EarthLink Internet Review 2021

EarthLink internet comes with unlimited data and highly praised customer service, but can that outweigh its high prices?
Recommended Plans
Our Rating
Our Rating
PlanPriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
24 Mbps Internet$59.9524 MbpsDSLView Plan
50 Mbps Internet$69.9550 MbpsFiberView Plan
100 Mbps Internet$79.95100 MbpsFiberView Plan
1 Gig Internet$99.951000 MbpsFiberView Plan
PriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
$59.9524 MbpsDSLView Plan
$69.9550 MbpsFiberView Plan
$79.95100 MbpsFiberView Plan
$99.951000 MbpsFiberView Plan

Earthlink’s prices are high, but its unique take on providing internet service across the US seems to be part of its magic. This ISP earns high marks for customer service1 despite using networks from partners like AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, Verizon, and Viasat.

You might remember EarthLink from the 1990s. Back then, it was one of the first ISPs to offer unlimited internet access for a flat monthly fee. But back then, internet meant listening to that screeching dial-up sound before you got online.

To find out if EarthLink’s internet is worth the high prices, we spoke with three EarthLink representatives and dug into the details to compare it to other internet service providers (ISPs) available in the same areas. Let’s dig in.

EarthLink internet plans
PlanPriceDownload speedConnection typeDetails
3 Mbps Internet$49.95*3 MbpsDSLView Plan
6 Mbps Internet$49.95*6 MbpsDSLView Plan
12 Mbps Internet$49.95*12 MbpsDSLView Plan
18 Mbps Internet$59.95*18 MbpsDSLView Plan
24 Mbps Internet$59.95*24 MbpsDSLView Plan
45 Mbps Internet$69.95*45 MbpsDSLView Plan
50 Mbps Internet$69.95*50 MbpsFiberView Plan
75 Mbps Internet$69.95*75 MbpsFiberView Plan
100 Mbps Internet$79.95*100 MbpsFiberView Plan
1 Gig Internet$99.95*1000 MbpsFiberView Plan
* with a 12 month contract.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Fiber internet options
  • Available in 48 states

Cons

  • High prices for speeds offered
  • Different plans and prices for different locations
  • Installation and outages not handled by EarthLink

Look for EarthLink internet plans in your area.

EarthLink prices and plans

EarthLink’s prices are high, but the ISP doesn’t play around with promotions and gimmicks.

On the face of it, EarthLink offers a nice variety of download speeds to internet users in 48 states across the US. To top it off, some of those plans are fiber. We like fiber because it’s faster and more reliable than other internet connection types.

But what gets confusing is how EarthLink’s plans, prices, and download speeds change based on where you live. That makes it difficult to get a clear view of how much EarthLink might cost you—or if you can even get EarthLink internet at all.

For example, when we searched for EarthLink internet plans in Jacksonville, Florida, we had a 24 Mbps plan and a 12 Mbps plan available. But a search for EarthLink in Las Vegas, Nevada, showed 15, 30, and 40 Mbps plans.

But there’s a good reason for these internet plan switch-ups: EarthLink partners with other internet providers in different states to serve its customers. That includes AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, Verizon, and Viasat. So EarthLink’s availability, prices, and internet speeds all depend on which partner serves the town or city you live in.

That said, here’s a general look at EarthLink internet plans and prices to give you an idea of what to expect:

EarthLink internet plans
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
3 Mbps Internet$49.95*3 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
6 Mbps Internet$49.95*6 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
12 Mbps Internet$49.95*12 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
18 Mbps Internet$59.95*18 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
24 Mbps Internet$59.95*24 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
45 Mbps Internet$69.95*45 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
50 Mbps Internet$69.95*50 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
75 Mbps Internet$69.95*75 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
100 Mbps Internet$79.95*100 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
1 Gig Internet$99.95*1000 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
* with a 12 month contract.

How do EarthLink prices compare?

Because EarthLink partners with other ISPs to connect you to the internet, its prices tend to be higher than the competition.

So why would you pay more for EarthLink when you could get a lower price from one of its partners? There are two main reasons:

  1. EarthLink deals with the internet network provider so you don’t have to.
  2. The prices you see aren’t promotional and likely won’t go up anytime soon.

Here’s a quick look at how EarthLink prices compare to some of its partners’ prices:

EarthLink price comparison
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsData capLearn more
Earthlink Internet$49.95$99.9531000 MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$50$65100940 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Frontier High Speed Internet$37.99$54.99^6115 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Frontier FiberOptic Internet$59.99$79.99°500940 MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Data effective 11/04/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
With a 12 month contract.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
^ Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.
° 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.

EarthLink acts almost like your representative when it comes to dealing with its internet partners. Combine that with EarthLink’s top-notch customer service scores and you can see why you’d want EarthLink on your side.

