Guide

Choose an internet service provider for your business

Different types of internet service providers

There are over 100 internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK. It is a very competitive market with lots of different offerings and deals. Even household names, such as banks and retailers, provide ISP services.

What is the role of ISPs and what do they do?

Internet service providers connect your personal or business computer, laptop, mobile device etc to the internet. ISPs may be commercial, non-profit, privately owned or community owned companies.

Most providers offer the same types of internet services to customers, including:

  • internet access
  • email access
  • domain name registration
  • web hosting
  • co-location (or data centre services)

Some ISPs also provide services such as website design or development of e-commerce facilities. See different types of ISPs.

Different types of ISP connections

ISPs use a range of technologies to enable customers' connection to their network. The most common types of internet connections include:

  • DSL (digital subscriber line)
  • cable broadband
  • fibre optic broadband
  • wireless or Wi-Fi broadband
  • satellite and mobile broadband
  • dedicated leased line

Most ISPs offer a range of packages aimed at different levels of users, based on factors such as the speed of connection, the number of email addresses needed or the amount of free web space. See how ISP pricing models work.

Choosing the right type of internet service provider

When selecting an ISP, you should carefully determine your ISP requirements. You should consider:

  • the type of services you need
  • the costs and quality of services
  • the number of users needing an internet connection
  • the location of the users
  • the bandwidth capacity
  • contention ratios and other terms and conditions of the service

See more on ISP tiers, connectivity and speed capacity.

You should also determine if, either now or in the future, you might need:

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) access
  • email access
  • website hosting services
  • domain registration
  • e-commerce facilities
  • use of online databases
  • access to cloud technologies

Keep in mind that, as your business grows, your requirements may change. Some ISPs offer flexible service plans or scalable solutions. You should examine your requirements carefully and consider all the various factors when choosing your ISP.