Tips for Dealing with Data Caps

If your Internet provider imposes a data cap on your service, you’re probably concerned about running over your monthly data allotment.  When you reach your limit, your speed may be throttled or you might lose service altogether until your billing period rolls over.  However, there are some simple steps you can take to keep your data usage under control.

  1. Keep an eye on your usage.

If your ISP uses data caps, they should provide a way for you to monitor your usage.  Check their website or your account for a data tracker.  You can also track your usage on your own, but it’s more complicated, and the ISP will always go by their own records.

  1. Schedule any large downloads.

Most ISP’s that use data caps include some kind of free zone outside of peak usage hours, usually overnight, when usage won’t count toward your data cap.  Using a download manager to schedule system updates or large file downloads for these hours will preserve your data allowance for the things you need to do online every day.

  1. Stream wisely.

Streaming video doesn’t have to eat up your data.  With most streaming services, you can adjust the playback settings in your account.  The difference between high definition and normal quality isn’t that much on your screen, but you’ll see a big savings in your data usage.

  1. Use click-to-play plugins in your browser.

Click-to-play plugins are optional additions for browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, which prevent Flash content from playing automatically.  Since most Flash content is ads, you won’t notice any difference in your web browsing experience, but you will see how much less data you use.

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