These days, finding the right internet provider is just as important as finding the right phone company or making sure that you are connected with the best electric company in your area.
Our everyday lives now depend on how strong our connection is to the World Wide Web. It’s how we stay connected to our family and friends, how we complete a variety of business tasks throughout the day, how we watch TV, play video games, and for some, being connected with the best internet provider plays a key role in how we make a living.
While they all take us to the same internet, no two internet companies are created the same. There are several different types of internet providers out there and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages to consider.
Choosing the Best Internet Provider
Broadband internet connections through your local cable provider or a national company such as Comcast may be the most popular option in the industry, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option out there.
In making this list, we looked at the internet service providers currently on the market and selected the best among them based on the different types of internet connections they provide. After we made a selection, we provided an average rating, which we came up with after scouring the internet for honest reviews and ratings from consumers like you.
The Different Types of Internet Connections
Here are the different types of internet connections that you may want to consider if they are offered in your area.
Cable internet service is still the most popular choice for high-speed internet throughout the country. Customers can expect internet speeds from 1.5 Mbps up to 100 Mbps. Cable internet uses the existing lines for residential cable TV to provide you with broadband internet service.
Our Pick for the Best Cable Internet Service Provider – Xfinity
Say what you will about their customer service, Xfinity cable internet service is still one of the best that you can have for residential service or for business use. Xfinity is an industry leader. They have the top speeds, and they are available in more areas than other cable internet providers.
The company boasts speeds at 15-2,000 Mbps, and the price ranges from $29.99 up to $299.95 per month (not including applicable fees). Various plans are available, and the service is usually very reliable with very few dropouts.
Our Rating for Cable Internet Service Overall – 5 out of 5 Stars
Overall, we feel that Xfinity is the best option out there if you are looking for fast and reliable cable internet services. They have the speed that we need these days to watch any type of streaming content play games and search the web with ease. The company even offers some of their services with no contract required which is a plus for many customers.
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is another commonly used internet service that has speeds comparable to cable internet. DSL is usually slower than cable, but it all really depends on the provider you are with.
Some customers have reported that their DSL service is just as fast, if not faster, than cable internet services they have tried in the past. While some customers may experience slower downloads, they also have fewer crashes and dropouts. That’s because DSL isn’t shared between users, unlike cable.
AT&T has a lot to offer when it comes to reliable internet service. They have several packages available for DSL service at various speeds. And their internet services can also be bundled with DirecTV service or phone services.
Our Rating for DSL Internet Service Overall – 5 out of 5 Stars
DSL is a great alternative to cable internet service whether you are looking for something more affordable or are curious about their claims of faster speeds. While some DSL providers may not be able to deliver in terms of speed and performance, we have found that AT&T offers reliable DSL services that allow users to stream and play online games at the same level as cable.
Fiber Optic Internet Service is one of the latest types of internet available to residential customers. Electronic data is transmitted over fiber-optic lines and features download speeds that are even faster than the current industry leader, cable internet.
Customers can enjoy download speeds that are well within the 1GBps range. The main downside to this type of innovative internet service at the moment is the limited availability. But fiber internet service providers are hoping to expand their services to more areas within the next few years.
Verizon Fios offers some of the fastest speeds in the industry with impressive upload and download speeds so that you can get your tasks completed and get on with your day. Depending on where you live, Verizon Fios could be the lowest-priced gigabit plan that is available. Of course, it’s not offered in many areas - which is the main downside of this powerful internet service.
Our Rating for Fiber Internet Service Overall – 4.5 out of 5 Stars
We believe that fiber internet service is going to be the industry leader in the future. But currently it is only available in select areas, and that’s the only reason why we gave this type of ISP a less than perfect rating.
Most people are already using Wireless Internet Service on their smartphone devices. And with speeds reaching between 10 and 20 Mbps, there are plenty of consumers who have made the switch to using wireless internet service exclusively in their homes.
The main issue with this type of service is the data limits. They are usually very small at around 1 to 10 GB per month. While that may be more than enough data for your smartphone, that amount will be used up pretty quick if you plan to use it as your main source. It’s definitely not a good option for heavy internet users.
Verizon is once again on the list for their wireless services. With coverage in more areas than many other top providers, you can get access to the World Wide Web from your phone using Verizon’s wireless network.
However, you should only use this service for accessing data on your phone. Attempting to use your Verizon Wireless internet service to binge watch your favorite shows could result in hefty overage fees.
Our Rating for Wireless Internet Service Overall – 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Wireless internet service can be a lifesaver if you are in a rural area that doesn’t offer many broadband options. It can be accessed on your mobile device usually anywhere you can get a cell signal. And while you can use wireless internet services for your home devices if you use your phone as a mobile hotspot, the harsh data limits and coverage charges make this one of the worst choices for residential internet service.
Improvements have been made over the years to increase speeds which allow users to stream videos, and in some cases, even play online games. But the harsh data limits that remain even with the faster speeds make this option one that frequent internet users should only choose as a last resort.
Our Pick for the Best Satellite Internet Service Provider – ViaSat
While there aren’t many satellite internet companies to choose from, ViaSat is our choice for the best ISP in the category. They offer faster speeds than their competitors and are more flexible with their data limits.
Our Rating for Satellite Internet Service Overall – 4 out of 5 Stars
Satellite internet is a good resource for those who live in rural areas yet still want access to the internet. While the speeds may have improved over the years, the data allowance has not. It’s a good option when there is nothing else available, but far too strict and expensive to be considered a better option than DSL or Cable.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Internet Provider in your Area
There are several factors you need to consider when it comes to choosing the best internet provider, including the speed and what options are available to you.
What Speed Do You Need?
It’s important to find out what download speed you will need before you commit to a new internet service. If you and your family are frequent internet users who stream videos or play online games, you will need the faster provider around. If you only use the internet for browsing social media or checking email, the speed will not be a major deciding factor for you.
What’s Available in your Area?
While several different options exist out there for reliable internet service, all types aren’t available in all areas, unfortunately. Even though internet use in our everyday lives is now commonplace, there are still a surprising number of people who don’t have access to broadband internet.
But the good news is that internet service providers are constantly expanding their coverage areas. So, if you live in a location that only offers one or two types of internet service, such as satellite, make sure to check with other providers often to see if they now offer service in your area.
Why You Should Trust Our Ratings
Choosing a reliable and dependable internet service provider has become one of the main priorities that families must decide on. You want to get the best speeds possible and benefit from unlimited bandwidth, but you also want to do everything at a reasonable price.
There are plenty of options out there for fast and reliable internet service, and plenty of opinions from unsatisfied customers who feel they have been overcharged for unreliable service. Reading up on customer reviews can be helpful, but if you focus on too many negative reviews, it can also make your decision even more difficult.
That is why we have taken the time to sort through the many online customer reviews from the top internet service providers in the nation. We want to help you make a well-informed decision on what ISP you should choose for your residential internet service.
Our team has spent hours checking out various ratings and reviews to help you save time and money.
Which is the Best Internet Provider for Your Family?
Several factors can go into choosing the best internet provider for your home. The key factors that you need to look for when choosing an ISP include the download speed, data limits, and the price. And of course, you also have to consider what type of internet is offered in your area.