges from 15 Mbps up to 100 Mbps. After that, you’re rockin’ and rollin’ on its fiber lines at 1,000 Mbps.

We hate to say it, but there is a small catch. You see, the prices for the CenturyLink 15 Mbps all the way up to its 100 Mbps are all the same because you’ll pay that same price for the fastest speeds—up to 100 Mbps—in your area.

So let’s say your town gets up to 80 Mbps (lucky you!). You’ll pay the same price as someone who lives where the fastest speeds are 40 Mbps—but you’re both getting the fastest speeds available to you.

If you can land top-tier CenturyLink speeds like 80 or 100 Mbps, the price you’ll pay per month for life is a great value. And its fiber internet plan is also a bargain (even though it doesn’t come with Price for Life), making CenturyLink an easy pick for best value internet.

CenturyLink internet packages and pricing
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Price for Life 15 Mbps$49°15 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 20 Mbps$49°20 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 40 Mbps$49°40 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 80 Mbps$49°80 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 100 Mbps$49°100 Mbps1 TBView Plan
CenturyLink Fiber Internet$65940 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
° Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speeds may not be available in your area.

One of our few frustrations with CenturyLink is that it doesn’t offer a Wi-Fi hotspot network to its current subscribers. So if hopping from hotspot to hotspot is a must-have for you, we think Xfinity or AT&T are better Wi-Fi companies. Both of these ISPs let you access hotspots as long as you’re paying for a home internet plan—no extra cash required.

Why we like CenturyLink internet plans

CenturyLink is best for these kinds of users:

  • Anyone looking for a compromise between fast speeds and low prices
  • Those who need fast fiber speeds but at a reasonable cost
  • TV lovers who want a reliable connection for streaming too

And while we wish CenturyLink didn’t put a data cap on its plans, that 1 TB cap is pretty standard across most ISPs. Even so, you can still download your favorite Béla Tarr films, stream as much Busta Rhymes as you can handle, and still have data left over for all your Fortnite antics.

Seriously, the chances of you using up that much data in a month is inconceivable! (Though our editors think we don’t really know what that word means. Hmm . . .)

We’ll help you get the most value with CenturyLink. Check out our full-length CenturyLink internet review to see our recommended plans.

Other value options worth considering

If CenturyLink isn’t in your area, or isn’t the best deal for you, you might want to check out another internet service provider to see how it stacks up.

Value internet alternatives
Monthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
$19.99$299.95**152000 MbpsView Plans
$29.99$199.99††501000 MbpsView Plans
$29.99$99.99*10940 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. 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.
†† 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.

AT&T: Best bundle options

Get all of your needs in one convenient bill with AT&T internet plans, TV, wireless, and home phone.

AT&T owns DIRECTV, which makes it a great way to get all your favorite channels along with up to gigabit broadband speeds. You won’t worry about going over on data because you can get either 1 TB (which is plenty for most of us) or unlimited data, depending on the plan.

And similar to Xfinity, AT&T offers Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation. So if you can’t find the Wi-Fi password posted at your favorite coffee shop, you can just hop on an AT&T hotspot to browse Instagram.

Our favorite AT&T + DIRECTV bundles
PlanPriceInternet download speedTV channel countDetails
DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$84.98100 Mbps160+View Plan
DIRECTV CHOICE All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$89.98100 Mbps185+View Plan
DIRECTV XTRA All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$99.98100 Mbps235+View Plan
DIRECTV PREMIER All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$154.98100 Mbps330+View Plan

Bundling AT&T and DIRECTV will cost you $10 less per month on most plans, plus you only have one bill to deal with. And if you’re a football fan, you’ll get access to the exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET with DIRECTV—which might make this worth it to you.

Heads Up icon
Which DIRECTV TV package should you choose?
You can combine essentially any internet speed with any DIRECTV channel package. Check out your package options here.

You’ll get even more benefits if you add an AT&T wireless plan to your bill, including access to the AT&T Watch TV app, which has a few popular channels like Cartoon Network, TBS, and CNN, among other shows, movies, and news.

Why we like AT&T’s internet for bundling

AT&T’s offers are great for the following kinds of users:

  • People who want one bill for TV, internet, wireless, and home phones
  • Football fans who want NFL SUNDAY TICKET
  • Those who want fast internet speed with high data limits

AT&T is a solid choice, even if it’s not always the cheapest.

