The Best Internet for Streaming 2022

Find out what speeds you need for Netflix to Spotify, plus top internet providers for streaming.

Best for Most
Xfinity Internet
Xfinity Internet
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starting from
$19.99
/mo
Download speeds
501200 Mbps
Data cap
11.2 TB
Most Budget Friendly
CenturyLink Internet
CenturyLink Internet
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$50
/mo
Download speeds
100940 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Best Performance
Verizon Fios Home Internet
Verizon Fios Home Internet
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$39.99
/mo
Download speeds
200940 Mbps
Data cap
Not Available
Also great performance
AT&T Fiber
AT&T Fiber
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starting from
$35
/mo
Download speeds
300940 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Best Rural Speeds
Suddenlink Internet
Suddenlink Internet
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starting from
$24.99
/mo
Download speeds
75940 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
Read More
Published on November 29, 2021
10 min read

Whether you’re streaming movies on Netflix, jamming out to the latest hits on Spotify, or broadcasting your own livestream on Twitch, your internet speed matters.

But not all streaming is created equal—so here’s a quick guide to the recommended internet speeds for streaming. Plus, we’ll share our recommendations for internet service providers (ISPs) that should meet your streaming needs.




We'll help you find an internet plan for streaming. Just enter your zip code below.

How to choose the best internet provider for streaming

To find the best internet providers for streaming, we looked at the following features:

If you’re feeling limited by the number of internet choices in your area, here are a few tips to help you narrow down your search.

1. Fiber is better than cable is better than DSL

If you can get fiber internet where you live, go for it. Fiber is a newer technology that doesn’t suffer from the higher latency and other speed performance issues that cable and DSL have.

If fiber isn’t available near you, cable is a solid second choice. And DSL can be better than satellite—but streaming on satellite internet is still doable if you have no other choices.

2. You don’t always need the most expensive plan

Sometimes you’ll find a great deal on gig speeds, but if you don’t need 1,000 Mbps, you’re likely overpaying.

We recommend 25–50 Mbps as a baseline for streaming, but you’ll need more if you have a lot of connected devices or internet users in your home. So don’t be afraid to compare prices for 100 or even 200 Mbps internet plans.

3. Fiber internet has the best upload speeds for livestreaming

Thanks to its symmetrical (or similar) download and upload speeds, fiber internet is a great choice if you want to start a new Twitch career or live chat with your YouTube subscribers.

Cable internet also offers decent upload speeds if you choose a plan with faster download speeds. You shouldn’t need much more than 10 Mbps—that’s what our Reviews.org YouTube team recommends.

Want to learn more about internet speed?

Comcast Xfinity: Best for most streaming apps

An awards badge for the Reviews.org Best Value award 2021

Xfinity is our choice for best internet for any kind of streaming for a few reasons:

  • It’s widely available across the US—you can find Xfinity in 40 states.
  • It has competitive prices for a wide range of download speeds that meet streaming requirements.
  • Xfinity was the second fastest cable internet provider in the US, according to our fastest ISPs report.
  • Xfinity had a low average latency of 78.1 ms across all of 2019.

Our only pain points with Xfinity are its data cap of 1.2 TB and its notoriously bad customer service. Granted, 1.2 TB is a lot of data to go through in one month, so we think most everyone will be fine with that much data.

Best Speeds for Most Streaming Apps
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Download speeds
501200 Mbps
Data cap
11.2 TB
Starting from
$19.99
/mo

Data effective 11/3/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.

Does latency make videos buffer?
Light Bulb

You betcha a high latency (over 100 ms) can make your videos buffer. Latency is also referred to as lag, and it measures how long it takes for your device to send a signal to the streaming app’s server and back again.

So you can imagine that the longer it takes to get that signal to your streaming service and back again, the more likely that buffering icon is to show up and disrupt your veg session.

Xfinity internet rating for streaming
Feature
Xfinity internet details

Connection type

Cable

Weighted speed score*

46.6 out of 100

Average latency in 2019

78.1 ms

% coverage in the US

18.92%

Top 3 states with most coverage

Delaware, Maryland, and Massachusetts

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

Xfinity internet + mobile = big savings
Deals

Need to upgrade your cell phone plan too? Don't forget about Xfinity Mobile for extra savings! If you sign up for Xfinity internet, you're eligible for Xfinity Mobile service too. Here's what our expert says about Xfinity Mobile:

"Because of Xfinity Mobile's bundle-only model, plan structure, and rock-bottom prices, it really is like no other mobile carrier." —Easton Smith

Learn more! Find the Xfinity internet and mobile deals in your area.

Save on Xfinity Mobile and Internet

CenturyLink: Best for price lock

CenturyLink’s DSL internet service may not be as flashy as other providers, but it comes with low prices and unlimited data for all its plans. It's also one of the few, if not the only, ISP that offers a price lock, meaning your internet bill won't automatically jump in price. 

