For many gamers, the only thing holding them back is the quality of their internet access. While new customers often get competitive deals, data caps can inhibit download speeds, streaming capability, and online performance. If you’re tired of waiting hours for a simple file to download and you want to ditch the data caps, it’s important to know how to get solid, consistent internet access.
So, do you go with some of the big names in the business, or do you find alternative ways to secure those high speeds? If you’re a top-level gamer, here’s what you need to know.
1. Invest in a VPS
While a VPS, or virtual private server, may not seem immediately cost-effective, a VPS will typically pay itself off fairly quickly. By using a virtual private server, you have a greater level of control over your online performance. On top of that, you’re not dependent upon someone else’s internet connection or server status to game. Your VPS choice will depend on your operating system and you’ll need to know how to handle backups and the VPS control panel. For instance, if you plan on using a Windows server, you’ll need a VPS Windows setup. Installing a VPS is a fairly streamlined process and works with many internet plans and internet providers for added reliability.
2. Fiber Internet
When you’re weighing up internet service costs against benefits, fiber beats out broadband internet every time. Many internet service providers (ISPs) don’t cap fiber like they do with broadband. This means you can get unlimited data without bumping up your monthly bill as a result of overages. While fiber may be restrictive for low-income families, it’s ideal for individuals who want high upload speeds, fast downloads, and maximum uptime. While it may not be “cheap internet,” necessarily, it’s perhaps the most cost-effective method.
3. Upgraded Internet Essentials
Sometimes, it’s not your ISP holding you back, but your hardware instead. Router technology has improved several times over the past few years and if your router is struggling to keep up, you may need an upgrade. Your best bet is to purchase a new piece of hardware with added bandwidth and a life guarantee. Wi-fi hotspot connectivity is an added plus as well. On top of that, if you get a repeater, you can create a mesh network for whole-home coverage. Your best option is to read the specifics and fine print of each model. While a router may promise faster speeds, some hardware doesn’t perform as well. Keep an eye out for discounts and price increases as well, as these can fluctuate.
4. Big Name Brands
Many of the larger internet brands (like Comcast, Cox, CenturyLink, and AT&T) offer discounts for new customers, but these can come with additional costs later on down the road. Some larger brands overcharge for their top speeds, and others have added fees for wi-fi hotspots and unlimited data. If you’re looking for a cheap internet plan, a top brand may be beneficial as long as you’re within the discount window. Few of these brands offer life guarantees for speeds or performance in the long run.
5. Free Internet
While free internet is unlikely to be a consistent option for a gamer, it can work as a backup option. For instance, in North America, many public library buildings offer free internet for members. Likewise, college students living on campus can take advantage of sponsored internet. While you’re more likely to see interruptions, the good news is that you won’t have to maintain a dedicated server, worry about early termination fees, or pay a monthly price. It may not be an excellent performer, but free internet can be a dedicated resource.
If you’re looking for a low-cost internet plan, you’re going to want to weigh the cost against value. Often, the cheaper options won’t give you the gaming performance you need. It’s also important to consider modem rental costs, installation fees, and malware prevention software. Making the right choice means looking at your different needs and what level of gaming you have requirements for. Once you’ve done that, you can find a cheap internet plan that works for you.