This page summarises some members' opinions of UK ISPs and their attitude towards Linux, in terms of compatibility and support.

Broadband

This encompasses cable and ADSL technologies. For a wider set of reviews of ADSL services, check out http://www.adslguide.org.uk/.

[[http://www.aaisp.net.uk|Andrews and Arnold]]

I also contacted Andrews and Arnold, they are supposed to have an excellent customer service reputation. They were happy for me to use Linux, and they even had a pro Linux page on their site. At the time they were the most expensive, and the ADSL Guide never showed them to be particularly fast, and I didn't know anyone who has used them, so I didn't pick them. -- AdamTrickett

I am now looking at moving to Andrews & Arnold who are offering a 2Mb connection for less than Nildram's 512Kb connection. They sound like a small company who employ smart folks, and I doubt they will be phased by Linux. My only worry is that with such keen pricing they will not be able to keep up with demand. -- SeanGibbins

I'm using A&A's 2Mb line at the moment, and everything has been excellent. On the couple of occasions that I've had to ring tech support everyone I've spoken to has clearly known what they're talking about, and traced the problem within a few minutes. They also seem to know when they can bypass the obvious "is your phone line plugged in" questions. They offer as many IPs as you can justify, and line speed has been great - from fast servers I can get anything up to 1.5Mbps actual transfer. --JonWood

I moved to A&A mid 2004 and find them perfect. They offer exactly the services I wish. While I agree that they are slightly more expensive then others (when I looked) it is well worth it. Their tech support team is small and technical (for a change) and most of them (including the Managing Director) can be contacted via IRC. Any problems are solved very quickly and they are very open. They also use and contribute a bit to the O/S community including work on Asterisk and a few other projects. -- DeanEarley

[[http://www.blackcatnetworks.co.uk|Black Cat Networks]]

Black Cat Networks use Debian servers throughout their business even to terminate ADSL on. It means you get to play with technologies like IPv6 when you connect to us either over ADSL or dialup. Terminating the ADSL on a generic router and getting it to convert to PPPoE is the favoured way to do this with linux. We're not the cheapest for ADSL but then if you're looking at this page you already have a clue as to the services that the cheapest ISPs offer. We do hosting and colo and other bits and bobs too.

We added a page with all Black Cat's Free Software and community links so you can see what we give back.

(disclaimer: I'm one of the people who runs Black Cat Networks ;)) -- SimonHuggins

I'm a customer & fan of Black Cat. They rock, but they aren't cheap. Still, maybe I'll get a discount for this advertising :) -- JamesOgden

[[http://www.bytemark.co.uk/connectivity/adsl.html|Bytemark]]

These guys seem pretty switched on in the Linux scene, they also offer virtual hosting in UML VMs and dedicated boxes (all linux based, mostly debian it seems). They seem to donate to debian as well. Offer a static IP, and a small charge for a /29 or /28 netblock. I have not used them so I cant vouch for their service, but the pre-sales contact I have had with them has been good.

[[http://www.eclipse.net.uk|Eclipse]]

A friend uses Eclipse, and is happy. They also get good review on ADSL Guide, and when I contacted them, they were also happy for me use Linux, and were not too fussed how much network I used. They were a few quid more than Nildram, so I didn't pick them. Like Nildram they have been taken over by a big boy recently. -- AdamTrickett

Eclipse offer you connection hardware of choice at cost, but they don't force anything on you. Their support seems pretty well informed and responsive to e-mails, but I've only tackled them over use of a hardware router, never has Linux been mentioned. Cost is slightly high but free static IP blocks are available. -- KieronTaylor

Eclipse was originally number 1 on my short list (reviews as good as ZEN and 2 quid a month cheaper). The help line was so unpleasant when I asked a pre-sales question that I felt it boded ill for customer service after sale. So I paid my 2 quid extra and went with Zen. At the end of October 2004, Zen was cheaper than Eclipse. ;-) -- LisiReisz

I've used Eclipse for two and a half years on two different connections. They provide routed subnets and rdns control at no extra charge. The service has been nothing short of brilliant and on the one occasion I have had to 'phone them, the phone was answered quickly by someone who actually had some knowledge! Am currently trying to talk myself into the 2Mb upgrade -- TomBragg

I've now been with Eclipse for about 8 weeks, and I consider it a bit of a success story. Like Lisi, I found their pre-sales staff weren't the best - and I nearly put the phone down on them there and then. I'm glad I persisted. I've got a fast (6Mb/s actually achieved, rather than just claimed) connection which hardly ever drops (and then only for a few seconds). It's *almost* uncapped (30GB a month, but only measured between 6PM and midnight - the rest of the day is unmetered). And I got the rDNS I wanted. Overall, I'm very happy. -- Vic How things change! I've now been with Eclipse for about 18 months, and I'm about to change. Increasingly, their "technical support" merely wants to close tickets, whether or not the problem has been resolved. They've implemented a transparent proxy (which isn't very transaprent), despite promises that they don't proxy traffic - and when I mentioned this, I got the standard lecture about setting proxy settings in IE. Line drops are almost every evening, and are continuous for about 30 minutes or so. I was so optimistic when I signed up to Eclipse, but their standards have dropped shockingly over the 6 months or so. -- Vic