The other reason is that EarthLink doesn’t advertise promotional prices. So, your monthly bill likely won’t go up in the near future, unlike other providers who bump your price up after a year or so. (Like Xfinity—or Viasat, which bumps its price up after three months.)

Megaphone icon
Need help monitoring your kids online? Check out EarthLink Guardian.
Internet bullying is an all-too-real issue our kiddos face these days. That’s one of the reasons why EarthLink partnered with Bark to create EarthLink Guardian, a monitoring and screen-time management service.

Guardian monitors your children’s texts, emails, social media accounts, YouTube, and more for signs of cyberbullying, inappropriate content, suicidal ideation, and many more red flags. If EarthLink Guardian spots something out of place, it sends you email and text alerts that include recommended responses so you can constructively talk to your child about what’s going on.

The best part is, you get to try EarthLink Guardian for free for 30 days. After that it’s only $9.95 a month.

EarthLink internet speed

EarthLink offers a wide variety of download speeds, but the speeds you get depend on where you live.

We’re impressed by EarthLink’s full list of internet plans. It offers speeds for every purpose, from casual web browsing on its 12 Mbps plan to an all-out streaming and gaming bonanza on the 1,000 Mbps plan.

The only thing is, you may not see all of those speeds depending on where you live. That’s because EarthLink uses its partners’ infrastructure to deliver internet service to your door. So, if the EarthLink partner that serves your town offers only 3–12 Mbps download speeds, you won’t be able to sign up for the 50 Mbps internet plan.

EarthLink download and upload speeds
ProviderDownload speeds
Earthlink Internet31000 Mbps

This also means that EarthLink is beholden to whatever infrastructure changes its partners make. So if a partner decides to drop DSL service and focus on developing its fiber network instead, EarthLink’s offerings will likely change.

We spoke with EarthLink about this issue, and the ISP’s representatives acknowledged that it’s a challenge. To make sure this doesn’t negatively affect its customers, EarthLink plans to maintain transparency about your internet options—even if it means sending you away to another provider.

And, due to its partnership strategy, EarthLink doesn’t directly handle internet outages. Instead, it communicates with its partners about any outages and relays updates to customers.

This may seem like a downside to EarthLink service, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. But think of it this way: EarthLink’s service repair requests represents hundreds and thousands of individual households. Compare that to a service repair request made from just one household, and you can see that EarthLink carries a lot of weight when it comes to pushing its partners to get outages fixed promptly.

Data caps

EarthLink has a pretty sweet perk going for it, and that’s unlimited data.

Most ISPs will cap you at around 1 TB of data per month, but not EarthLink. Here, you’re free to stream all the Maroon 5 and Star Wars you want. And no one will send you a passive-aggressive email to tell you you’re 5 GB away from hitting your cap. Because there is no cap.

That’s also a one-up on a few of its partners:

  • AT&T DSL internet data cap: 1 TB
  • CenturyLink DSL internet data cap: 1 TB

But we did mention EarthLink’s high prices (over and over, we know), so we feel it’s only fair to name-drop a few other ISPs with unlimited data that might be more affordable for you:

EarthLink contracts, equipment, and fees

EarthLink doesn’t offer its own equipment or installation services, so you’re at the whim of one of of its partners.

EarthLink internet plans unfortunately comes with a 12-month contract. We’d love to see EarthLink offer it’s “no teaser pricing” perk for a 24-month contract. Better yet, what about a price for life, à la Suddenlink?

Its 12-month contract isn’t the worst—but it isn’t the best. While EarthLink doesn’t jack up your price after three months like some ISPs (*cough* Viasat *cough*), it doesn’t protect you from price hikes later on down the line either.

The silver lining is that EarthLink’s prices aren’t promotional. So while you don’t get price protection, EarthLink claims its prices rarely rise. So you should see your monthly bill hold steady for quite a while.

Equipment

Currently, EarthLink doesn’t offer its own equipment. Instead, you’ll use the equipment provided by the internet partner EarthLink pairs you with. That means it’s difficult to get a peg on what kind (and quality) of equipment you’ll get.

The good news is, EarthLink’s equipment rental fee is lower than most.

  • Modem rental fee: $6.95 per month
  • Modem buyout fee: $74.95
Light Bulb icon
EarthLink says its own equipment is in the works
EarthLink currently relies on its partners to provide your modem and router. But according to an EarthLink representative we talked to, the ISP plans to offer its own equipment sometime in the future.

Service fees

EarthLink offers only professional installation, though its terms and conditions mentions a self-installation kit.

Likely, whether you can get a self-install kit depends on which internet partner you’re paired with, though EarthLink does state that anyone getting its fiber HyperLink service has to go with pro installation. (That’s because fiber internet requires a little bit more hands-on installation for the ONT, or fiber’s version of a modem.)

