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The best internet providers of 2023


Headshot of Kathryn Casna
Rebecca Palmer smiles for the camera
Researched by
Headshot of Vilja Johnson
Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Updated 1/27/23

Our approach
33 brands reviewed
5 internet experts
1400+ customer reviews

Our team of experts compared the biggest providers out there, and the clear winner for home internet in 2023 is AT&T. We love its screaming-fast upload and download speeds, its free national hotspot network, and its excellent customer service.

Top 4 internet service providers (ISPs)

Editor’s choice
AT&T
AT&T brand
Staff rating
4.5
Customer rating
4.1
  • Plans starting at $55.00 - $180.00
  • Download speeds up to 5000Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 5000Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, view disclaimers

Runner-up
Verizon Fios
Verizon Fios brand
Staff rating
4.2
Customer rating
4.3
  • Plans starting at $49.99 - $110.00
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 880 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply.

Runner-up
Xfinity
Xfinity brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
4.2
  • Plans starting at $19.99 - $299.95
  • Download speeds up to 6000 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 6000 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, visit the provider's website.

Runner-up
CenturyLink
CenturyLink brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
4.1
  • Plans starting at $30.00 - $110.00
  • Download speeds up to 940Mb
  • Upload speeds up to 940Mb

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, view disclaimers

How we chose the best internet service providers (ISPs)

We get it: internet should work flawlessly in the background so you can focus on getting things done online. And it shouldn’t cost a fortune! We designed our ranking system based on how people like you use the internet.


  • Value
    We analyzed each provider to find out how much speed you can get for the money, using Mbps (megabits per second) per dollar.
  • Performance
    We looked at reliability, internet tech types, the frequency and duration of outages, and the speeds customers get day to day.
  • Equipment and installation
    We took a deep dive into costs for equipment and installation and looked carefully at home networking equipment from each provider.
  • Customer experience
    We compared customer satisfaction ratings, extra perks, downsides, and other factors that make some providers stand out.

Top internet providers in the US in 2023

#1 AT&T: Fast fiber speeds at great prices

What we like

  • Competitive fiber plans
  • Solid customer support
  • Nationwide network of hotspots
What we dislike

  • Expensive installation (or activation) fees
  • Slightly higher monthly prices than some competitors
  • Few TV bundling options

AT&T internet is our top choice for internet providers in 2023 for its amazing speeds, exceptional reliability, and access to a truly nationwide network of free Wi-Fi hotspots.

AT&T is one of the biggest fiber internet providers in the US, with fiber internet available in big cities and large metros throughout the South and Midwest. You can upload and download at nearly the speed of light, and the prices are among the lowest we found. There are no contracts, no hidden fees, and no data caps, and you can control everything with a sweet smartphone app.

The cheapest plan, Internet 300, is plenty fast for most households and is cheaper than the lowest-tier plan from Google Fiber. If you want more speed, you can get up to 5 Gbps in some areas. The price is steep, and the speed is overkill for almost everyone, but it's one of the fastest plans we found from any national provider.

It's worth nothing that AT&T offers DSL internet to some legacy customers, and that means high pricing, frequent slowdowns, and occasional outages. It's better than nothing for millions of rural customers, but it's not our first choice. New DSL connections are no longer available to new customers, the company announced in 2020. (1) The company also says it's expanding its fiber service to an additional 30 million households, and we look forward to the growth. (2)

Whether you have DSL or fiber internet from AT&T, you'll benefit from great customer service and multiple tech support options. Most folks will be able to install their new service themselves with a $49 activation fee, but $99 professional installation is available in case you've never had fiber internet before or need the extra help.

