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The Best Internet for Streaming 2023
Want to smoothly stream Netflix and Spotify, and livestream on Twitch? We got you covered.
If you’d like to smoothly stream a movie on Netflix, listen to Spotify without it pausing to load, or broadcast your livestream on Twitch without it buffering, you’ll want to make sure you have the correct download and upload speeds.
We’ve put together a quick guide for the recommended internet speeds for video streaming, music streaming, and live streaming.
But more importantly, we created a top five list of internet service providers (ISPs) for streaming anything and everything because we know how frustrating sloooooow internet speeds can be.
So, let’s find the best internet provider for you to support your binge-watching and 24/7 music-listening demands.
- : Best ISP for most streamers
- : Best performance
- : Best fiber alternative
- : Most budget-friendly ISP
- : Best rural speeds
|Xfinity Internet||$19.99–$70*||75–1200 Mbps||1.2 TB||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios Home Internet||$49.99–$119.99†||300–2300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||$55–$180‡||300–5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Internet||$50–$70^||100–940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Windstream Internet||$39.99–$169.99°||100–2000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
What to look for in an internet provider for streaming
We're here to help you find an internet provider that gives you uninterrupted streaming. We’re talking streaming that doesn't pause in the middle of your Ted Lasso binge marathon or has high latency when you're searching for new TV shows to watch on Netflix.
We want sufficient speed.
Internet provider features that work best for streaming:
- Availability across the US
- Price for the speed you get
- Our org weighted speed score
The best internet connection you could get is fiber, but it’s also the least available across the US (sigh). Fiber internet's speed performance is top-tier compared to cable and DSL, but cable is a solid second choice if fiber isn't available near you.
PS: DSL is usually better than satellite—but streaming on satellite internet is still doable if you have no other choices.
Luckily, you don’t need the most expensive plan to find the speeds you need. We recommend 25–50 Mbps per person for streaming, so 100 or 200 Mbps will likely fit you or your small family’s needs. If you have a lot of connected devices or internet users at home, then you should look into 1,000 Mbps.
If you check out the Fastest Internet Providers, you’ll see three internet providers that made our list here. But we keep cost in consideration for you, as well.
Want to read more?
If you’d like to deepen your understanding with a little research, check out these articles:
Comcast Xfinity: Best for most streaming apps
If you want a reliable, fast, and fairly-priced internet provider, you’ll find it with Xfinity.
Our favorite cable internet provider and the fastest internet service is also our number one pick for streaming.
One of the many reasons we chose Xfinity as our favorite internet provider for streaming is because Xfinity gives you reliable and fast download speeds.
No one wants to have the movie Knock at the Cabin buffering on the closing scene when destruction is happening or during the final two minutes of the NBA Championship.
Xfinity is available in 40 states, making this the most accessible internet provider in the US. But keep in mind that the prices will vary depending on which part of the country you live in.
No matter where you live, the plan you and your family need will depend on how many people use the internet at once.
We like Fast for families of 2–3 that might work from home before their night of Netflix streaming, or Superfast for families of 4.
Xfinity's 3 for 1 Bundle gives you internet and streaming for $30/mo. with an Xfinity Mobile plan. This is a great deal for those who don't like contracts or price hikes.
|Connect||$19.99/mo.**||Up to 75 Mbps||1.2 TB||View Plans|
|Connect More||$25.00/mo.††||Up to 200 Mbps||1.2 TB||View Plans|
|Fast||$50.00/mo.‡‡||Up to 400 Mbps||1.2 TB||View Plans|
|Superfast||$60.00/mo.‡‡||Up to 800 Mbps||1.2 TB||View Plans|
|Gigabit||$60.00/mo.‡‡||Up to 1000 Mbps||1.2 TB||View Plans|
|Gigabit Extra||$70.00/mo.‡‡||Up to 1200 Mbps||1.2 TB||View Plan|
Verizon Fios Home Internet: Best fiber internet
Like we said earlier, fiber is the best performing internet. (The speeds and reliability are unmatched.) And Verizon Fios takes the crown with this connection type.
Full disclosure—we’ve only heard good things about Verizon Fios Home Internet, including its customer service (super rare, we know).
Verizon Fios Internet uses a fiber connection that gives you fast download and upload speeds, low latency, and great pricing for your wallet. Stream Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on a Sunday morning without any lagging interruptions.
Sounds like the perfect service, right? The only thing that’s holding us back from making Verizon Internet our first option is its very limited availability in the US (we’re talking nine states).
