How to Monitor My Internet Usage

By Robert Schrader

Even if your Internet service provider (ISP) advertises a so-called "unlimited usage package," it may restrict your "bandwidth," a metric which measures the amount of data you upload or download during a usage period, usually a month. Your hosting provider, if you have a website, may also set a monthly bandwidth limit. If you do exceed your bandwidth for any purpose, you may have restricted capabilities until your billing cycle begins again. It's therefore understandable that you might want to monitor your usage.

Step 1

Call your ISP directly and ask them how much you've uploaded and downloaded during the current month. Since providing Internet service is an ISP's primary business, finding this data will not be a problem for the associate.

Step 2

Download and install your choice of programs if you want to monitor your usage on a continuous basis. "Netmeter" and "Internet Usage Monitor" are personal programs designed for individual bandwidth monitoring. "Track4Win," on the other hand, goes above and beyond--it can monitor usage of all computers on a network, useful if you're a company manager or network administrator.

Step 3

Launch your program of choice and enter some specifications, most particularly the cost of your usage if that's what you wish to monitor. As your program tracks your usage, it will continuously calculate its monetary implications in your currency of choice. You can also use this feature to account for differences in price on different days of the week or at different times of the day.

Step 4

Set alerts to notify you when your usage exceeds your allotment, be it daily, weekly or before the end of the month. Set your "week" and "month" parameters based on the calendar or on your individual billing cycle.

Step 5

View usage projections based on your current usage. This way, you can temper uploads or downloads--or, if you've used less than you should have, download an extra movie or game to reward yourself.