2. What’s your monthly budget?
What’s the maximum you can afford to spend on internet each month? This is always a good place to start because no one wants to spend more than they need to on anything.
If you find that the home internet plan you want doesn’t match your wallet’s reality, we’ve got a few tips on how you can lower your internet bill.
3. How much download speed do you need?
You can start narrowing down your internet-only plan choices by figuring out how much speed you need.
Once you figure out whether you need just 25 Mbps for some relaxing Facebook surfing and email forwarding or 300 Mbps for a connected smart home full of gamers, you can pinpoint different plans that offer just the right amount of speed.
4. Do you need extra data?
Most DSL, cable, and fiber ISPs offer either one terabyte (1 TB) of data or unlimited data. Both options should be fine for most everyone—unless you download a lot of large files for work and/or pleasure.
But be aware that both satellite internet providers, Viasat and HughesNet, have much lower data caps. HughesNet caps out at 50 GB and Viasat caps out at 150 GB.
Of course, with Viasat, HughesNet, and even non-satellite providers like Xfinity, you can add more data. You’ll just have to pay extra.
5. What are your bundling options?
Do you want to bundle services like TV, phone, and home security with your internet? That’s probably not a bad idea. You’ll typically save some money and get extra features if you bundle.
Of course, bundling throws a wrench in what’s already a difficult price comparison to make. But to get you started, we made a list of our favorite TV, internet, and phone bundles.
6. How do your top two or three choices compare?
Once you’ve narrowed your search to two or three options, take a look at our more popular direct ISP comparisons.
This can give you an idea of which provider will save you money over the long run, which provider has better customer service, and even which provider doesn’t require you to sign a contract. (If any of them have that option, which we hope they do.)