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Best Internet for Netflix Speed Requirements

Find the right internet for Netflix speed requirements and the best plan for your home.

Important update

In response to COVID-19, many internet service providers waived their data caps to help families who’ve been home taking video calls or doing movie nights on Netflix. Check out our data cap guide to see what your provider currently offers.

For those of you looking for internet that can handle Netflix during unemployment or illness, check out our guide to “Free and Low Income Internet Plans for Families, Seniors, and Students” for affordable internet deals.

What’s the best internet for Netflix?

The best internet for Netflix depends on two things: where you live and how many folks (or devices) use the internet at the same time in your home.

We recommend an internet plan with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps to meet basic Netflix (and chill) needs. Check internet availability in your area to see what speeds you can get.

If you’re currently working at home full-time because of the new coronavirus pandemic, typically game online a lot, or frequently upload large files (vloggers, graphic designers, etc.), you’ll want higher download and upload speeds.

For most folks working from home, a cable internet plan with at least 100 Mbps download speeds will be good enough to get work done and stream Netflix at the same time (we won’t judge you).

If you’re obsessed with uploading content to the interwebs and still wanna stream Netflix, go for a fiber internet plan (1,000 Mbps)—you won’t be disappointed.

Wanna improve your Netflix streaming experience?

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Recommended internet speeds for Netflix

Because they don’t take into account doing more than one activity on the internet at a time, the official Netflix speed recommendations don’t really add up.

Good luck not having buffering issues when your home internet is running at 3 Mbps—Netflix’s recommendation for streaming shows and movies in standard definition (SD)—especially if you’re checking email or posting on social media at the same time.

Fortunately, we’re here to give you the goods.

Best internet speeds for streaming Netflix

  • 5 Mbps—Minimum speed for 1 SD stream
  • 25 Mbps—Good speed for 1 SD stream + basic browsing
  • 100 Mbps—Good speed for multiple SD/HD streams + basic browsing
  • 300–500 Mbps—Good speeds for multiple HD/UHD/4K streams + basic browsing
  • 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)—Excellent speed for multiple UHD/4K streams and uploading large files + basic browsing

Best internet plans for Netflix

Provider
Cheapest
Xfinity Performance
Best for families
Spectrum Internet Ultra
Best for creators
Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection
Cost Download speed Details
$25.00/mo. 50 Mbps View plan
$69.99/mo. 400 Mbps View plan
$89.99/mo. 1,000 Mbps View plan

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Cheapest: Xfinity Performance

Price:
$25.00/mo.
Internet speed:
50 Mbps
Data cap:
1.2 TB

Xfinity’s entry-level Performance plan covers the bare essentials for a home internet package. With a maximum download speed of only 50 Mbps, Performance isn’t the fastest internet package on the market, but your household will still be able to browse the web when two to four people watch Netflix in high definition.

However, your internet performance will start to buckle on this plan if more than one person wants to watch Netflix in 4K. Each 4K Netflix stream requires 25 Mbps, which doesn’t leave much room for anyone else who wants to watch Netflix, download games, or take video calls.

Best for families: Spectrum Internet Ultra

Price:
$69.00/mo.
Internet speed:
400 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited

With Spectrum Internet Ultra, you’ll be able to comfortably support a typical family’s internet needs. Multiple people can watch Netflix in 4K, and you’ll still have enough bandwidth for gaming, video calls, and sending emails.

Best for creators: Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection

Price:
$89.00/mo.
Internet speed:
940 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited

Verizon Fios has consistently been one of our top internet providers thanks to its excellent customer service and fiber internet performance. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state with Verizon Fios coverage, we’d recommend the provider’s Gigabit Connection plan.

On Gigabit Connection, you’ll get maximum download speeds of 940 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 880 Mbps thanks to Verizon Fios’ fiber network.

That’s fast enough to handle multiple 4K Netflix streams, and you’ll still have ample leftover bandwidth for Twitch broadcasts, file uploads, and anything else you can imagine. You’ll get the most out of Gigabit Connection’s download and upload speeds if you’re in a household with more than four heavy internet users and regularly doing tasks like uploading videos to YouTube.

How can I watch Netflix in HD?

To watch Netflix in high definition (HD), you have to have an HD plan. Once you’ve signed up for one of those, you’ll need to set your video quality to Auto or High.

Like we keep saying (preach!), you’ll want around 100 Mbps of download speed to stream Netflix in HD so that the rest of your household can be online at the same time and not suffer the buffer.

How much internet speed do you need?

We recommend using HighSpeedInternet.com’s quick, handy tool to find out.

Can I use Netflix with satellite internet?

Generally speaking, we would not recommend streaming any video, let alone Netflix, with satellite internet. Why you might ask? Two reasons: cost and data caps.

Satellite internet plans can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 per month for subpar download speeds of up to 12 Mbps100 Mbps. Let’s just say you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck. And did we mention they also have low data caps (10 GB150 GB per month)?

Once you reach your satellite provider’s data cap for the month (sometimes as low as 10 GB—less than some cell phone plans), the satellite internet provider will slow your speeds even more. Bye bye Netflix.

Streaming Netflix is a data hog, so for folks with satellite internet, we recommend getting a cheap satellite TV package instead. You won’t have as many on-demand shows and movies, but you also won’t pay an arm and a leg to watch Netflix sit and buffer, either.

Top satellite TV plans

Provider
Best bang for your buck
DISH America's Top 200
Best for live sports
DIRECTV CHOICE w/NFL SUNDAY TICKET
Cost Channel count Details
$89.99/mo. 240+ View plan
$69.99/mo.* 185+ View plan

*for 12 mos. plus taxes. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $9.99/mo. is extra & applies.
Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Final take: 3 Mbps5 Mbps is fast enough for Netflix if you don’t mind buffering

If you want a better Netflix viewing experience, get an internet plan with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and a generous (2 TB) or unlimited data cap. You’ll avoid buffering for the most part and be able to surf the internet at the same time.

But if you can afford it and it’s available in your area, go “premium” by signing up for a fiber internet plan. That way lil’ Johnny can stream tons of Netflix in 4K (sounds fun, right?) while you’re uploading your latest work file from home (boooring).

Get more from your Netflix binge-watching

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Netflix internet speed FAQ

Does Netflix use internet?

Yes, you need an internet connection for Netflix.

But what about those DVDs that Netflix used to send you in the mail? Well, Netflix still has those, but you’ll need internet access to order them.

What is a good internet speed for Netflix?

A good internet speed for Netflix depends on how much you use the internet. We recommend internet plans with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps for Netflix; otherwise, binge-watching Ozark might feel just as harrowing as laundering money for a cartel.

That said, if you have a large household or upload a lot of stuff to the internet while watching Netflix, you’ll need an internet plan with download speeds upwards of 100 Mbps.

Is 3 Mbps fast enough for Netflix?

No, 3 Mbps is not fast enough for Netflix (unless you want to endure endless buffering and other inconveniences).

You’ll want download speeds of at least 25 Mbps to stream Netflix and post about your binge-worthy adventures on Facebook at the same time.

How can I manage my Netflix bandwidth?

You can manage your Netflix bandwidth by adjusting your video quality to Low or Medium. You’ll especially wanna do this if you have DSL or satellite internet—we call this a “manage bandage.”