8 Best Internet Service Providers 2021

We compared dozens of large internet providers across the US to find those with the best value, best speeds, best bundles, and best customer service.
Best Value


Monthly price:
Download speeds:
501200 Mbps
Data cap:
11.2 TB
Editor's Choice

Verizon Fios Home Internet

Monthly price:
Download speeds:
200940 Mbps
Data cap:
Not Available
No Price Hikes or Contracts


Monthly price:
Download speeds:
100940 Mbps
Data cap:
Best for Bundling

AT&T Internet

Monthly price:
Download speeds:
75100 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TBUnlimited
Best Satellite Speeds


Monthly price:
Download speeds:
12100 Mbps
Data cap:
12300 GB
Recent Updates: 3 weeks ago
Added information on the Cox "Straight-Up" prepaid plan.

We compared prices, availability and connection types, download speeds, and customer service scores for dozens of large internet service providers (ISPs) in the US. We found Comcast Xfinity to be the best value, while Verizon Fios Home Internet was our Editor’s Choice for its excellent internet speeds. We like CenturyLink for the straightforward plans it offers, and AT&T for its affordable bundles. If you live in a remote area and you’re looking for satellite service, we recommend Viasat.

Keep in mind, most internet providers serve different areas with different speeds, prices, and connection types, so what you see may differ from our comparison.

So what are the best internet providers out there right now? Let’s dig in and find out.


Get up to a $100 Visa® Prepaid Card

New residential customers who sign up for Xfinity can get up to a $100 Visa® Prepaid Card on eligible plans.

Check out Xfinity’s website for details.

Data effective 9/10/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change. Offer ends 9/21/21.

The best internet service providers 2021
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsData capLearn more
Xfinity Internet$34.99$94.99*501200 Mbps11.2 TBView Plans
Verizon Fios Home Internet$39.99$89.99200940 MbpsNot AvailableView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$50$65100940 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
AT&T Internet$4575100 Mbps1 TBUnlimitedView Plans
Viasat Internet$30$150^12100 Mbps12300 GBView Plans
Suddenlink Internet$30$70°751000 MbpsUnlimitedView 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.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
For the first 12 months plus taxes and equip. fee.
^ For the first 3 months.
° 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.

Compare the best internet plans and prices near you.

Check out our video on the best internet providers

Our video expert, Juan, goes over the pros and cons of our picks for the best internet service providers.

An awards badge for the Reviews.org Best Value award 2021

Xfinity: Best Value

Xfinity covers most of the country with reliably fast internet that goes up to gig speeds

Comcast Xfinity earns our Best Value award thanks to its competitive prices and high marks for fast speeds. And it’s available across most of the US.

Your prices may differ based on where you live, but generally, Xfinity charges the same prices—or less—compared to similar ISPs. Here’s a snapshot of Xfinity plans and prices for the Western US:

Xfinity plans and prices: Western US
PlanPriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
Performance Starter$19.99**25 MbpsCableView Plan
Performance Select$44.99**100 MbpsCableView Plans
Performance Pro Plus$59.99**200 MbpsCableView Plan
Blast! Pro Plus$74.99**400 MbpsCableView Plans
Extreme Pro Plus$84.99††800 MbpsCableView Plans
Gigabit$94.99††1200 MbpsFiberView Plan
Data effective 08/27/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
** For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
†† For the first 24 months with a 1-year agreement.

Xfinity bundles

Another perk to Xfinity is that it now offers multiple services you can bundle together: internet, TV, home security, and mobile. Bundling is a great way to save money each month, and you may also find bundle-specific Xfinity discounts.

But aside from cable TV, Xfinity’s other home services might be a bust. Here’s what our fellow experts had to say about other Xfinity services:

Xfinity cable TV: “Xfinity might have a lot of fees, but at least you won’t be disappointed by Xfinity’s service. This cable TV company is reliable, widely available, and you’ll get most, if not all, of the channels you and your family want.” —Chantel Buchi, TV and streaming expert

Xfinity Home security system: “Xfinity Home’s prices are hard to pin down, most of the equipment lags behind other brands, and its customer service (through Comcast) may be the worst we’ve ever encountered.” —Brianne Sandorf, home security expert

Xfinity Mobile: “A solid, cheap [option] for those already in the Xfinity universe, though you have to deal with data throttling, slowdowns, and poor video streaming quality.” —Easton Smith, mobile expert

Does Xfinity have Wi-Fi hotspots?