Editor’s choice
AT&T
AT&T brand
Staff rating
4.5
Customer rating
4.1
  • Plans starting at $55.00 - $180.00
  • Download speeds up to 5000Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 5000Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, view disclaimers

Find internet providers in your area

Internet provider runners-up

#2 Verizon Fios: Fast, affordable internet with a 10-year price lock

What we like

  • Reliable, symmetric speeds
  • No contracts
  • 10-year price guarantee
What we dislike

  • Limited availability
  • No plan above 1 Gbps
  • No nationwide hotspots

Verizon Fios is an excellent choice for home internet based on what you get for the money, the overall experience, and stellar customer service offerings. Fios offers fiber internet, and that means you get access to data traveling at nearly the speed of light for both uploads and downloads. Those speeds are highly reliable, earning top marks from a reliability study by the US Federal Communications Commission. (3)

With Fios internet from Verizon, you’ll pay less for these incredible speeds than with many other fiber internet providers. Prices for the lowest-tier plans are a great deal, too. You’ll benefit from unlimited data at any speed, no contract fees, and no equipment fees. And as of 2023, that low price is guaranteed for 10 years.

You can qualify for free installation if you order online, but you'll have to pay $99 if you call in. Once you' are signed up, you'll benefit from industry-best customer service. (4)

Verizon Fios is nearly tied with AT&T, our top internet provider of 2023, but falls short in a few small ways. There's no nationwide network of free hotspots, like there is with AT&T and Xfinity, and no option for self-installation.

Runner-up
Verizon Fios
Verizon Fios brand
Staff rating
4.2
Customer rating
4.3
  • Plans starting at $49.99 - $110.00
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 880 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply.

#3 Xfinity: Internet that outcompetes every other cable provider

What we like

  • Consistently fast speeds
  • Wide availability around the country
  • Competitive pricing, especially for budget plans
What we dislike

  • Data caps on slower plans (unless you pay more)
  • Inconsistent pricing and speed availability
  • Reputation for poor customer service

Xfinity offers some of the least expensive plans out there for broadband internet, plus some of the fastest speeds available to home internet customers. The Xfinity cable internet service is highly reliable, earning the first-place score from the speed test service Ookla (5) and second-place scores from the FCC (3).

Xfinity is a massive provider, and its our best cable internet provider of 2023 on value, equipment, and reliability. We love that it offers everything from budget plans with slow speeds to very expensive plans with very fast speeds, and its nationwide hotspot network is nothing to scoff at.

There are a few things you should know before you sign up. Even with the fastest ultra-gigabit download speeds, you will get upload speeds of only 35 Mbps. That's plenty for most users, but it may become a problem if you're hosting massive video calls or uploading big files. Using a lot of data could also be a problem, since some plans are capped at a 1.2 TB cap every month. You'll also face monthly equipment costs (unless you bring your own gear) and you may be hit with a 12-month contract.

The best fiber internet providers, in contrast, offer synchronous speeds with no data caps and no contracts. There's a pretty good chance they'll throw in equipment rental for free, too.

Runner-up
Xfinity
Xfinity brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
4.2
  • Plans starting at $19.99 - $299.95
  • Download speeds up to 6000 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 6000 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, visit the provider's website.

#4 CenturyLink: Fast fiber internet in some locations, plus a massive DSL network

What we like

  • Unlimited data across all plans
  • Fast fiber connections in select markets
  • No contracts
What we dislike

  • Limited fiber availability
  • Much slower DSL internet speeds
  • Below-average customer service

CenturyLink offers exceptionally fast and reliable fiber internet with unlimited data and no contracts. That means synchronous uploads and downloads and worry-free connection no matter the time of day. You also get router rental included with your monthly price, and may even qualify for a mesh network on certain plans.

Self-installation is free, but the cost to have a pro come out and help is just $15. That's hard to beat.

CenturyLink also offers DSL to wide swaths of the country, and these plans are worth it only if you can't get service from one of the top cable internet providers. That said, CenturyLink has announced plans to grow its fiber service, and you can sign up to be notified when it's in your area.

Runner-up
CenturyLink
CenturyLink brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
4.1
  • Plans starting at $30.00 - $110.00
  • Download speeds up to 940Mb
  • Upload speeds up to 940Mb

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, view disclaimers

Explore our other internet rankings

A winners' podium of different internet providers

Finding the best internet service for you depends on what you care about most. Our expert reviewers compared plans and providers based on both price and performance to help you find the best options—not just overall, but the best options for you.

