How to Find Out How Much Bandwidth You Use

by Duncan Jenkins

Bandwidth is the rate at which data is transmitted from a server to your computer. Web pages like text blogs do not need much bandwidth to be viewed. Streaming video, however (from Netflix, Hulu or similar sites), takes up an enormous amount of bandwidth. The same is true for online games, especially high-quality ones. It is relatively easy to figure out your bandwidth usage.

Log on to your Internet browser. It doesn't matter whether you are using a PC or an Apple product; you just need access to the Internet.

Search for an application that measures online bandwidth. You cannot manually determine the amount of bandwidth you are using on a day-to-day, monthly or annual basis. You must track it instead. A couple popular bandwidth meter sites are DU Meter, which is available for free download, and CNET's (CBS's tech-related review site) online meter tool. See Resources for these two available meters.

Download a free application. There are a number of free bandwidth tracking applications. Scan your computer for viruses before you start the download. You might also search for online forums where these trackers are discussed. This can help you avoid virus-laden applications.

Download the tracker. Install the software onto your hard drive. Open the program. This may be displayed as a widget, especially if you are using an Apple operating system.

Check the bandwidth meter periodically while you are using the Internet. The meter will show exactly how much bandwidth you are consuming at the moment. Some programs offer stored history programs that let you track monthly usage.

About the Author

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera ethernet image by Victor B from