How To Monitor Your Internet Usage So You Don't Exceed Your Data Cap

Internet data caps are a reality for most of us and can seriously suck. If you're stuck with the limitation, the best thing you can do is monitor your usage to avoid overage charges or even getting cut off entirely. Here are a few options to help you keep track.

The video above demonstrates one of the simplest methods: DD-WRT. If you need more help installing DD-WRT on router, read this. Once you've got it set up, it'll monitor your usage automatically. All you have to do is visit your router's IP address (generally, click Status, and then click WAN. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you'll see a graph displaying the bandwidth you've used each day (upstream and downstream). Rolling over will get you specific details.

If you're looking for a method to use on your Mac, Windows or Linux PC, there are a couple of downloads that can help you out:

  • Ntop can be compiled to run on any platform but is has binaries specifically for Windows and UNIX. It runs in a web interface and gives you a very detailed overview of your network usage.
  • SurplusMeter is an internet usage monitor for the Mac that also allows you to set a daily cap and accumulate surplus. Simple Help has great, detailed instructions on how to set up and use it.

Overall, DD-WRT is really the easiest and simplest way to go. We're sorry you're stuck with a usage cap, but hopefully this will help you stay on top of it.


    With unlimited and 1TB plans now available with 3 of Australia's major 5 ISPs, hopefully monitoring will be redundant soon enough.

      All fine and dandy if you live in the city, but at only 1hrs drive north of Brisbane no ISP is willing to offer unlimited plans to my area. Additionally I have to pay an extra $20-$30 dollars to any non-bigpond ISP to get service similar to what they provide in the cites

    Net Usage Item
    For Firefox and Chrome.

      Net Usage Item is great - I've been using it for years.

      +1 Net Usage Item
      +1 Quota for ios

      Used them all for ever and always done the job for me

    The app 'quota' for android and ios does a pretty good job.

    I was under the impression that DD-WRT only ran on ethernet routers, ie, not ADSL routers, is this no longer the case?

    Well my ISP is bigpond and on my Mac I uses bigpond menu bar and on my windows Pc I use a gadget from Unique

    I've generally managed to get by with the standard ISP-notification when I'm nearing my limit. As far as I know, all carriers have the option to text/email you when you hit somewhere around the 80% mark of your download limit.

    The main problem is the delay before they notify you - if you have a 30gb cap and 20mb/s download, you might tear through your remaining 20% before you realise.

    If you are an iinet user. Download and use iiUsage.

      I have to 2nd this, its the best usage meter app i've ever used (and i'm not just saying that cause i initially wrote it).

      With that you can plan out when you get shaped, i use it all the time to make sure i stay unshaped in peak and when i can start going crazy.

    +1 for Net Usage Item...

    +1 Quota for ios ;)

    Supports multiple accounts, work, home, next door neighbour..

    Virgin allows you to check your usage on the "my account" section of their website.

    Just log in with your mobile number and PIN and click "monitor my usage". It will show you how much call credit you have used, and how much data.

    There's a few usage meter windows gadgets for different ISPs (Bigpond, internode, iinet) here:

    I have a 100gb plan with Telstra and my son plays online roughly 5-6 hrs a day I'm new to this online gaming thing should I also be watching my usage or will a 100gb be fine for what he's doing.

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