Another major benefit Xfinity customers enjoy is thousands of wireless hotspots across the US. And if you’ve got Xfinity Mobile or a Performance internet plan or faster, you get hotspot access for free.

This is a huge boon if you’re on vacation and can’t find a Starbucks to siphon wireless internet off of. Not to mention access to all those Wi-Fi hotspots is a lifesaver if your home internet goes down and you’ve got an assignment due the next morning.

You can access the wireless hotspots through the Xfinity Wi-Fi app, which uses your Xfinity username and password.

Info Box icon
Want to know more about hotspots?
Check out our video about the best standalone hotspots and hardware! Catch the video on YouTube.

Share your Wi-Fi with the Xfinity xFi Gateway modem

Xfinity has one of the largest Wi-Fi hotspot networks thanks to its xFi Gateway modems. Most of these modems are automatically set to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal.

If you’re not keen on your own modem broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal that almost anyone can use, here’s how to turn off Xfinity Wi-Fi sharing.

Xfinity: Editor’s Choice for best internet service provider
ProviderCustomer service score1Speed score rank2
Xfinity66 out of 1007th out of 38

Find a Comcast Xfinity internet plan near you.

An awards badge for the Reviews.org Editor's Choice award 2021

Verizon Fios Home Internet: Editor’s Choice

Fiber is king, and Verizon Fios Home Internet wins the crown for best fiber prices and speeds

We always recommend fiber internet if you can get it. And Verizon Fios Home internet gives you plenty more reasons to choose it over other ISPs: low prices, fast download speeds, and some of the best customer service.

Verizon Fios Home Internet is still limited mostly to the East Coast, but given its good reputation, we hope it expands its service area soon. After all, every one of our East Coast friends who uses Verizon Fios Home Internet has nothing but great things to say about it.

Verizon Fios Home Internet plans and prices
PlanPriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
Internet 200/200$39.99/mo.‡‡200 MbpsFiberView Plans
Internet 400/400$64.99/mo.‡‡400 MbpsFiberView Plans
Fios Gigabit Connection$89.99/mo.^^Up to 940 MbpsFiberView Plans
‡‡ w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges.
^^ w/ Auto Pay + taxes.

Verizon TV and internet combos

Verizon also offers some of the best TV and internet combos out there thanks to its mix and match system. You can pretty much pair any of its Fios Home Internet plans with any of its Fios TV packages. So no sorting through dozens of pre-built bundles to get the internet speed and channel count you want.

We cover this more in-depth in our Verizon Fios TV and Internet combos review if you’re the kind of person who likes a little TV with your internet.

And if you’re already a Verizon Wireless Unlimited customer, you can combine select mobile plans with your internet plan and save up to $20 a month.

Okay, technically, it’s $10 off your mobile bill and $10 off your internet bill for a total of $20. And you’ll need to enroll in the Mobile + Home Rewards program through Verizon Up to land those savings. But an extra $20 each month is totally worth it in our book.

Money icon
Verizon's Mobile + Home Rewards are the savings jackpot
We mentioned that the Mobile + Home Rewards program saves you a total of $30 a month on select Verizon Wireless Unlimited plans and internet packages. But did you know it can also get you $5 a month that you can put toward your next phone or tablet upgrade? Yes, please!

Check out the Mobile + Home Rewards program through Verizon Up to learn more.

Does Verizon Fios Home Internet have Wi-Fi hotspots?

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.)

Verizon Fios Home Internet: best fiber prices and speeds
ProviderCustomer service score1Speed score rank2
Verizon Fios Home Internet712nd out of 38

Look for Verizon Fios Home Internet plans in your area.