[[http://www.e7even.co.uk|e7even]]

These are a fairly new outfit (sept 2005). They offer a range of services including ADSL & Dialup. Currently(sept 2005) they are offering a free modem or a *2 speed upgrade if you pay annually. I have just moved from uklinux to e7seven. It took ages to get a MAC code from ulinunx but once that was received, activation took 5 days. I was still connected to my old supplier with a working link. I got the email saying that I was activated. I reset the parameters in my modem, saved them and rebooted it. Bingo, I was connected. Total down time 3.5 mins!. I now have a 2Mb ADSL Connection with unlimited download for £206.00 per year (£17.17 per month). At the time of writing, this seems to be a pretty good deal. The only problem is a tie in for the first year but if they perform well then thats fine. - Stephen Davies

e7even has now ceased trading. - DavidAnderson

[[http://www.f2s.net|Freedom2Surf]]

I can recommend Freedom-2-surf. They use atm and give a static address. Using an ethernet connection was really easy. Their 512 connection is really fast and usually runs at closer to 570. At £22.50 a month with unlimited use, it is good value for money. I run my own webserver off it and it is reliable. They don't have staff with specific linux knowledge but their servers are RedHat and on the very few occasions I have had to contact them I have found their staff very knowledgeable on the technical side. -- RobOats

[[http://www.newnet.co.uk|NewNet]]

NewNet are a local ISP based in Fareham, with a data centre in Cams Hall (where the NewNet offices are located) as well as Telehouse London. The network consultancy firm I work for have been partnered with NewNet for many years and we have over 50 ADSL connections through them. Since I've been working with NewNet I can't say I've ever had a problem with their customer services or technical understanding of problems and scenarios. Reliability is excellent. At the time of writing my home ADSL has been connected for 120 days. As well as ADSL, we have also use NewNet for leased lines, SDSL, shared and dedicated hosting. The price of their products are extremely competitive with all other ISPs. Highly recommended! -- DavidRamsden

[[http://www.nildram.net|Nildram]]

When I was looking for ADSL, I contacted a number of "smaller" providers, Nildram were quick and polite, and happy for me to use Linux. They also don't care how much network I use as long as I'm not stupidly greedy. A friend recommended them, and so far they have been fine. Recently they were taken over by Pipex. I've had a few problems, all caused by BT, in all cases they have apologised promptly. -- AdamTrickett

I am with Nildram and would say that the service is reliable, but it is a little expensive. -- SeanGibbins

[[http://www.ntl.com/broadband|Ntl]]

Colleagues at work use NTL and while their cable service is fast, their customer support seems to be dire, and "they don't support Linux", even if you are trying to report a problem with their network... -- AdamTrickett

I have used NTL broadband with linux for over 3 years and have had very little problems at all. The odd spot of downtime here and there, which is to be expected on a residential (non-SLA) connection I suppose. On the occasions I have had to call the support line they have not asked me what OS I was using and haven't b0rked when I did mention Linux. -- AlanPope

I've been using NTL cable broadband for over 5 years now (originally a 512K connection now 4Meg, without a price chance during that time). I've found it extremely reliable, I'd guess averaging no more than a few minutes of connection outages a month and only one real failure which required an NTL engineer to visit. The only minor gripes I have about the service are that sometimes their transparent web proxies can be a little annoying and the fact that the IP address they provide is dynamic (although mine changes less than once a year), but to be honest I rarely notice issues with the proxies and services like DynDNS easily handle my fairly infrequent IP address changes. I originally selected NTL because back in early 2001 their prices were close to half those of ADSL providers, since then ADSL prices have dropped a lot and I probably wouldn't choose NTL if I were making the same choice today, however as long as they maintain their current levels of reliability I'm in no hurry to switch. I've also had no "I run Linux" issues with their technical support, but on the rare occasion I've have to deal with them I clearly explained that the "PC" LED on my cable modem is lit, while the "Cable" LED isn't and that pretty much stops them trying to fix my PC. It is also worth noting that I am in Basingstoke and I know other happy NTL customers in this area, while in some other areas their network seems less robust. -- AndyRansom

[[http://www.plus.net|PlusNet]] / [[http://www.force9.net|Force9]]

PlusNet have improved their service no end and have loads of extra for a low monthly cost: 21.99:

-- JeremyWard

PlusNet had a fervent following when they first started, operating, so I am led to believe, from someone's house! I joined them sometime after they had expanded and was terribly disappointed by their lack of transparency and poor response times. The drop-off in customer confidence was evident on their forums by the time that I quit for another provider. -- SeanGibbins

I use Force9, and have generally found them to be adequate. I host a webserver from the end of my ADSL line (the experimental wiki was hosted here) and apart from a phase of outages due to problems on BT's line, the connection has been reliable. The package comes with a nice variety of extras, which includes up to three domains hosted for free on your 250MB web space. (CGI / Perl / PHP enabled space is 30MB on a separate server.) You also have access to DNS settings for these domains. They report service status without trying to hide technical details.