The major downside to CenturyLink is that you might end up with subpar download speeds for streaming. Its DSL internet plans range in speed from 15 to 100 Mbps.

If you're able to connect at 50, 75, or 100 Mbps, you should be all right. But if CenturyLink only offers speeds in your area that crawl along, you might want to check elsewhere.

For a lucky few who live in cities where CenturyLink Fiber Internet is offered, it's worth a look. Fiber tends to have lower latency and faster speeds than DSL.

Best for Streamers on a Budget
4 out of 5 stars
4
Download speeds
100940 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Starting from
$50
/mo
Data effective 11/10/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
CenturyLink internet rating for streaming
Feature
CenturyLink internet details

Connection type

DSL, fiber

Weighted speed score*

20.2 out of 100

Average latency in 2019

136.4 ms

% coverage in the US

15.70%

Top 3 states with most coverage

Colorado, Washington, and Oregon

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

Verizon Fios Home Internet: Best fiber internet

An awards badge for the Reviews.org Editor's Choice award 2021

If we were to pick an ISP on reputation alone, we’d pick Verizon Fios Home Internet. We consistently hear great things about its customer service, and it always scores well when we look at internet speed performance, like our best ISPs for gaming review where Verizon Fios Home Internet ranks in the top five. Surprised? We’re not.

Of course, that latency score of 113.4 ms is a little high. We think this is a tad skewed because Verizon also offers DSL internet service. So we bet you’ll see lower latency with its full-fiber internet service.

Best Download and Upload Speeds
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Download speeds
200940 Mbps
Data cap
Not Available
Starting from
$39.99
/mo
Data effective 11/10/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Verizon Fios Home Internet rating for streaming
Feature
Verizon Fios Home Internet details

Connection type

Fiber

Weighted speed score*

65.1 out of 100

Average latency in 2019

113.4 ms

% coverage in the US

9.92%

Top 3 states with most coverage

New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Delaware

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

AT&T Fiber: Also great speeds for streaming performance

At a glance, it doesn’t look like AT&T Fiber wins any races for speed performance. But we’d like to point out that that speed score and latency measurement include its DSL plans, which are no longer offered as of October 2020.

Now that AT&T has gone fully fiber, we expect to see speed scores closer to Verizon Fios Home Internet.

The awesome thing about AT&T Fiber is that you can bundle it with AT&T’s streaming service, AT&T TV NOW. (You can also bundle with DIRECTV if that’s more your jam.)

Another Fast Choice for Streamers
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Download speeds
300940 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Starting from
$35
/mo
Data effective 10/04/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
AT&T Fiber internet rating for streaming
Feature
AT&T Fiber internet details

Connection type

Fiber

Weighted speed score*

33.8 out of 100

Average latency in 2019

83.9 ms

% coverage in the US

23.33%

Top 3 states with most coverage

Mississippi, Michigan, and Tennessee

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

Suddenlink: Best rural speeds for streaming

In smaller towns where big-name providers like Xfinity can’t be found, you might be more likely to find Suddenlink. While its coverage area is smaller, it focuses on serving small towns and more rural states like West Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Suddenlink was also the fifth fastest cable internet provider in our latest internet speed report, and it maintained an average latency below 100 ms over the course of 2019. That makes it a great choice for streaming Cold Case Files on Netflix.

Best Speeds for Streaming in the Country
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Download speeds
75940 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Starting from
$24.99
/mo
Data effective 10/06/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Suddenlink internet rating for streaming
Feature
Suddenlink internet details

Connection type

Cable

Weighted speed score*

37.1 out of 100

Average latency in 2019

90.4 ms

% coverage in the US

3.54%

Top 3 states with most coverage

West Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*The Reviews.org weighted speed score is based on 2019 averages for each ISP’s download speeds (70% of score), upload speeds (20%) and latency (10%).

What internet speed do I need for video streaming?

To catch the latest Netflix Original or mind-boggling hit on HBO Max, you’ll need anywhere from 1.6 to 25 Mbps download speeds. (If you want to immerse yourself in 4K glory, you’ll need that top-end 25 Mbps speed.)

But don’t forget that’s internet speed dedicated to your streaming app. So if you’re streaming HD or 4K movies on multiple devices, you’ll want more Mbps. We recommend at least 25 Mbps. And if you have more than one person streaming in your home, we bump our recommendation up to 50 Mbps as the minimum.

Best internet speed for streaming video
Streaming app
Optimal download speed
3–25 Mbps1
3–16 Mbps2
8+ Mbps2
5–25 Mbps3
3–13+ Mbps4
3–25 Mbps5
3–25 Mbps6
12+ Mbps8
12+ Mbps8
1.6+ Mbps9

With that, let's dig into each streaming service provider and their recommended speeds.

