There are two types of plans any Internet Service Provider (ISP) offers, one with a good speed and less bandwidth, and the other with a less speed and a good or unlimited bandwidth. If you have an unlimited bandwidth plan, then you don’t have to worry about your bandwidth usage, but if you don’t, you can incur some serious internet charges. To prevent that, I have listed some ways to help you save your internet bandwidth.
1. Watch YouTube Videos In Low Resolution
If you watch many videos on YouTube, then you are possibly consuming much bandwidth doing that. To save bandwidth, you can watch the videos in lower resolution. Typically, the videos have resolutions ranging from 144p to 1080p. The higher the resolution, the more is the file size, and hence the bandwidth usage. To save bandwidth, try watching YouTube videos in lower resolution, or use a script like YouTube Center to automatically set the resolution.
2. Save Bandwidth When Downloading Torrents
If you download files using torrent clients, then you will be aware of the seeding phenomenon. Seeding consumes your bandwidth, because both downloaded and the uploaded data are counted by the ISPs while calculating your bandwidth consumption. Moreover, the torrent clients download more than the actual size of the files, which again adds to the bandwidth consumption.
To prevent this, you can download torrents by converting them to direct links and then download them with any download manager like IDM. This will bypass the use of torrent clients and all the problems that occur while using them.
If you still want to use the torrent client, then you can prevent the seeding part from the settings menu of your torrent client. For uTorrent, you can proceed as follows.
- Open uTorrent
- From the top menu, navigate to “Option > Preferences“.
- Now from the left pane, select Bandwidth and change the maximum upload rate to 10 Kbps instead of 0 (unlimited) .
- Also navigate to Queueing and limit the upload rate to 0 when uTorrent reaches the seeding goal.
- Click the Apply button to save your preferences and to save your internet bandwidth while downloading torrents.
3. Download Online Videos Instead Of Replaying Them
If you want to listen/watch any online video/song again and again, then download it to your computer and play it in a loop. This will help conserve the bandwidth and you can watch it again anytime without the internet too. To download online videos, go through the articles listed below.
4. Disable Automatic Updates
Whether Windows Updates on Windows, App Updates on Macintosh, or auto-updates on Android, all of them consume a good part of your internet bandwidth.
To prevent that, you can stop all the auto updating applications from doing that, but discussing about that is beyond the scope of this article. Will write an article on doing that soon.
5. Use Mobile Sites
Every big website today, has a mobile (light) version available. The mobile version may have some limited options/features, but is fully functional and solves the purpose, and it is low on size and is a bit faster too.
6. Check Cloud Backup Apps
If you use any cloud backup app like Dropbox, Google Drive, CrashPlan, etc., then see if you are uploading too much data. Some applications also sync files across all the devices connected to that application, which may lead to huge download and upload of data. Make sure you limit the files that are synced across devices and also that the files are downloaded on only those devices that may need them.
7. Install And Update Your Antivirus
If you think your bandwidth exhausts faster than you might consume, then try installing a good antivirus (and keep it up-to-date too). This will help incase your computer is infected and the infectious program is trying to download/upload files over the network.
8. Limit Skype/Google/Facebook Video Chat
Video conferencing is a two-way kill. It uploads your voice and video and downloads the same of the other participants. The video is not something light, it can vary hugely on the service/application you use and also on the quality you select. Make sure you set the video quality to low when video conferencing.
9. Gmail Users Can Switch To HTML Version
If you use Gmail, then you are in luck. Gmail allows its users to access the Gmail website in two different layouts, one is the heavy, user-friendly version called the Standard Version, and the other is the light, fast and slimmed down version called the HTML version. If you are serious about saving your internet bandwidth then you should use the HTML version of Gmail.
10. Compress Images Before You Upload Them
If you are one of those friends who loves to click images and then uploads them on Facebook, then you are costuming a good part of your bandwidth doing that. Digital Cameras and even good mobile phones with cameras with resolution greater than 5MP, take images larger than ~2 MBs. Uploading pictures this big in size can eat up your bandwidth real quick.
Moreover, the people who will see the photo that you upload, will consume more bandwidth when they see your photo. As a workaround, you can compress the images before you upload them. Use RIOT or PNGGauntlet to compress the images without visible loss in picture quality.
11. Centralizing The Application/Product Update Process
Assume that you have 5 systems in your household, all running Windows 7. When Microsoft rolls out an update, all your PCs will download the update separately and eat up your bandwidth. To solve this problem, you can centralize the application update process. By this I mean that only 1 computer should download the update and there should be a mechanism to apply that update on all the PCs. For Windows, you can use the Windows Server Update Services, and for others, you have can use Google.
12. Employ Network Usage Tracking Tools If In Organisation
If you are administrating a network with several users, then try employing some network usage tracking tools. This may not save your bandwidth, but can tell who all are the potential users of the network and where they spend most of the bandwidth. And then you can devise ways to minimize their bandwidth usage, or limit the bandwidth for each user individually.
13. Block Access To Video Streaming Websites Like YouTube, Metacafe
If in an organisation, there is no reason to use video streaming websites, then your employs and coworkers should not. You must block access to websites like Dailymotion, YouTube, Metacafe and other websites which stream heavy content and are not required for your organisation. You should also block torrent clients from accessing the network.
14. Check if Your ISP is Over Calculating
There can be something wrong at your Internet Service Provider’s end or they might be knowingly over calculating your bandwidth usage. Track your usage for some weeks and check if the same is reported by your ISP (most providers give you a way to track your daily usage). If your ISP reports more than you actually consumed, then get in talks with your ISP or switch to another one.