ISPs offer services like email and internet access. Compare factors like security, services, and cost so that you find an ISP that supports all of your needs.
An ISP, or internet service provider, is a company that provides its customers access to the internet and other web services. In addition to maintaining a direct line to the internet, the company usually maintains web servers. By supplying necessary software, a password-protected user account, and a way to connect to the internet (e.g., modem, phone number), ISPs offer their customers the capability to browse the web and exchange email with other people. Some ISPs also offer additional services.
ISPs can vary in size—some are operated by one individual, while others are large corporations. They may also vary in scope—some only support users in a particular city, while others have regional or national capabilities.
Almost all ISPs offer email and web browsing capabilities. They also offer varying degrees of user support, usually in the form of an email address or customer support hotline. Most ISPs also offer web hosting capabilities, allowing users to create and maintain personal web pages; and some may even offer the service of developing the pages for you. Many ISPs offer the option of high-speed access through DSL or cable modems, and some still offer dial-up connections.
As part of normal operation, most ISPs perform backups of email and web files. If the ability to recover email and web files is important to you, check with your ISP to see if they back up the data; it might not be advertised as a service. Additionally, some ISPs may implement firewalls to block some incoming traffic, although you should consider this a supplement to your own security precautions, not a replacement.
There are thousands of ISPs, and it's often difficult to decide which one best suits your needs. Some factors to consider include
Author: Mindi McDowell