Other fiber internet providers worth considering

If Verizon Fios Home Internet isn’t available in your area, check out these other top fiber internet providers:

Other fiber internet providers
ServicePlanPriceDownload speedDetails
AT&T FiberAT&T Internet 1000$60/mo.°°940 MbpsView Plan
CenturyLink InternetCenturyLink Fiber Internet$65***940 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
°° Ltd. avail/areas for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee. Autopay & Paperless Bill req'd. $10/mo equip. fee applies
*** Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.
An awards badge for the Reviews.org Editor's Choice award 2021

CenturyLink: Best for no contracts and no price hikes

CenturyLink is one of the few ISPs that promises to not jack up your monthly price, and it comes with no contracts or data caps

We’re fans of CenturyLink‘s commitment to the word “No.” The ISP gives the big N-O to data caps, contracts, and price hikes, which means you won’t need to worry about paying for more data, forking over your latest paycheck if you cancel service, or paying more and more on your monthly bill as the years go by.

Promotional prices are great . . . at least until they expire and your monthly internet bill launches into space. But CenturyLink offers the best of both worlds: pretty low prices that don’t get out of hand a couple of years down the road.

CenturyLink recently overhauled its internet plans, but even though some names have changed, it seems to still be the same deal it was before. Its Simply Unlimited Internet plan features DSL internet service that gets you speeds of 15–100 Mbps, depending on where you live. And its Fiber Internet plan gets you all the benefits of a fiber internet connection, complete with speeds up to 940 Mbps. (Though only certain cities can get this plan so far.)

CenturyLink internet plans, prices, and speeds
NamePriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
Simply Unlimited Internet$50†††Up to 100 MbpsDSLView Plans
CenturyLink Fiber Internet$65***940 MbpsFiberView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
††† Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Get the fastest internet speed available at your location (max speed is up to 100 Mbps).
*** Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.

CenturyLink internet benefits

CenturyLink internet comes with the following perks that make it a good deal:

  • No contract
  • No data caps
  • No price hikes

You’ll want to make sure you set your account up for paperless billing in order to get all the benefits as well. And if you swap internet plans or move, be aware that your monthly bill may change at that time. Otherwise, these CenturyLink deals are pretty straightforward and easy to get.

Does CenturyLink have Wi-Fi hotspots?

One of our 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.

CenturyLink internet: best for price lock
ProviderCustomer service score1Speed score rank2
CenturyLink62 out of 10028th out of 38

Look for CenturyLink internet plans in your neighborhood.

Other DSL internet providers worth considering

DSL is older internet technology, but it’s also more widely available across the US. Especially in rural areas.

If you’re looking for top-notch DSL internet, these other providers are worth a look:

Other DSL internet providers
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsConnection TypeLearn more
AT&T Internet$4575100 MbpsDSLView Plans
Earthlink Internet$49.95$99.95‡‡‡31000 MbpsDSL/FiberView Plans
Windstream Internet$27$85^^^251000 MbpsDSL/FiberView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
For the first 12 months plus taxes and equip. fee.
‡‡‡ With a 12 month contract.
^^^ For the first 12 months.

AT&T: Best for bundling

AT&T pulls out all the stops when it comes to saving you money and giving you more internet data when you bundle

AT&T owns DIRECTV and the DIRECTV STREAM streaming service, so it’s probably not much of a surprise that we named it the best ISP for bundling. But what really tipped the scales was the savings AT&T gives you for bundling your internet with either DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM. And it upgrades your data cap to unlimited data when you bundle.

Pardon us while we squeal with glee.

There are dozens upon dozens of ways to pair your AT&T internet with either DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM, so to keep things brief, we’ve picked some of our favorite combos.

AT&T internet bundles, prices, and speeds
PlanPriceInternet download speedTV channel countDetails
DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$89.99°°°100 Mbps160+View Plan
DIRECTV ULTIMATE All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$109.99°°°100 Mbps250+View Plan
DIRECTV PREMIER All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$159.99°°°100 Mbps330+View Plan
°°° for 12 months plus taxes & internet equip. fee w/ 24-mo. TV agmt & combined bill. Autopay & Paperless bill reqd. Prices higher in 2nd year. $10/mo. internet equip. fee applies*

Savings on TV and internet bundles

Bundling your AT&T internet with TV will lower your bill by $10–$20 per month on most plans. And if you’re a football fan, you’ll get access to the exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET if you grab the DIRECTV CHOICE package or higher—which might make you want to do your version of a touchdown dance.

