Best Internet for Gaming 2022

Our experts examine proprietary data to determine which internet service is the best for gaming online.

  • Best overall
    • Lowest latency
    • Expensive gigabit plan
    • Avg. latency: 12.7 ms
    • Max advertised speeds: 2,000 Mbps
    • Prices: $39.99–$119.99/mo.
  • Best for availability
    • Wide availability
    • Price hikes
    • Avg. latency: 32 ms
    • Max advertised speeds: Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)
    • Prices: $49.99–$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.
  • Best for cable speed
    • Fastest cable plan
    • 1.2 TB data cap
    • Avg. latency: 23.5 ms
    • Max advertised speeds: 6,000 Mbps
    • Prices: $25.00–$299.95/mo.
  • Best for price
    • Affordable fiber
    • Limited availability
    • Avg. latency: 25.3 ms
    • Max advertised speeds: 5,000 Mbps
    • Prices: $55.00–$180.00/mo.
  • Best for fiber speed
    • Fastest fiber speeds
    • Limited availability
    • Avg. latency: 27.4 ms
    • Max advertised speeds: 2,000 Mbps
    • Prices: $70.00–$100.00/mo.

Our pick: Which internet service is best for gaming?

The best internet service for gaming is Verizon Fios. It uses fiber to deliver connections with the lowest average latency according to our tests. It also has the second-best average upload and download speeds.

If you don’t have access to fiber, your next best option is cable internet through Spectrum or Xfinity. Spectrum has the widest availability and no modem fees, while Xfinity offers the fastest cable speed in the nation.

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The 10 best internet providers for gaming

Best internet for gaming

ProviderAverage latencyMax advertised speedPriceGet connected
Best overall
12.7 ms2,000 Mbps$39.99–$119.99/mo.§
Best for availability Spectrum
32.4 msUp to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)$49.99–$89.99/mo.**
Best for cable speed Xfinity
23.5 ms6,000 Mbps$25.00–$299.95/mo.‡‡
Best for price
25.3 ms5,000 Mbps†$55.00–$180.00/mo.*
Best for fiber speed
27.4 ms2,000 Mbps$70.00–$100.00/mo.##
Best for customer service Cox Communications
30.2 msUp to 1,000 Mbps$49.99–$99.99/mo.#
Best for rural gamers Optimum 33.2 ms5,000 Mbps$30.00–$165.00/mo.††
Best for the Midwest MetroNet
25.4 ms1,000 Mbps$39.95–$69.95/mo.+
Best for cable latency Astound Broadband
19.5 ms940 Mbps$19.95–$49.99/mo.++
Best for budgets Sparklight
39.0 ms1,000 Mbps$39.00–$125.00/mo.‡

Provider comparisons at a glance

ServiceUnlimited data20 ms latency
or lower
Fast uploadsWide Availability
Astound Broadband
Cox Communications
MetroNet
Sparklight
Spectrum
Optimum
Xfinity

What should you look for in the best internet for gaming?

You need an internet service that doesn’t add to your overall latency. The connection to your internet provider’s network should be quick, so the only real latency issues are between your provider and the remote server.

That said, you should shop for a fiber internet service first. Fiber transmits data more efficiently than cable or DSL. Plus, fiber supports symmetrical speeds, which is essential for livestreamers who broadcast gameplay to Twitch and Facebook Gaming.

Upload speeds should take priority over download speeds too. You don’t want your gameplay input dragging along at a snail’s pace as it travels to the gaming server.

How much speed do you really need for gaming?

Believe it or not, you don’t need superfast download speeds to play games online. We show you exactly what you need for gaming networks, game streaming services, and livestreaming in our guide to internet speeds for gaming.

Best overall—Verizon Fios

Best overall

$39.99–$119.99/mo.

Specs:

  • Connection type: Fiber
  • Maximum advertised speed: 2,000 Mbps
  • Average latency: 12.7 ms
  • Data cap: No
  • States covered: 11

 

Verizon Fios has the best average latency, which is exactly what you want. Verizon’s internal network won’t bottleneck your connection, unlike others on our list. The only other provider that comes close to Verizon Fios is Astound Broadband.

