Perhaps you have had the same internet provider since the mid-90s. Perhaps you are just getting out on your own and setting up house for the first time. Or perhaps someone else was paying the bills and handling the details but has now left it up to you. Whatever the reason, you find that you have to set up internet service and realize that you have no idea how to determine which is best for you.

The good news (in a bad news kind of way) is that you probably have little choice in the matter. Internet service is an oligopoly in this country. That means you may only have one option for an internet provider in your area.

If you are lucky, you have one other option. And if you are among the elite in this country, you have three good options. Any number more than one means you have to weigh several factors. Here is what you need to consider:


In today’s world, the number one factor to consider when choosing an internet provider is speed. It is not a matter of doing what you love, only faster. In many cases, it is a matter of not doing certain activities at all if you don’t have enough speed to pull it off.

That viral video sweeping the nation won’t even load if your connection is not fast enough. That critical update for your operating system will just have to wait, and wait, and wait, and… You get the idea. Eliminate speed, and you eliminate most of what it is people use the internet for these days.

So when you are checking out high-speed internet by area, be sure to compare the speed of the service offered. Do a little research and look past the numbers. Make sure that the people in your area are actually getting the advertised speed. Also, check to see if there are higher tiers than the one you decide on. You might find that your needs increase down the road. So be sure there is something to which you can graduate.


While it is not always a matter of getting exactly what you pay for, how much you pay is closely related to how much you get. So if price is the main factor, you still want to get as much as you can for your money. To do that, you have to prioritize what you want when reading comparison reviews.

Would you rather have no contracts or free equipment? When money is an object, it might be better to carry a contract and reduce your monthly payments. You always want as much speed as you can afford. But how much absolute speed do you need? Perhaps you like to watch Netflix, but don’t do online gaming.

What you have to decide is what you minimally need. Don’t sacrifice that for price. It will never be worth it. Beyond what you absolutely need, it is just a matter of finding the best deal.

Bandwidth Limits

All internet providers offer different service tiers. It may be hard to tell the difference between those tiers. If that difference happens to be bandwidth limits, it could be a lot more expensive difference than it appeared at first glance.

With unlimited bandwidth, it doesn’t matter how much service you use. But with limits, you have to constantly watch the meter. If you like to stream a lot of movies, you could reach your limit before the month is over.

From that point, you will be severely throttled. Or you might just incur overage fees which can add up to quite a lot. So when you sign up for internet service, you want to be certain that you are getting enough bandwidth to cover what you are likely to need. It is generally cheaper to pay for too much than too little.

There are many factors that go into selecting the best internet service provider for you. But if you take care of speed, price, and bandwidth, the rest will fall into place nicely.