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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. 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.
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. And since Windows 10 is an ever-evolving operating system, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve previously rounded up ways that Windows 10 is wasting your bandwidth, 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.
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.