Slow Internet Connection? Four Common Things That Use Up Bandwidth

Getting a high-speed internet connection might cost a few extra dollars each month, but depending on what you’re using your internet for, it could be the most cost-effective solution for you.

bandwidthToday, there are more service providers putting usage caps on their internet so they can break it down into different packages, and charge more for the data that you use once you’ve reached the cap. Your internet connection also slows down drastically when you’re running on borrowed data.

If you know that you haven’t gone over your usage for the month, and you find that your connection is still slow, take a look at these four extremely common things that eat up your bandwidth.

Video Streaming

Sites such as Hulu, YouTube, and especially Netflix, offer video streaming services that are used all over the world, and these services require a lot of bandwidth. The majority of streaming services do give you the option of streaming in standard definition or high definition, but even a downgraded stream can transfer data at large bitrates. You might be surprised to know that Netflix makes up for over 30% of bandwidth use in North America, while YouTube takes in an additional 17%. The math is there. If your internet is slow and your house does a lot of streaming, try upgrading your package.

File Sharing

You might not think that peer-to-peer file sharing sucks up bandwidth, but it really does. In fact, one of the biggest hogs on a computer is Bit Torrent, or any other file sharing program that you have installed. Essentially, when you download a file, your program becomes part of a network that is sharing the same data. It works in a circle; once you’ve downloaded some of the data from one peer, another peer downloads the file from you. Your upstream and downstream bandwidth gets dominated, and it also leaves you open to potential legal action if you’re sharing copyrighted material.

Cloud Applications

The benefit of cloud services is you can access your data from different devices, and you can connect to the internet. However, cloud services require a lot of bandwidth to run properly, and even more if they haven’t been configured appropriately. It’s possible that virus scanners can work overtime to scan files repeatedly during your PC’s scanning schedule, and this results in substantial data usage that could be costly and wasteful.


One of the most significant clues to a malware infection is a sudden spike in data usage. Malware works from the inside, and it tries to disengage your system’s security features so the creator of the malware can take control of your computer, and even your network. Once your computer has been compromised by a hacker, there’s no telling the damage that can be done. The hacker can store and transfer files from your PC, initiate attacks on other computers, send out thousands of spam messages, and create phishing attacks.

slow-internet-connectionOne of the best ways that you can understand more about your bandwidth, how much you’re entitled to each month, and the diagnostics of your internet, is to contact your internet service provider. They can let you know where the majority of your data is getting used, and what solutions they can offer to help speed up your connection.

If you’ve had experiences with other bandwidth suckers, leave a comment below.

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