What to Consider When Choosing an Internet Service Provider
There was a time when the only way to get online from your home was to sign up with a major dial-up service. Today the Internet is available nearly anywhere you live with many types of options of how to get access. Internet service providers (ISPs) often offer multiple options, from very basic dial-up accounts to blazing cable Internet connections. Thankfully there are some simple ways to make an informed decision in this crowded market, and all they rely upon is a good sense of what's available. If you are on the hunt for an affordable and convenient way to get online, it is wise to consider a few basic points along the way.
The first is availability. Not every service reaches every corner of the nation, so you want to begin your search with a basic survey of the available Internet options. Here on our website you can use our free ISP lookup tool to find a new ISP dialup, high-speed dialup Internet, DSL service, cable Internet service, and satellite Internet service. It is not unusual for major national brands to carry more than one option within a given area as well, so a little digging may turn up more than one choice under a single umbrella provider. Many local companies are simple resellers of larger providers, so in some cases you may be just better off going with the larger provider.
Next you want to consider what you can afford. Prices tend to vary widely on ISPS, and many of the most popular carriers sweeten the deal with short-lived introductory rates. Suffice it to say you get what you pay for in Internet access cheaper programs tend to come with fewer features and lower speed, while the priciest packages include blazing downloads and significant online storage space. A growing trend in this market also allows home users to save by "bundling" different data services together, so you may be able to get lower monthly costs by consolidating Internet with broadband phone, say, or cable television.
Finally you want to ask yourself if you really need high speed Internet access. Most home users use the Internet essentially the way it has always been used for email, Web surfing and the occasional multimedia download. Typical activities such as these rarely require the highest echelon of download/upload speeds, so you want to be wary of splurging on high speed Internet services you may never use. The basic rule of thumb is that dialup tends to be the slowest, DSL and Satellite Internet is up to ten times faster, and cable Internet typically three to five times faster than that. If you are an avid live gamer who makes frequent use of broadband services and streaming high-res video, by all means go with cable. Otherwise, give DSL a try and see if you notice any issues.
Broadband Internet providers come in countless shapes and sizes nowadays, from vintage brands to the latest satellite Internet services. With a little research here at our site and a good sense of what you want, you should be able to secure an ISP service that offers everything you need at a reasonable rate.