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How to Beat Your Data Caps

Are you worried about data overages with your internet service provider? Often times, providers impose overage fees that add a significant amount to your monthly bill. Online activities such as streaming music and movies, browsing YouTube, and video chatting can cause you to go over your bandwidth limit. By tracking and changing a few of your internet habits, you can save money and the headache of dealing with data caps.

Track Your Usage

Most service providers that have data caps give you a tool that allows you track the percent of your data you have used at any given time in the month. Each provider measures data caps using different numbers to indicate your uploads and downloads. However, these tools are not always up-to-date so it would be in your best interest to have a secondary data tracker.

There are multiple free options that support Windows and Mac computers. Networx is a free tool for Windows users which allows you to view usage reports for multiple computers. You also have the option to disconnect users if the network activity goes over a certain level. People who own Macs can use a similar program called Bandwidth+, available for free in the App Store. The most reliable solution would be to track the usage on your home router. Because routers do not have a data tracking feature built-in, you will need to instal an additional monitoring software such as, firmware or DD-WRT.

In order to receive reliable usage information, it would be in your best interest to track your data using the providers usage tool and to download an additional one. They often use different indicators of usage, so by having both it ensures you know exactly how much data you have remaining.

Change Your Browser Settings

Websites are becoming increasingly larger, meaning it takes more bandwidth to access them. Thankfully, there are ways to scale back the amount to data a large website, such as Youtube, uses. Doing something as simple as enabling click-to-play plugins for flash content can help save your data. Most flash content are advertisements and by enabling click-to-play, that means you will have to click on the content to have it show. You can also prevent images on websites from downloading. Keep in mind, Flash advertisements and streaming videos take up significantly more bandwidth than downloading an image.

Manage Your Downloads

Bandwidth restrictions are often enforced during the daytime, but at night most providers will allow you to download more freely or some give you unlimited data usage. This is mainly due to the excess in bandwidth capacity from day to night. Recently, Netflix started allowing customers to download movies and shows to watch later without a WiFi connection. To save on bandwidth, Netflix customers can now download as many movies or shows as they want and watch them anywhere. You can also install a download scheduler so you are able to put off large downloads till the night time.

Overage fees are a good way to keep bandwidth usage balanced because if you are using a little more, it makes sense to pay a little more. Unfortunately, service providers often charge too much and are just in it to gain profit. Follow these simple tips to monitor your data usage so you never have to pay another fee again.

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