How to Choose an ISP in 4 Easy Steps
Navigating the digital landscape to figure out how to choose an ISP can sometimes feel like an expedition in uncharted territories. But you’ve arrived at a friendly basecamp, where understanding ISPs and finding the one that best fits your needs isn’t an uphill battle.
Firstly, let’s demystify this acronym – ISP. ISP stands for Internet Service Provider, and just like its name suggests, it’s a company that rolls out the digital red carpet for you to access the online universe. Each ISP presents a unique menu of internet types, like fiber optic, cable, DSL, or satellite.
‘How to choose an ISP’, you ask? We’ll delve into factors you need to consider and guide you on executing meticulous research. So let’s journey together in this quest to unlock the perfect ISP match for you!
Step 1: Check Availability
The first step is to check availability. Not all ISPs are available in all areas. Before comparing plans and prices, make sure the ISPs you’re considering are available in your area. You can usually check this on the ISP’s website.
Step 2: Consider These 6 Features
1. Internet Speed
ISPs typically offer a range of internet plans with different speeds, depending on the needs and budget of the customer.
The internet connection speed is one of the most important factors to consider. If you do a lot of streaming, play online games, or work from home, you’ll want a faster connection. The speed of an internet connection is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
Some typical speed ranges for internet plans include:
- 0-25 Mbps: This speed range is suitable for light internet use, such as checking email and browsing the web. It may be sufficient for a small household with only one or two devices connected to the internet.
- 25-100 Mbps: This speed range is suitable for moderate internet use, such as streaming movies and TV shows and online gaming.
- 100-500 Mbps: This speed range is suitable for heavy internet use, such as streaming high-definition (HD) movies, TV shows, online gaming, and video conferencing. It can support large households with multiple devices connected to the internet.
- 500 Mbps and above: This speed range is suitable for hefty internet use, such as streaming 4K movies and TV shows, online gaming, and video conferencing. It can be necessary for a household with many devices connected to the internet, those who need a fast connection for work or school, and smart home enthusiasts.
Of course, the cost of the internet is an important factor to consider when choosing an ISP. However, it’s important to remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Look at the plan’s overall value, including the speed, data allowance, and any additional features it offers.
Basic internet plans cost anywhere from $20 to $50 per month, while internet plans above 500 Mbps typically cost anywhere from $50 to $100 per month.
3. Data Allowance
Some ISPs have data caps, which limit the amount of data you can use each month. If you stream a lot of movies or play online games, you’ll want an ISP with a higher data allowance or better yet, no data caps at all. On the other hand, if you only use the internet for basic tasks, a lower data allowance could be enough.
4. Customer Service
If you have an issue with your internet connection, you want to get help quickly and easily. Look for an ISP with good customer service ratings, including a 24/7 phone line and online chat support.
Additionally, some ISPs offer resources, such as online tutorials and FAQs, to help customers troubleshoot issues and resolve problems. ISPs that strive to educate their users with such resources are usually customer oriented.
5. Home Network Management Features
Some ISPs offer additional features to their customers, for example, antivirus software, online storage, or a home network management app. For example, at Race, we give our subscribers the Race CommandIQ app.
One of the main benefits of these apps are parental controls. These controls allow you to set limits on internet usage for your children, such as setting a time limit for how long they can be online or blocking access to certain websites.
Another feature of many home network management apps is quality of service (QoS). QoS allows you to prioritize certain types of internet traffic, such as video streaming or online gaming, over others. That way, these activities aren’t interrupted by other activities on the network.
Finally, these apps often also include the ability to set up a guest network, which helps protect the security of the main network by preventing guests from accessing sensitive information.
6. Contract Length
Some ISPs require you to sign a contract and lock in for a certain length of time, usually one or two years. Make sure you’re comfortable with the length of the contract before signing your new internet plan.
However, you don’t need to sign a contract. A lot of ISPs come with no contracts required.
Step 3: Decide on the Type of Internet
Now that you know what to look for when choosing an ISP, it’s time to make a choice between the four main types of internet: cable, DSL, satellite, and fiber optic.
Cable internet uses the same cables as your TV service to provide internet access. It tends to be faster than DSL and is widely available in urban areas. However, it can be slower during peak usage times and not available in more rural areas.
DSL (digital subscriber line) uses phone lines to provide internet access. It’s usually slower than cable and is not available in all areas. However, it can be a good option for those who live in rural areas or who don’t need high internet speeds.
Satellite internet uses a satellite dish to provide internet access. It’s widely available, even in rural areas, but can be slower than other types of ISPs and may have data caps.
Finally, fiber optic internet uses thin glass or plastic fiber to transmit data at high speeds. It’s generally the fastest internet available and is becoming more widely available in urban and suburban areas. However, it’s typically more expensive than other types of ISPs.
Step 4: See What Other Customers Are Saying
Now that you know a little bit about the different types of ISPs and what to look for when choosing one, you’re ready to start your search. Lean on trusted sources to help you choose your future ISP.
For example, you can ask friends and family for recommendations. They can give you insights into what to expect from different providers and their personal experiences.
Additionally, look for online reviews of different ISPs on Yelp or Google Reviews. These reviews give you an idea of what other customers think of the ISP’s service, speed, and customer support.
And finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the ISPs you’re considering directly. They should be able to provide you with more information about their plans and pricing, and any additional features they offer.
Final Thoughts on How to Choose an ISP
In conclusion, choosing an ISP is an important decision that requires careful consideration. Make sure to consider factors like speed, availability, price, data allowance, customer service, contract length, and additional features.
And remember to check out different types of ISPs, including cable, DSL, satellite, and fiber optic, to see which one is the best fit for you. Then, with a little bit of research, you can find the perfect ISP for your needs.
Looking for a new ISP? Get in touch with our specialists by either calling 877-722-3833 or sending us an inquiry. We’ll work with you to ensure you have the internet you need.