The Best Internet for Streaming 2020

Find out what speeds you need for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Spotify, and see our recommended internet providers.
Best Overall

Monthly price:
Download speeds:
152000 Mbps
Best for 4K Streaming

Monthly price:
Download speeds:
100940 Mbps
Best for Music

Monthly price:
Download speeds:
15940 Mbps
Best for Twitch and Mixer

Monthly price:
Download speeds:
501000 Mbps

If buffering went the way of the dinosaurs, no one would be sad, right?

Instead of waiting for a metaphorical meteor to destroy it, there’s one thing that might get you closer to being buffer-free: a faster internet plan. But how much speed do you need for streaming?

Recommended ISPs for Streaming
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
Xfinity Internet$19.99$299.95*152000 MbpsView Plans
AT&T Fiber$45$60100940 MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$49$6515940 MbpsView Plans
Frontier FiOS Internet$29.99$199.99^501000 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 the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
^ 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.

Whether you’re streaming movies on Netflix, jamming out to the latest hits on Spotify, or broadcasting your own livestream on Twitch, your internet speed matters.

But not all streaming is created equal—so here’s a quick guide to the recommended internet speeds for streaming. Plus, we’ll share our recommendations for internet service providers (ISPs) that should meet your streaming needs.

Find an internet speed that keeps pace with you.

What internet speed do I need for video streaming?

You’re all snuggled up in bed, watching The Lion King on Disney+, when suddenly Timon and Pumba freeze on-screen. What the—

Oh, never mind. It’s just buffering again.

But seriously, maybe it’s time to upgrade your high-speed internet service? Because waiting for your shows to buffer is putting a serious cramp on your nightly binge-watching style. Just sayin’.

Bullhorn icon
Speed up your streaming.
We’ve got all the tips and tricks in our streaming guide. Check it out!

How much speed do I need to stream Netflix?

You don’t need a lot of speed for Netflix—just 3 to 5 Mbps will do. Unless you need that 4K resolution in your life, and then you’ll need at least 25 Mbps.

If you love to budget but also love to relive your childhood by streaming season five of Fuller House on Netflix, good news: you don’t need to shell out your life’s savings to keep your streaming smooth.

Recommended internet speed for Netflix
QualityResolutionNetflix recommends
SD480p3 Mbps
HD720p–1080p5 Mbps
Ultra HD/4K>4,000p25 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

Even 25 Mbps for streaming in Ultra HD (aka 4K) isn’t that fast—and a plan with that speed shouldn’t set you back much.

Want more Netflix streaming secrets? We don’t share these with just anyone. Ok, maybe we do, but our Netflix guide is well worth a look.

How much speed do I need to stream Hulu?

Hulu’s requirements are pretty much the same as Netflix’s: you’ll need 3 Mbps to watch anything in the streaming library and at least 8 Mbps to watch Hulu’s live content.

And if you’re all about blasting your retinas with glorious 4K resolution, well, you’ll need a bit more kick to your internet service. But still, not more than 25 Mbps.

Recommended internet speed for Hulu2
QualityResolutionHulu recommends
Hulu streaming librarySD and HD (480p–1080p)3 Mbps
Live streamsSD and HD (480p–1080p)8 Mbps
4K>4,000p16 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

How much speed do I need to stream Disney+?

We still haven’t seen speed recommendations for Disney+, but we can take a cue from DisneyLife, which recommends 5 to 10 Mbps for HD streaming. (DisneyLife is an older subscription streaming service that also lets you watch mouse-approved TV shows and movies.)

And for those 4K Disney shows with all their phenomenal cosmic power, you should be as golden as Rapunzel’s hair if you have at least 25 Mbps.

Recommended internet speed for Disney+3
QualityResolutionDisney recommends
SD480p0.5 Mbps or faster
HD720p–1080p5–10 Mbps
4K>4,000p25 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

How much speed do I need to stream HBO NOW?

HBO NOW recommends at least 5 Mbps to watch it in HD. That’s great, because you’d hate to have to trade away one of your dragon eggs for an internet plan that lets you rewatch the fateful events of Game of Thrones.

Recommended internet speed for HBO NOW4
QualityResolutionHBO recommends
HDUp to 1080p5 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

How much speed do I need to stream in 4K?

Want to live that ultra-high-definition life? You’ll need at least 25 Mbps to cheer on your favorite home chef while watching Chef’s Table on Netflix in full 4K glory.

Because no one likes that smug little buffering icon. No one.

Recommended internet speed for 4K
QualityResolutionRecommended speed
4K>4,000p25 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

Our picks: the best internet for streaming movies and TV shows

An internet plan with at least 10 to 25 Mbps shouldn’t cost you much cash, but keep in mind that if you’re streaming HD or 4K movies on multiple devices, you’ll want more Mbps.

We recommend a 50 Mbps plan as the minimum if you have more than one person streaming in your home, but you may want even more speed than that. Connected devices and other factors can really start to eat up your bandwidth.

Here are a few different speed tier internet plans we recommend. And if still can’t get a peg on what speed is right for you, check out our guide to how much speed you need.

