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Best Internet Providers for Gaming

We’ve analyzed which internet providers offer the best performance for lengthy Twitch sessions and League of Legends matches.

Best fiber ISP for gaming: Verizon Fios

Price: $39.99–$79.99/mo.
Download speed: 200–940 Mbps
Data cap: None

Best cable ISP for gaming: Optimum

Price: $35.00–$75.00/mo.
Download speed: 100–940 Mbps
Data cap: None

Fastest: Xfinity

Price: $20.00–$299.95/mo.
Download speed: 25–2,000 Mbps
Data cap: 1.2 TB

Cheapest: Frontier

Price: $37.99–$79.99/mo.
Download speed: 50–940 Mbps
Data cap: None

When you’re gaming online, you’ll need an internet connection that’s fast and reliable. Verizon Fios and Optimum are our top gaming internet service provider (ISP) picks because both offer fast download speeds and low latency.

Verizon Fios takes the edge over Optimum because it offers fiber internet performance and the lowest possible latency. But if Verizon Fios isn’t available in your area, you’ll still get great internet plans and gaming performance from Optimum.

Find out ISPs in your area

Type in your zip code below to see if ISPs like Verizon Fios and Optimum are available in your area.

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How we evaluated gaming ISPs

Download speed consistency, latency, and packet loss help determine your internet’s quality and reliability when you’re gaming online. We used data from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) annual Measuring Broadband America report to help rank gaming ISPs.

Here’s what you’ll need to know about all three benchmarks:

  • Latency is the time it takes for data to go from your computer to its destination. Shorter latency times are better for gaming.
  • Packet loss is when data gets lost on its way to its destination. Your internet performance will get worse when packet loss exceeds 1%. Packet loss causes issues like choppy in-game movement and connection drops.
  • Download speed consistency refers to the percentage of subscribers who had download speeds that were less than 80% of their internet plan’s advertised speed. The best ISPs have a low percentage of users who reported download problems. Fast download speeds enable you to quickly download new games and updates.

Best internet providers for gaming

Compare top gaming internet providers

Provider
Best fiber ISP for gaming Verizon
Best cable ISP for gaming Optimum
Xfinity
Frontier
Price Download speeds Latency Data cap Internet type
$39.99–$79.99/mo. 200–940 Mbps 11.3 ms None Fiber View plans
$35.00–$75.00/mo. 100–1,000 Mbps 12.3 ms None Cable/Fiber View plans
$20.00–$299.95/mo. 25–2,000 Mbps 17.8 ms 1.2 TB Cable View plans
$37.99–$79.99/mo. 50–940 Mbps 10.3 ms None Fiber View plans

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

Verizon Fios is our pick for the best gaming ISP, because you’ll get low latency and excellent transfer speeds. Frontier’s fiber internet is our next-best fiber internet option for gaming, although we’d stay away from the ISP’s DSL plans.

Want to learn more about internet gaming?

Check out our internet gaming guide to find out problems like latency and packet loss affect your online gaming experience.

Optimum is our top cable ISP for gaming because of its great service reliability, affordable high-speed internet plans, and low latency. We’d also recommend Optimum fiber internet coverage if it’s available in your neighborhood because you’ll get excellent download and upload speeds.

Xfinity’s latency and internet reliability scores were a slight step behind Optimum, but the ISP still offers decent performance and wide availability. Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro package is also the fastest internet plan on the market, but with its high price tag, it’s definitely not as budget-friendly as Optimum.

Best fiber internet provider for gaming: Verizon Fios

Price:
$39.99–$79.99/mo.
Internet speed:
200–940 Mbps
Data cap:
None

Pros

  • Low latency
  • Excellent internet reliability
  • Fast fiber internet connection

Cons

  • Limited availability

Verizon Fios’ past awards have included earning our top fiber internet ISP ranking and being a two-time winner for best customer satisfaction. Now, the ISP can add being our top ISP for gaming, too.

We always recommend getting fiber internet whenever you can because you’ll have the fastest download and upload speeds, along with the lowest possible latency, compared to cable or DSL internet. For gamers, low latency and fast transfer speeds ensure that you’ll have a smooth online gaming experience and quick download times.

This fiber internet ISP has an average latency of 11.3 ms, which was the second-best time among our evaluated ISPs. Only 0.6% of subscribers reported download speeds that were less than 80% of their advertised speeds, and only 1.1% of customers reported more than 1% packet loss. Both marks were the lowest among our evaluated fiber ISPs.

