What Is an Internet Service Provider (ISP)?

An Internet service provider (ISP) is a firm that offers both personal and commercial clients Internet connectivity. For a charge, ISPs allow their clients to browse the web, shop online, conduct business, and communicate with family and friends. Other services that ISPs may offer include email, domain registration, web hosting, and browser bundles.
Based on the services it provides, an ISP may also be referred to as an information service provider, a storage service provider, an Internet service provider (INSP), or any combination of these terms.

An Internet Service Provider is the company that delivers internet service to users, usually a home or business and most often wired as of this writing. Well-known examples are AT&T, Comcast, and many other regional or local providers using switches and wires leased from the local telephone company but the actual Internet service provided by the Provider.

The larger ISPs have their own high-speed leased lines so that they are less dependent on the telecommunication providers and can provide better service to their customers.