When we moved house, the connection was transfered quickly. -- TonyWhitmore

I also use PlusNet, and am quite happy with their service. The webspace allowance has changed slightly since Tony wrote his comments. It is now 250MB shared across both the vanilla webspace and the CGI webspace. My recent housemove didn't cause any problems and I was back up and running within a few hours of being disconnected at the old house. They do appear to have a slight problem at the moment with communication between sales and technical. It seems that sales have an idea for a new product and technical say "Hmm, we can probably do that" and then sales go and sell before technical have actually done the work. This means that a few new products have been announced then cancelled a few days before their launch. Otherwise, no problems, except with the nitwits who inhabit the customer service newsgroups. -- GraemeHilton

I used to be with Force9. Initially, they were very good. Things change... I particularly disliked their tendency to change the services available to me without notice. I wasn't keen on their disconnections in the middle of the night (when I do most of my development). But what convinced me to move away was their customer support department, who wouldn't support me. They refused to answer simple questions (like "what ports can I use, then?"). The only way I could elicit responses from them in the end was to take them to court. They paid up eventually. -- Vic

[[http://www.prodigynet.co.uk/|Prodigy Networks]]

Generally, these guys are very good. Responsive and knowledgeable support staff. They allow pretty much anything that's not illegal or illicit. Static IPs available at no extra cost. They usually block ports 135 and 445, but even that's negotiable if you convince them you won't be using any MS products :-). Network speed is good, but not always full-rate (usually >500Kb/s, but rarely do I actually get to the full 576Kb/s level). I've had very few disconnections (and always for no more than a few seconds). There used to be a problem with SPEWS, as they leased IP space from Band-X, but that's now been solved. There's no Usenet server yet - but that's been promised. Overall, I'd recommend Prodigy. -- Vic

Well - that was then. On the 19th of December, they sent me an email. The guts of it was :-

 We are writing to you with some important news about your broadband connection. 
 From January 2007 Prodigy will no longer offer brandband to residential customers.
 This means that you will need to move you line to another broadband provider who
 deals with residential customers.

They included a MAC in the mail, so I've now migrated to Eclipse. Let's see how that goes. So long, Prodigy. Thanks for all the fish. -- Vic

[[http://www.ukfsn.org/|UKFSN]]

The UK Free Software Network. All the profits from running UKFSN go to funding Free Software projects in the UK. UKFSN offers a range of services including :

Jason Clifford, who runs UKFSN, has a long history in the UK Free Software/Linux communities. UKFSN publishes it's accounts each quarter.

[[http://www.zen.co.uk|Zen]]

Zen is super. The website is more Linux-knowledgable than the helpline, but the helpline is certainly Linux friendly and will help all it can. One problem I had, they helped all they could and said that if I succeeded in finding out the answer (I did - it was on their website!) would I let them know what the answer was so that they could help the next person. Good choice of speeds/contention ratios. One outage in 13 months - which lasted all of 5 to 10 minutes. They were even willing to help me sort out a problem that BT had caused on my telephone line when they ADSL enabled our exchange and/or my line. Oh - and you are tied in for a month, not a year or something. probably don't lose many customers, so don't need to tie them in ;-) -- LisiReisz

Agreed, Zen is an excellent provider with great customer support. I have recommended them to multiple people, and nobody has appeared on my doorstep with burning torches or pitchforks. -- JeremyWard

Can't complain about the service provided by Zen, they were very helpful when I thought I had connection problems recently. My only complaint is that they charge for additional pop3 mail boxes. They do have aliases but these are just variations on the user name they allocate you. (NTL did at least give you 8 pop3 mailboxes even if the service I got locally was crap.) -- JohnLewis

Love Zen. I needed a RR for my router IP. They were only to pleased to help, and gave me the direct email od their DNS contact. It was done within 24 hrs. -- ChrisAitken

I've been with Zen for nearly 2 years now, can't fault the service and espically for the price. It rivals BT & other mass user isp's on price but gives excellent functionability and support. You can get 8 Static IP's and unlimited bandwidth. -- Theneb

I've been using Zen since our exchange was ADSL enabled and have recommended it many times. Other benefits of Zen are that they have a monthly rolling contract (ie no 12 month minimum) and give 8 free IP addresses if ordered when setting up with them. Oh, and they are regularly at No 1 in the top 10 fastest broadband ISPs as listed on adslguide.org.uk. -- RobSmith

Dial-up

Most dial-up services support Linux, and they use common protocols for authentication. (Of course, a Linux compatible modem is required!)

Does anyone have comments about UK ISPs that offer support for Linux clients?

[[http://www.uklinux.net/|UKLINUX NET]]

Offer Pay as you go Dial-up accounts and all the profits from uklinux.net go to funding/promoting Open Source / Free Software. They also offer Broadband and Webhosting packages.

LinuxHints/LinuxFriendlyISPs (last edited 2008-12-13 15:51:49 by 91)