How To Choose the Best Internet Provider for Your Needs

The internet has taken over many aspects of our personal and professional lives. Because of this, it's now more important than ever to have a dependable and quick internet connection. With the ever-growing number of internet service providers (ISPs), selecting one that will work for you and your family can be tricky.

Trying to pick an internet provider can be a tough process. With all the options available, you may wonder if it's better to go with one of the big companies or try out a new one that just came onto the market. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you need and which provider can give it to you.

Don't fret, we're here to help. In this article, we'll go over some of the main points you should take into account when selecting an internet provider. Once you're done reading, picking the perfect internet provider for your needs will be a breeze!

Internet Providers and the Paradox of Choice

With seemingly countless internet providers, it can be tough to identify which would work ideally for you. Additionally, the paradox of choice applies here – the more choices you have, the harder it is to make a decision. With this dilemma, sometimes it feels easier to just go with the most familiar option, but this shortcut may prove to be more of a headache in the long run.

Despite the difficulties, don't be too quick to select the first service provider that you see. Comparing your options is crucial so that you don't end up feeling frustrated later on. 

It's tough to select an ISP, but with a bit of research, you can make the process much easier. By evaluating your options against your needs, you can settle on a well-informed decision and be happy with your choice.

What You Should Consider When Choosing an Internet Provider

Though the most mainstream providers of internet service might be tempting, they aren't always the best pick. You have many things to think about in terms of what you need and want before making a decision.

To ensure you select the best ISP for your needs, we will now dissect the many things to take into consideration.


The first step to finding the right internet provider is determining which providers are available in your area. Before selecting an ISP, always check its coverage in your area.

They can differ based on location, so you want to confirm that the one you're considering is available where you live. Additionally, note that advertised prices, speeds, and channels may differ depending on your location- thoroughly looking into these aspects will help ensure you make the best final decision!

If you live in a rural area, chances are you don't have many choices as far as internet providers go. But luckily, satellite internet has come a long way and is now more reliable than ever. If you haven't tried it recently, give it another go - you may be surprised at the improvement!

Tip: The best way to compare local internet providers is by starting with an online zip code or postcode finder. Doing this allows you to gauge all the different provider options in your vicinity and make the best decision for your needs.


Before you can determine the best internet plan for your lifestyle, it is important to consider how much speed you require. Speed affects everything we do on the internet: from loading videos and streaming content to working remotely and shopping online. And since everyone's needs are different, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to choosing the internet speed that's right for you.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently recommends that both homes and businesses have a download speed of at least 25 Mbps, although they are planning to raise this number to 100 Mbps in the future

With the FCC's current metric, you should be lag-free when checking your email, browsing the internet, and streaming videos in the comfort of your home.

If your business regularly conducts activities that use very little bandwidth, like file transfer or videoconferencing, you can trust the level of performance and minimum speed recommended by the FCC. However, if your team members often download or upload files or do other resource-heavy tasks, you'll need broadband speed up to 100 Mbps.

Always keep in mind that the speed advertised by your service provider may not always be accurate. Your internet connection can become bogged down at certain times of day when everyone else is online or if you have exceeded your data usage for the month.

Furthermore, to prepare for any possible unseen events, always cross-check the speed your ISP is proposing with an internet speed test. In doing so, you will have a more accurate idea of what kind of connection you can anticipate.

Tip: Speed may gradually decrease as the internet grows older and more populated. To ensure you're receiving the level of service you pay for, run a regular speed test on your network.

Connection Type

Many people don't realize that the type of internet connection you have can greatly impact your speed, performance, and signal strength. There are four common types of connections, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here's a rundown of each type so you can decide which is best for you:


DSL, or digital subscriber line, brings a connection into your home through telephone lines and allows the household to use the Internet and make telephone calls at the same time. It works because the DSL system separates the telephone signals into three bands of frequencies: one for voice, one for uploading data, and one for downloading data.

This way, all activities can happen simultaneously without interference. Because nearly the entirety of the US has access to telephone service, you'll find that DSL connections are even available in rural areas.

Since it doesn't require any new infrastructure, providers can offer DSL at a lower price than some other types of high-speed internet. Although it's not quite as fast as cable connection speeds, DSL is more than enough for most people's online activities like streaming videos or playing games.

Bear in mind that if you move away from a big city, your internet speeds will probably be affected as a result. This is because the speed of your DSL connection will be slower the further you are from your service provider.

While it's not the most up-to-date technology available, DSL is still a fantastic choice for people who want an affordable and dependable internet connection - especially those living outside urban areas.

Cable Internet

A lot of people get their internet straight from their cable company. The broadband connection comes through the same coaxial cables that carry your cable TV and your home phone line, in some cases.

Speeds can change a lot depending on where you live and other circumstances, but generally, you can expect to see speeds anywhere from 3 Mbps all the way up to 100+. This is typically faster than DSL and a better alternative if you plan to stream on several devices, upload large files, or play games online.

Cable internet is relatively easy to set up, which is definitely a perk. If you already have cable TV, adding a cable internet service can be as easy as making a phone call or visiting a website.

