The most important thing to know about changing your ISP is that it isn’t hard. Essentially you just have to identify a new one and call them. Below, I’ve set out some questions and answers on changing ISPs.
What is an Internet Service Provider?
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the company that you pay to provide you with access to the Internet. The main thing your ISP does is connect you to the Internet via broadband or by dial-up modem, but they might also provide you with an email address, and provide other services like running a website for you.
Who is my ISP?
They bill you every month. If you have a Telecom phone and there are Internet charges on your phone bill then you probably are using Telecom Xtra as an ISP. Other names are Clear Net and Paradise which are part of TelstraClear, and Ihug which is part of Vodafone. There are lots of other smaller companies which provide Internet access, and they often provide better service.
Why would I change?
To get better service. Although the “S” in ISP stands for “Service”, some of them provide little or no customer service, according to Consumer. Keep them honest, and change away from the bad ones.
Which ISP should I change to?
Have a look at the Consumer survey (Consumer membership required) or read the summary here. The 2008 survey shows the ISP wtih the best customer service to be Inspire. The worst by a country mile, according to the survey, is Telecom / Xtra.
How do I go about changing?
Contact the new ISP and ask them. They should help – if they don’t seem to want to, go to a different one.
What about my email?
If you are using your ISP’s email server and you have an email address that looks like email@example.com, you have two choices. Either you can change to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can change to email@example.com. The best way is to get your own domain name, then if you change ISPs again you won’t have to change email address. Ask your new ISP to arrange the domain name – expect to pay another $30-40 per year for this. If it’s more, go somewhere else. You are email address either way – although you can probably get your old ISP to forward your email for a while so you don’t miss mail sent to the old address. Xtra do it for about $2.50 per month.
You’ll also need to change the settings on your email client program, like Outlook or Thunderbird, to use your new ISP and new email address. Your new ISP can give you instructions on this.
I already have a domain name – how do I change ISP?
It’s very easy, providing you are already using your domain name for email. Just make sure your new ISP knows about your domain name when you ask them to change over. Your email address won’t change at all. You will still need to adjust your email client program to point to your new ISPs servers – ask them about this.