How to choose an internet service provider
- 1 Assess your Internet needs (see points 2-9): your Internet requirements form the basis for choosing a suitable Internet service provider (ISP).
- 2 Establish whether you want an Internet connection for a single computer or a network; consider how many email addresses you want.
- 3 Determine what type of connection you require: standard dial-up or a faster broadband connection.
- 4 Decide if you want the ISP to host your website; if so, estimate how large the site will be and how much traffic is likely.
- 5 Decide whether you want to register and own one or more domain names you have chosen.
- 6 Investigate whether you will use any special technologies: for example, for handling e-commerce payments or linking to a database.
- 7 Consider whether you need access from outside the office, or even internationally.
- 8 Assess whether you are likely to need support: for example, troubleshooting or building and maintaining your website.
- 9 Consider how your Internet needs are likely to change in future.
- 10 Seek ISP recommendations from your IT experts, advisers and contacts with similar Internet needs.
- 11 Check which ISPs meet your requirements and whether they offer any extras you would find useful, such as software.
- 12 Compare costs, including any set-up and domain-name registration fees, annual fees, call costs, web space or usage charges and support costs.
- 13 Investigate ISPs' reputations for speed and reliability; look for published performance data and check whether they have signed up to the Internet Service Providers' Association's code of practice.
- 14 Check what security measures they provide to protect your email and website (if required) against viruses, unsolicited emails and hacking.
- 15 Check what contract terms the ISP offers - for example, contract duration and service standards - and how problems will be handled.
- base the decision on your requirements
- choose an ISP likely to meet your future needs
- assess costs based on how you will use the Internet
- assume all ISPs offer good service