The cheapest internet service providers

  1. Frontier
  2. Verizon
  3. Xfinity

The fastest internet service providers

  1. AT&T
  2. Optimum
  3. Xfinity

High scores, low availability

Our star ratings reflect the most important factors for choosing a home internet service, but some internet providers weren't eligible for our list of top internet providers of 2023. We excluded companies that offer service to less than 10% of homes nationwide, using a map provided by the FCC. (6)

That meant leaving out the following highly rated providers, even though we recommend their service if it's available in your area:

We didn't want to downgrade providers for not yet having a big footprint, but we also wanted our list of top companies to reflect what's available to most people.

Read more internet provider reviews

Compare internet providers

Not sure which provider is right for you, or moving to a new area? Use our direct comparison tool to see pricing, ratings, and verified user reviews.

Add and delete up to three providers by clicking on the boxes to the right of any internet review. Then, scroll through for all the info you need to decide.

Start with our top-rated internet providers, or choose from popular comparisons below.

How to choose an internet provider

Finding the best internet service provider for you depends on what’s available in your area, how much speed you need, and how much you’re willing to pay. It’s also a good idea to find out whether you have to sign a contract and if there are extra fees. Then, make sure the provided networking equipment is affordable, compatible, and easy to use. Finally, you need a provider you can trust. That includes service reliability and accessible customer service in case something goes wrong.

Lucky for you, our experts have done a lot of that research already! We relied on our own experiences, reviews from real customers, published government data, and info provided by the ISPs themselves. If you’re ready to switch providers, read our complete guide on how to choose an ISP.

Understanding internet tech types

The internet is a massive system of devices and servers located all around the world. How you access that global information system depends on the wires and cables between your home and the rest of the network.

Fiber internet offers the fastest upload and download speeds using fiber-optic cables, which are made of glass. They send packets of data flying around the world at nearly the speed of light. When internet providers lay these cables all the way to your front door, you have access to fiber-to-the-home internet (commonly referred to as FTTH or fiber internet).

Cable internet uses the same network as legacy cable TV, but you’ll need a modem in your home to translate the digital signals for internet access. You can pay for screaming fast downloads with a cable internet connection, but upload speeds are capped at 35 Mbps.

If you live in a rural area or a small town, you may have access to only DSL internet infrastructure. This means your data will travel over the same wires you use for your landline (but at a higher frequency). Download speeds with DSL are still technically in the broadband range at 25 Mbps, but uploads are much slower and there are serious reliability issues.

If you can’t get any of these connection types where you live, you may have to deal with fixed wireless, mobile internet, dial-up, or satellite internet.

Understanding internet equipment

Connecting to the internet requires more than just a laptop, smartphone, or gaming console. You will also need equipment that makes sense of the data. For fiber-optic internet, you need a piece of equipment called an ONT (optical network terminal). For cable, DSL, or satellite internet, the equipment you need is called a modem.

Once your modem or ONT unscrambles the data coming from cables outside your house, you need a way to access it with your personal devices. That’s where routers come in. You can plug in directly using an ethernet cable or connect over the air using Wi-Fi capability.

Many modern internet service providers use a combined modem and router device known as an internet gateway. These are usually available from the provider, sometimes for a monthly fee. You may also need a mesh network or Wi-Fi extenders, which can boost the wireless signal to areas far from your main router or gateway.

Switchful article generic thumbnail
Pretty much every internet service provider (ISP) will give you a modem and router when you sign up for service. They'll even install it

Internet speed and performance

Internet speed refers to the actual rate at which data travels to and from your personal devices to outside servers, and it’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Bandwidth, on the other hand, measures the maximum amount of data that can travel through a home network at once. Performance, meanwhile, is a broader term that accounts for reliability, latency, and more.

