The best internet providers for gaming

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Verizon Fios – Best overall internet provider for gaming

  • Prices: $50 – $120 per month
  • Speeds: 300 – 2,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service

Or call to learn more: (833) 852-0491

Cox Communications – Best internet provider for PC gaming

  • Prices: $40 – $100 per month
  • Speeds: 25 – 2,000Mbps
  • Key Info: 1.25TB monthly data allowance, lots of plan options, unique gaming add-on

Or call to learn more: (855) 856-5301

Astound Broadband – Best gaming router offer

  • Prices: $20 – $80 per month
  • Speeds: 100 – 1,500Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, low promo prices, no contracts

Or call to learn more: (877) 252-4892

It’s one thing to lose an online game or let your teammates down due to a lack of skill or being outmatched by your opponent. It’s another to lose because of a bad internet connection.

What’s the best internet provider for gaming?

Slow, unreliable internet speeds and a lagging connection can be a gamer’s greatest foe, but one that can be overcome fairly easily with the right internet service. Verizon Fios gets our vote for best overall internet service provider for gaming, thanks to low latency and fast, reliable speeds. Still, other providers, especially those of the cable and fiber variety, are also ideal for gaming. Some, like Cox with its Elite Gamer add-on, offer specific services or equipment to further help gamers gain a competitive edge. 

Here on CNET, we’re keeping track of the top internet providers, so we’ll add the best ISPs for gaming to this list whenever we spot them. For now, here’s a look at our picks of the top ISPs for gaming.

Top internet providers for gaming

Speed range

300 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $120 per month

Our take – Verizon Fios speed tiers — 300Mbps, 500Mbps, 1Gbps and, in some places, 2Gbps — all offer plenty of upload and download speed for online gaming. The provider also excels at another important gaming factor: latency. 

Or call to learn more: (833) 852-0491

Check with Verizon

Speed range

300 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $120 per month

Connection

Cable, some fiber

Speed range

25 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $100 per month

Our take – Cox is one of the largest cable internet providers in the country, and it’s one of the only ones that offers a feature dedicated to online PC gaming (Mac and gaming consoles aren’t supported, unfortunately). 

Or call to learn more: (855) 856-5301

Check with Cox

Connection

Cable, some fiber

Speed range

25 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $100 per month

Speed range

100 – 1,500 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $80 per month

Our take – Cox might have software that does what a gaming router does, but Astound goes further and gives customers the option of renting a gaming router for just $13 per month. Specifically, it’s the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming router, which boasts high speeds, low latency and support for Wi-Fi 6.

Or call to learn more: (877) 252-4892

Check with Astound

Speed range

100 – 1,500 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $80 per month

Best internet providers for gaming: Honorable mentions

The providers listed above boast special offers or features targeted directly at gamers, but they’re not the only ISPs that you can rely on for online gaming. Here are some others you may want to consider for gaming.

AT&T Fiber: I recommend a fiber connection over any other connection type for all online activity, including gaming. AT&T is the largest fiber provider in the nation, and even its cheapest plan (300Mbps at $55 monthly) can deliver more than enough gaming speed. Additionally, recent Ookla speed test results placed AT&T third in the US in lowest latency at 21ms.

Frontier Fiber: Again, a solid fiber connection is the way to go when gaming. While Frontier doesn’t offer any specific incentives for gaming, the fast speed tiers — 500Mbps, 1Gbps, 2Gbps and 5Gbps — are ample speed for multiple players and gaming devices.

Spectrum: Our top pick for the best cable internet provider, Spectrum Internet comes with fast speeds for a decent, transparent monthly price. With a free modem and low router rental fee of $5 per month, you can keep added fees to a minimum and save that extra money for games and loot boxes. 

Xfinity: Ookla reports Xfinity speeds are fast and consistent. In recent speed test results, Xfinity landed the third-fastest median speeds, 236Mbps, and the second-highest consistency of speeds over 25Mbps at 91.6%.

Best internet for gaming FAQs

What’s a good speed for online gaming?

You don’t need a ton of speed for online gaming. Most PC and gaming console manufacturers require download speeds of around 10Mbps for online gaming. Still, I’d recommend an internet plan with max speeds of at least 25Mbps to accommodate speed fluctuations when gaming over Wi-Fi and to ensure you’ve got bandwidth for other devices.

Latency is a larger concern than speed when it comes to online gaming. A latency of 20 milliseconds to 40ms is generally ideal for gaming, but anything higher, especially over 100ms, can result in excessive lagging. Fiber and cable internet providers will be your best bet for consistently low latency. 

How can I reduce latency?

Routers or software that prioritize gaming traffic, like Cox’s Gamer Elite or the high-end gaming router available to rent from Astound, can significantly lower your latency while gaming. 

You can also strengthen your internet signal by using a wired connection versus Wi-Fi and limiting the number of active devices on your network while gaming. 

Upgrading to a better internet service, such as fiber over cable internet or cable internet over DSL, can also drastically improve your latency numbers. 

Is satellite internet good for gaming?

Satellite internet isn’t good for online gaming. Its main role is providing internet service and connectivity in rural areas where fixed connections (like cable and fiber) are unavailable.

With satellite internet, signals must travel thousands of miles between your dish and the orbiting satellite, resulting in much higher latency than other connection types. Latency over satellite internet can easily reach 400ms to 500ms, rendering real-time online games virtually unplayable.

The one exception to that rule is Starlink, which uses low-orbit satellites and boasts latency between 25-60 milliseconds.

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