How to select an Internet Service Provider (ISP):
from finding, to selecting, to signing up, to deciding
whether to stay with that ISP.
This guide is written for people who live in Ocean
County, New Jersey. If you live elsewhere, you may
have to change these instructions to fit conditions
in your area.
The Library does not recommend particular ISP’s.
As a library we do not promote particular companies.
You may have free trial software for several ISP’s
already installed on your computer. If you want
to sign up with one of those, click on the icon
and follow the instructions. If you would like to
look for other ISP’s, you may use an ISP
Once you locate potential
ISP’s, check their Web sites. Much of the information
you need to make a choice may be on the potential
ISP’s Web site. You should ask:
- What is the cost,
and over what time period? How long a time commitment
does the ISP require? Purchase of some computers
includes Internet service for a period of time.
- Does the ISP have
a local access number? Check their Web site for
the telephone numbers they show as local. Then
check the numbers in the Verizon white pages to
make sure they really are local. The ISP does
not decide whether a number is local. Verizon
makes that decision. If you select a number which
is not local for your phone number, every time
you log in you are making a toll call. If the
ISP has no local number, select another ISP.
- What are their system
requirements? Check what features that ISP requires
your computer to have.
- What sorts of connections
does the ISP offer? There are several types of
connections now available. Many people start out
with a dial-up connection, which runs over standard
- What features does
the ISP provide as part of your service? This
may include multiple e-mail accounts, Web site
hosting, and others.
- Has anyone you know
dealt with that ISP? Does he or she recommend
- What time commitment
are you willing to make with an ISP? Are you willing
to commit for longer than one month to a company,
without knowing how good their service is?
Once you have answered
your questions, you can select an ISP, and sign
up. Follow the ISP’s signup procedures. If you
have access to an Internet connection, you may be
able to download the ISP’s software. The Ocean
County Library does not permit downloading on our
Internet computers, however. If you cannot download
the software, many ISP’s will send you a program
disk on request. Often ISP’s will offer you a
free trial. If you get a free trial, use it to consider
- When you try to
dial in, do you often get busy signals before
you are actually able to get through?
- Once you successfully
log in, does the ISP disconnect you before you
are ready to sign off?
- When you log in,
do you have to move through several ISP screens
before you can actually access the Web? Many ISP’s
configure your Web browser to start with the ISP’s
Web page. Can you change the Web browser to start
with another Web page, if you want to?
- How fast is the
connection? Connection speed may be affected by
your computer, particularly if you have an older
computer or a slower modem. You
can do a speed test at CNET Web Services.
- If you need technical
support, is it available when you need it? Do
you have to wait a long time? Once you are able
to contact someone, is he or she able to help
you to solve the problem?
Even if you do not
get a free trial, keep track of your experience.
If you do not like your current ISP’s service,
look for another ISP, sign up with the new ISP,
and cancel the first. There are hundreds of choices.
Keep trying until you find one that gives you
the service you want. It is very easy to find
ISP’s. And it is very easy to change ISP’s,
as long as you have not made a long-term commitment
to the old one.
Reviews: Internet Services
As well as ISP directories, CNET provides product
reviews and descriptions of the types of service
Over 9,700 ISP’s appear on The List. The
List shows the type of connection each ISP offers.
You may search by area
area codes 609
Costs are not shown until you access each ISP’s
own Web site.
questions? We have answers!
and Compiled by C. Paulson