Having an internet connection in your home or business is pretty much a necessity for the modern individual. Our entire lives revolve around our connectivity to the web; from our social standing and interactions to dating, conducting business, finding the best deals or places to eat, researching information, and so much more.

Connecting to the internet is the easy part, but finding the right service provider can be a challenge and might make you want to reach for the Tylenol for that throbbing headache. We’ll make it easy for you this time; here’s what to look for in your internet provider. What makes them better than the rest?

1. Customer Service

Customer service should be the top priority for every modern business, but this concept seems to be lost on some of the big ISPs in the nation. Unfortunately, a select few have all but monopolized the industry, so your choices pretty much come down to less than ten. This means you’re going to have to settle for a big corporation, and let’s be honest; they’re not exactly known for putting customers first.

At&T and what is now Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable, are two of the largest providers in the nation but have both been previously renowned for their terrible customer service.

Comcast is another large telecom company and has also been the subject of scrutiny for the way the company treats its customers. If you’re looking for a differentiating factor in an industry that puts customers last, it’s definitely customer service.

Find a company that puts customer service at the top of its priority list so you can be confident with what you’re signing up for. You can find the best ISP on internetadvisor.com.

2. Consistency

There’s nothing more frustrating than a company that bounces all over the place and can’t stay consistent. Whether it’s with prices, terms of service or packages, a company that’s wrought with inconsistency simply can’t survive or serve its customers well. ISPs are well-known for introducing hidden fees, new mandatory equipment, and other less than ideal surprises to their customers; making it incredibly difficult to trust them.

Choose a service that doesn’t have a history of surprising its customers with hidden fees or new terms of service. Consistency is usually a good sign that the company isn’t just in it to rob customers blind and keep jacking up prices every year.

3. Pricing

Speaking of prices, we can’t leave out such an important detail. Every ISP claims to have the best service, the best value, the fastest speeds, and the best equipment, but it really comes down to you doing your own research. Don’t be afraid to compare similar packages across differing brands. One service likely charges way more than it needs to for something similar to the competition, and you’ll want to know if you can get it cheaper elsewhere before locking into a contract or agreement.

Be sure you’re getting the right package for your budget as well, and don’t let your ISP talk you into extra services or features that you don’t actually want or need. Yes, bundles can save you some money, but they often come with all kinds of extra add-ons and hidden fees that appear later on.

4. Options

Speaking of bundles, another consideration should be the options your service provider offers. You don’t want to be caught up with a company that only offers two packages. Options are great for those who want a simple service, such as solely internet service. There are some providers that require customers to purchase a bundle and not everyone wants a bundle.

Be sure the available options reflect your current needs, and also that they’re flexible enough to potentially meet different needs in the future. That is, don’t pick a service whose packages can’t be upgraded (or downgraded) as your internet service needs change over time.

5. Clear Terms and Contracts

Last, but certainly not least, you must take a close look at the terms of use or the contract you sign with your ISP. Be sure to read over everything carefully. Are you getting an introductory price that’s going to change in six months or a year? Does your plan go from month to month, or are you signing a fixed contract? Do you have to pay to rent equipment? Are prices subject to change?

Be aware that your ISP probably changes the terms of service/use now and then, but customers are supposed to be notified when such changes occur. Overall, your best bet is to simply read the entire agreement before you ever agree to sign up with an ISP. It’s in your best interest to take a little bit of extra time to fully understand what you’re getting into. READ THE FINE PRINT!