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Best Internet Providers 2020

Got a need for speed? Want to save cash on your internet plan? Find out what internet provider is best for you.

Best for overall customer satisfaction

Price: $39.99–$79.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 200–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Best for cheap internet

Price: $19.99–$59.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 25–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Best for gigabit speeds

Price: $49.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 100-940 Mbps
Data caps: 1,024 GB-Unlimited

Best no-contract internet

Price: $39.99-$69.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 300-1,000 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Fastest internet

Price: $20.00-$299.95/mo.
Max download speeds: 25-2,000 Mbps
Data caps: 1,024 GB-Unlimited

Bottom line

In a perfect world, every internet service provider (ISP) would offer fast speeds at a great price. Unfortunately, a lot of providers have slow internet plans that cost a lot—or they’ll limit how much you can use your internet service.

To skip the heartache of troublesome internet providers, here are our top five recommendations. They’re all-around reputable services, and each one offers something special to fit your needs.

Best internet service providers

Swipe Left to See All →
Internet providerPriceMax download speedsData capsChoose your plan
Verizon Fios$39.99–$79.99/mo.*200–up to 940 MbpsUnlimitedView plans
RCN$19.99–$59.99/mo.25–940 MbpsUnlimitedView plans
AT&T$49.99/mo.100–940 Mbps1,024 GB–unlimitedView plans
Optimum$39.99–$69.99/mo.300–1,000 MbpsUnlimitedView plans
Xfinity$20.00–$299.95/mo.25–2,000 Mbps1,024 GB–unlimitedView plans

Data effective 5/22/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*w/ Auto Play + taxes & equip. charges.

Since ISPs vary by area, you’ll need to check which ones offer service where you live. Enter your zip code below, and we’ll find them for you.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Summary of best internet service providers

  • Verizon Fios—Best for overall customer satisfaction
  • RCN—Best for cheap internet
  • AT&T—Best for gigabit speeds
  • Optimum—Best for no-contract internet
  • Xfinity—Fastest internet

There are a lot of great internet options out there, from both large scale and local internet companies. These are our picks of the best major ISPs.

If you want to love your ISP’s customer service and reliability, Verizon Fios is the way to go. But for a cheap starting package, RCN’s $19.99 per month broadband internet plan is the best option. Or to pay less for a fast plan, AT&T will make every dollar count.

When you want to avoid a contract, Optimum is the best option. However, if money is no object and speed is the one thing that matters to you, Xfinity’s plan with 2,000 Mbps download rate is the fastest one available for home internet.

But those aren’t the only reasons these ISPs are the ones we recommend. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

Best for overall customer satisfaction

Price: $39.99–$79.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 200–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Pros

  • High customer satisfaction
  • Matched upload and download speeds in most cases

Cons

  • Pricey DSL plans

For two years in a row, Verizon Fios was customers’ far and away favorite in our customer satisfaction survey. Its high score took into account its stellar customer service, its well-priced plans, and the reliability of its 100% fiber network.

Our recommended Verizon Fios package:

Internet 200/200
Price: $39.99/mo.*
Download/upload speeds: 200 Mbps/200 Mbps

*w/Auto Pay + taxes, equip. charges, & other fees

As much as we like Verizon’s high speeds, there’s no reason to pay for more internet than you need. Internet 200/200 is an excellent fit for most homes, and it’s super affordable.

Also, video calls will look fabulous for you and the people watching you, thanks to these high upload speeds. Go ahead and treat yourself to an animated Zoom background—these speeds can handle it.

A word of caution: We’re talking about Verizon Fios, which is fiber internet, not Verizon High-Speed Internet, which is DSL internet. The latter reaches speeds only as high as 15 Mbps, but it will run you $69.99 per month. That’s not a fair shake.

Best for cheap internet

Price: $19.99–$59.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 25–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Pros

  • Cheapest broadband plan
  • No contract

Cons

  • Limited availability

Even though RCN provides service to millions of users, RCN still gives off that friendly local internet vibe. It’s community-focused and affordable, with plans based on where you live—so you don’t pay more to cover RCN’s expenses in some other city.