Verizon Fios offers three affordable fiber internet plans: 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, and 940 Mbps download speeds for between $39.99 and $79.99 per month.

Verizon Fios’ only downside is its limited availability. The ISP is primarily based in the northeast US, so if you don’t live in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, or Washington, DC, you’ll have to look elsewhere for fiber internet coverage.

Benchmark scores

Benchmark
Average latency
Download consistency
Packet loss
Score
11.3 ms
0.6%
1.1%

Best cable internet provider for gaming: Optimum

Price:
$35.00–$75.00/mo.
Internet speed:
100–940 Mbps
Data cap:
None

Pros

  • Excellent internet reliability for a cable internet provider
  • High internet speed consistency
  • Low latency

Cons

  • Unimpressive customer satisfaction scores

Cable internet has traditionally been the middle child, sandwiched between DSL and fiber internet, but Optimum’s excellent cable internet network provides fiber internet-level reliability.

The ISP’s 12.3 ms average latency is in line with fiber ISPs like Verizon Fios (which has 11.3 ms latency) and well ahead of typical cable ISPs, which average latency times of around 20 ms. Optimum also had phenomenal download speed consistency, with no subscribers reporting significant download or packet loss issues.

Like most cable ISPs, Optimum has also been investing in its fiber internet network. If your neighborhood gets Optimum fiber coverage, you’ll get faster upload and download speeds compared to Optimum’s cable internet plans. You’ll benefit from faster upload speeds if you’re frequently broadcasting your games on Twitch or uploading large files.

Looking for Optimum fiber or cable internet service?

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Optimum’s biggest fly in the ointment is its middling customer satisfaction scores. On our 2020 survey, Optimum landed in seventh place out of 10 ISPs, and the provider earned similarly lackluster customer satisfaction and monthly billing scores.

Benchmark scores

Benchmark
Average latency
Download consistency
Packet loss
Score
12.3 ms
0%
0%

Fastest advertised speeds: Xfinity

Price:
$20.00–$299.95/mo.
Internet speed:
25–2,000 Mbps
Data cap:
1.2 TB

Pros

  • Wide availability
  • Decent internet performance

Cons

  • Contract pricing that increases your bill after a year

Although it’s a step behind Optimum, Xfinity still offers solid internet performance for gamers. Xfinity has an average latency of 17.8 ms, which places it slightly ahead of competitors like Mediacom (26.5 ms) and Spectrum (25.4 ms). Meanwhile, Xfinity’s download consistency and packet loss percentage marks are just average among other cable internet providers.

Xfinity’s wide availability and numerous internet packages mean that you’ll likely be able to find a plan that fits your budget and needs.

Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro plan is the fastest home internet plan available today, with download and upload speeds of up to 2 Gbps. While download speeds aren’t the most important factor for gaming, the plan’s fast transfer speeds will still be useful if you’re a hardcore gamer who’s regularly downloading games or broadcasting on Twitch.

But at the same time, the plan’s high price tag ($299.95/mo.) won’t make it the best value for most people. Xfinity’s Extreme Pro ($74.99/mo. for 800 Mbps) and Gigabit ($84.99/mo. for 1.2 Gbps) offers better value for casual and regular gamers.

Xfinity still relies on contracts that’ll make you pay more or hop to another ISP once your promotional pricing ends. Xfinity also has a 1.2 TB data cap on its plans, but you can get unlimited data by paying an extra $30 per month or upgrading to the Gigabit Pro internet plan.

Benchmark scores

Benchmark
Average latency
Download consistency
Packet loss
Score
17.8 ms
3.9%
1.9%

Cheapest fiber plans: Frontier

Price:
$37.99–$79.99/mo.
Internet speed:
6–940 Mbps
Data cap:
None

Pros

  • Exceptionally low latency on fiber internet plans

Cons

  • A lackluster and dated DSL network
  • Limited fiber internet availability

Frontier can be a great ISP for gamers—if you get a fiber internet connection.

Frontier’s fiber internet network had low packet loss ratings and an excellent latency mark of 10.3 ms, which was the fastest time among our evaluated ISPs.

