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Best Internet Providers 2021: Fastest, Cheapest, and More

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

Best overall

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: 10–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Best for gigabit speeds

Price: $35.00–$60.00/mo.
Max download speeds: 100–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited

Best no-contract internet

Price: $40.00–$65.00/mo.
Max download speeds: 300–1,000 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited


Price: $19.99–$299.95/mo.
Max download speeds: 25–2,000 Mbps
Data caps: 1,229 GB–Unlimited

Whether you’re looking for the absolute best internet service or the fastest home internet, we’ve got you covered. Out of our five recommendations for the best home internet providers, Verizon Fios is our top pick, but each internet provider below 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.10–940 MbpsUnlimitedView plans
AT&T$35.00–$60.00/mo.100–940 MbpsUnlimitedView plans
Optimum$40.00–$65.00/mo.300–1,000 MbpsUnlimitedView plans
Xfinity$19.99–$299.95/mo.25–2,000 Mbps1,229 GB–unlimitedView plans

Data effective 02/25/21. 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.

What is the best internet service provider?

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 internet speed is the one thing that matters to you, Xfinity’s plan with 2,000 Mbps download rate is the fastest one available for a home internet connection.

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 home internet overall: Verizon

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


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


  • Pricey DSL plans

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

Our recommended Verizon Fios package:

Internet 300/300
Price: $39.99/mo.*
Download/upload speeds:300 Mbps/300 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 300/300 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: RCN

Price: $19.99–$59.99/mo.
Max download speeds: 10–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited


  • Cheapest broadband plan
  • No contract


  • Limited availability

RCN is one of the fastest and cheapest internet providers out there.

Even though RCN provides cable internet to millions of users, RCN still gives off that friendly local internet vibe. It’s community-focused and affordable, with internet service 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: AT&T

Price: $35.00–$60.00/mo.
Max download speeds: 100–940 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited


  • Best bang for your buck
  • No annual contract


  • Fast internet speeds in only limited areas

Our recommended AT&T package:

Internet 1000
Price: $60.00/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, internet 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: Optimum

Price: $40.00–$65.00/mo.
Max download speeds: 300–1,000 Mbps
Data caps: Unlimited


  • Price for life
  • Up to $500 contract buyout


  • 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 cable 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: $40.00/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 $40.00 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 home internet: Xfinity

Price: $19.99–$299.95/mo.
Max download speeds: 25–2,000 Mbps
Data caps: 1,229 GB–Unlimited


  • Wide availability
  • Fast fiber speeds


  • 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 internet service 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 a faster internet connection 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 top internet service providers

Some internet services have exciting deals and freebies that look super impressive. But when you want the best home internet, 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 best home 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 internet 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 internet 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, 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 on the best internet options

There are some excellent internet providers out there with stellar deals and fast internet 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.

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Best internet providers FAQ

What company has the best internet service?

Verizon Fios offers the best home internet in the US. It has fast download and upload speeds, low latency, and unlimited data.

What is the fastest internet speed?

The fastest internet download speed you can get for your home is 2,000 Mbps. You’ll only find this high-speed internet offered by Xfinity from Comcast.

What is the fastest internet service?

Xfinity from Comcast is the fastest internet provider in the USA 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, satellite internet from Viasat or HughesNet might be your only options for internet access. Check out our article “Best Rural Internet Providers” to make the best choice for you.

What is the fastest satellite internet provider?

Viasat has the fastest satellite internet service, with download speeds up to 100 Mbps. Satellite internet usually costs more and has more latency than wired internet services like DSL, fiber, or cable internet. But it’s far more likely to reach rural areas.

Who is the best internet provider in my area?

  1. Verizon Fios
  2. RCN
  3. AT&T
  4. Optimum
  5. Xfinity

While you’ll find our top picks above, internet providers vary by area. To find the top options near you, enter your zip code in the tool below. Our database will find all the major providers in your area.

Please enter a valid zip code.

What’s the worst internet provider?

Our most recent internet customer satisfaction survey, which asked customers from 10 major internet providers to rate their internet experience, placed Mediacom in last place.

As for this writer, the worst internet provider I’ve reviewed is Windstream. If you’re in an area where it offers affordable internet, it’s not so bad, but it’s shockingly overpriced in many areas.

Windstream also uses outdated DSL tech, but thanks to it’s unlimited data and low-priced modem, it still pulls through for some folks. Just be careful when choosing Windstream—or any internet provider for that matter.

Should I choose an internet-only provider?

Almost every internet provider out there has internet-only packages, so there’s no need to avoid a provider just because it offers optional TV service. To find the TV-friendly and internet-only providers near you, enter your zip code below.

Please enter a valid zip code.