So, now you want to find a good connection to the Internet. The term, ISP, or Internet Service Provider, is a company that allows one to connect his or her computer to the Internet. The most popular of these services is AOL or America Online. It currently hosts about eight million members. While this is truly a cyber community, many don't like it because of its slowness. Another major commercial providers is the Microsoft Network. Some prefer this service because of its complete compatibility with Windows 95 and content provided by software giant Microsoft. Some other major services include Prodigy and CompuServe. A plethora of other services exist. Most offer complete Internet access for under $20, accompanied with other deals for the less prolific user. You must decide whether you want a service that simply gives you access to the Internet, or one that also offers its own content. A beginner may prefer the latter because of it being more simple to use.
Today, most schools and universities provide free Internet accounts to their students. Also, many public libraries offer free Internet access. You can also find "cyber cafes", stores where you can surf the net for a fee, in most cities. Many people subscribe to services primarily for the email. If you are only interested in getting an email address, so you can communicate with your friends or relatives, then you do not have to pay for services. Two companies that offer free email are Juno and HotMail. If you are interested in designing a free website, many people do it through GeoCities. Yet, if you want your own Internet connection, here is some helpful advise.
There are a number of things that you should check into before subscribing to a service. Make sure that the ISP offers a plan that is good for you. If you spend a lot of time online, then you should be in an unlimited usage plan. On the other hand, if you spend little time online, there is no use paying for unlimited usage, but should pay by the hour. Also check to see if there is a one-time activation fee.
You should also check to see what the local access telephone number is. Keep in mind that if the access number is far from your home, you could end up with a dramatically larger telephone bill. If you live in an area with no access number, some companies will give you a special toll-free number, but beware that there is a surcharge for this feature.
Is this ISP for you? Some are business-oriented and others are family-oriented. Also, some are geared for more advanced users. If you are not familiar with the Internet, then perhaps you would be better suited, at least for a little while, with a ISP that offers its own content. Speed can also be an issue. Some ISPs allow you to connect at faster speeds than others. If you would like your own web page, some companies will give you server space.
Once you find the service you would like, contact them for their software. Some will give you a free trial.