Our recommended RCN package:

25 Mbps Internet
Price: $19.99/mo.*
Download/upload speeds: 25 Mbps/4 Mbps

*for 12 months

This plan is available only in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, but it’s one of the best starting packages out there. It’s ideal if you use the internet only occasionally and want a price tag that reflects that.

The cherries on top are RCN’s no-contract policy and super cheap equipment add-ons. You can rent both a modem and Wi-Fi router for only $2 per month. It’s rare to find Wi-Fi you can pay for by digging through your couch cushions.

We just hope you live in one of the six cities where RCN provides service. If not, you’ll probably want to enter your zip code below to see your internet options.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Best for gigabit speeds

Price: $49.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 100-940 Mbps
Data caps: 1,024 GB-Unlimited

Pros

  • Best bang for your buck
  • No annual contract

Cons

  • Fast speeds in only limited areas

Rather than offering a ton of plans with different prices, AT&T slaps a $49.99 per month price tag on them all and calls it a day.

Our recommended AT&T package:

Internet 1000
Price: $49.99/mo.*
Download/upload speeds: 940 Mbps/880 Mbps

*for 12 mos. 12 mo agmt. req’d. Incl Unlimited data allowance ($30 value) at no add’l chrg.

AT&T’s Internet 1000 plan is one of the cheapest gig plans out there. Whether you’re working from home or gaming online, speeds like that let you run rampant on the ole information highway.

But watch out for one major roadblock: AT&T’s aging network. Rural areas aren’t outfitted with advanced fiber cables, and with AT&T’s one-price-fits-all mentality, you’ll pay a whopping $49.99 per month for creaky old DSL internet.

That hurts like watching someone drive an ancient sedan off the lot for the same price as a new sports car.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. AT&T now offers plans without annual contracts, so you can tuck and roll out of a plan whenever you want without paying extra fees.

Best no-contract internet

Price: $39.99-$69.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 300-1,000 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Pros

  • Price for life
  • Up to $500 contract buyout

Cons

  • Limited area

Like RCN and AT&T, Optimum doesn’t slap you with a yearly contract when you want to sign up, so you’re free to leave whenever. And Optimum sweetens the pot with more deals for freedom with your internet service.

If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “I’ve been with [insert your ISP here] for 10 years, but it still gouges me with higher prices every year,” switch to Optimum. Your price will lock in when you sign up, and as long as you stay with that plan, it won’t change.

And if you’re worried about contract termination fees when you leave your current internet provider, Optimum can help you out. It offers up to $500 to buy out your current contract when you switch to Optimum.

Our recommended Optimum package:

Optimum 300
Price: $39.99/mo.*
Download/upload speeds: 300 Mbps/35 Mbps

*for 1 yr. Plus taxes, equip. charges and fees.

Astoundingly, the zippy Optimum 300 is Optimum’s slowest (and cheapest) plan. You’ll get all the great things we talked about—no contract, the price for life, and a contract buyout—for only $39.99 per month.

The major drawback for Optimum is that, like RCN, it’s available in only a few places in the US. We hope you’re in one of them. Enter your zip code below to find out if Optimum is in your area.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Fastest Internet

Price: $20.00-$299.95/mo.
Max download speeds: 25-2,000 Mbps
Data caps: 1,024 GB-Unlimited

Pros

  • Wide availability
  • Fast fiber speeds

Cons

  • Expensive gig plans

It’s pure speculation on our part that Xfinity from Comcast offers a 2,000 Mbps plan just to land on top-five lists like this one—but here we are.

You won’t find 2,000 Mbps plans from any other provider. They’re expensive to run, and most people don’t need anywhere near that sort of speed.

But if you’ve found that 1,000 Mbps plans aren’t fast enough for you (we’d love to hear why in the comments section), doubling your bandwidth is certainly a solution. It’s just very expensive solution.

