How to Find and Choose an Internet Service Provider

Written by Apr 7, 2021

Finding Internet service in your area and getting it installed can be a frustrating experience.

That’s why we compiled this guide to shopping for Internet service. Follow the steps below if you need Internet installed at your home, but are confused about where to start.

The articles listed here were designed to explain the basics so you can compare your options and make an educated choice. Just follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Check availability at your address. The simplest way to find out your options is to enter your zip code in the search tool above. This will show you exactly what your options are, including pricing and speed info so you can quickly compare.
  • Step 2: Determine how much Internet speed you need. Most households have multiple users and devices sharing the same WiFi — not to mention widescreen TVs streaming Netflix on the same connection. You can get a speed recommendation using our bandwidth calculator. Read more in our beginner-friendly guide to Internet speeds.
  • Step 3: Decide if you want to include TV and Phone service. Most Internet providers will want to include TV and landline phone service when you subscribe to Internet. These packages are often cheaper for large households and families. However, some people save money by just getting Internet and streaming TV. See this guide to cable TV vs streaming for help deciding which is better in your situation.
  • Step 4: Order and install. Once you’ve decided on what provider and plan you want, the last step is to call and order service. Some providers will let you order online, but in most cases they will require a follow-up call to confirm service. For help avoiding fees and getting your WiFi working as quickly as possible, see our guide to Internet installation.

How to Troubleshoot your Internet Service

Follow the step-by-step process in our broadband shopping guides to get high speed Internet and avoid fees.

If you already have service installed and need help getting your WiFi working and optimized, see our troubleshooting articles in the menu for help solving common issues like how to extend your WiFi range or secure your home network.

If you are having an issue with your Internet provider or need to cancel cable service, see the consumer resource pages in the menu for guidance on common questions like how to switch Internet providers, how to find low-income Internet options.