Quick look: DIRECTV

Our resident TV expert, Chantel Buchi, provides a helpful guide on which DIRECTV package is right for you. She also has this to say about DIRECTV: “DIRECTV’s satellite TV service has all the channels you want—including NFL SUNDAY TICKET and premium channels like HBO and SHOWTIME.

Although DIRECTV has a two-year contract with second-year price hikes, you’re guaranteed a great channel variety for the family, for movie buffs, and for sports addicts.”

Yes, that two-year price hike happens even if you bundle your DIRECTV with internet. But the savings and prime channel selection may outweigh the nuisance.


Chantel also points out that DIRECTV STREAM may be another budget buster just like DIRECTV, but its channel selection might make up for it.

“You’ll get lots of channels, and DIRECTV STREAM might have the best channel lineup for you. But the price of DIRECTV STREAM is higher than that of most other live TV streaming services (we’re talking more than $1 per channel). So you’ll want to budget accordingly.”

But just like bundling with DIRECTV, AT&T gives you a deal for bundling with DIRECTV STREAM: it lowers your bill by $20 per month compared to what you’d pay if you signed up for internet and TV separately. So slide that twenty back in your pocket and enjoy the show.

Does AT&T have Wi-Fi hotspots?

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 or check your work email.

AT&T internet: best for bundling
ProviderCustomer service score1Speed score rank2
AT&T Internet71 out of 10015th out of 38

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

Other ways to bundle your internet and TV

If you’re not into AT&T (or maybe DIRECTV), then check out these other providers that offer excellent channel counts, good prices, and fast internet speeds.

Other ways to bundle internet
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsAvailable channelsLearn more
Xfinity Bundles$39.99$159.99****1001000 Mbps220View Plans
Verizon Bundles$74.99$169.990.55940 Mbps425View Plans
**** For the first 12 or 24 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year agreement.

Verizon Bundles general: For new eligible TV and/or Internet res. custs. Availability varies. Wired & wireless Internet speeds vary due to device limits, multiple users, network & other factors. See Verizon.com/yourspeed for more info. $15/mo. router and $99 setup charges & other taxes & terms may apply. Auto Pay & paper-free billing reqd. Subj. to credit approval & may require a deposit. Fios TV: $12/mo. STB charge may apply.

An awards badge for the Reviews.org Editor's Choice award 2021

Viasat: Best satellite internet speeds

Viasat offers the fastest speeds and largest data caps, making it our Editor’s Choice pick when it comes to satellite internet

Generally, we recommend DSL or cable internet providers like Suddenlink if you can get them.

But in rural areas where you can’t get these types of internet connections, satellite internet can be a saving grace. And Viasat currently offers the fastest satellite internet speeds with the most generous data caps.

Though it’s not known for blazing fast download speeds or low latency, satellite internet has come a long way. Viasat’s Unlimited internet plans now go up to 100 Mbps, which blows HughesNet’s 25 Mbps speeds out of the water.

You’ll also find that Viasat gives you more data for your money, from 12 to 300 GB. HughesNet’s data caps range from 10 to 50 GB, which is not a lot. (That’s putting it lightly.) Still, we’re frustrated with only two choices for satellite internet, and we bet you are too. So, in the meantime, we’re keeping our ears to the ground for news on Starlink.

Viasat unlimited satellite internet plans, prices, and speeds
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Unlimited Bronze 12$49.99/mo.††††12 Mbps80 GBView Plan
Unlimited Silver 12$100/mo.‡‡‡‡12 Mbps45 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 12$150/mo.‡‡‡‡12 Mbps65 GBView Plan
Unlimited Silver 25$69.99/mo.††††25 Mbps120 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 30$99.99/mo.††††30 Mbps100 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 50$99.99/mo.††††50 Mbps200 GBView Plan
Unlimited Platinum 100$149.99/mo.††††100 Mbps300 GBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
†††† Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months. one-time installation fee may apply. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Minimum 24 month service term required.
‡‡‡‡ Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months.

