Web,Surfing,amp,#58,ISP,Tips,P DIY Web Surfing: ISP Tips
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Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when determining how toget on the internet is choosing your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Thisis the company that connects you to the internet via the phone line, DSL,modem, T1 or whatever else you want to use. Generally they provide thefollowing:- A way to get to the internet. This can be a simple dial-up modem, a DSLline, a cable modem or even a satellite link.- A software package (generally a customized browser such as Netscape orInternet explorer)- A logon (username and password)- An access phone number for dialup or ISDN connections.- Free web space (AOL, for example, gives you 2mb per screen name).- Access to a newsgroup server.- One or more email accounts.Nothing else will enhance or undermine your surfing experience as quickly oras totally as your choice of ISP. A good ISP is a joy to work with becausebasically after installation you never even worry about them. The phonelines are virtually never busy, the connection is robust, their technicalservices are always available and cheerful. In other words, a good ISP islike the proverbial Maytag repairman (remember those commercials) - younever need to worry about them because they always work well.A bad ISP, on the other hand, makes your surfing experience miserable. Verylittle is as frustrating as when you need to access the web and you getconstant busy signals. Lines that hang up mysteriously or newsgroup serversthat don't work. Email that's lost or very late, and technical servicespeople that never seem to be available or return phone calls.It's usually wise to take your time when choosing an ISP, because most ofthem require a multi-month contract. I would offer the following advice:- Try and get a month-to-month contact if you can so you can cancel (atleast at first, until you know how good they are).- Do your research and don't be swayed by fancy ads and televisioncommercials.- If you can, check out their newsgroup (many ISPs have their own technicalsupport newsgroups), message boards and chat rooms.- Ask your friends and associates if they have any experience with them- Before you make the decision get their technical support number and make acall. Pretend like you are a naive user and ask a few questions. See howlong you wait on hold and how helpful the people are.- Check out a history of the value of their stocks. Companies that arehaving trouble tend to have stock values which have declined in recentmonths.- Make sure you get a flat rate for connection time. It's a good idea tonever, ever get a per-hour charge as these can add up fast.Make sure the ISP has a local phone number. Long distance charges will alsoadd up very quickly.- Even if you can still find a free ISP, I would highly recommend againstthem. There is always a hidden cost to these places, and lately they havetended to be very unstable.- Personally, I try not to mix apples and oranges. A good ISP does notnecessarily make a good web host.Once you've chosen an ISP and are set up, don't put up with anything. Youwouldn't wait very long if your phone stopped working to get it fixed, wouldyou? So don't wait to let someone know if your service is poor and beprepared to escalate it all the way up the corporate ladder if you need to.These guys are taking your money and providing a service, and you deservegood service.