Verizon offers six fiber plans in all, and all of them have symmetrical speeds. You can get the Internet 300/300 plan and have identical upload and download speeds of up to 300 Mbps, so there’s no real worry about latency due to upload speeds. Cable internet can’t promise the same peace of mind.

The drawback is that Verizon Fios doesn’t go beyond 2,000 Mbps, unlike Xfinity and AT&T. On the flip side, Verizon has a larger fiber footprint than AT&T: 65% of its service area has fiber whereas AT&T’s fiber covers 31% of its service areas.

If you want fiber for internet gaming or livestreaming, Verizon Fios is an excellent choice.

Verizon Fios plans and pricing

PackagePriceMax downloadMax uploadDetails
Internet 200/200$49.99/mo.*Up to 200 MbpsUp to 200 Mbps
Internet 300/300$49.99/mo.*Up to 300 MbpsUp to 300 Mbps
Internet 400/400$69.99/mo.*Up to 400 MbpsUp to 400 Mbps
Internet 500/500$69.99/mo.*Up to 500 MbpsUp to 500 Mbps
Internet 1 Gig$89.99/mo.†Up to 940 MbpsUp to 880 Mbps
Internet 2 Gig$119.99/mo.‡Up to 2,048 MbpsUp to 2,048 Mbps

Best availability—Spectrum

Best overall

$49.99–$89.99/mo.

Specs:

  • Connection type: Cable
  • Maximum advertised speed: 1,000 Mbps
  • Average latency: 32.4 ms
  • Data cap: No
  • States covered: 42

 

Spectrum has the widest availability of all the internet providers on our list, covering 38.3% of the US. It delivers cable internet and streamlines your selections to just three plans. There’s a plan for low-income households too, but it’s not ideal for online gaming.

The big selling point for Spectrum is that it doesn’t have a data cap. Its biggest competitor, Xfinity, limits your data allowance to 1.2 TB per month and charges an additional $30 a month for unlimited data. Spectrum doesn’t do that, which is vital, given that game files and updates shoot up into gigabytes.

Spectrum also doesn’t have a monthly modem rental fee, but you will be charged a monthly WiFi access fee unless you install a store-bought gaming router. If you want Spectrum’s gigabit plan, you’ll need to pay a one-time $199 setup fee.

Overall. Spectrum’s cable internet service is your best bet for competitive gaming online if fiber isn’t available in your area. You can’t go wrong with the Spectrum Internet® and Spectrum Internet® Ultra plans.

Spectrum plans and pricing

PackagePriceMax downloadMax uploadDetails
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 300 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)Up to 10 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 500 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)Up to 20 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)
Spectrum Internet® Gig$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.†Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)Up to 35 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

Best for cable speed—Xfinity

Best overall

$20.00–$299.99/mo.

Specs:

  • Connection type: Cable, fiber
  • Maximum advertised speed: 6,000 Mbps
  • Average latency: 23.5 ms
  • Data cap: Yes
  • States covered: 40

 

Xfinity is the third-largest internet provider, covering 34.2% of the US. That gives it the upper hand over Astound Broadband, another cable internet provider with better latency but a smaller footprint. Spectrum is Xfinity’s biggest competitor and has a slightly higher latency.

Xfinity’s cable internet plans reach up to 1,200 Mbps in download speed and up to 35 Mbps in upload speed. Xfinity offers a fiber plan too, but it’s so scarce that just .02% of the company’s entire network has access. Plus, it’s expensive and comes with high installation fees. We don’t recommend this plan even though we prefer fiber over cable.

The big drawback with Xfinity is its 1.2 TB data cap—it’s one of seven that limit your data each month. That can be problematic if you install digital games rather than physical ones. The cap can also be a burden when installing updates that reach up to 100 GB and beyond. You can pay an extra $30 per month for unlimited data, but that’s an extra $360 per year.

