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- Try and get a month-to-month contact if you can so you can cancel (at least at first, until you know how good they are).
- Do your research and don't be swayed by fancy ads and television commercials.
- If you can, check out their newsgroup (many ISPs have their own technical support newsgroups), message boards and chat rooms.
- Ask your friends and associates if they have any experience with them
- Before you make decision get their technical support number and make a call. Pretend like you are a naive user and ask a few questions. See how long you wait on hold and how helpful people are.
- Check out a history of value of their stocks. Companies that are having trouble tend to have stock values which have declined in recent months.
- Make sure you get a flat rate for connection time. It's a good idea to never, ever get a per-hour charge as these can add up fast. Make sure ISP has a local phone number. Long distance charges will also add up very quickly.
- Even if you can still find a free ISP, I would highly recommend against them. There is always a hidden cost to these places, and lately they have tended to be very unstable.
- Personally, I try not to mix apples and oranges. A good ISP does not necessarily make a good web host.
Once you've chosen an ISP and are set up, don't put up with anything. You wouldn't wait very long if your phone stopped working to get it fixed, would you? So don't wait to let someone know if your service is poor and be prepared to escalate it all way up corporate ladder if you need to. These guys are taking your money and providing a service, and you deserve good service.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge. Web Site Address: http://www.internet-tips.net Weekly newsletter: http://www.internet-tips.net/joinlist.htm Daily Tips: mailto:internet-tips@GetResponse.com