If you’re less than happy with your broadband service, or think you're paying more than you need to, changing your provider may be the solution. Our tips should help you find the best deal for you...
1. Compare broadband
The first step to getting better broadband is to compare deals available where you live. If you've been with the same provider for years, chances are you're paying more than you need to. Remember, the minimum contract term on most broadband packages is only 12 months, so a good habit to get into is doing a comparison every once and a while - this means you're empowered to make the best possible decision as soon as you're clear of that initial period. Sadly, our research show millions of us foolishly stick with outdated deals and continue paying over the odds for a service we could easily get cheaper, if only we could be bothered to switch provider.
2. Check your contract
Everyone's guilty of signing contracts without properly checking out the fine print. It's a risky business as it can be costly, particularly if you find out at a later on that there are costs you can't avoid. Have a skim through the terms and conditions of any broadband deals you're considering, and ask providers any questions you have. Jot down the date your contract expires, too - then you'll know when to start shopping around again.
Video: Simple steps to switching broadband
3. Learn the lingo
Research has shown almost half of the UK's broadband users don't understand the words used by providers when advertising deals. Know the difference between megabits and megabytes? Not sure how upload and download speeds differ? As it's easier to make an informed decision when you've got a grip on the lingo, it's worth doing your homework with our jargon buster.
4. Pick the best provider
All broadband providers are different and there's a lot for you to gain from choosing the one that will give you exactly what you need. There's no point just picking the cheapest if what you really want from your broadband is superfast speeds and unlimited usage. While Virgin Media and BT fibre would tick both of these boxes, for example, Sky Broadband Lite would be better suited to a light web user who just wants to save some money.
5. Find your perfect package
There's no point in paying extra for superfast, unlimited broadband if a much cheaper package with a usage limit is sufficient for how you use the internet. Similarly, it's pointless plumping for the cheapest option if you're not going to get what you need. Think about your household - how many people and devices are connecting all at once and how much streaming and downloading do you do? Then go for a broadband package that supports your online activity.
6. Bundle! Bundle! Bundle!
When you compare broadband, you'll usually have the option of bundling your internet service with phone calls and possibly TV. It's almost always cheaper to take all three from a single provider instead of getting them separately. As well as saving you money, it's more convenient to have just the one bill and direct debit to keep track of.
7. Don't forget line rental
Even if you don't use your home phone to make calls, you still need a landline to get broadband. The only exception is Virgin Media, which can offer broadband without a phone line as it operates independently of the national telephone network. Don't overlook the cost of line rental as prices vary a lot between providers and it usually accounts for more than half of your bill.
8. Think about service
Should you ever run into difficulties, or simply need advice about upgrading your package, it's nice to be able to pick up the phone and hear a friendly, helpful voice on the other end. Some providers, like Plusnet, are well known for having better customer service than others, so it's another thing for you to think about.
9. Stick to your guns
If you phone your provider to tell them you want to switch, they'll probably try to convince you to stay. They might offer a discount, a new router or a free upgrade - but they'll also demand you sign a new 12 or 18-month contract. If you've made up your mind - perhaps your broadband was too slow, or the customer service was rubbish - then be strong and stick to your guns. Don't rush into a decision either way, and think about the deals you'll be missing out on if you stick. And bear in mind that providers often save their best offers and discounts for new customers only.
The easiest way to get the best broadband available is to compare the latest deals and pick the provider and package that meet your household's needs. As soon as your minimum contract term expires it's time to start looking to see if you could get a better deal by switching. These days it's a really straightforward process, and you shouldn't have to go without broadband or phone for more than a couple of hours in most cases.