Things to know about Viasat and satellite internet

Satellite internet is very different from DSL, cable, or fiber. If you’re used to blazing-fast internet speeds for relatively low prices, you might be in for a rude awakening with satellite.

Viasat’s prices may put you into a state of temporary sticker shock. And those prices last only for three months. About 90 days later, your price gets bumped up. Yuck.

We should mention here that, even after the price hike, Viasat is still your best deal if you want 100 Mbps download speeds and fairly large data caps (as far as satellite internet data caps go.)

And both Viasat and HughesNet, the only other satellite internet provider, suffer from high latency. That’s just the nature of the beast that is satellite internet. It likely won’t affect you—unless you enjoy fast-paced online gaming.

Does Viasat have Wi-Fi hotspots?

Viasat currently doesn’t offer wireless hotspots to its customers in the US—except for military and government personnel on Navy bases.

But it did build a wireless hotspot network in Latin America, connecting much of rural and urban Mexico to the internet.5 Here’s hoping that Viasat extends its hotspots to the US soon.

Viasat: best satellite internet speeds
ProviderCustomer service score1Speed score rank2
Viasat62 out of 100 (“All Others”)37th out of 38

Compare Viasat satellite internet plans available near you.

Other satellite ISPs worth considering

Until Starlink, Project Kuiper, and other satellite internet projects offer service, we’re all stuck with two satellite internet providers: Viasat and HughesNet.

We recommend Viasat for its faster speeds and more generous data caps. But if you can make do with 25 Mbps speeds and low data caps, HughesNet may save you some money in the long run.

Other satellite internet providers
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsData capLearn more
HughesNet Internet$59.99$149.99^^^^25 Mbps1050 GBView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^^^^ Requires 24 month agreement.

Cox: Runner-up

Cox Internet
Download speeds:
25940 Mbps
Data cap:
Starting at $19.99 a month

Data effective 2/24/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 36 months. No annual contract required.

Cox offers low promotional prices on most of its plans. Plus, the company offers pre-paid internet, so you can opt for a no-contract internet plan if you don’t want to be locked in.

While Cox’s 500 and 940 Mbps plans start out at a higher price than competing ISPs like Xfinity, you could end up paying a better price in the long run. That’s because Cox offers a variety of plans at different price levels.

On top of all that, Cox performed fairly well in our latest speed report and offers some excellent bundling options if you want cable TV with your internet.

Cox internet prices and speeds
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Cox Internet Essential 50$29.99°°°°50 Mbps1.25 TBView Plans
Cox Internet Preferred 150$49.99°°°°150 Mbps1.25 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Ultimate 500$69.99°°°°500 Mbps1.25 TBView Plans
Cox Gigablast$99.99°°°°940 Mbps1.25 TBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
°°°° for 12 months with 1-yr. term agreement

Cox also offers a prepaid internet service called “StraightUp” prepaid internet, which includes a dual-band WiFi modem, and you don’t need a credit check or deposit. The service costs $50 per month, and allows you to pay-as-you-go for speeds of 25 Mbps. This is enough internet juice to surf the web or stream shows on 3 to 5 devices.

Cox: Runner-up best internet provider
ProviderSpeed performance rankCustomer service score1
Cox16th out of 38 ISPs63 out of 100

Look for Cox internet plans available in your area.

Spectrum: Runner-up

Spectrum Internet
Download speeds:
2001000 Mbps
Data cap:
Starting at$49.99/mo for 12 mos.

Data effective 2/24/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Spectrum Internet comes with a few extras that you might not get from other internet providers in the same area. That includes no contracts and no data caps—plus Spectrum’s prices are fairly competitive. (Except for its Gig plan.)

We’re also keen on Spectrum because it serves much of the Midwest. While other large ISPs stick to the coasts, that can leave residents of states like Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin feeling left out.

A couple of our hang ups with Spectrum have to do with its mediocre internet speed performance, as well as some confusing fees.