Furthermore, you could potentially save money by bundling services (cable TV and internet bundle) which could be cheaper than if purchased separately and make your life much easier.


Rather than using cables, cellular towers, or line-of-sight antenna connections, which require ground infrastructure, satellite internet connects to geostationary satellites orbiting high in space. If you choose satellite internet for your office, a dish that points to the southern sky will be installed.

The satellites send radio waves to the dish, which are then translated into internet signals by a modem in your office. Because of its versatility, this system is widely used for global mobile communication, private business networks, long-distance telephone transmission, weather forecasting, radio/TV signal broadcasting, and more.

Keep in mind that interruptions and delays are frequent with satellite internet connections because of the high latency between connection points. If that weren't enough, outside interference from weather or even tall trees can slow your connection speed or stop it for an extended period — something businesses that need 24/7 access can't afford.

Although it is not necessarily the most reliable connection, satellite internet still provides one of the strongest signals. This internet connection can reach many areas that other providers don’t cover, making it one of the most popular options for those in rural locations.


If you're looking for the fastest internet connection possible, fiber is your best option. While new technologies are increasing the speeds of DSL and cable connections, they still can't compare to the speed of a pure-fiber connection. Many telecommunications companies use it to transmit telephone calls, the internet, and cable television signals.

Fiber-optic cables are made of ultra-thin glass strands that send light signals instead of electrical ones. These connections can offer gigabit speeds which are a hundred times faster than DSL because the light travels more quickly through the fiber optic cables.

Fiber vs. Cable internet

One of the primary benefits of fiber optics is that it can manage more data than traditional copper cables due to its higher bandwidth – which translates to a higher information-carrying capacity. This is significant for things like streaming 4K video and other high-bandwidth applications such as Netflix, Youtube, and Spotify.

Tip: If you have a small business with approximately 5-10 employees who regularly check emails, download/upload files that are under 30MB each, browse the internet, and watch some videos online – you will need a solid 10-15Mbps for efficient work.


It's not only about getting the ISP with the quickest internet — you need to make sure they offer a plan you can afford, too. This doesn't mean that you have to break the bank to get a good internet connection.

Most internet providers offer discounts, promos, and bundle plans that can help reduce the overall cost of getting internet services that you can avail to help save on costs. The cost of your internet service will depend on how much data you use.

Many companies that offer internet service have deals and promotions to help get new customers—so you should take advantage of them! Ask customer service if they can give you any additional discounts when signing up.

Tip: Visiting your ISP's website is a great way to learn about their pricing plans and the speeds or bundles offered at different price points. This information can help you budget for the services you need.

Data Caps and Overage Fees

Having a data cap on your home internet service is not rare, but depending on your internet provider, going over that limit could be costly. But what, exactly, is a data cap? Data caps are the set limit of Wi-Fi usage your internet provider permits per billing cycle.

Every time you go online, you use data. For example, checking your email or downloading a song uses a different amount of data based on the size and quality of what you're trying to access. Therefore, some internet providers offer plans that have a limit on how much data you can use (so you only pay for what you'll actually need).

Things you can do with unlimited data

Oftentimes, if you go over the data limit your internet provider imposes, they will add an overage fee to your bill. Most ISPs charge $10 for every 50GB of data over your cap.

If there is no charge for going over the limit, your internet provider might throttle your speeds – this happens when they deliberately slow down your connection after you've passed the limit. This is how they manage traffic on their networks and prevent user congestion.

Data caps ensure that customers use their network's bandwidth appropriately. To prevent an unexpected, higher-than-normal bill at the end of the month, consider your options before selecting a plan.

Tip: Invest in a VPN to keep your data safe, avoid ISP throttling, and ensure smooth internet speeds.

Reliability and Customer Service

It's no secret that good customer service is a make-it-or-break-it for any organization, but this is especially true for ISPs. Why? Because they play such a crucial role in connecting users to the internet – something we've come to rely on now more than ever.

Internet providers must always be prepared to meet the demands and expectations of their (often) frustrated customers. And when something goes wrong – which, let's face it, happens to even the best of us – you're going to want an ISP that can offer you both general customer support and technical assistance in resolving any connectivity issues you may experience.

If potential customers visit your website or use online services and it's slow, or constantly down, this will make your business look bad. To prevent this from happening, make sure you have access to both the email address and contact number for customer service, which should be easily found on the ISP's website.

Uptime is the period of time during which a service is operational, while downtime is the period of time during which a service experiences an outage. Many internet providers boast an uptime of 98% to 99.9%, but some still experience significant downtimes throughout the year.

Causes of internet downtime

Also, carefully read the service level agreements (SLA). You need to know if the ISP will give you a refund for downtime or how long it will take them to resolve issues. If your home internet is slow or unavailable most of the time, it won't do you any good.

Tip: Before choosing an ISP, request documents or awards that vouch for their customer service quality. Furthermore, get feedback from past and current clients.


