What are Internet Service Providers (ISP)? – Know All About It

Internet Service Providers (ISP) are organizations that enable you to access and use the internet. Besides, ISP also provides you with other typical services like domain name registration, web hosting, internet transit, etc. Every device around the world which is connected to the internet forwards its request through an ISP. The server which hosts the websites themselves return the data through their ISP.

The device that the ISP uses to establish the internet connection differs from customer to customer. It can be either a router, modem, satellite or the use of a dial-up connection.


Some of the well-known ISPs are AT & T, Verizon, Sky, BT, Cox and many more.

How do Internet Service Providers work?

The ISP play a pivotal part in helping you access the internet. For example, suppose you want to visit facebook.com through your laptop. The device that you use for communicating with the ISP perhaps would be a WI-FI router.

The ISP first of all converts the domain name www.facebook.com into the IP address by which it is known on the internet. This is done with the help of DNS servers which are mentioned on the router.

Your router forwards this IP address request to your ISP. Your ISP then communicates with the ISP of the server which hosts Facebook. The request data from Facebook is sent to you through the same communication channels between the ISPs.

All of this is done within seconds through a public IP address.

The ISP provides each of your devices with a public IP address. This Public IP address is dynamic and keeps on changing each time you visit the internet. Whenever you send any request for a website, that request is accompanied with this public IP address.

The required data is also sent to your Public IP address. In other words, the targeted server identifies you through your public IP address.

Different types of Internet Service Providers?

The following are the various types of ISPs present today:

Access ISPs

These ISPs use different types of technologies to facilitate the customer’s internet connection. These technologies include the likes of broadband technology or a dial-up connection. Some providers also give email and hosting services.

Mailbox ISPs

Their main area of expertise is providing email mailbox hosting services. Additionally, they also offer email servers to send, receive and store mail.

Hosting ISPs

Their expertise is in the email, file transfer protocol (FTP) and web hosting services along with virtual machines and clouds.

Transit ISPs

These ISPs act as a bridge to connect the Hosting and the Access ISPs by providing a huge amount of bandwidth.

Virtual ISPs

Virtual ISPs purchase the services from other ISPs to give internet access to the customers.

Free ISPs (freenets)

They provide an internet connection free of any charge. As a result, there are some advertisements which the customers faces while using them.

Services offered by Internet Service Providers

Some of the services which an ISP provides include Internet access, domain name registration, domain name hosting and leased line access.

How do the Internet Service Providers connect to each other?

The ISP’s connect to each other through network access points. The medium used for this connection depends on the ISPs. They can use cables, satellite or the more commonly used fiber optics.

Through these mediums, the internet data is carried to our homes and neighborhoods. Fiber optics are a popular option nowadays. This is because its bandwidth capability is from 10 gigabits per second up to 31 terabits per second.

Remember the difference between bits vs. bytes as both are different.

The ISPs are the ones who bridge the gap between cities to provide internet connection using different mediums. It is through such communication channels that we can view videos, movies and get emails within seconds.

The ISPs which provide connection to rural areas are different to ones who offer it on a nationwide basis. The local ISPs pay larger ISPs for internet access.

This chain of ISPs is present until it reaches the Tier 1 carrier. This carrier is capable of reaching every other network on the internet. This is done without paying any settlement or IP Transit charges.

The ISPs have a Point Of Presence (POP) which is an access point to the internet. It also has a unique IP address. The POP is a physical location which houses servers, routers, ATM switches and digital/analog call aggregators.

There are some ISPs which have thousands of POPs. This is what makes the ISP chain slightly more complicated.

How to hide your online traffic from an ISP?

Since the ISP forwards each one of your website requests, it is aware of your every move on the internet. This may result in your ISP monitoring your tracking your internet activity.

Some ISPs might even use this monitoring to generate revenues for itself. To avoid this, you can use the services of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider.


The VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote VPN server. So, in other words, all your internet traffic passes through that tunnel. Because of it, the ISP is unable to see what it is that you are doing on the internet.

Final words on Internet Service Providers

Internet Service Providers are important entities or organizations which provides internet services to you. There are several factors to consider before deciding on the ISP. Location, bandwidth, and pricing are the main among them. Each of these should be studied and evaluated in detail before selecting the ISP.

Speed is one of the important criteria, which one looks for from Internet Service Providers. You can monitor the speed of the internet connection provided by your ISP through various internet speed tests which are available on the internet.


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