Compare AT&T’s DSL and fiber internet services in our AT&T internet review.

Other bundle options worth considering

If you’re not into AT&T (or maybe DIRECTV), then check out these other providers.

Best internet bundle alternatives
Monthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
$19.99$299.95**152000 MbpsView Plans
$39.99$79.99‡‡200940 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. 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. Equipment charges may apply.

Viasat: Best satellite internet

Viasat has top satellite internet speeds and a better price per Mbps.

In rural areas where you can’t get fiber, cable, or DSL internet, satellite internet can be a saving grace.

While it’s not typically the best for speeds or latency, satellite internet speed has come a long way from the old days of 10 Mbps max download broadband speeds. Viasat’s speeds now go up to 100 Mbps, which is competitive even against cable speeds.

And if you pitch in an extra $5 per month, you’ll get the Viasat Wi-Fi Modem. That means you can swipe past all the city-slickers infesting your Farmers Only profile and check out your stargazing apps from the comfort of your front porch.

Viasat internet packages and pricing overview
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Liberty 25$50/mo.^^12 Mbps25 GBView Plans
Unlimited Silver 25$70/mo.^^25 Mbps60 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 50$100/mo.^^50 Mbps100 GBView Plan
Unlimited Platinum 100$150/mo.^^100 Mbps150 GBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^^ For the first 3 months.

There are two things you need to be aware of with Viasat:

  • Your price will increase after three months. It costs anywhere from $20 to $50 per month depending on the plan. (But even still, Viasat might be a better deal than HughesNet.)
  • Your data won’t be throttled after you hit your max, but Viasat can (and will) prioritize other users, meaning you may still experience lower speeds.

Why we like Viasat’s satellite internet for rural users

Viasat is best for these types of users:

  • Rural users who don’t have access to faster broadband internet speed
  • Casual internet users
  • Limited video streamers

You may not like signing up for a two-year contract with Viasat, but HughesNet requires one too.

Get to know Viasat a little better before you commit with our full-length Viasat review.

Other satellite/rural options worth considering

Viasat’s main competitor, HughesNet, doesn’t get as expensive as Viasat—but with satellite internet, you’ll want to make sure to get enough data, and HughesNet only goes up to 50 GB compared to Viasat’s 150 GB.

Best satellite internet alternatives
Monthly priceDownload speedsData capLearn more
$59.99$150°°25 Mbps1050 GBView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
°° Requires 24 month agreement.

Verizon Fios: Best fiber internet

Fast symmetrical download and upload speeds cover your needs, but Verizon Fios might not be available in your area.

Verizon ranks among the top broadband internet providers, and while it’s not available to everyone, it’s one of the best internet options if you want speed for more than just email and casual browsing on your devices.

Verizon Fios fiber internet plans and prices
PlanPriceDownload speedDetails
Internet 200/200$39.99/mo.***200 MbpsView Plans
Internet 400/400$59.99/mo.***400 MbpsView Plans
Fios Gigabit Connection$79.99/mo.†††Up to 940 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*** w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equipment charges.
††† w/ Auto Pay + taxes.

Verizon Fios provides some of the fastest speeds out there, with symmetrical upload and download speeds so posting videos and pictures won’t take forever.

The one exception is Fios Gigabit Connection, which has a not-quite-symmetrical upload speed of up to 880 Mbps, but few companies have anything close to Verizon’s upload speeds.

To top that off, the Fios Gigabit Connection plan is about the lowest-priced near-gigabit plan we reviewed.

The only major downside to Verizon Fios we could find is that it no longer seems to offer a public Wi-Fi hotspot network. You won’t mind this much if your local haunts have a Wi-Fi router and share their password.

But if all those wireless connections are hidden behind lock and key—er, password—those hotspots will be sorely missed. (If Wi-Fi hotspots are a necessity in your life, check out Xfinity or AT&T instead.)

Light Bulb icon
Top of the internet service provider rankings
Verizon Fios scored seventh out of sixteen ISPs in the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) latest speed report.1 So you can bet its download speeds are faster than what you see advertised. Yup, now you can binge without seeing that little loading circle.

The other plans from Verizon also offer a lot of bang for your buck, but when it comes to speed, we’re like Jack Traven in Speed: if we slow down or stop, we’ll explode! Fortunately, Verizon is a reliable service provider.