But Frontier’s download consistency leaves a little bit to be desired. Even though only 1.2% of Frontier fiber subscribers reported download speeds that were less than 80% of their advertised speeds, 11.5% of customers had speeds between 80% to 95% of their plan’s listed speeds.

Although this download speed difference won’t make your internet unusable, the best ISPs consistently support download speeds that match their advertised download speeds. Frontier’s percentage was notably high for a fiber ISP since none of our evaluated ISPs came close to breaking the 10% mark.

Frontier’s fiber internet also comes with a sizable asterisk. Frontier fiber internet is available only in certain parts of California, Texas, Indiana, and Florida.

If you aren’t in the right city, your other Frontier option will be the ISP’s slow, dated DSL network. In that case? You’ll be better off with a competing cable or fiber ISP.

Thinking about Frontier fiber internet service?

Enter your zip code below to see if your area gets Frontier fiber or DSL internet.

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Benchmark scores

Benchmark
Average latency
Download consistency
Packet loss
Score
10.3 ms
1.2%
1.5%

What to look for in a gaming internet service provider

Gaming ISP shopping is just like normal ISP shopping, but you’ll want to be more selective about the types of ISPs you’re looking at.

Stay away from DSL internet

Gaming on DSL internet isn’t impossible, but because of the higher prices, longer latency times, and slower download speeds, you won’t be getting the best-possible internet connection for easy, fun gameplay.

Stick with fiber or cable ISPs

We always recommend signing up for fiber internet whenever it’s available since you’ll get the best download and upload speeds along with stellar reliability. If fiber internet isn’t in your area, cable internet will be your next-best option.

Get unlimited data (preferably for free)

ISP data caps have gotten larger over time, but game file sizes have safely kept pace with this trend. If you’re regularly downloading large games, it’s still easy to blow through a standard 1 TB data cap.

Look for ISPs that include free unlimited data with internet plans. If your local ISPs don’t offer free unlimited data, and you anticipate regularly using more than 1 TB of data, see if they offer unlimited data for an additional fee.

While extra fees are never great, they’ll be better than dealing with more expensive overage charges.

Get a fast connection (but don’t overpay)

To get some conventional wisdom out of the way—do you need a super fast internet connection for online gaming? Nope! Online multiplayer gaming doesn’t require the fastest internet connection, and even games like Battlefield V require only a 512 Kbps internet connection.

But obviously, your download speed is still important for gaming and general use (good luck downloading all 150 GB of Red Dead Redemption 2 on a 512 Kbps connection).

If you’re getting internet for yourself, a 100–200 Mbps plan will work fine. If you’re a heavy gamer and your household has more than three regular internet users, consider upgrading to a 400 Mbps or faster plan.

Head to our internet speed guide if you need help determining your ideal service plan.

Final take

Our top gaming ISP picks show that download speeds aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to online gaming. As our top picks Verizon Fios and Optimum show, gamers should look for a fiber or cable ISP with low latency, low packet loss, and fast download speeds.

Enter your zip code below to see if Verizon Fios, Optimum, and other top gaming ISPs are available in your area.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Methodology

To determine the best ISPs for gaming, we researched sources including our annual customer satisfaction survey, Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, and the FCC’s annual Measuring Broadband America report. From the FCC report, we evaluated ISP data including average latency, packet loss percentages, and download speed consistency to find out which provided a superior experience.

For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

Best internet provider for gaming FAQ

Who is the best internet provider for gaming?

Verizon Fios and Optimum are our picks for the best gaming internet providers. Both ISPs offer relatively affordable plans and excellent download speeds along with low latency and packet loss.

What is the best internet speed for gaming?

You don’t need super fast download speeds for gaming, but you’ll still need a plan that supports your household’s internet usage and your online gaming. If you’re getting internet for yourself, look for at least a 100 Mbps internet plan. For a larger family with multiple heavy internet users, you’ll need at least a 300 Mbps plan.

Check out our internet speed guide to learn more about internet speeds and gaming.

How do I get high-speed internet for gaming?

Enter your zip code below to find local ISPs, and look for a cable or fiber internet provider that offers plans with a download speed of at least 100 Mbps.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Is AT&T internet good for gaming?

AT&T Fiber has excellent download and upload speeds, so it’s a solid option for gaming if it’s available in your area.

AT&T DSL plans are okay for gaming, but they won’t offer the best performance. Traditionally, DSL internet has high latency rates, and high latency is bad for fast-paced online gaming.