6 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 Value

Monthly price:
$24.99$299.95
Download speeds:
152000 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TBUnlimited
Editor's Choice

Monthly price:
$39.99$79.99
Download speeds:
200940 Mbps
Data cap:
Not Available
Best for Price Lock

Monthly price:
$49$65
Download speeds:
15940 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
Best for Bundling

Monthly price:
$49.99$50
Download speeds:
100 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
Best Satellite Speeds

Monthly price:
$30$150
Download speeds:
12100 Mbps
Data cap:
12150 GB
Recent Updates: 3 weeks ago
We've added AT&T internet back in the mix to highlight the savings it brings to the table with its TV and internet bundles. We're also keen on the gift that comes with all AT&T bundles: unlimited internet data.

Take a look at our AT&T Internet discussion to find out more about how its bundles earned it a top spot in our list of the best internet providers.
More than 6 months
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 price, availability and connection type, download speed, and customer service scores.

We broke it down by the type of connection (fiber, cable, DSL, and satellite) and areas served. Then we looked at internet-only provider plans. But 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.

Compare the best internet plans and prices near you.

Xfinity: Best Value

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

Comcast Xfinity earns our Editor’s Choice 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$24.99*25 MbpsCableView Plan
Performance Select$34.99*100 MbpsCableView Plans
Performance Pro Plus$49.99*200 MbpsCableView Plans
Blast! Pro Plus$64.99*300 MbpsCableView Plans
Extreme Pro Plus$74.99*600 MbpsCableView Plans
Gigabit$84.99*1000 MbpsCableView 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.
Light Bulb icon
Keep an eye out for Xfinity discounts
It’s worth it to watch for Xfinity discounts. The ISP regularly updates its limited-time offers, so even if you don’t find one today, there may be a stellar deal in the works for next month.

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

Xfinity Wi-Fi

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.

Megaphone icon
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
A badge depicting this brand as the Reviews.org Editor's Choice for September 2020

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$59.99/mo.400 MbpsFiberView Plans
Fios Gigabit Connection$79.99/mo.Up to 940 MbpsFiberView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
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 $20 a month on select Verizon Wireless Unlimited plans and internet packages. But did you know it can also get you $10 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.

Wi-Fi

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 score3Speed score rank2
Verizon Fios Home Internet3.96 out of 52nd out of 38

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 FiberInternet 1000$49.99/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.
^ for 12 mos plus taxes & equip fee. $10/mo equip fee applies. Incl unlimited internet data allowance ($30 value)
° 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.
A badge depicting this brand as the Reviews.org Editor's Choice for September 2020

CenturyLink: Best DSL internet and price lock

CenturyLink is one of the few ISPs that locks in your monthly price, which is why it’s our choice for Best DSL internet.

We’re huge fans of CenturyLink thanks to the Price for Life guarantee it offers with all of its DSL internet plans. The guarantee says that your monthly bill will never go up as long as you remain a CenturyLink customer.

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 internet plans, prices, and speeds
PlanPriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
Price for Life 15 Mbps$49**15 MbpsDSLView Plan
Price for Life 20 Mbps$49**20 MbpsDSLView Plan
Price for Life 40 Mbps$49**40 MbpsDSLView Plan
Price for Life 80 Mbps$49**80 MbpsDSLView Plan
Price for Life 100 Mbps$49**100 MbpsDSLView Plan
CenturyLink Fiber Internet$65°940 MbpsFiberView 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.
° 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 Price for Life details

Landing that CenturyLink Price for Life guarantee is pretty easy: you just sign up for a Price for Life plan, set up paperless billing, and stick with that internet plan.

Sticking with your plan means you can’t upgrade your internet speed or switch to a new service address. But if you need an upgrade or have to move, it’s more than likely CenturyLink will still offer Price for Life plans. So you can still land a new price-lock guarantee, it just might not be the same price you paid before.

Another note: there’s no Price for Life guarantee on the CenturyLink Fiber Internet plan. Sad day, we know. But the price for its fiber plan is still exceptional, and we also picked it as one of our top fiber internet plans.

Wi-Fi

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.

CenturyLink internet: best for price lock
ProviderCustomer service score1Speed score rank2
CenturyLink59 out of 10028th out of 38

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$49.99$50*100 MbpsDSLView Plans
Earthlink Internet$49.95$99.9531000 MbpsDSL/FiberView Plans
Windstream Internet$28.99$90††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 with a 1-year agreement.
†† 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 AT&T TV NOW 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 AT&T TV NOW. 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 AT&T TV NOW, 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$94.98‡‡^^100 Mbps160+View Plan
DIRECTV ULTIMATE All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$114.98^^100 Mbps250+View Plans
DIRECTV PREMIER All-Included Package + AT&T Internet$164.98‡‡100 Mbps330+View Plan
AT&T TV ENTERTAINMENT + AT&T Internet$89.98°°100 Mbps65+View Plans
AT&T TV CHOICE + AT&T Internet$94.98°°100 Mbps90+View Plans
AT&T TV XTRA + AT&T Internet$104.98°°100 Mbps120+View Plans
‡‡ /mo. for 12 months plus taxes & internet equip. fee w/ 24-mo. TV agmt & combined bill. Autopay & Paperless bill reqd. TV price higher in 2nd year. $10/mo. internet equip. fee applies. Incl Unlimited data allowance ($30 value) at no addl charge.
^^ /mo. for 12 months plus taxes & internet equip. fee w/ 24-mo. TV agmt & combined bill. Autopay & Paperless bill reqd. TV price higher in 2nd year. $10/mo. internet equip. fee applies. Incl Unlimited data allowance ($30 value) at no addl charge.
°° /mo. for 12 months plus taxes & internet equip. fee w/ 24-mo. TV agmt. TV price higher in 2nd year. $10/mo. internet equip. fee applies. Incl Unlimited internet data allowance ($30 value).