Best for families: Xfinity Performance Plus

Why we like it: For about $40 a month, this Xfinity plan gives you 60 Mbps. That’s more than enough speed to stream in SD and HD—and it’ll hold up if there’s two of you streaming under one roof too. That’s also enough juice to power through your favorite 4K flick.

Performance Plus
Xfinity Internet - West
Download speed:
60 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
Connection type:
$39.99 a month

Best for large families: AT&T Fiber Internet 300

Why we like it: If you’ve got a full family of streamers, you’re going to need some serious internet bandwidth. This AT&T plan comes with 300 Mbps, and at $70 a month, that’s a pretty decent price. Also, it’s a fiber connection, which tends to reliably deliver the speeds you paid for. Can’t argue with that.

Internet 300
AT&T Fiber
Download speed:
300 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
Connection type:
$50 a month

What internet speed do I need to stream music?

For me, the difference between waking up on the right side of the bed versus the wrong side is a list of great tunes. If my music stream isn’t working, I’m a zombie in the mornings.

Luckily for those of us who energize with a dope bass drop, you don’t need a lot of speed to stream music.

How much speed do I need to stream music on Spotify, Pandora, and other services?

You’ll need only about 1 Mbps to shake it to “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers on Spotify, Pandora, and other music streaming platforms.

Recommended internet speed for music streaming5
Streaming servicesRecommended speed
Spotify, Pandora, and all othersUp to 1 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

How much speed do I need to stream music on Deezer and TIDAL?

Deezer and TIDAL come with their own set of recommended speeds: 5 Mbps for one stream and 10 Mbps for multiple streams.

Why do Deezer and TIDAL need more kick from your internet speed? Because they use FLAC, or Free Lossless Audio Codec. FLAC means the audio streams at CD quality instead of the typical compressed quality you normally get while streaming.

Recommended internet speed for streaming music on Deezer and TIDAL6, 7
Streaming servicesRecommended speed
Deezer Elite5–10 Mbps
Deezer HiFi5–10 Mbps
TIDAL on Sonos5–10 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

Our picks: the best internet for streaming music

You don’t need a lot of speed to stream music. So if you’re looking for a way to save money on your internet bill and you don’t use your connection for much more than jamming out to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” look for plans with close to 10 or 25 Mbps.

Best for music-loving families: CenturyLink Price for Life 40 Mbps

Why we like it: Are you a family of music lovers and proud of it? This 40 Mbps plan from CenturyLink should keep you all streaming no matter which music platform you prefer.

And as a bonus, CenturyLink’s Price for Life plans lock you into that monthly price as long as you remain a customer.

Price for Life 40 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet
Download speed:
40 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
Connection type:
$49 a month

Best for mixing music and streaming: Spectrum Internet®

Why we like it: If you’re streaming music and movies with a little gaming on the side, Spectrum’s up to 100 Mbps plan* gives you enough juice to evade that troublesome buffering icon. And even if you’ve got family members joining you for a binge-watching session of their own, 100 Mbps is more than enough speed to handle it.

Spectrum Internet
Spectrum Internet
Download speed:
Up to 100 Mbps
Data cap:
Connection type:
$49.99 a month

Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet® promotion price is $49.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: INTERNET: Speed based on wired connection and may vary by address. Wireless speeds may vary. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply.

* Wireless speeds may vary

What internet speed do I need to livestream?

Looking to become the next Ninja, sodapoppin, or Asmongold? You’ll need some reliable download and upload speeds before you can start gaining viewers on Twitch, Mixer, or whichever livestreaming platform you prefer.

Info Box icon
What are Twitch and Mixer?
Twitch and Mixer are online services that let you watch live broadcasts—or stream yourself so others can watch you. They’re mainly focused on live video game broadcasts, but sometimes you can also find music, TV, art, and various other streams too.

How much speed do I need to stream on Twitch?

Streaming on Twitch requires not just a dedicated download speed, but some hefty upload speeds too. And those speeds depend on what quality you aim for with your livestream. We mainly looked at resolution and framerate for GPU encoding (NVIDIA NVENC) here, but you’ll also want to consider keyframe intervals and more.

If you’re starting out, you should check out Twitch’s recommendations for your setup.

Also, we know the FCC recommends a download speed of only 4 Mbps for online gaming,8 but that’s not going to cut it for most multiplayer games. So play it safe and assume you’ll need a faster connection.

What the heck are GPU and NVIDIA NVENC?

Those of us who geek out over computer hardware love our acronyms, so sometimes it’s like we’re speaking another language. Here’s a quick hit tip on what GPU and NVIDIA NVENC are:

GPU: This is your graphics card, or “graphics processing unit.”
NVIDIA NVENC: This is a feature of NVIDIA’s graphics cards that allows the GPU to handle the encoding—meaning, it lets the GPU convert your livestream into a video file. Traditionally, this was handled by your processor (CPU), which could cause performance issues if you were playing a game at the same time.

