How to Limit Data Usage and Internet Bandwidth in Windows

Joe Keeley 04-10-2017

Limiting bandwidth on your computer will stop your data being wasted on things you don’t want. It’s very helpful for those who have a specific data limit and can help you avoid being overcharged. We’re going to show you tools to help you limit your bandwidth.


Windows has a built-in method to limit bandwidth, but at the moment it’s really basic and not particularly clear on what it does. As such, it’s better to turn to third-party solutions.

If you have your own method to share for limiting bandwidth, please let us know in the comments.

1. Windows 10 Metered Connections

One way to limit bandwidth by using Windows 10’s built-in methods is to enable a metered connection How to Set Your Wi-Fi and Ethernet Connection as Metered in Windows 10 In Windows 10, you can set your Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection as metered. This will limit the data consumption by Windows Update and other background apps. Here's how to set it up. Read More . Enabling a metered connection will limit how forceful Windows Update is and stop the automatic updating of some apps and live tiles. To begin, press Windows key + I to open Settings, click Network & internet, then either Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

If you selected Wi-Fi, click Manage known networks, select your network from the list, click Properties, and slide Set as metered connection to On.

windows 10 metered connection

If you selected Ethernet, select your connection from the list and slide Set as metered connection to On.

Fancy some other tips? See our guide on how to control Windows 10’s bandwidth usage How to Control Windows 10's Data and Bandwidth Usage Is Windows 10 consuming too much bandwidth? We'll show you how to cut down on diagnostics, updates, live tiles, and anything else destroying your data. Read More . And since Windows 10 is an ever-evolving operating system The Latest Windows 10 Version Won't Be the Last One What is the latest Windows 10 version? How long is it supported? And why did Microsoft switch to a service model? Answers within! Read More , the upcoming Fall update will see further customization to this feature, like the ability to specify monthly GB limits. Until then, let’s take a look at some tools you can download to do a better job.

2. NetBalancer

NetBalancer will show you a list of all the active processes on your system and any associated network usage. Beneath this is a live graph so you can see at a glance where any bandwidth spikes occur. Hover your mouse over the graph and you’ll be able to see which processes were sapping your bandwidth at that moment.

To limit a program’s bandwidth, find it on the list and double-click it. You can use the Download Priority and Upload Priority dropdowns to adjust its usage based on preset filters. This is handy if, for example, you still want a program to be unrestricted, but want other programs to use the bandwidth first if they need it. Alternatively, choose Custom from the dropdown to define your own limits.


You can also do the same thing back on the main window, using the green and red arrow icons at the top of the window. One handy feature here is clicking the red arrow pointing right with a vertical line, which will block all network traffic. More advanced users can make use of the filters and rules.

NetBalancer gives you a free trial of 15 days, after which you’ll need to pay a one-time fee of $49.95 to keep using the program. Alternatively, you can keep using it outside of the trial as a network monitor only.

3. NetLimiter

When you launch NetLimiter you’ll see a list of all your open applications, along with their current bandwidth usage. Of course, some applications will naturally use more bandwidth than others, but it’s handy to identify those which are consuming more than they need to.

The default limit is set to 5 KB/s for download and upload, which you can quickly enable by checking the box for a particular row. To edit those defaults, right-click the limit figure to open the rule editor. On the Rule tab, you can change the bandwidth boundaries.


Switch to the Scheduler tab and you can set rule start and stop time conditions. To begin, click Add and then create your required rules. For example, you could have your web browser stop consuming any bandwidth between particular hours.

NetLimiter comes with a 28-day trial period. A single user license for the Lite version costs $19.95, while the Pro version costs $29.95. However, there appears to be no difference between the two, so stick with the former.

4. Net-Peeker

Net-Peeker has a very simple user interface. At the top, you can see the activate upload and download usage, along with access to a brief Settings screen and some of the other features the program offers like a system guard. We’ll just be focusing on its bandwidth limiting ability.

The table beneath lists out all active process on your system, along with its bandwidth consumption. You can double-click a process to get extremely detailed information on the Network Sessions and Loaded Modules tabs.


On either an entire process from the main window or on a specific network session, you can right-click to manage the connection. You can Limit speed to specify set bandwidth boundaries and Abort connection to disconnect it altogether (until you open it again).

Net-Peeker gives you a 30-day trial to experience all of its features. After that time, you can continue to use the program for $25. If you want the ability to control multiple systems, you’ll need to purchase a group license which starts at $125 for five agents.

5. SoftPerfect Bandwidth Manager

SoftPerfect Bandwidth Manager isn’t necessarily the most feature-rich program on this list, but it is the trickiest to get to grips with. When you first launch you’ll need to enter your network address and password before you can start monitoring the traffic.

If you’re comfortable with that, it’s a program worth checking out thanks to its decent rule customization. Press Ctrl + N to begin creating your rule. Move between each tab to see all the options, but be sure to name your rule and set your desired Rate limits. When done, click OK to activate your rule.

softperfect bandwidth manager

Use the Tools dropdown to set quotas and schedules for your bandwidth. It’s also worth checking out the Usage Report, which will give you an overview of all your traffic and help you identify any particular problems that need addressing.

SoftPerfect Bandwidth Manager has a 30-day trial period. After this, you can continue using the Lite version for free, with the limit of only being able to set five rules. Alternatively, you can pay $49 to upgrade to the Standard version. See their license comparison list for full details.

Bandwidth Limited

We’ve previously rounded up ways that Windows 10 is wasting your bandwidth 4 Ways Windows 10 Is Wasting Your Internet Bandwidth Is Windows 10 wasting your internet bandwidth? Here's how to check, and what you can do to stop it. Read More , so hopefully one of these tools will prove helpful to take control over your system’s internet usage. If you aren’t sure what’s eating up your bandwidth, try a few ways to monitor and troubleshoot your home network usage What's Using My Bandwidth? 5 Tips to Monitor Home Network Usage Is something draining your internet bandwidth capacity? Check and troubleshoot what is using your bandwidth with these tips. Read More .

Now that you’ve done this, it’s time to get the best out of your system. Read our guide on how to get faster performance from Windows 10 14 Ways to Make Windows 10 Faster and Improve Performance It's not hard to make Windows 10 faster. Here are several methods to improve the speed and performance of Windows 10. Read More .

Explore more about: Bandwidth, Computer Networks, ISP, Windows 10.

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  1. D Harries
    October 11, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Turn off automatic updates in Windows Store.

  2. Tammi Colvin
    October 6, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    How can I stream a local football game from my phone to my TV

  3. KwaK
    October 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Been using NetLimiter for a while myself - it's great. Doesn't just let me selectively block or limit specific services or programs, but also lets me see in detail what is eating up my bandwidth.

  4. Jonathan Peel
    October 5, 2017 at 5:36 am

    I use a very simple application called TripMode.
    It works on Windows and Mac, and has a very simple interface.

    It costs a small amount of money, but less than using a phone as an internet connection (at least in South Africa).