Top10.com internet service provider reviews are based on objective facts. Our reviews are based on research via the internet service providers’ sites, trusted 3rd party sites, customer reviews, and use of the product through free trials, or through paid use in some cases.
It is not always possible to use the product through its entire lifecycle. However, reviewers will try the signup process, make customer service queries to check response times and perform any other possible function within the review period. For the rest of the information, we rely on what the brand says about its own product offering, customer reviews, and complaints, ratings from independent agencies like the BBB, and trusted journalistic publications.
Some of the key features we compared when looking at the Internet Service Providers on our list were:
- Connection type
- Download speed
Types of Internet Service
There are a number of different types of internet service which vary according to their availability and connection method. Some of the most common include the following.
- DSL (digital subscriber line) is one of the slowest services, but it’s also one of the most widely available.
- Cable offers higher speeds and better reliability.
- Fiber is the fastest internet service, with many providers offering speeds in excess of 1Gbps.
- Mobile broadband involves accessing the internet through the mobile network.
- Satellite broadband is widely available but can be expensive and slow.
The types of internet service you have access to will largely depend on your geographical location.
How to choose an internet provider
To help you select the right internet service provider, we’ve listed a few of the most important things to watch out for.
Speed is the obvious one. If you plan to use your internet connection for gaming or to stream content, you will need higher upload and download speeds. But if you just need something basic for general browsing, a slower plan should do the trick.
Being able to access quality customer service will make your life a lot easier if you have any problems with your connection. Past customer reviews will often shed light on a company’s level of customer service.
Installation and equipment costs
This is a sneaky one that can catch you by surprise. Some ISPs include installation and equipment costs with their monthly fees. But many don’t. Some providers have installation costs in excess of $100, and equipment rental fees can reach $20 or more per month.
Data caps and overage fees
Pay special attention to any data caps associated with the plans you’re looking at. What happens if you exceed your data allocation? Will your connection slow, or will you be hit with high overage fees?
Some providers offer contract-free service, but others require a 12-, 24-, or even 36-month contract. Early termination can be very expensive.
How much internet speed do you need?
Deciding how much internet speed you require can be difficult. High-speed plans can be expensive. But on the other hand, you will want to have a fast enough connection to be able to enjoy the things you want to do.
How do I know what good internet speed is?
Generally, any connection with a download speed faster than 25Mbps is considered “good,” while a 3Mbps upload speed falls in the same category. Note that you won’t always reach the speeds advertised by your ISP.
How do I measure and test my internet speed?
There are numerous tools available online to test your internet speed. Our favorite is Google’s native tool. Simply enter “internet speed test” in the Google search engine and follow the prompts.
How do I know if I need more internet speed?
If you’re having trouble performing the actions you want to do online, you may need a faster connection. For example, if your video streaming constantly buffers or fails to stream in high quality, or if your gaming experience is laggy, you might need a faster connection.
How much does an internet service provider cost?
The average price for an internet subscription varies considerably according to geographic location. In urban areas, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a simple plan for $30 per month or less. Higher-speed plans are more expensive, but prices will rarely exceed $100 per month.
On the other hand, you can expect to pay a lot more if you live in a rural or remote area. Often, mobile broadband or satellite are the only connection options available, and they can get much more expensive.
You should also pay attention to any other fees associated with your connection. These can include installation fees, which can be in excess of $100, equipment rental fees, and overage fees. Overage fees can be particularly excessive, and you could end up paying hundreds of dollars if you unknowingly exceed your data limit.
Final thoughts on picking an internet service provider
It’s important not to rush when you’re selecting a new internet service provider. It can be difficult to understand contract terms, price structures, and exactly what’s included with each plan. Follow the advice above, and don’t hesitate to spend some time researching the options available in your area.
Once you’ve decided what type of connection you need, it’s a good idea to set a budget and settle on a connection speed. Make a shortlist of the service providers that meet your criteria and do some further research into them. In many cases, of course, you will only have a couple of options that offer the service you require, making the selection process easy.
Finally, remember to pay special attention to hidden fees and contract terms to prevent unpleasant surprises in the future.