We hope one day Verizon Fios will come around. Literally.
We recommend the Internet 300/300 plan if you have a small family or the 500/500 plan if you have a family of 4 that uses the internet constantly.
If you have a bigger family or you plan to download and upload multiple files at once, you won’t be disappointed by Verizon’s Fios Gigabit Connection.
|Internet 300/300||$49.99/mo.†||300 Mbps||300 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 500/500||$69.99/mo.†||500 Mbps||500 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 1 Gig||$89.99/mo.†||Up to 940 Mbps||Up to 880 Mbps||View Plans|
AT&T Fiber: Best fiber alternative
AT&T Fiber is the next best fiber internet service, but like Verizon Fios, the fiber connection is only available in select areas of the US.
AT& Fiber is our runner-up ISP for ultra-fast, reliable internet, but it’s also limited and mostly available in large cities.
If these AT&T Fiber plans are accessible to you, the absolute best deal is the $55/month plan for 300 Mbps download speeds. Or hey, for $10 more, you could get 500 Mbps so the whole family can stream a TV series on their smartphones at once.
AT&T is the best fiber alternative to Verizon Fios Home Internet because of its performance (Verizon’s speeds are just a little bit more reliable). But if you don’t live in one of the cities Verizon Internet is offered, at least your internet bill will be slightly less expensive with AT&T.
|AT&T Internet 300||$55.00/mo.^^||300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 500||$65.00/mo.^^||500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 1000||$80.00/mo.°°||1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
CenturyLink: Best for price lock
CenturyLink Internet makes it simple with two plans—DSL (which you’re most likely to see) and fiber.
CenturyLink’s DSL internet service may not be as flashy as other providers, but it comes with low prices and unlimited data for both of its plans. It's also one of the few, if not the only, ISP that offers a price lock, meaning your internet bill won't automatically jump in price.
The major downside to CenturyLink is that you might end up with subpar download speeds for streaming.
If you're able to connect at 50, 75, or 100 Mbps, you should be all right. But if CenturyLink only offers speeds in your area that crawl along, you might want to check elsewhere.
We highly recommend ordering this plan if CenturyLink's fiber internet package is available in your area. But, let us repeat: if it’s available in your area (you might now be seeing a trend with fiber).
You can probably tell by now that we really like fiber internet connections, but we just wish they were widely accessible for streamers.
|Simply Unlimited Internet 100 Mbps||$50.00/mo.***||Up to 100 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit||$70.00/mo.†††||Up to 940 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
Windstream: Best rural speeds for streaming
Windstream is one of the top internet providers for rural communities, and they offer inexpensive plans for those who want to save a buck.
Windstream is our fifth choice for streaming because it could be hard to find high-speed internet with this service, but this could be one of the best choices if you live in a rural location.
Windstream makes it possible for you to stream your Netflix, Disney+, and Max while you’re cooking, doing a project, or entertaining.
When you look at the plans, you'll notice two of the plans are the same price. This is because prices vary by location and this is the lowest price you can look forward to.
Another thing to notice–the plans that list a range will tell you the exact download speeds to expect in your area when you finish signing up for the package.
Why does Windstream have to make it so complicated?
It’s still a reliable service though! On the upside, you’ll get unlimited data with Windstream’s plans so you can stream as much of The Last of Us as you want.
|Kinetic Internet by Windstream Up to 100 Mbps||$39.99/mo.‡‡‡||Up to 100 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|Kinetic Internet by Windstream Up to 500 Mbps||$39.99/mo.‡‡‡||Up to 500 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|Kinetic Internet by Windstream 1 Gig||$69.99/mo.^^^||1000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
|Kinetic Internet by Windstream 2 Gig||$169.99/mo.°°°||2000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
What internet speeds do I need for streaming video?
To catch the latest Netflix Original or mind-boggling hit on Max, you’ll need anywhere from 3 to 50 Mbps download speeds. (If you want to immerse yourself in 4K glory, you’ll need that top-end 25–50 Mbps speed.)
But don’t forget that’s the recommended internet speed for just one streaming service. So if you and your family are streaming HD or 4K movies on multiple devices, you’ll want more Mbps.
We recommend at least 25 Mbps for one person, but if you have more than one person streaming in your home, we bump our recommendation up to 50 Mbps at the minimum.
Optimal download speed
|Hulu + Live TV||8–16 Mbps|
|YouTube TV||3–20 Mbps|
|Sling TV||3–25 Mbps|
Check our FAQs section for more specific download speed suggestions for each streaming service.