How much speed do I need to stream Netflix?

You don’t need a lot of speed for Netflix—just 3 to 5 Mbps will do to watch in SD or HD. Unless you need that 4K resolution in your life, and then you’ll need at least 25 Mbps.

Recommended internet speed for Netflix1
Quality
Resolution
Netflix recommends

SD

480p

3 Mbps

HD

720p–1080p

5 Mbps

Ultra HD/4K

2160p

25 Mbps

Want more Netflix streaming secrets? We don’t share these with just anyone. OK, maybe we do, but our Netflix guide is well worth a look.

How much speed do I need to stream Hulu?

Hulu’s requirements are pretty much the same as Netflix’s: you’ll need 3 Mbps to watch anything in the streaming library and at least 8 Mbps to watch Hulu + Live TV.

And if you’re all about blasting your retinas with glorious 4K resolution, well, you’ll need at least 16 Mbps.

Recommended internet speed for Hulu2
Quality
Resolution
Hulu recommends

Hulu streaming library

SD and HD (480p–1080p)

3 Mbps

Hulu + Live TV

SD and HD (480p–1080p)

8 Mbps

4K

2160p

16 Mbps

Wanna know if Hulu is worth it? Check out our expert Hulu review.

How much speed do I need to stream Disney+?

You’ll need 5 Mbps to stream Disney+ in HD and sing along with all your favorite songs. And for those 4K Disney shows with all their phenomenal cosmic power, you should be as golden as Rapunzel’s hair if you have at least 25 Mbps.

Recommended internet speed for Disney+3
Quality
Resolution
Disney recommends

HD

720p–1080p

5 Mbps

4K

UHD (2160p)

25 Mbps

Find out if Disney+ has all the bare necessities in our full-length review.

How much speed do I need to stream YouTube TV?

You’ll need speeds of 3 Mbps or better to get your dose of snarkiness with Schitt’s Creek on YouTube TV. Make that 13 Mbps or better if you need to watch the Rose family’s latest meltdown in HD.

Recommended internet speed for YouTube TV4
Quality
Resolution
YouTube recommends

SD

480p

3+ Mbps

HD

1080p

7–13+ Mbps

We’ve got more reasons why YouTube TV is a solid streaming choice in our full YouTube TV review.

How much speed do I need to stream in 4K?

Want to live that ultra-high-definition life? You’ll need at least 25 Mbps to watch the Baudelaire orphans outsmart the wily Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix in full 4K glory.

Because no one likes that smug little buffering icon. Not even Count Olaf.

Recommended internet speed for 4K
Quality
Resolution
Recommended speed

4K

2160p

25 Mbps

What internet speed do I need to stream music?

You’ll only need 1–10 Mbps as a starting point for streaming the latest Ariana Grande hit. But keep in mind that you’ll want more download speed as a buffer. You know, so you can watch YouTube, play video games, and use your smart thermostat while you jam out.

We aim for at least 25 Mbps. Luckily, lower-speed plans like this don’t usually cost a lot. Even better, you can opt for an ISP like CenturyLink, where you sacrifice a little bit of performance for an unlimited data plan, which is great for those who like to listen to music as they work. Other ISPs such as Xfinity have a 1.2 TB data cap, which is unfortunate as you use about 1 GB of data after streaming music for your entire 8-hour work-day.

Best internet speed for streaming music
Music app
Optimal download speed

Spotify

At least 1 Mbps10

Pandora

At least 1 Mbps10

Amazon Music

At least 1 Mbps10

TIDAL

5–10 Mbps11

Deezer

5–10 Mbps12

What internet speed do I need to livestream?

You’ll need download speeds of at least 4 Mbps and upload speeds of 1.8 to 6 Mbps to livestream on Twitch or YouTube. But we recommend a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps because even Ninja, sodapoppin, and Asmongold need a buffer to keep all their connected devices online while they stream.

Best internet speed for livestreaming
Livestream service
Optimal download speed
Optimal upload speed

Twitch

At least 4 Mbps13

3–6 Mbps14

YouTube live stream

13+ Mbps4

0.3–51 Mbps15

What is Twitch?
Light Bulb

Twitch is an online service that lets you watch live broadcasts—or stream yourself so others can watch you. It’s mainly focused on live video game broadcasts, but sometimes you can also find music, TV, art, and various other streams too.

How much speed do I need to stream on Twitch?

Streaming on Twitch requires at least 4 Mbps download speeds and anywhere from 3 to 6 Mbps upload speeds.

The speeds you need depend on what quality you aim for with your livestream. We mainly looked at resolution and framerate for GPU encoding (NVIDIA NVENC) here, but you’ll also want to consider keyframe intervals and more.

