Best rural internet for gaming
Up to 300 Mbps
Bonus: Starlink is the best rural internet for gaming
If you're lucky enough to have Starlink internet available near you, we recommend it as the best rural internet for gaming.
With significantly lowered latency than geostationary satellite internet providers like HughesNet and Viasat, Starlink is also able to deliver faster speeds with a much bigger data cap that a lot of rural internet providers. The big drawback, unfortunately, is that a lot of people still don't have access to it.
We could have also suggested T-Mobile Home Internet or Verizon Home Internet pick for great gaming internet, but both have situational drawbacks that don't make them perfect matches for rural gamers. T-Mobile has restrictions on peer-to-peer gaming, for one, and if you live in an area where several people are using the same cell tower for internet, your speeds can drastically slow.
Plus, latency is still an issue with wireless internet, and it gets worse the further from the cell tower you are. With all those things taken into account, we couldn't recommend either as the best rural internet for gaming, even if either could also work if you were close enough to a cell tower that's not overused (and didn't care about peer-to-peer gaming, of course).
What should you look for in a rural internet provider?
The best rural internet provider for you will offer rural internet access where you need it, have good download speeds, and come with data caps that are generous enough to do what you want online.
But let’s keep it real. If you’re a rural resident, we don’t need to tell you that rural internet options are disappointing compared to what you can get in more crowded areas, so it’s important to start your search with the right expectations. With rural internet, just know upfront that you’ll be paying more each month for less speed and less data than you would in the city. This can be particularly frustrating if you're looking for Los Angeles County internet and have few options when there's a bustling metropolis with infinite internet options just miles away.
That said, it truly is amazing just how far rural internet coverage can go—especially with nationwide providers like HughesNet and Viasat. And finding the best rural internet provider for you can make your life possible, whether you want to work remotely from your farm in Montana or travel the country in your RV for the summer.
Once you know which rural providers are available, the next step is finding a plan that’s the right balance of speed, data, and price. You don’t want to pay for more speed or data than you need to if monthly cost is an important factor for you.
How to improve internet speed in rural areas
There's no way to make your internet speed faster than the plan you're paying for, but if you're in a rural area, you might be running into classic internet problems like weak signals across too large an area or update issues. Here's our top recommendations to get the most out of your rural internet.
- Upgrade to a better internet plan. If you're consistently running into buffering issues, and the other steps on this list don't work, you probably just need a faster internet plan with a more generous data cap.
- Get a Wi-Fi booster (also called Wi-Fi extenders) to help your router's signal extend where you need it most.
- Try using an ethernet cable on your most-used devices. Wi-Fi always waters down your internet speeds, so hardwiring into your router can ensure you're making the best of your internet plan's speeds.
- Check your data usage. Many rural internet providers throttle your speeds if you exceed your monthly high-speed data cap.
- Make sure your router, modem, and internet-connected devices are all updated. Sometimes an outdated router can be all that's standing between you and your best internet speeds.
Of course, speed isn't everything. Like we mentioned above, how much data you use can have a big impact on how much speed you really need, especially if you have satellite internet. Even Starlink, which boasts high data caps, will slow your internet data depending on what Starlink plan you have and how much data you've used.
How do I get unlimited high speed internet for rural areas?
For the record, very few internet service providers offer unlimited internet. They might say they offer unlimited internet, but it's probably only technically true. For example, HughesNet, Viasat, and Starlink all claim to offer unlimited satellite internet for rural areas, but they actually offer only unlimited standard data, not high-speed data. That means you have unlimited access to slow, and sometimes very slow, internet. Not the fast stuff you actually want.
With that said, there are actually a few rural internet providers with unlimited data. Our favorites are T-Mobile 5G Home Internet and Verizon 5G Home Internet.
Both these providers are stand-outs as they offer actual unlimited internet for rural areas. They're also both highly available in rural areas, so if you're in one of their coverage zones, give them a look. The unlimited data would be worth it alone, but they also both offer quite fast and cheap rural internet to boot.
Just keep in mind that they are both wireless providers, so you might experience latency like you would with satellite providers—only, wireless home internet doesn't have quite as much latency as satellite.
How do I get wired internet in rural areas?
Wired internet, also called land-based internet or terrestrial internet, is made up mostly of fiber internet, cable internet, and DSL internet providers. Wired internet providers tend to be faster and more reliable than land-based internet alternatives like wireless home internet and satellite internet providers, so it's understandable if you're looking for wired internet in your rural area.
Unfortunately, wired internet providers have high up-front costs because they have to lay internet cables directly to the areas they want to service. That means they often don't support rural areas, or at least, restrict their availability in rural areas. We think the Best Cable Provider for Rural Areas is Spectrum Internet because of its fast speeds, reasonable prices, and larger rural internet availability. If you can't find cable internet, you might be able to get DSL internet like CenturyLink (see above), but keep in mind that DSL isn't nearly as fast.
In the end, the best way to get wired internet in rural areas is to use our zip search below to find out exactly what providers are available in your specific zip code.
Enter your zip code to see all internet providers in your area.
Our verdict: Get HughesNet unless T-Mobile 5G Internet is available
We recommend HughesNet as the best rural internet option for the most people, simply because it has nationwide (and even overseas) availability combined with the lowest satellite internet prices available. It's a great solution for anyone living in a rural community, from the local bar owner to your basic internet browser.
That said, satellite internet is inherently more expensive and offers less data compared to other internet types. So if you're in an area with T-Mobile 5G Home Internet available, it's definitely your best option. T-Mobile Home Internet offers fast average speeds, unlimited data, no contracts, and no equipment fees for an easy $50 per month. Plus, if you already have a T-Mobile wireless plan, that bill goes down to $30 a month. That's a sweet deal for rural internet if ever we've seen one.
Of course, your best bet is to check all your internet options where you live first and then make your final decision from there. So use our zip finder below to get internet provider specific to your area.
Enter your zip code to search our database of over 1,200 internet providers.