Speed vs bandwidth illustration

If you have fiber internet, speeds are lightning fast and very reliable. If you have cable internet or DSL internet, however, you could face slowdowns if a lot of your neighbors are trying to get online at the same time. Outdated equipment can also slow things down, and some providers are more reliable than others.

Switchful article generic thumbnail
The internet always seems to slow down and stop working right when you need it most. The good news is there are several things you can do to help encourage your internet to pick up the pace:
Switchful article generic thumbnail
The most important factor in how much internet speed you need at home is how many devices are connecting at once. Most apps don’t use very much bandwidth on their own, but bandwidth (measured in megabits per second or Mbps) can add up quickly when multiple devices are using the internet. For example, a device streaming in 4K will require only 25 Mbps, and YouTube needs only 3 Mbps.
Switchful article generic thumbnail
Internet that won’t connect can be very frustrating. The problem could be as big as a widespread internet outage or as small as a loose cable connection.

Browse our internet resources

Read these helpful articles to become an expert on home internet, and get all the info you need to choose the right internet provider for your needs.

How we rank internet service providers

We want you to know how things work around here, how we make money, and how we decide which internet service providers are the best of the best.

We do it by knowing the marketplace—each of our experts looks at a wide range of providers so they know what’s good, what’s not so good, and what a typical experience looks like. Then, we apply mathematical formulas and criteria based on national benchmarks to be as objective—and as helpful—as possible.

If you can use the info we provide to make decision with confidence, we've done our job. But we get you might still be curious about exactly how we gain expertise and what goes into our research process.

The Switchful internet provider scoring system

Every piece of writing has to start with perspective, and we chose you, the customer. But how did we find out about what you know, what you think, and what you care about?

Well, we asked. We talked to a wide range of people who had switched internet providers in the previous 12 months to find out what info they needed, how they decided, what was frustrating about the process, and whether they were happy with the change. We also sourced written reviews from real everyday customers, not people with a bone to pick or a brand to promote.

From there, we created a scoring system that compares providers apples to apples (at least as much as possible). We focused on what we believe customers care about most, and added a dash of tech enthusiasm. Yes, the internet in today’s world is a utility. But it’s also pretty freaking cool!

We consider value, performance, equipment, installation, and customer experience in our internet provider ranking methodology.

Value

Our reviewers went right to the source to find out about available internet plans. We bypassed resellers and ads and looked up official figures from each provider. Then, we compared them to national pricing benchmarks from the FCC. (7) Next, we started genuine shopping cart experiences. We even engaged with chatbots to ask questions when providers were unclear. We had to stop short of ordering installation, but we were serious about simulating a real customer experience.

In the process, we saw clearly that value is about more than just cost per Mbps. That’s why we looked at different internet plan options and checked whether the higher-priced ones are worth the dough. Then, we checked whether contracts are required, looked up hidden costs (like that one weird Wi-Fi Activation fee), and found out how easy it is to cancel a service if you’re just not that into it.

Performance

Cheap internet is great, but you need a connection that’s fast and reliable to get anything done these days. To judge performance, our reviewers turned to both technical and human sources.

First, we scoured the web for data we could trust. Our first major find was the Measuring Broadband America report from the FCC. It’s a beast of a study, but has tons of great data on the speeds providers claim to offer, whether they achieve those speeds, how speeds vary by time of day, and even latency. We also turned to sources like Ookla, which uses its speed testing tools to track real-time speeds and outages from providers around the world.

Next, the human element. We relied on our own experiences on issues like data caps, throttling, and user error vs. bad ISP behavior. Then, we scoured the internet for customer reviews. We know not to trust everything we see in reviews, but we wanted to make sure we weren’t missing anything.

Equipment and installation

Our experts looked at everything it takes to get set up with a new internet provider, including how long installation takes and how much it costs. We checked whether you have to hire a pro or whether you can do it yourself. The providers that scored the highest in this category have free or inexpensive installation, short wait times, no hidden activation fees, and generous free trial periods.