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.

Quick look: AT&T TV NOW

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

“You’ll get lots of channels, and AT&T TV NOW might have the best channel lineup for you. But the price of AT&T TV NOW 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 AT&T TV NOW: 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.

Wi-Fi

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 Internet68 out of 10015th out of 38

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***601000 Mbps260View Plans
Verizon Bundles$89.99$169.99100940 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.

A badge depicting this brand as the Reviews.org Editor's Choice for September 2020

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. 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$50/mo.†††12 Mbps35 GBView Plan
Unlimited Silver 12$100/mo.†††12 Mbps45 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 12$150/mo.†††12 Mbps65 GBView Plan
Unlimited Silver 25$70/mo.†††25 Mbps60 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 30$100/mo.†††30 Mbps100 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.

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.

Wi-Fi

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
Viasat64 out of 100 (“All Others”)37th out of 38

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$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.

Suddenlink: Best cable internet available in rural areas

Suddenlink connects Small Town, USA with zippy cable internet speeds.

Suddenlink’s coverage area looks like someone decided to play “52 Pick-Up” with a deck of playing cards and spilled them all over a map of the US. But there’s a method to this messiness: Suddenlink brings cable internet to small towns across the country.

Towns like Kingman, AZ, Marietta, OH, and Greenwood, MS, are often overlooked by the big internet providers. So we’re glad to see Suddenlink bring cable internet their way.

Suddenlink’s promotional prices are competitive too. It doesn’t upcharge for bringing its service to towns with populations around 10,000 or so people. And for any locals lucky enough to land its Internet 1 Gig plan, the price is locked in for life—as long as you remain in good standing.

Suddenlink internet plans, prices, and speeds
PlanPriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
Internet 100$34.99/mo.^^^100 MbpsCableView Plan
Internet 300$44.99/mo^^^300 MbpsCableView Plans
Internet 400$59.99/mo°°°400 MbpsCableView Plan
Internet 1 Gig$74.99/mo****1000 MbpsCableView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^^^ for 1 yr
°°° for 2 yrs
**** 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.

Suddenlink customers save on Altice Mobile

A growing trend among internet providers is to offer cell phone services at a discount. Suddenlink is among these, and it offers a $10-per-line discount on Altice Mobile. (Altice is Suddenlink’s parent company.)

Altice Mobile uses the AT&T and Sprint (now T-Mobile) networks, and customers get unlimited talk, text, and data. Not a bad deal at all, especially considering the cost is $30 a line with your Suddenlink customer discount.

Pin icon
Does Altice Mobile really come with unlimited data?
That’s a great question. Altice Mobile offers “unlimited” data, but what it really means is this: you’ll get fast mobile speeds until you use 20 GB of data in a month.

Unfortunately, this is pretty common practice for mobile providers.

Wi-Fi

Suddenlink also offers its customers access to wireless hotspots in select areas. Though . . . it doesn’t clearly state where those areas are, and it also says its WiFi Zone hotspot areas may change without notice.4

If you’re out and about, check for the Suddenlink-Wifi network. If it’s there, you can sign in with your Suddenlink username and password to enjoy some free Wi-Fi on the go.

Suddenlink internet: best cable internet for rural areas
ProviderCustomer service score1Speed score rank2
Suddenlink57 out of 10011th out of 38

Other rural ISPs worth considering

Finding a good rural internet provider is like finding a needle in a haystack. You may not have any choices other than satellite internet, but it’s worth looking to see if these and other rural internet options offer service in your county.

Other rural internet providers
ProviderPriceDownload speedsConnection typeDetails
Frontier$27.99–$44.99/mo.*6–45 MbpsDSLView Plans
Rise Broadband$49.95/mo.25 MbpsFixed wirelessView Plans
Verizon Wireless$80.00–$90.00/mo.4G LTEMobile hotspotView Plans

Data effective 8/19/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*plus $10/mo. Wi-Fi router service fee. Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.

Recap: The 6 best internet providers 2020

When it comes to the best internet providers overall, we recommend Xfinity, Verizon Fios Home Internet, CenturyLink, AT&T bundles, Viasat, and Suddenlink. But it’s always worth looking around to see if there’s a smaller local internet provider offering a great deal near you.

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: 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: 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: Look no further than CenturyLink if you’re after reasonable prices that “lock in” for life. It also offers a fiber internet plan (without its Price for Life guarantee) for those that need gig speeds. But if you need a wireless network while you’re out of town, look elsewhere.
  • AT&T Internet: AT&T sweetens the deal with $10–$20 savings when you bundle its internet with DIRECTV or AT&T TV NOW. 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: 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.
  • Suddenlink: Thanks to Suddenlink, small towns across the US have access to faster cable internet. Suddenlink’s prices are competitive, as well, and it comes with unlimited data, no contracts, and Wi-Fi hotspots in select areas.

Further reading

Methodology

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.)

Sources

  1. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019–2020,” June 2020. Accessed August 19, 2020.
  2. Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers 2020,” August 2020. Accessed August 19, 2020.
  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.