Xfinity’s fastest internet plan:

Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro
Price: $299.95/mo.*
Download/upload speeds: 2,000 Mbps/2,000 Mbps

*w/a 2-year agreement

While Gigabit Pro is kind of a gimmick, Xfinity is a generally solid provider. Its plans aren’t the cheapest out there, but Xfinity upped many a plan’s speed in the past year.

Even if you already have an Xfinity plan, this is an excellent time to check in and see if you can get faster internet for a similar price. This writer did—I snagged 100 Mbps for about the same price as my old 75 Mbps. Gotta go fast.

What to look for in an internet service provider

Some providers have exciting deals and freebies that look super impressive. But when you’re choosing an internet provider, make sure the price per month, download speed, and data caps meet your standards before you sign a contract.

Price per month

Since there’s no standard for internet pricing, even 25 Mbps plans can run anywhere from $19.99 to $60 per month. (It’s a big range, we know. Price depends a lot on your provider and location.)

We recommend trying to find a deal around $50 per month.

If that sounds like way too much for a significant utility, we hear you. Read “Free and Low-Income Internet Plans for Families, Seniors, and Students” to learn how to save money on your internet service.

Incredible internet service for cheap

These internet providers offer download speeds between 100 Mbps and 500 Mbps for $50 per month or less.

Despite the wide range between 100 Mbps and 500 Mbps, all of those speeds are superb options for most homes. Go for whatever is the fastest and most affordable in your area.

Download speed

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband—high-speed internet—as 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds. Unless you’re in a rural area, it’s easy to find speeds like that nowadays.

But our internet usage is growing all the time. People stream more, game more, and telecommute more. Add to that cool smart home devices, and our bandwidth usage is higher than ever.

With that in mind, we recommend trying for faster speeds. Going from 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps will make a world of difference, but jumping up to 100 Mbps is the best fit for most homes.

Unless you’re a super internet user, you probably don’t need 1,000 Mbps, but if you feel like your internet connection is too slow, go ahead and kick it up a notch.

If you want to go faster, but don’t want to increase your monthly payment, try switching from Wi-Fi to an Ethernet cable on your computer, smart TV, and video game consoles.

You might already have an Ethernet cable in your junk drawer, or you can buy one for cheap on Amazon. (This is a paid Amazon link—as an Amazon Associate, CableTV.com gets a kickback from qualifying purchases.)

Wiring down your internet might seem old school, but Ethernet blows Wi-Fi out of the water when it comes to a reliable connection.

Data caps

Data caps—also called data allowances—are limits on how much an ISP will let you use the internet before it charges you extra fees.

Every time you upload or download something, whether it’s clicking a link, sending a Facebook message, or streaming a show from Netflix, you’re using data.

We didn’t talk about data caps much in this article because our top five recommendations all meet our standards. That means they’re all around 1,024 GB (1 TB), which is more than plenty for the average household.

But knowing your provider’s data caps and how much it will charge you can save you a lot of heartbreak. We broke down all the limits and fees in this data cap article, so you don’t have to dig through internet contracts to find your info.

Our final take

There are some excellent internet providers out there with stellar deals and fast speeds. But providers vary by area, so you’ll need to figure out your options before setting your heart on one.

Enter your zip code below for a list of internet providers in your area. We don’t keep your data or send it to anyone else, so you’re safe to search with us.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Best internet providers FAQ

What’s the fastest home internet available?

Xfinity from Comcast is the fastest internet provider thanks to its 2,000 Mbps home internet plan—Gigabit Pro. This ridiculously expensive plan will run you $299.95 per month, and it’s not available in all areas.

But if you live in a big city, and you’ve got the cash, you could practically break the sound barrier with these download speeds. Still, 100 Mbps internet plans are fast enough for most of us, and they’re a lot more affordable.

What is the best rural internet?

Xfinity and CenturyLink offer support for many rural areas, but if you’re deep in the wilderness, Viasat and Hughesnet might be your only options. Check out our article “Best Rural Internet Providers” to make the best choice for you.

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