Spectrum Internet prices and speeds
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo for 12 mos.Up to 200 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo for 12 mos.Up to 400 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
Spectrum Internet® Gig$109.99/mo for 12 mos.Up to 1000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Wireless speeds may vary.
Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.
Spectrum: Runner-up best internet provider
ProviderSpeed performance rankCustomer service score1
Spectrum14th out of 38 ISPs63 out of 100

Compare Spectrum Internet prices near you.

Grande Communications: Runner-up

Grande Cable Internet
Download speeds:
50940 Mbps
Data cap:
Starting at $29.99 a month

Data effective 2/24/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months.

Even though it’s limited to parts of Texas, we had to mention Grande here because of its low prices and exceptional internet speeds. And really, Grande does internet right with its no contracts and unlimited data too.

Like we said, the biggest catch is that you can’t get Grande internet service outside of Texas. That’s a real shame, because it not only advertises fast speeds, it actually gives them to you.

Aside from limited availability, the only other thing about Grande that makes us frown is that its promotional prices last only 12 months.

Grande internet prices and speeds
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Grande: Runner-up best internet provider
ProviderSpeed performance rankCustomer service score1
Grande8th out of 38 ISPs62 out of 100 (“All Others”)

Live in Texas? See if Grande internet is available in your area.

Recap: The 8 best internet providers 2021

When it comes to the best internet providers overall, we recommend Xfinity, Verizon Fios Home Internet, CenturyLink, AT&T bundles, and Viasat, while Cox, Spectrum, and Grande Communications are worth a look as runners-up. It’s always worth looking around to see if there’s a smaller local internet provider offering a great deal near you too.

Either way, searching for the best internet gives you a lot to think about. We recommend running through our guide on how to find the right internet plan before you start shopping.

  • Xfinity: Best Value. Available basically nationwide, Xfinity offers stellar prices and speeds. It scored high on our list of the fastest ISPs, and regularly offers limited-time deals. Plus, you can save more money by bundling your internet with its TV, home security, and mobile services.
  • Verizon Fios Home Internet: Editor’s Choice. We always recommend fiber internet if you can get it, and Verizon Fios Home Internet comes with top-notch fiber speeds and customer service we’ve heard nothing but good things about. The only thing it’s missing is Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • CenturyLink: Best for no price hikes. Look no further than CenturyLink if you’re after reasonable prices that don’t skyrocket a year later. It also offers a fiber internet plan for those that need gig speeds. But if you need a wireless network while you’re out of town, look elsewhere.
  • AT&T Internet: Best for bundling. AT&T sweetens the deal with $10–$20 savings when you bundle its internet with DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM. And both TV services come chock-full of channels, like NFL SUNDAY TICKET, that’ll erase “There’s nothing to watch!” from your vocabulary.
  • Viasat: Best satellite internet speeds. With the fastest speeds satellite can provide, Viasat is our pick for anyone who can’t get cable or DSL service in their area. It may even be a better value than the competing satellite provider, HughesNet, if you’re looking for speeds around 100 Mbps.
  • Cox: Runner-up. Cox saves you money with low promo prices. And it doesn’t require a contract for some of its plans. We only hope it improves its internet speeds and raises its data caps to unlimited in the future.
  • Spectrum: Runner-up. Spectrum Internet comes with no contracts or data caps, and most of its prices are competitive. But you may not get the internet speeds you pay for.
  • Grande Communications: Runner-up. Grande gets a gold star for no contracts, unlimited data, fast internet speeds, and good value. But it’s available only in Texas—and your promo prices last for only 12 months.

Find and compare internet plans in your area.

Now that you know more about the best ISPs in the US, check these out next.

Find out which ISPs are the fastest.


Live in the country? These are the best rural internet options.



We selected these five internet providers as the best after looking at the following criteria:

  • Prices
  • Availability
  • Speed scores2
  • Customer service scores1,3
  • Connection type

After comparing the criteria, we sought to diversify our recommendations to include ISPs operating in underserved areas, such as Suddenlink in small towns and Viasat in remote areas.

How to choose the best internet provider

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. Find out 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 and plans near you.

Find and compare internet providers near you.

2. Determine 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.

But if you find that the home internet plan you want doesn’t match your wallet’s reality, don’t panic just yet. We’ve got a few tips on how you can lower your internet bill.