Why we like Verizon’s fiber internet

Verizon’s high speeds are great for just about everyone—but these kinds of users in particular will enjoy a nearly seamless internet experience:

  • Online gamers
  • TV streamers
  • Media professionals
  • Large families

In short, Verizon’s fast, reliable service is about as good as it gets for broadband internet these days. All of your internet devices should run smoothly—which means you can do some video conferencing with a friend while watching The Bachelor at the same time.

We’ve got more details on why Verizon fiber gets all the praise in our Verizon Fios Home Internet review.

Other fiber options worth considering

If Verizon Fios isn’t available, other providers like AT&T, CenturyLink, or Frontier may have some fiber connections in your area.

Fiber internet alternatives
Monthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
$29.99$199.99††501000 MbpsView Plans
$49.99$50*100940 MbpsView Plans
$49$65‡‡‡15940 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
†† 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.
‡‡‡ New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.

Recap: what is the best internet provider?

You have a lot to choose from, so make it easier on yourself by narrowing down which providers are the best in your area, how many devices you use at a time, what your monthly budget is, and which internet (and TV) deals would work for you.

Use your free will, our tools, and our research, and determine your own internet destiny, folks. Here are our top picks for the best ISPs:

  • Xfinity is available to a lot of people, plus you can connect your whole home with TV, internet, home security, and home phone to save money.
  • CenturyLink offers pretty reasonable prices for its higher-speed plans—especially its fiber 1,000 Mbps plan. But if you need a wireless network while you’re out of town, look elsewhere.
  • AT&T offers high speeds and great bundles with DIRECTV packages.
  • Viasat serves rural areas and country users with the fastest satellite internet speeds.
  • Verizon Fios has both high download and high upload speeds coupled with reliable performance. The only thing it’s missing is Wi-Fi hotspots.

Compare the best internet plans and prices in your area.

How to find the best home internet plans

Ever wondered how you can find the best internet-only plans on your own? We’ll let you in on our not-so-secret methods for analyzing and comparing home internet options.

1. Which internet plans are available in your area?

Not only do you need to take a look at the ISPs in your area, but also which plans they offer. Some providers, like Xfinity, offer service across the US or in multiple states, but the internet plans you can get vary a lot depending on where you live.

The easiest way to get an eagle-eye view of what’s in your area is with our ZIP checker. Just put in your ZIP code and we’ll pull up all the internet providers near you.

Compare home internet options near you.

2. What’s your monthly budget?

What’s the maximum you can afford to spend on internet each month? This is always a good place to start because no one wants to spend more than they need to on anything.

If you find that the home internet plan you want doesn’t match your wallet’s reality, we’ve got a few tips on how you can lower your internet bill.

3. How much download speed do you need?

You can start narrowing down your internet-only plan choices by figuring out how much speed you need.

Once you figure out whether you need just 25 Mbps for some relaxing Facebook surfing and email forwarding or 300 Mbps for a connected smart home full of gamers, you can pinpoint different plans that offer just the right amount of speed.

4. Do you need extra data?

Most DSL, cable, and fiber ISPs offer either one terabyte (1 TB) of data or unlimited data. Both options should be fine for most everyone—unless you download a lot of large files for work and/or pleasure.

But be aware that both satellite internet providers, Viasat and HughesNet, have much lower data caps. HughesNet caps out at 50 GB and Viasat caps out at 150 GB.

Of course, with Viasat, HughesNet, and even non-satellite providers like Xfinity, you can add more data. You’ll just have to pay extra.

5. What are your bundling options?

Do you want to bundle services like TV, phone, and home security with your internet? That’s probably not a bad idea. You’ll typically save some money and get extra features if you bundle.

Of course, bundling throws a wrench in what’s already a difficult price comparison to make. But to get you started, we made a list of our favorite TV, internet, and phone bundles.

6. How do your top two or three choices compare?

Once you’ve narrowed your search to two or three options, take a look at our more popular direct ISP comparisons.

This can give you an idea of which provider will save you money over the long run, which provider has better customer service, and even which provider doesn’t require you to sign a contract. (If any of them have that option, which we hope they do.)

Sources

1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “2018 Measuring Broadband Across America: Fixed Broadband Report

Additional contributors

Tyler Abbott
Trevor Wheelwright

  • Mary j Cox

    How much is basic internate for home?