How to monitor your internet usage

Monitor your internet usage icon

We use an awful lot of data on our home broadband, and it can be difficult to track. Emails, video streaming, and using apps all use up data and contribute to your usage. So how can you stay on top of it? Let’s take a look.

Why should I monitor my internet usage?

If your broadband has a download limit, keeping on top of your usage is vital - it'll give you an idea of how much of your allowance you've got through, and how much you may end up needing to pay out of pocket if you go over.

Luckily, most broadband packages are unlimited as standard. Still, there are some situations when you might want to, such as:

  • Investigating any unusual spikes in data consumption, which might suggest a virus or unauthorised access to your network
  • Satisfying personal curiosity about how much data you're using for streaming movies and online gaming

Even with an unlimited plan, being aware of your usage can lead to smarter choices and better internet habits.

Checking your internet usage… when you have a download limit

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Many broadband providers offer various tools to help customers keep an eye on their usage. Here are a few examples:

BT

The easiest way to check your usage with BT ( www.bt.com ) is to use the My BT smartphone app. It's a convenient way to keep tabs on your internet consumption, with detailed insights into both downloads and uploads, and it doubles as a handy tool for managing your billing.

Sky

Sky (www.sky.com) has an online Usage Tool, though it's only available if your package has a download limit. Log into your My Sky account and it'll be right there under the 'My Sky' tab. Monitoring your usage with Sky is straightforward, ensuring you stay within your monthly data budget.

Plusnet

You can check your usage with Plusnet( www.plus.net ) at www.plus.net by signing in with your Plusnet account info. Once logged in, you'll have access to a dashboard showing your current and historical data usage. For some packages, Plusnet even breaks down the data by type, offering a deeper dive into your internet habits.

Checking your internet usage… when you don't have a download limit

Even if you're enjoying the freedom of an unlimited package, you might still want to monitor your usage. Providers are less likely to provide tools for unlimited plans, so it's up to you to find alternative methods.

Your best bet is to install programs and apps on each of your devices to monitor how much data your individual gadgets use. While these tools can give you a device-specific breakdown, remember that they won't account for guests or devices without monitoring capabilities. By combining the data from these apps, you can estimate your total usage.

Are you getting the broadband speed you're paying for? Find out for sure with our broadband speed checker.

Do I need unlimited broadband?

If you're on a package with a download limit that you frequently find yourself going over – or nearly do – we'd recommend switching to unlimited broadband, a better broadband option for medium and heavy users. Any extra cost is minimal compared to the peace of mind it brings.

Unlimited broadband frees you to enjoy catch-up TV, download large files, and browse endlessly without the worry of hitting a data cap.

And the good news is that pretty much all broadband packages are unlimited these days.

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*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time(8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

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