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EarthLink is one of those internet providers that’s been around for a long, long time. EarthLink has been around nearly as long as residential internet service itself, and it’s still around today: EarthLink offers internet, premium email, web hosting, and privacy and data products to customers across the United States. EarthLink’s DSL and fiber internet plans have some of the lowest prices available, with deals starting at $14.99 a month for speeds ranging from 3-1000 Mbps.
Let’s take a look at EarthLink and how the company’s plans stand up to the competition. I’ll break down their pricing, show you what plans I’d recommend, and answer some commonly asked questions about EarthLink.
There’s a good chance that you or someone you know has EarthLink internet service available to them. EarthLink currently offers either DSL or fiber internet in thirty-six states. While the company’s fiber service is not available in all areas, its DSL connection is available to an estimated 174 million people across the country. EarthLink is the third-largest fiber internet provider and is still expanding its fiber network. Its fiber internet is more expensive than some of the other fiber providers, but EarthLink offers the service in areas that some of its fiber-internet competitors have yet to reach.
Being one of the first broadband carriers, EarthLink has developed relationships over the years with many security partners like Norton 360 and LifeLock to give users assurance their accounts are safe. If you have ever had your email account hacked, you understand how frustrating it is and how vulnerable you feel when it happens.
There may not be data caps with Earthlink plans, but one thing you do have to deal with when you choose EarthLink is a contract. All plans require a 12-month contract with autopay. EarthLink says their price “sticks,” which is their way of promising a steady price.
EarthLink’s internet-only plans cost between $14.99 per month and $99.99 per month. This does not include equipment or additional fees. But to see how their plans stack up against the competition, we look at their price per speed or Mbps.
EarthLink’s internet price per Mbps range breaks down to about $0.09-4.98 per Mbps. Their DSL internet is more expensive, but that’s normal with providers who offer both connections. AT&T has similar price differences between their DSL and fiber plans, as we noted in our AT&T Internet review. Unfortunately, EarthLink’s internet prices are the highest I’ve seen for both DSL and fiber internet. And there aren’t many plan features to make up for the high prices.
All internet companies have fees of some sort. EarthLink is no different. Most hidden fees come in the form of state and local taxes or fees charged for network enhancements and other maintenance obligations. Along with those are installation and equipment rental fees. EarthLink’s professional installation costs $79.99. You may be able to get their self-installation kit instead which only costs $19.95.
Most companies give you the option of renting their modem/router or bringing your own modem and router. EarthLink requires you to use their equipment. The good thing is that their rental fee is only $6.95 per month. This is one of the lowest rental fees on the market (most competitors charge around $10 to $14 a month).
One thing you do need to be wary of is the Early Termination Fee (ETF). EarthLink requires a 12-month contract for all plans. If you cancel during this period, you may get charged up to $200 in ETFs.
As we explained in our EarthLink review, EarthLink internet is ideal for:
The biggest reason to choose EarthLink is its fiber network. While you can get a decent connection with a Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (cable) connection, you’ll get faster speeds overall with EarthLink’s fiber internet. The difference matters when you have multiple users in the home or if you want to stream higher-quality movies like 4K HDR.
If you live in rural or remote areas, EarthLink may be one of your only options for a reliable internet connection. EarthLink’s DSL internet is more stable than a fixed wireless connection since it’s less susceptible to weather.
EarthLink also offers email accounts that allow you to multiple email addresses and has a host of security tools. My favorites are their online storage and the EarthLink Guardian. You can get a monthly online storage plan for $5.95-9.95 a month with 50-500 GB of data. The EarthLink Guardian plan is powered by Bark, a parental control software that helps parents monitor their children’s online activity.
Overall, I recommend EarthLink 100Mbps for $79.95 a month. There is enough speed here for multiple users, and you can stream whichever service you want (YouTubeTV, Sling, Philo, Hulu, etc.) even in 4K HDR. And with no data caps, you don’t have to worry about hitting a data ceiling. The price is higher than normal for this amount of speed, but it’s better than paying less and not getting enough speed.
As stated, EarthLink is not like traditional internet providers in that they do not partner with cable companies or streaming services to offer bundled packages. So, you are pretty much on your own to discover a bundle that will fit your streaming needs. This could be to your benefit, especially if you already have subscriptions to streaming services.
EarthLink is not new to the internet market. In fact, they were practically there at its inception. Four years after the first public website launch, EarthLink was founded in Southern California. That was 1994. Today, EarthLink remains one of the most recognizable names and one of the most trusted in the internet market. A few companies have purchased them (first Windstream, then Thrive Capital) EarthLink has always retained its identifiable name. The company moved its headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia in 2019 and surpassed five million subscribers that same year.