How to Transfer Internet When You Move
Most internet providers make it relatively easy to transfer your internet service—all you have to do is tell them where you’re going and schedule a date for activation and installation.
But in order for you to move your service, you’ll still have to be on your provider’s network in your new place. Otherwise you’ll need to find a new internet plan. And since you’re moving, you might want to check for other options that weren’t available to you before, like a cheaper or faster plan from a different provider.
We put together a step-by-step guide to successfully transferring your Wi-Fi to a new home. Our suggestions can help make your move as stress-free as possible.
Here’s a quick look at what you have to do before we go into specifics.
- Tell your ISP that you’re moving.
- See if you can move your internet service to your new home.
- Check for discounts or deals.
- Schedule a date for installation.
- Pack up your router and modem for the move.
- Run a speed test in your new home.
You can also check to see if there are other internet options in your area by using our zip check tool below:
Tell your internet provider that you’re moving
You’ll need to contact your internet service provider (ISPs) to see if you can transfer your Wi-Fi to a new home.
When: Aim to contact your provider at least two weeks before your move date so that you have a wide enough window of time to make arrangements for an activation date and professional setup, if necessary.
How: Whether you’re transferring internet service from AT&T, Xfinity, CenturyLink, Cox or another ISP, all you have to do is sign onto your account online or call a customer service agent to figure out how to move your internet. Take a look at the phone numbers and websites above to find more information.
If you’re setting up Wi-Fi in a new place for the first time, take a look at our guide to internet for apartments to figure out what to choose when it comes to speed, equipment, and connection type.
You’ll also need to figure out what to do if your homeowners association works exclusively with one internet service provider. That’s a relatively uncommon issue, so don’t worry too much. But you may need to discuss things with your HOA if you want to make any outdoor installations for a relatively new service like 5G internet.
See if you can move your internet to a new location
|Provider||Availability (% of U.S. population)||Regions where it’s available||View plans|
|Xfinity||71%||California, Texas, East Coast||View Plans|
|EarthLink||40%||East Coast, South, Midwest, West||View Plans|
|AT&T||45%||California, Texas, Midwest, South||View Plans|
|Spectrum||39%||New York, California, Midwest, South||View Plans|
|CenturyLink||20%||Midwest, South, West||View Plans|
|Cox||9%||West, South||View Plans|
|Mediacom||5%||Midwest, South, West||View Plans|
|Optimum||5%||East Coast||View Plans|
|Suddenlink||4%||South, West||View Plans|
When you’re moving to a new home, you’ll have to make sure you can get the same Wi-Fi service at your new location. There’s a good chance you can keep the same internet service if you aren’t moving far, but it may not be as likely if you’re moving to a new city or state.
You’ll need to double check with your provider by giving a customer service rep your address. And some things might be different about internet service in your new location. For example, you might be able to get faster speeds or a more reliable connection type that you couldn’t get before. (Let’s hope you won’t get slower speeds!) Ask your customer service agent if there will be any significant changes to your Wi-Fi package when you transfer your internet.
You can see if your ISP has service at your new address by typing the zip code in our search tool below.
What if you have to change internet providers?
If you can’t transfer the same service to your new home, you can definitely cancel your service and find a new plan from a new provider. This is also an option if you’re tired of your current service and want a change.
Before you cancel, check with your current Wi-Fi provider to see how much you would have to pay in early termination fees (ETFs). And shop around for a good deal from a new ISP—some providers, like Spectrum, even have offers to buy out your previous contract. You can find more tips in our guide to canceling your internet service.
Check for discounts or deals
As you’re making plans to move your internet, ask your provider if you can get a discount or deal as part of your move.
Many ISPs give promotional rates and other discounts to new customers, so if you’re open for a change, definitely consider choosing a new internet provider and a new plan instead of sticking to your old one.
