It's a utility that's getting more and more essential, but do you know how to save money on your broadband and still get the right service for your needs?
When trying to get a cheaper broadband package it's always good to approach your provider with a list of competitor quotes
Jeremy Cryer, Gocompare.com
When there are so many other bills to think about broadband may be pretty low on your list of priorities, but if you look at switching providers it's possible that you could save money and get a more appropriate service for your needs.
Spend a few minutes online or on the phone and you may find some super-fast benefits...
Visit a comparison site such as Gocompare.com and see what's being offered in the market - being informed and armed with a list of prices and deals will get you on a sound footing for finding the right package.
Is your current provider offering you the best deal they can? Pick up a phone and call them directly - asking them to check your usage and whether you're on the right deal for your needs will let them know that you're thinking of switching, and they may well offer you discounts in an attempt to keep your custom.
This may well result in you being put through to your provider's retention department. This is usually where the more attractive deals are offered.
"When trying to get a cheaper broadband package it's always good to approach your provider with a list of competitor quotes," said Gocompare.com's Jeremy Cryer. "That way, you've got the power to decide without relying on them to tell you what's best."
If they do offer you discounted deals, you don't have to accept straight away - consider moving on to the next step...
Loyalty doesn't pay when it comes to broadband - as with insurance, many providers reserve the best deals for new customers and may allow the rates of those already with them to go up and up.
Be polite but firm and keep haggling until you're satisfied. Check whether any changes will mean you'll continue on the same contract or start a new one - if it's the latter, it's likely that there'll be penalties imposed should you wish to switch again within 12 months.
If your broadband package is no longer suitable for your needs, tell your provider. If you've got a bigger data allowance than necessary or your broadband is faster than your browsing needs require, see if they'll offer a more appropriate package at a lower cost.
You should consider whether you could include your landline as part of a broadband bundle - and, indeed, whether you need a landline at all
Alternatively, if you're consistently exceeding your current data limits and incurring charges you may be able to negotiate a larger allowance. The monthly charge may go up, but if you're no longer paying additional charges the overall cost could be cheaper.
Think about how you use the internet and what the most appropriate speed is for you. General surfing, checking social media and shopping is unlikely to require a particularly speedy connection, but the regular downloading and streaming of music, films and TV will require quicker speeds and a larger download allowance. Find out more about broadband speed and usage in our guide.
Remember that if your circumstances change your internet usage may be impacted. For example, growing children may use increasing amounts of your bandwidth, but when they leave home you may not need the same quality of broadband package.
Have you recently bought a new tablet or smartphone, or subscribed to a streaming service such as Netflix? All such events are likely to impact on your broadband requirements.
When comparing broadband packages it's important to check whether the cost of line rental is included. You should consider whether you could include your landline as part of a broadband bundle - and, indeed, whether you need a landline at all.
ADSL is the most widely available broadband in the UK and this does require a landline, but cable broadband, fibre optic or satellite may not need a landline. Read more about the options in our broadband guide.
Even if you don't need a landline to get your internet, though, it's worth looking at the package offered by your provider - adding a home phone may not cost much, if anything, more, so consider whether including it is worth your while.
You may also want to think about bundling a digital TV service with your broadband and/or phone package, rather than relying on different providers. Of course, with the growth of services such as Skype and the BBC iPlayer, you may decide that broadband alone can fulfil all your communication needs.
Some people may be able to manage without a landline and fixed broadband service by instead using mobile broadband to access the internet, although you should consider coverage, speed and data usage.
Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) software such as Skype enables you to make phone calls over the internet. These are usually free to other VoIP users, but you may have to pay for certain features such as conference calling.
Paying by direct debit may mean a reduction in the price of broadband
VoIP is perfect for contacting family abroad, but remember that some mobile devices now come with this service built in, so you don't necessarily need your home broadband to take advantage.
Paying by direct debit may mean a reduction in the price of broadband, or it's possible that paying for 12 months in one lump sum could mean making a saving - check your provider's terms and conditions. If you switch to paperless billing your provider may also reward you with money off.
If your current provider isn't able to offer you a more suitable deal, then it might be time to take your cash elsewhere.
When you enter Gocompare.com's quote process all you'll be asked for is your postcode and you'll be presented with a best-buy table showing details of the products we can offer.
You can choose from broadband only, a broadband, phone and TV bundle, or a phone and broadband bundle.