If you’re starting out, you should check out Twitch’s recommendations for your setup.

Also, we know the FCC recommends a download speed of only 4 Mbps for online gaming,13 but that’s not going to cut it for most multiplayer games. So play it safe and assume you’ll need a faster connection.

Recommended internet speed for Twitch streaming with NVIDIA NVENC9
Resolution
Frame rate
Recommended download
Recommended upload

720p

30 fps

At least 4 Mbps

3 Mbps

720p

60 fps

At least 4 Mbps

4.5 Mbps

1080p

30 fps

At least 4 Mbps

4.5 Mbps

1080p

60 fps

At least 4 Mbps

6 Mbps

What are GPU and NVIDIA NVENC?

Those of us who geek out over computer hardware love our acronyms, so sometimes it’s like we’re speaking another language. Here’s a quick hit tip on what GPU and NVIDIA NVENC are:

GPU: This is your graphics card, or “graphics processing unit.”

NVIDIA NVENC: This is a feature of NVIDIA’s graphics cards that allows the GPU to handle the encoding—meaning, it lets the GPU convert your livestream into a video file. Traditionally, this was handled by your processor (CPU), which could cause performance issues if you were playing a game at the same time.

How much speed do I need to livestream on YouTube?

To hop on a live stream with YouTube, you’ll need at least 13 Mbps download speeds and anywhere from 1.5 to 18 Mbps upload speeds. (Bump those upload speeds up to 13 to 51 Mbps if you want to stream in 4K.)

Recommended internet speed for YouTube livestreaming4,15
Resolution
Frame rate
Recommended download
Recommended upload

720p

30 fps

At least 13 Mbps

1.5–4 Mbps

720p

60 fps

At least 13 Mbps

2.25–6 Mbps

1080p

30 fps

At least 13 Mbps

3–6 Mbps

1080p

60 fps

At least 13 Mbps

4.5–9 Mbps

1440p

30 fps

At least 13 Mbps

6–13 Mbps

1440p

60 fps

At least 13 Mbps

9–18 Mbps

2160p (4K)

30 fps

At least 13 Mbps

13–34 Mbps

2160p (4K)

60 fps

At least 13 Mbps

20–51 Mbps

Recap: The best internet speeds for streaming

Pop quiz: what internet speed do you need for streaming? Don’t worry, we’ve got your cheat sheet here.

  • Video: Look for speeds of at least 3–10 Mbps for Netflix, Huly, Disney+, and YouTube TV.
  • Ultra HD/4K: You’ll want at least 25 Mbps.
  • Music: A little goes a long way, so 5 Mbps is likely enough. But go for 10+ Mbps if you stream on TIDAL or Deezer.
  • Livestreaming: Upload speeds matter—look for 10–50 Mbps upload speeds and download speeds of at least 13 Mbps to host a live stream on Twitch or YouTube.

What are the best internet providers for streaming?

Want to be sure your internet provider can keep up with your binge watching? These are the ISPs we recommend.

5 best internet service providers for streaming
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Upload speeds
Details
XfinityComcast Xfinity
$19.99$94.99*501200 Mbps535 Mbps
CenturyLinkCenturyLink
$50$65100940 Mbps30940 Mbps
Verizon Authorized DealerVerizon Fios Home Internet
$39.99$89.99200940 Mbps200880 Mbps
ATTAT&T Fiber
$35$60^300940 Mbps300880 Mbps
SuddenLinkSuddenlink
$24.99$74.99°75940 Mbps535 Mbps
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges.
^ For the first 12 months plus taxes and equip. fee.
° Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
See internet that’s ready for streaming in your area.

Related video: How streaming affects your internet

Sources

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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  • Dock Butler

    Thanks for info. live in rural area with only 1 internet provider, century link. Subscribe to 5mpbs but get 4mpbs dwnload speed when test. Tech says that 5mpbs speed will be at beginning of service line coming into house and every connection at a split or modem will decrease speed. I am no tech person, but sound reasonable. It was at 2 to 3mpbs with 2 splits in line. 1st split coming into house into an inline filter, going to a direct tv box then across house to modem, then router. I told century link about 3mpbs vs 5mpbs speed, they tested it remotely. Sent tech who put a new service line from pole to house, took out inline filter & replaced modem and router with a new 1 piece unit. Now speed steady at 4mpbs, not 5mpbs, Does your subscribed speed differ from your actual speed at device being used because of losing speed at each connection?

  • Stojka Marcel

    Which online internet speed meter do you recommend? I’ve tried this one: http://www.netmeter.co.uk/ but I don’t know if I can trust those results. Are they accurate or not? I should have much higher speed than it shows me… What can be problem? Thanks for help.