That said, if fiber or Spectrum isn’t available in your area, Xfinity is your next best choice for gaming online.

Xfinity plans and pricing

PackagePriceMax downloadMax uploadDetails
Connect$25.00/mo.*Up to 50 MbpsUp to 5 Mbps
Connect More$40.00/mo.*Up to 100 MbpsUp to 5 Mbps
Fast$50.00/mo.*Up to 300 MbpsUp to 5 Mbps
Superfast$50.00/mo.*Up to 600 MbpsUp to 10 Mbps
Ultrafast$60.00/mo.*Up to 900 MbpsUp to 15 Mbps
Gigabit Extra$70.00/mo.*1,200 Mbps35 Mbps
Gigabit X3 (fiber)$299.95/mo.†3,000 Mbps3,000 Mbps

Best for price—AT&T

Best for price

$55.00–$180.00/mo.

Specs:

  • Connection type: Fiber, DSL
  • Maximum advertised speed: 5,000 Mbps
  • Average latency: 25.3 ms
  • Data cap: No
  • States covered: 21

 

AT&T is now the fastest big-name internet provider in the US with its new 5 Gbps plan, which, honestly, is a little overkill for home internet. A single 8K video stream will probably require at least 50 Mbps, so even a gigabit plan should handle the load easily. AT&T isn’t the fastest peddler on the block, though—there are some smaller providers with 10 Gbps plans.

As a gamer, you want AT&T’s fiber internet over its DSL service. Sure, you can game online with DSL, but you will see better speeds if you go with fiber—which translates to better latency. Surprisingly, AT&T has a lower latency average than Google Fiber, but it’s far higher than Verizon Fios (fiber), Astound Broadband (cable), and Xfinity (cable).

AT&T is one of the best high speed internet providers in terms of price. It ranked third in our annual customer satisfaction survey for customer satisfaction with pricing, behind only EarthLink and Verizon. That said, you can get AT&T’s 500 Mbps fiber plan for $65 per month, which is slightly cheaper than Spectrum’s 500 Mbps cable plan. So you can see why AT&T is our choice in the “best for price” category.

AT&T is the second-largest internet provider on our list, serving 36.5% of the US. Its fiber plans don’t have data caps, but its DSL and fixed wireless internet services do.

Overall, you should choose a fiber plan from AT&T if it’s in your area—even if Verizon Fios offers a similar service.

AT&T plans and pricing

PackagePriceMax downloadMax uploadDetails
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet$59.99/mo.*25 Mbps1 Mbps
AT&T Internet Up to 75 Mbps (DSL)$55.00/mo.†75 Mbps8 Mbps
AT&T Internet Up to 100 Mbps (DSL)$55.00/mo.‡100 Mbps20 Mbps
AT&T Internet 100 (fiber)$55.00/mo.‡100 Mbps100 Mbps
AT&T Internet 300 (fiber)$55.00/mo.§300 Mbps300 Mbps
AT&T Internet 500 (fiber)$65.00/mo.§500 Mbps500 Mbps
AT&T Internet 1000 (fiber)$80.00/mo.||1,000 Mbps‡880 Mbps
AT&T Internet 2000 (fiber)$110.00/mo.#2,000 Mbps‡880 Mbps
AT&T Internet 5000 (fiber)$180.00/mo.**5,000 Mbps‡880 Mbps

Best for fiber speed—Google Fiber

Best for fiber speed

$70.00–$100.00/mo.

Specs:

  • Connection type: Fiber
  • Maximum advertised speed: 2,000 Mbps
  • Average latency: 27.4 ms
  • Data cap: No
  • States covered: 9

 

Google Fiber offers some of the fastest residential fiber optic internet speeds on the planet, reaching up to 2,000 Mbps. But it’s also extremely limited in availability, covering just 1.3% of the US. Right now you can get it in 11 locations, including Atlanta, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and Kansas City.