We also looked at equipment offerings here. The best equipment should be easy to use, easy on the eyes, and not too expensive. Our reviewers looked closely at the modem and router (or Wi-Fi gateway) equipment offered by each internet service provider and checked whether there’s an app for things like tracking your monthly data usage or accessing parental controls. Last, we looked at equipment costs and found out whether you can bring your own.

Customer experience

This category is all about interacting with your internet service provider. We analyzed a nationwide report from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and read reviews from around the internet (but took them with a grain of salt, of course).

Then, our experts thought hard about the overall experience most customers have. We looked at perks, downsides, and how easy it is to get help. The more ways to access customer service and resolve problems, the better!

Availability

We decided not to include availability in our star ratings because we want to applaud any provider, anywhere, that’s doing a great job. However, we do use availability as a tie-breaker, because it’s just not very helpful to write about providers no one can get. We also give a little more weight to availability in our “best of” guides, with the goal of providing recommendations that are as useful as possible.

A note on affiliate marketing

Some of the providers we review pay us a referral fee if you click or call after reading our reviews. The editorial team doesn’t know which providers are part of this arrangement, because we want the folks on the ground to be 100% free of bias.

We know some people feel squeamish about affiliate marketing, but we’re serious about getting it right. We will never recommend one service over another just to make a little dough. We also won’t hold back criticism, because our #1 goal is to be helpful. We know we can do that only by being fair, accurate, and trustworthy at every step.

(1) "AT&T kills DSL, leaves tens of millions of homes without fiber Internet," ArsTechnica. Accessed 19 December 2022.

(2) "Why We’re Expanding One of the Country’s Largest Fiber Networks – and Why That Matters to You," AT&T Blog. Accessed 20 December 2022.

(3) "Measuring Broadband America," FCC. Accessed 26 January 2023.

(4) "Satisfaction Benchmarks by Company, Internet Service Providers," ACSI. Accessed 19 December 2022.

(5) "Fastests ISPs of 2022," Speetest.net. Accessed 19 December, 2022.

(6) "FCC National Broadband Map," FCC. Accessed 20 December, 2022.

(7) "2022 Urban Rate Survey," FCC. Accessed 16 January 2023.


The people behind our research
We believe the best information comes from first-hand customer experience and methodical research by subject-matter experts. We never source information from "content farms," and we don’t generate content using artificial intelligence (AI). You can trust that our recommendations are fact-checked meticulously and sourced appropriately by authentic, industry-recognized people.
Contributing researchers
Headshot of Kathryn Casna
Researched by
Kathryn CasnaSenior Staff Writer

Kathryn is a consumer advocate writer who helps people quickly and easily find the best products and services for their needs. Over the last decade, she's helped people navigate everything from Internet companies to Medicare plans to business software. When she's not geeking out about saving her readers time and money, you'll find her climbing the rocks of Utah—or asleep in her favorite hammock.

Rebecca Palmer smiles for the camera
Researched by
Rebecca PalmerSenior Staff Writer

Rebecca Palmer has been writing about tech and consumer finance since 2010. Her work has been featured in the Deseret News, Idaho Business Review, TopTenReviews.com, and more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and lives in Salt Lake City with her exceptionally delightful pup, Nymeria.

Contributing reviewers
Headshot of Vilja Johnson
Reviewed by
Vilja JohnsonVice President, Content and Creative

Vilja Johnson leads Switchful's editorial and creative teams. She has been editing content in the consumer tech space since 2016, and she has over a decade of experience teaching writing and editing. She's passionate about creating content that resonates with people and helps them solve real, day-to-day problems. In her free time, Vilja serves on the board of directors for the PrisonEd Foundation, where she runs a writing program for inmates in Utah prisons and jails.

Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor

Bri Field has a background in academia, research writing, and brand marketing. She has edited scientific publications, conference papers, digital content, and technical communications. As Assigning Editor, she enjoys ensuring all content is accurate, clear, and helpful. In her free time, you can find her in the kitchen trying a new recipe, out on a hike, or working through her massive TBR list.