There are a huge number of factors to consider, and their relative importance will depend on your needs. Head over to http://www.dslreports.com/ to get a feel for what is causing other customers pain. Here's a quick list of what factors to consider when evaluating ISPs:
- Upfront and ongoing costs.
- Upstream and downstream last-mile bandwidth (the speed from the ISP to your network).
- Average wait time for support calls.
- Average uptime (usually expressed as a percentage, such as 99.9%).
- Static IP vs. Dynamic IP (with Static IP being better only if you host a server).
- Security services, such as a firewall, filtering router, or intrusion detection.
- The bandwidth the ISP has to other ISPs, and the redundancy of those connections.
- Additional services that you may need, such as e-mail, Web hosting, and newsgroups.
This was first published in February 2004