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.

Step-by-step guide

Here’s a quick look at what you have to do before we go into specifics:

 

Step 1: Tell your ISP that you’re moving.

Step 2: See if you can move your internet service to your new home.

Step 3: Check for discounts or deals.

Step 4: Install and activate your new internet service.

Step 5: 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.

Pro tip:

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

ProviderAvailability (% of U.S. population)Regions where it’s availableView plans
Xfinity71%California, Texas, South, East CoastView Plans
EarthLink40%East Coast, South, Midwest, WestView Plans
AT&T45%California, Texas, Midwest, South
Spectrum39%New York, California, Midwest, SouthView Plans
CenturyLink20%Midwest, South, WestView Plans
Cox9%West, SouthView Plans
Mediacom5%Midwest, South, WestView Plans
Optimum9%West, Midwest, South, East CoastView 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 internet package when you transfer your service.

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?

Before you cancel, check with your current ISP to see if you have to pay in early termination fees (ETFs). Your ISP may waive ETFs for certain circumstances, such as moving outside its coverage area, moving into bulk housing that uses a different ISP, or moving for military deployment. Make sure to ask about early termination fee exceptions if you cancel your service.  You can also check to see if any of your new ISP options offer a contract buyout to get your business. You can find more tips in our guide to canceling your internet service.

Check for discounts or deals

When you first sign up with a new provider, it’s common to get discounted promotional pricing—so be on the lookout for deals when choosing your next ISP.

Even if you stick with the same provider, you still may be able to leverage your move to get a discount. It usually depends on if you’ve completed your current contract or not. Be sure to ask if you’re eligible for new customer pricing when you schedule your move with your ISP.

Whether you’re using the same provider or moving on to a new one, moving to a new place presents a terrific opportunity to look for awesome internet deals. You may be able to get any 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.

Pro tip:

Take a look at our Best Internet Deals page for a rundown of the latest discounts and bargains on internet packages.

Install and activate your new internet service

To set up your internet, you first need to determine if your new home is wired up for service. If it is, just schedule the service activation with the ISP, plug in your equipment, and you’re good to go. If it isn’t, you’ll need to schedule an installation.

Usually, only an ISP tech is going to be able to tell you if your new place is 100% ready for rockin’ Wi-Fi, but here are a couple of ways you can make a reasonably accurate guess:

  • Ask the ISP the last time service was active at your new address. If the last owner or tenant had the same internet service, chances are all the cabling is still in place and operational. If the previous resident used a different internet, TV, or phone service that rerouted the home’s cabling, you probably need to schedule an install.
  • See if your modem goes online. Usually, a modem will go online if there’s a clear connection to the ISP’s network, even if the service isn’t active—it won’t provide internet access, but it should connect. If you have access to your new place and have your modem, try hooking it up and check the modem status lights to see if it goes online. If it does, all that’s left to do is call the ISP to activate once you’re ready to make the switch from your old place. If your modem doesn’t go online, you probably need a tech to come out.

Once you’ve figured out whether or not you need an install, it’s time to schedule your service activation. If you’re keeping the same ISP, note that you usually can’t have internet access at your old address and your new address at the same time (unless you want to pay double), so make sure you don’t still need internet at your old home when you schedule the service to switch over.

If you do need an install, clear some time off your calendar. Prepare to live without internet for up to four hours—looking at you, remote workers.

Pro tip:

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. Make sure you notify your ISP before using the modem at the new address.

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 has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Aaron Gates