Data security should always be a top priority, regardless if you're a business or an individual. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your information. 

Even households should feel secure knowing their internet provider is taking the necessary precautions to protect its users. Checking the security level of websites and programs ensures that your data won't be hacked and compromised.

When entrusting your data to someone, you want to make sure that they know how to protect it from possible threats. This could entail anything from making sure only authorized personnel can enter the data center or server room to more complex security measures like network penetration testing and vulnerability detection. By taking these precautions, you can rest assured that your information is safe.

Tip: The best way to keep your ISP from spying on you and harvesting your data is to encrypt everything you do online end-to-end.

Contracts and Hidden Charges

To get internet in your home, some ISPs will do a free installation for new subscribers as part of their package. In some cases, you'll just pay for the first month upfront. On average, installation and activation fees cost about $100. With other companies, you'll have to buy the necessary equipment to get set up.

The average price per month to rent a modem from your internet provider is $10. Although it may not be much at first glance, these additional costs can quickly add up over time. If possible, look for a good deal! Sometimes, internet providers offer a bundle package which could save you money in the long run.

Before signing a contract with an internet provider, make sure to carefully read the fine print! Be on the lookout for anything that doesn't seem right and if you're unsure about a particular charge, never hesitate to ask for clarification. The last thing you want is to be surprised by an unexpected bill.

A typical contract for an ISP lasts one to two years. For example, DSL, cable, and fiber are usually one-year contracts, while satellite internet is a two-year commitment. If you need to cancel before your bill is up, be prepared to pay early termination fees (ETFs). These usually amount to $10-$12 per month left on your plan.

Tip: To avoid being charged for an internet service you're unhappy with, request a free 7-day trial from the ISP before signing any contracts. Be sure to communicate your concerns in writing during this period.

How to Switch Internet Providers

If you already have an internet connection, you may be thinking about switching providers after reading the information above. We're here to help make sure switching your ISP is as painless as possible. 

A little research and planning go a long way. Whether you’re after faster speeds, more reliability, or a better deal, we’ve got the tools and know-how to make your ISP switch a breeze. You can also use this website to compare the different internet providers in your area.

First though, before making any changes double check the terms of your current plan – such as whether you're under contract or have a service agreement in place.

You won't be charged an early termination fee if you cancel your subscription within the trial period (usually 15 days). This way, if you find a better service or aren't happy with yours, you can switch without paying anything. Double-check that your connection is still in its trial window to avoid penalties.

While you're in the process of switching ISPs, be mindful that when you sign up for new internet service, there might be a waiting period of a few days before the installation team arrives. If you cancel your old connection before signing up for and setting up the new one, you'll have to go without internet access for several days or even a week. For that reason, it's best to plan your internet switch around a time when you don't need internet access.

Once you've decided on an ISP and signed up for their service, the installation process is pretty straightforward. Most providers will send out a technician to hook up your new internet connection — but if you're comfortable with technology, you might be able to set everything up yourself.

The Bottom Line

As the internet becomes more present in our everyday lives, it's more important than ever to select the right data plan for your home before you choose a new one. Think about how much data you need now and anticipate any future increases to make the best decision for yourself and your family.

Choosing or switching your internet provider doesn't have to be a hassle. By researching and considering important factors: availability, speed, connection type, price, data caps, overage fees, reliability and security, and contracts, as well as hidden charges – you can make the best decision for you without spending too much time on it.

If you're looking for an internet provider that will go above and beyond your expectations, then look no further! We have all the information about what to consider for a quick and easy switch. Feel free to go back to this article if the need arises in the future.


How can I check the quality of my internet?

One way to check the quality of your internet connection is to run a speed test. This will show you the download and upload speeds of your connection, as well as the ping rate. 

Another way to check the quality of your internet is to see how often it disconnects or has other issues. If you're constantly having to troubleshoot your internet, it's a good idea to contact your ISP to get the issue resolved.

How often should you reboot your modem?

Like all technology, routers need a restart at least every 3 months to function properly. If you're experiencing issues with your Internet connection, from not being able to connect at all to slow wireless speeds, rebooting your router should be one of the first steps you take to fix the problem.

How many GB does the average home use per month?

Recent reports from OpenVault, say that the average internet user consumes 536 GB per month on their home internet plan.

Do smart TVs take up a lot of Wi-Fi?

Content streamed at 4K UHD can use up a lot of your Internet connection. Most streaming services require 25 Mbps for 4K UHD. However, if your smart TV's connection is idle, it won't have too much of an impact on your Internet speed.

Is 200 GB of internet enough for Netflix?

Yes, 200 GB is enough for Netflix. In fact, it's more than enough since streaming movies and TV shows in standard definition only uses about 3 GB per hour.

InternetAdvisor Team

We are passionate about aggregating large, accurate data sets and providing it all to our users in an easy-to-use format. Simply put, shopping is easier for the consumer when he/she knows all available options. We are not beholden to any single provider and therefore are dedicated to transparency and giving you unbiased information on all providers.

Follow us on Twitter: @InternetAdvisor