The internet service you choose can make or break your overall experience on the web.
When you’re looking to switch providers, it’s important to consider the factors to ensure you get the best possible connection in terms of speed, reliability, and customer service.
Consider these five tips when choosing an internet service provider so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best product for your needs.
1) Check Their Reputation
If your current provider isn’t up to the mark, don’t start shopping around yet. Call around and check out what others are saying about their service. You can even ask friends or neighbors if they have recommendations.
If you decide that it’s time to change providers, be sure to check their reputation with BBB, which tracks complaints filed against companies of all types.
Remember that just because there haven’t been any complaints yet doesn’t mean you won’t run into issues. However, you will want to choose a company with more positive reviews than negative ones.
2) Ask About Speeds
When you call an ISP and inquire about signing up, ask how fast their internet service is. These days, most services advertise speeds in Mbps (megabits per second).
If you’re looking to go over 300 Mbps, then you should probably shop around or see if they offer faster service that might be available.
Just remember, 300 Mbps is fast enough for any normal internet user. For example, Netflix recommends 5 Mbps to stream HD video and 15 Mbps to stream Ultra HD/4K videos, both of which can be achieved with 300-Mbps broadband connections.
3) Research Their Plans
When choosing an Internet service provider, it’s important to research their plans and offers before committing. Most will offer some introductory offer. So, ask if there is a contract and how long it lasts (if there is one).
It’s also best to be clear about what type of speeds you need, download, or upload. If you aren’t sure what each means, here’s an explanation:
The download refers to how fast data can travel from your computer to another device—for example, from your PC to your phone.
Upload refers to how fast data travels from another device back to your computer—for example, from your phone back up to Facebook or Instagram. Make sure that each potential new Internet service provider can accommodate these requirements before signing on with them.
4) Compare Their Prices
First, compare their prices. A new ISP might be cheaper, but if their speeds are slower than you need or they charge you more when you go over your monthly allowance, they might not be worth it.
Ask yourself what you’re trying to get out of your new Internet service—are there certain times of day when you download huge files? If so, do they offer any options like unlimited downloads that would save money?
This may sound like an obvious tip, but with broadband providers in flux these days (Comcast recently announced that it was buying Time Warner Cable), it’s always good to make sure all of your bases are covered.
5) Get a Good Deal
Compare several providers based on price, speed, reliability, and customer service. Check out independent review sites to see what other customers are saying about each provider, but keep in mind that everyday users write these reviews just like you.
Most companies have their pages where you can check prices or ask questions, but be sure to read through their terms of service before signing up.
If you have any problems with your service during or after installation, contact support as soon as possible so they can help troubleshoot.
Some issues may be out of your control, but others can often be resolved easily enough if someone knows what’s going on right away.