3. Figure out how much download speed 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.

Another step you can take here is to find out how fast your current internet plan is by taking a speed test.

This gives you a sort of benchmark to say, “I need faster download speeds” or “I can get a plan with speeds similar to what I have now.”

4. Estimate how much data you need.

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. Look to see if you can save by bundling.

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. Compare your top two or three choices.

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.)

Here’s How Much You’ll Spend on Internet in Your Lifetime

Ever wondered how much internet will cost you over your lifetime? Yeah, we get a dose of morbid curiosity every now and then too.

Well, here in the US, you can expect to pay about $32,400 for internet. (That’s with the average global life expectancy of 72 years.) Compared to the top 20 countries with the most internet users across the globe, that’s . . . not great.

A map showing the lifetime cost of internet in the 20 countries with the most internet users in the world

Here’s what else we found out about the average lifetime cost of internet over the average global life expectancy of 72 years:

  • The average lifetime cost of internet across the world is $18,584.96. That’s $13,815.04 cheaper than the average lifetime internet bill in the US. Oof.
  • Internet in the US costs $6,266.16 more than the next highest average internet bill: In Japan, you’d pay $26,133.84 to scroll through Instagram and read the news.
  • Here in the US, we pay about $18,280.08 less than the highest average lifetime internet bill: In Nigeria, you’d pay a whopping $50,680.08 to hop online.
  • Speaking of Nigeria, you’d pay 10.6x more for a lifetime of internet there than you would in the cheapest location for internet, Russia. That’s a difference of $45,917.28. *insert screaming emoji here*
  • Yup, Russians pay the least for a lifetime of internet at $4,762.80. Which is lucky for them, because no one wants to go outside during Russia’s brutally cold winters.

The Takeaway

Sure, the US isn’t the cheapest place to log on and do some web surfing. But keep in mind that, in other countries, you may have to deal with limited access (or no access to certain sites), monitoring, and limited freedom of online speech.

And, hey, there are some things you can do to trim a few bucks off your internet bill here and there. So don’t let the high cost of being a US netizen get you down. Turn that frown into a slightly smiling emoji and enjoy the connections, friendships, and knowledge that internet brings.


First up, we narrowed down our data to the top 20 countries with the most internet users by checking Internet World Stats. Then we looked at how much internet costs per month in each of those 20 countries with help from Cable.co.uk’s Worldwide Broadband Report.

We decided to look at the average lifetime cost in two ways: by global average life expectancy and by each country’s individual average life expectancy. We used the World Health Organization to gather life expectancy data, then calculated the yearly cost of internet by country and multiplied it by those average life expectancy figures. We decided to leave inflation out of our equation due to the unpredictability of what inflation might look like for 20 different countries over 70+ years.

Last but not least, we compared each country’s lifetime internet cost over average life expectancy to see which countries have the cheapest versus which have the most expensive lifetime cost of internet.

Additional contributor

Erika Rawes


  1. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2020–2021,” July 2021. Accessed August 6, 2021.
  2. Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers 2021,” Accessed August 6, 2021.
  3. Rebecca Lee Armstrong, HighSpeedInternet.com, “2020’s Best Internet Providers in Customer Satisfaction,” May 2020. Accessed August 20, 2020.
  4. Suddenlink, “Need Help Setting Up Your New Device?” Accessed August 25, 2020.
  5. Viasat, “Nearly Half of Mexico Doesn’t Have Internet Access.” Accessed August 25, 2020.
  • Mary j Cox

    How much is basic internate for home?

  • Still Ronnie

    It is 3/23/2020
    I have had charter/spectrum as my provider for several years.
    They have had a multitude of problems with their email client and are neither sufficiently competenmt to hire IT people who can correct there problems or just do not give a damn.
    Beginning May 1, 2020~there are deleting the email altogether yet, there is no word whether the monthly charge will be less.
    I ONLY subscribe to charter/spectrum for the email so, without it I will have to find both a new provider and use a different enail client.
    Fortunately, I do use Gmail.
    charter/spectrum is a TOTAL FAILURE.