What internet speeds do I need for streaming music?
You’ll only need 1–10 Mbps as a starting point for streaming The Weeknd’s latest hit. But keep in mind that you’ll want more download speed as a buffer. You know, so you can watch YouTube, play video games, and use your smart thermostat while you jam out.
We aim for at least 25 Mbps, which is enough for one person. Luckily, plans with these speeds don’t usually cost a lot. But like we said, we recommend this speed if you live by yourself (*cue the music All by Myself*).
Or you can opt for an ISP like CenturyLink, where you sacrifice a little bit of performance for an unlimited data plan. This is great for those who like to listen to music as they work.
Other ISPs such as Xfinity have a 1.2 TB data cap, which is unfortunate as you use about 1 GB of data when you’ve streamed music for your entire 8-hour work-day.
Optimal download speed
|Spotify||Less than 1 Mbps|
|Pandora||Less than 1 Mbps|
|Apple Music||7–10 Mbps|
|Amazon Music||7–10 Mbps|
|YouTube Music||1–20 Mbps|
Calling all live streamers. Jump down to the FAQs section for recommended download speeds for live streaming on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.
Recap: Best internet providers for streaming
- Comcast Xfinity Internet: Ranging from $20–$80 per month and featuring speeds of 50–1200 Mbps, Xfinity ensures every streamer can find a plan that works with their budget and their streaming needs. It’s also the most widely available internet provider.
- Verizon Fios Home Internet: With its fast download speeds and low latency, Verizon Fios’ fiber connection is the best performing internet connection. But it’s only available in nine states. If it’s available in your area, you could get Verizon Fios for $50–$90 per month for 300–940 Mbps download speeds.
- AT&T Fiber: AT&T’s fiber connection is also very limited, but it’s an excellent fiber alternative if Fios isn’t in your area. You can get great-performing internet for $55–$80 per month with download speeds of 300–1000 Mbps and unlimited data.
- CenturyLink Internet: This internet provider offers DSL internet for $50/month for 100 Mbps download speeds, or you can get fiber for $70/month for 940 Mbps download speeds. We like how CenturyLink locks in the price so you don’t have to worry about your bill jumping up in price.
- Windstream Internet: This is one of the best ISPs if you live in a rural area, and we like how you can find a plan as low as $40 for download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, $70 for 1000 Mbps and $170 for 2000 Mbps. Don't forget that we suggest you find the exact download speeds to expect in your area at checkout.
If you’re not convinced that one of these providers is for you, check out our top 8 best internet service providers.
When it comes to finding the best internet service for streaming, we sifted through dozens of internet providers and plans with the following in mind:
- Connection type (fiber, cable, DSL, satellite)
- Reliable and trusted company
- Fair pricing for speed performance
- Data caps
Fiber is best, cable is good, and DSL is better than satellite internet. Fiber will give you great speed and low latency when you’re streaming Yellowstone, while satellite is the best option if you don’t have access to other internet connections.
We only recommend reliable and trusted companies because we wouldn’t recommend something we don’t want.
We value fair pricing for what you get, so this will very much be in consideration when we rank our favorite providers.
You don’t need a lot of speed for Netflix—just 3 Mbps to stream in SD and 5 Mbps to watch in HD. But if you need that 4K resolution in your life, then you’ll need at least 25 Mbps.
Hulu requires 3 Mbps to watch anything in the streaming library, at least 8 Mbps to watch Hulu + Live TV, or 16 Mbps if you want to stream Hulu’s newest Original in 4K.
You’ll need 5 Mbps to stream Disney+ in HD and sing along with all your favorite songs. 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.
You’ll need speeds of 3 Mbps or better to get your dose of major sports networks, like NFL Network and NBA TV, on YouTube TV. Make that 13 Mbps or better if you’d like to watch the 2023 Super Bowl in HD.
You’ll need at least 25 Mbps to smoothly stream your movies, TV series, and live channels in 4K.
To livestream in 720p resolution, you’ll need at least 4 Mbps. If you want better quality to livestream in 1080p, you’ll want at least 6 Mbps.
To hop on a live stream with YouTube, you’ll need at least 8 Mbps download speeds and about 2–18 Mbps upload speeds for 720p resolution.
But if you’d like your subscribers to view you in 4K, you’ll want download speeds of 13 Mbps or more and upload speeds of 20–51 Mbps.