Google Fiber’s biggest competitor is AT&T in terms of speed. Both offer similar 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps fiber-based plans, but AT&T has a larger fiber footprint and a faster 5 Gbps plan. Of the two, Google Fiber is $10 cheaper each month than AT&T, but they’re both cheaper than Xfinity’s X3 plan costing $299.95 per month for a 3 Gbps connection.

Surprisingly, Google Fiber’s average latency is more than doubled that of Verizon Fios at 27.4 ms, but you’ll see faster speeds with Google. Both Google Fiber plans lock the maximum upload speeds to 1,000 Mbps, while Verizon’s maximum is 880 Mbps. In contrast, Xfinity’s Gigabit X3 and Gigabit Pro plans reach up to 3,000 Mbps and 6,000 Mbps, respectively, in upload speeds for a hefty $299.95 per month.

We strongly recommend Google Fiber if it’s available in your area.

Google Fiber plans and pricing

PackagePriceMax downloadMax uploadDetails
Google Fiber 1 Gig$70.00/mo.*1,000 Mbps1,000 Mbps
Google Fiber 2 Gig$100.00/mo.*2,000 Mbps1,000 Mbps

Also recommended for gaming online

In addition to those listed above, many internet providers across the US can give you a great online gaming experience. Here’s a list with a few more recommendations and their data pulled from our proprietary testing:

ProviderTypeAvg. latencyMax advertised speedGet Connected
Best for cable latency Astound Broadband Cable, fiber19.5 ms940 Mbps
Best for the Midwest MetroNet Fiber25.4 ms1,000 Mbps
Best for customer service Cox Communications Cable30.2 msUp to 1,000 Mbps
Best for rural gamers Optimum Cable, fiber33.2 ms5,000 Mbps
Best for budgets Sparklight Cable39.0 ms1,000 Mbps

What makes an internet connection good for gaming online?

A good internet connection doesn’t add latency between you and the remote gaming server. It provides decent upload speeds to keep latency low and stable, reliable connectivity to prevent other players from suddenly appearing in your face. Your monthly data allowance also plays an important role in downloading digital games and their associated multi-gig updates.

Connection type

Fiber is the best internet connection for gaming. It sends light pulses along glass fibers versus piggybacking your data on radio waves like cable and DSL. Fiber’s light pulses are interpreted like Morse code, so there’s no modem involved unless the fiber service stops at a utility pole.

That said, fiber is faster than cable and DSL, plus it supports symmetrical speeds that match your upload speeds to your downloads. Cable and DSL internet do not support symmetrical speeds, so we’ll always suggest fiber to gamers who livestream to Twitch and similar services.

Cable internet is a good runner-up platform. DSL isn’t ideal unless you’re on a budget or it’s the only internet connection in your area. Avoid satellite internet altogether because the trip into space and back adds a ton of latency due to distance.

Latency

Latency is the amount of time a single piece of data uses to leave your gaming rig or console, reach the remote server, and return back to you. High latency results in delayed responses on the screen, teleporting players, and players using you as target practice while they laugh in your ear.

Every internet connection will have some latency because it takes time for your data to travel. But if there’s unnecessary latency within your provider’s network, your communication with the server will be longer than usual.

Technically, latency lower than 100 ms is decent. However, our data shows the average latency between the user and the provider. We suggest that you select an internet provider with the lowest latency possible.

Should you play wired or wireless?

Wi-Fi adds latency to your connection before range even becomes a gameplay issue. A wired connection offers the best speed stability, but it isn’t as convenient as Wi-Fi. We go into more detail about the pros and cons of wired and wireless.

Upload speed

Make sure your upload speed can handle online games without causing latency. Your gaming data—including your input, position, viewpoint, and so on—needs fast transport to the gaming server or network. The latest consoles need up to 3 Mbps in upload speed, but you also have to consider that other devices use that upload bandwidth too, like smart appliances that quietly send data to remote servers.

We suggest a plan with 6 Mbps of upload speed or more so that everyone in the home has enough bandwidth without interrupting the resident gamer(s).