  • Professional installation: $79.95; professional installation is required for HyperLink.
  • Early termination fees: Up to $200. Ouch.
Heads Up icon
EarthLink doesn't handle your installation
Because EarthLink relies on its partners’ internet networks to get you online, it also relies on those partners to get your internet installed. This may seem odd, but EarthLink should be extremely up front with you about which company will show up at your door to finish your installation.

EarthLink hopes to clear things up a bit in the future by including EarthLink logos and info on the installation technicians’ vehicles or by sending an EarthLink tech out to your house too.

EarthLink customer service

EarthLink focuses on delivering great customer service, and its customers think it succeeds.

It doesn’t take long to uncover reviews for EarthLink, most of which are about the email and dial-up services. And boy, are they harsh. (But is anyone surprised that dial-up got bad reviews in today’s age? The tech is ancient by now!*)

(*Written by a millennial who grew up waiting impatiently for the dial-up noises to end so she could hop on GeoCities and AOL Instant Messenger.)

But dial-up woes aside, EarthLink takes the cake when it comes to customer satisfaction if you go by HighSpeedInternet.com’s latest survey. Here’s a quick look at some of EarthLink’s scores from the survey:

EarthLink customer satisfaction scores1
HighSpeedInternet.com categoryEarthLink score
Overall4.01 out of 5 (1st)
Monthly bill3.8 out of 5 (1st)
Tech support4.01 out of 5 (1st)
Customer service4.06 out of 5 (1st)

When we spoke to a few EarthLink representatives, we found out that the ISP places a high priority on giving customers the best possible experience. That’s likely the reason why EarthLink customers seem so satisfied.

We asked how EarthLink is keeping its customers happy, and the representatives noted that they’ve empowered their customer service representatives to make more decisions. That means fewer transfers and less time on hold.

EarthLink is also in the process of implementing a customer service model where you can call in at different times and still talk to the same agent or team you spoke with before. This should reduce the amount of time you have to explain your issue or question, which is never a bad thing.

How to contact EarthLink customer service

If you do need to get a hold of EarthLink’s customer service, we still recommend using the live chat feature. This lets you get all your answers in writing, which is one of our top tips for calling customer service.

Whether you have to call or get to use the chat feature, remember to stay patient. If your current rep isn’t helpful, end the chat or call back to see if you get a different rep. If you get the same person, ask to talk to their manager.

EarthLink customer service contact info:

Pin icon
EarthLink aims for all its customer service centers to be in the US
EarthLink told us that one of their goals is to move all of their call centers to the US. That can be helpful to anyone who has a hard time reaching customer service for immediate support.

Our picks: The best EarthLink internet plans

Best for casual a web surfer: 24 Mbps Internet

Who it’s best for: Individuals who stream a few movies and shows here and there.

Why we picked it: Though you’ll find better deals for similar speeds elsewhere, the 24 Mbps plan offers just enough speed for some casual streaming and gaming. We wouldn’t recommend it for households with lots of connected devices or any families with multiple movies streaming at once, though.

24 Mbps Internet
Earthlink Internet
Download speed:
24 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited
Connection type:
DSL
$59.95 a month

Best for streamers and gamers: 1 Gig Internet

Who it’s best for: If you’ve got a mid-size family who loves to stream and game, lots of connected devices, or both, 1,000 Mbps (1 gig) is more than enough speed to keep you all going.

Why we picked it: Though you’ll find cheaper gig plans elsewhere, not all of them are fiber. And EarthLink’s price is still close enough to the competition that we think it’s an okay deal.

These top fiber speeds will keep your entire family streaming without a buffering icon popping up to ruin the party. And with fiber’s symmetrical download and upload speeds, your kiddos can work on becoming the next YouTube or Twitch star.

1 Gig Internet
Earthlink Internet
Download speed:
1000 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited
Connection type:
Fiber
$99.95 a month

Recap: Is EarthLink internet good?

If you’re just looking at price, there are better internet providers out there than EarthLink. But the spots where EarthLink earns our approval are its dedication to great customer service, unlimited data, and no-nonsense prices. (Read: no promotional pricing.)

That said, keep in mind that the EarthLink prices and speeds you’ll see depend on where you live. And EarthLink won’t handle your installation—though it will tell you which of its partners is headed to your house to complete the installation.

EarthLink internet prices and plans

Data effective 12/3/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*with a 12 month contract.

Find EarthLink internet plans in your area.

Sources

  1. Rebecca Lee Armstrong, HighSpeedInternet.com, “2020’s Best Internet Providers in Customer Satisfaction,” May 2020. Accessed December 3, 2020.