Best Internet Service Providers 2020
We found the best internet service providers 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), but keep in mind most providers serve different areas with different speeds, prices, and connection types.
|Provider||Monthly price||Download speeds||Data cap||Learn more|
|Xfinity Internet||$29.99–$299.95||15–2000 Mbps||1 TB–Unlimited||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Internet||$45–$85||10–1000 Mbps||1 TB–Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||$50–$70||100–1000 Mbps||1 TB–Unlimited||View Plans|
|Viasat Internet||$30–$150||12–100 Mbps||12–150 GB||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios||$39.99–$79.99||100–940 Mbps||Not Available||View Plans|
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.
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!?).
|Performance Starter||$29.99||15 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Plus||$39.99||60 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Pro||$44.99||175 Mbps||View Plan|
|Blast! Pro||$59.99||275 Mbps||View Plan|
|Extreme Pro||$60||500 Mbps||View Plan|
|Gigabit||$70||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
|Gigabit Pro||$299.95||2000 Mbps||View Plan|
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
- 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.
CenturyLink: Best value
CenturyLink’s variety of speeds come at a lower price that sticks for life.
CenturyLink offers DSL internet service that starts at 10 Mbps and goes up to 100 Mbps. After that, you’re rockin’ and rollin’ on its fiber lines at 1,000 Mbps.
To top that off, CenturyLink’s monthly price is one of the lowest for its faster 80–1,000 Mbps plans. And even though the monthly cost for its low-speed plans is higher than the competition, that’s the price you’ll pay for life.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Price for Life 10 Mbps||$45||10 Mbps||1 TB||View Plan|
|Price for Life 20 Mbps||$49||20 Mbps||1 TB||View Plans|
|Price for Life 40 Mbps||$49||40 Mbps||1 TB||View Plan|
|Price for Life 80 Mbps||$49||80 Mbps||1 TB||View Plan|
|Price for Life 100 Mbps||$49||100 Mbps||1 TB||View Plan|
|Centurylink Fiber Internet||$65||940 Mbps||1 TB||View Plans|
Our only frustration 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.
But back to why it made our list of the best ISPs for a moment: Did you know you can bundle CenturyLink internet with DIRECTV? Oh, yes. We are so down.
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.
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.
|Plan||Price||Internet download speed||TV channel count||Details|
|DIRECTV CHOICE™ All Included + Internet Basic 5||$75||5 Mbps||185+||View Plan|
|DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT All Included + Internet 10-100||$80||100 Mbps||160+||View Plan|
|DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT All Included + Internet 300||$100||300 Mbps||160+||View Plan|
|DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT All Included + Internet 1000||$120||1000 Mbps||160+||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.
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.
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.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50||12 Mbps||35 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$100||12 Mbps||45 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$150||12 Mbps||65 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70||25 Mbps||60 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$100||30 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100||50 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150||100 Mbps||150 GB||View Plan|
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.
- 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.
|Monthly price||Download speeds||Data cap||Learn more|
|$59.99–$149.99||25 Mbps||10–50 GB||View Plans|
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.
|Fios Internet 100/100||$39.99||100 Mbps||View Plan|
|Fios Internet 150/150||$74.99||150 Mbps||View Plan|
|Fios Internet 300/300||$94.99||300 Mbps||View Plan|
|Fios Gigabit Connection||$79.99||Up to 940 Mbps||View Plan|
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.
Depending on where you live, Verizon offers can vary quite a bit. Fortunately for those who have access to it, 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 offers a 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.)
The other plans from Verizon also offer a lot of bang for your buck, but when it comes to speed, we’re like Keanu Reeves: 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 review.
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.
How to choose the best internet service provider
Availability: Which providers are available in your area?
Speed: Do you need just enough to browse the web and email? Or do you have a house full of gamers who don’t wanna feel the lag?
Data: Do you download movies, games, or photos? If so, you may need more data than the average user.
Bundling: Do you want to bundle services like TV, phone, and security with your internet? You’ll typically save some money and get extra features.
Budget: What’s your monthly maximum, and is it flexible enough to get the speed and data you need?
Looking for internet to better stream or game? Are you on a budget?
If you have a specific use for internet that you want covered, see how different providers stack up in our comparisons:
- Best Internet for Streaming
- Cheapest ISPs
- Best Internet for Gamers
- Fastest Internet Service Providers
Compare internet providers