Download speed

You don’t need a lot of download speed to play games online. The Xbox One X/S, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch consoles each require a minimum of 3 Mbps, while the PlayStation 4 needs only 2 Mbps. Even if you wanted to stream 4K video from Apple TV while playing online, your combined download bandwidth would need to be only 27 Mbps.

In gaming, you need download speed primarily for updates and full digital game installs from Steam, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, and so on. The more bits you can obtain in a second, the faster you can jump into the game.

For example, if your game download size is 30 GB, you can download it in 10 minutes using a 400 Mbps connection or 40 minutes using a 100 Mbps connection.

Of course, download speed is also vital if you have multiple gamers in the home playing online, installing new games, or downloading comically large updates. You can each play games online comfortably using a 100 Mbps connection, but latency will become your biggest adversary when other non-gaming services intrude on your bandwidth.

We suggest an internet connection with download speeds of at least 100 Mbps.

Data allowance

We suggest choosing a service that doesn’t have a data cap and doesn’t charge an added fee for unlimited data.

Even physical copies of a game require digital updates, and those can be pretty hefty. Not only do you receive data even if you’re just playing online, but you also send data. All that data can add up and chip away at your monthly allowance.

Our verdict

Verizon Fios is the best internet service for playing games online. It has the best latency in our tests and the second-best average upload and download speeds next to Google Fiber. AT&T is the best fiber alternative if Verizon Fios isn’t in your area, offering a wide range of speeds at an affordable price.

If you don’t have access to fiber, Spectrum has the widest availability in the US. Spectrum doesn’t have data caps, modem fees, or extra fees for unlimited data. However, Xfinity has Spectrum beat with the fastest cable internet plan, reaching 1,200 Mbps. Xfinity also has better upload and download speed averages in our tests.

But let’s get real here: any internet service other than satellite is suitable for gaming online. Fiber is ideal for livestreaming, while cable has wide availability. You can even get by with DSL if others in the home aren’t eating up all your bandwidth. Just choose a plan that’s ideal for your whole household, and you should be good to go.

How HSI ranked the best internet for gaming in the US

We provide an internet speed test used by millions of people across the US. The results are collected by our speed test for each internet provider and are averaged together every three months. We use this data to generate an integrated speed score (ISS) to compare internet providers in terms of speed—our list of the fastest internet providers is a good example.

In this case, we compared internet providers based on latency because you don’t need a lot of upload and download speed to play games online. Internet providers typically advertise their maximum speeds only, so gamers won’t know if they can get better latency with a different provider unless they switch.

By pulling the latency averages from our proprietary data, we can compare internet providers and suggest the best internet connections for gamers.

FAQ about internet for gaming

What is a good upload speed for gaming?

You should have at least 3 Mbps of upload bandwidth per device to play games online.

Microsoft suggests 0.5 Mbps while Sony reports 2 Mbps for the PlayStation 4. The suggested extra megabit or so gives your gaming devices room to breathe. However, keep in mind that other non-gaming applications also need upload bandwidth, so an internet plan with 6+ Mbps in upload speed is probably your safest bet.

What is a good download speed for gaming?

You should have at least 3 Mbps of download bandwidth per device to play games online. Microsoft and Nintendo suggest a 3 Mbps minimum, while Sony suggests 2 Mbps.

Keep in mind that you need a lot more bandwidth to stream games from Google Stadia, PlayStation Now, and other services. Google Stadia and Xbox Remote Play need a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps.

Why are the required download speeds larger than uploads?

The suggested download speeds are larger than the uploads because data sent by remote servers contain more information than what you upload. This data includes information about other player actions, player coordinates, the world state, in-game messages, and notifications.

Why is fiber the best internet for gaming?

Fiber uses light pulses to transmit data. Think of it as conveying data like Morse code—it’s quick and simple versus adding or removing a digital wave from a radio wave. There’s typically less jitter and latency with fiber than cable, plus you get the benefits of symmetrical speeds.

However, fiber only trumps cable if it’s delivered to a local utility pole or straight to your home. After all, fiber is the backbone of the internet.

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on internet security.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.