Recommended internet speed for Twitch streaming9
ResolutionFrame rateRecommended downloadRecommended upload
720p30 fpsAt least 4 Mbps3 Mbps
720p60 fpsAt least 4 Mbps4.5 Mbps
900p60 fpsAt least 4 Mbps6 Mbps
1080p60 fpsAt least 4 Mbps6 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

How much speed do I need to stream on Mixer?

Mixer’s download and upload speeds differ slightly from Twitch’s, but the same general rule applies: you want both download and upload speeds to be strong.

Most gamers stream in either 720p or 1080p, but you’ll also want to determine your optimal frames per second (FPS).

For games with basic graphics and little to no intense action, Mixer recommends 30 FPS. But if your game maxes out your graphics card and comes with nonstop action that requires you to initiate combat breathing techniques to lower your heart rate, better bump that up to 60 FPS.

Recommended internet speed for Mixer streaming10
ResolutionFrame rateRecommended downloadRecommended upload
720p30 fpsAt least 4 Mbps1.8 Mbps
720p60 fpsAt least 4 Mbps3.2 Mbps
1080p30 fpsAt least 4 Mbps2.8 Mbps

As of 12/11/2019.

Our pick: the best internet for streaming on Twitch and Mixer

Is it time to show the world you’ve got esports league-level skills? Remember that you’ll need a good amount of upload speed to livestream on Twitch, Mixer, or whichever platform you choose. And, of course, don’t forget to aim for those ultra-fast download speeds too.

Best for those just starting out: Frontier Simply FiOS 50/50

Why we like it: If you’re still waiting to hit it big and earn big kid money from your streaming gig, this Frontier FiOS plan comes in at a good price. Plus, its symmetrical download and upload speeds will keep your connection and stream maxed when you need it. (And Frontier FiOS speeds go all the way up to 1 Gbps once you start gaining viewers.)

Simply FiOS 50/50
Frontier Internet - FiOS
Download speed:
50 Mbps
Upload speed:
50 Mbps
Data cap:
Connection type:
$29.99 a month

Best for hardcore streamers: Verizon Fios Internet 400/400

Why we like it: A fiber connection will get you way more upload speed than Twitch recommends. This plan from Verizon also gets you 400 Mbps of upload speed. And that matching 400 Mbps of download speed will help keep the lag away every time you take aim, pull a boss, or jump out of the plane.

Internet 400/400
Verizon Internet - Fios Gig
Download speed:
400 Mbps
Upload speed:
400 Mbps
Connection type:
$59.99 a month

Best for streaming skill shots: Xfinity Blast! Pro

Why we like it: Higher-end cable internet plans come with some good upload speeds, and this one from Xfinity is no exception. It won’t rival fiber’s symmetrical speeds, sure, but 10 Mbps upload speeds are more than enough to start building your streaming empire.

Plus, the 275 Mbps download speeds are great for when you want to take a break and stream a 4K movie.

Blast! Pro
Xfinity Internet - West
Download speed:
300 Mbps
Upload speed:
5 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
Connection type:
$80 a month

Recap: These are the internet speeds you need to stream

Pop quiz: what internet speed do you need for streaming? Don’t worry, we’ve got your cheat sheet here.

  • Netflix and Hulu: Look for speeds of at least 3–10 Mbps—these speeds work for Disney+ and HBO NOW too. We recommend an Xfinity plan because it’s widely available and has lots of speeds to choose from.
  • Ultra HD/4K: You’ll want at least 25 Mbps. Our choice? AT&T Fiber, because it offers reliably fast speeds at reasonable prices.
  • Music: A little goes a long way, so 2–10 Mbps is likely enough. Cox and CenturyLink offer lower-tier plans that won’t break your piggy bank, so they’re our picks.
  • Twitch: Upload speeds matter—look for 3.5–5 Mbps upload speeds and download speeds of at least 4 Mbps. Pulling a Ninja and going with Mixer? You’re looking for similar upload and download speeds, sometimes called symmetrical speeds. We recommend Verizon Fios Home Internet or Frontier FiOS because they’ve got killer download and upload speeds.

Got a question about streaming or an ISP recommendation? Share it with us in the comments below.

Related video: How Streaming Affects Your Internet

  • Dock Butler

    Thanks for info. live in rural area with only 1 internet provider, century link. Subscribe to 5mpbs but get 4mpbs dwnload speed when test. Tech says that 5mpbs speed will be at beginning of service line coming into house and every connection at a split or modem will decrease speed. I am no tech person, but sound reasonable. It was at 2 to 3mpbs with 2 splits in line. 1st split coming into house into an inline filter, going to a direct tv box then across house to modem, then router. I told century link about 3mpbs vs 5mpbs speed, they tested it remotely. Sent tech who put a new service line from pole to house, took out inline filter & replaced modem and router with a new 1 piece unit. Now speed steady at 4mpbs, not 5mpbs, Does your subscribed speed differ from your actual speed at device being used because of losing speed at each connection?

  • Stojka Marcel

    Which online internet speed meter do you recommend? I’ve tried this one: but I don’t know if I can trust those results. Are they accurate or not? I should have much higher speed than it shows me… What can be problem? Thanks for help.