But there are benefits to keeping the same service too, including convenience and not having to pay early termination fees. If you decide to keep the same provider as you transfer your Wi-Fi to a new home, you can still press for a good deal. Depending on what’s available from your ISP, you may be able to get one of these perks:
- A promotional price that’s lower than your current bill
- A discounted rate that comes with a TV or phone bundle
- A faster speed at the same price
- A much better internet connection type (like fiber) for a slightly higher price
Moving is no fun, but this is one way to make lemonade out of lemons.
Take a look at our Best Internet Deals page for a rundown of the latest discounts and bargains on internet packages.
Schedule a date for activation and installation at your new home
Once you’ve figured out what your new internet will be, pick a date for when your new service should start up. It’s probably easiest to pick the day that you move in.
You’ll also want to schedule a time for when a technician can come by and set up your Wi-Fi. Not all homes are properly wired to have cable and fiber internet, so you might need someone to lay down cables or replace ones that are old and worn out.
But you won’t have to worry as much about professional installation if your home is already wired properly. If all you need to do is plug in some cables and set up your router, you can install your new internet yourself—which is probably the safest option during the pandemic.
Pack up your equipment for the move
Alright, now you’ve gotten to the easiest part. Moving your router is easy—just unplug it from the wall and pack it up with your modem and any related cables. Make sure to label the box as “Wi-Fi stuff” (or something like that) so your Wi-Fi goodies don’t get lost in the shuffle.
As for your modem, it will need to be authenticated with your ISP to work at the new location. (This goes the same if you have a modem/router combo.) It will work fine in the new place if you rented it from your internet provider—just let them know that you’re taking it with you and have the same equipment. If you bought the modem yourself, look on the box or search online to confirm that it’s cleared to work on your ISP’s network.
You can use your phone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot if there’s a delay between your move date and when you can reactivate your internet. Learn to set up your phone’s Wi-Fi tethering function with our phone hotspot guide.
Once you’ve moved your Wi-Fi to your new home, run a speed test
You can officially breathe a sigh of relief once your internet is all set up and working properly in your new home. Just to be thorough, run a few speed tests on your new system to make sure you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for.
You can use our speed test tool—it takes only a couple minutes.
How to run a speed test: Close out of all your windows and apps and run the test. Try it a few different times and see if you get different speeds throughout the day. Your speed will likely fluctuate, but if you’re happy with how it’s running, then congratulations: you have successfully transferred your internet service to a new house. Hurray!
FAQ about transferring your internet service
How do I move my router?
You can move your router to a new address in four easy steps:
- Unplug it.
- Pack it up.
- Connect it at your new place.
- Sync it to your new Wi-Fi.
Most routers are compatible with a wide range of internet setups and connections, but you’ll likely need to create new settings (including a new login password).
Moving a modem or modem/router combo can sometimes be a little more tricky. A modem needs to be cleared for use from your internet provider in order for it to work on the ISP’s network—but you can confirm that it’s good to go just by looking on the box or searching for your modem’s model online.
Can I take my modem to another house?
You can take your modem to another house so long as it works with the same internet connection type you have in your new home. It also has to be certified to work on your new internet provider’s network. Otherwise you’ll need to get a new modem or rent one from your provider.
Can I set up internet before I move in?
Unless you have a special arrangement with the landlord or previous tenant, you likely will need to be present in your new home before you can activate and set up your internet. Call your ISP ahead of time to schedule a date for activation—it’s best to choose the day you move in.
If your new place isn’t wired for internet already, you’ll also need to schedule a time for professional installation. Make sure to contact your ISP ahead of time (two weeks at least) so you won’t have a long wait between moving in and setting up your Wi-Fi.
Author - Peter Holslin
Peter Holslin has spent more than a decade writing for Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless other publications. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008. Since then, he has roved from city to city and lived overseas, mastering his craft as an editor, staff writer, and freelancer while also acquiring ninja-like skills to address feeble Wi-Fi speeds and other internet challenges.
Editor - Aaron Gates