Theres no doubt that the cost of internet in the north is high, but the “luxury” of internet certainly makes life in the north more comfortable when you can feel connected with the rest of the world, despite the geographic isolation. So, to make the most of your internet and to save your pocketbook, you want to be sure every megabyte counts and ensure that you dont have programs running in the background secretly using up your bandwidth.

We recently switched back to Northwestel for our internet provider and since with the previous provider the overage fees were low, we didnt pay much attention to the usage. Within days of our being on Northwestel, however, our usage was through the roof and we noticed that much of the usage was in uploads (we didnt think we were uploading anything) So we did what any logical adult would do, we called on our IT guy to find the problem – in this case, our son 😉

Did you know that there are many Internet usage trackers available? Most people want them to help find what is using up their Internet in order to increase speed, or to stay within their internet usage cap (like us) But did you know that if you use a Mac computer that the macOS already has a built in internet tracking feature: Activity Monitor?

This activity monitor is different than the internet usage tracker that Northwestel provides their customers. The Activity Monitor will show you the activity of just that one computer (as opposed to the many devices that might be on your network and transmitting data) It will also give you the specifics of what program is using what amount, whereas the NWTEL internet usage reflects total data of all devices.

Activity Monitor is found under “Utilities” in your Applications folder (Or “Other” in Launchpad). Once you open it, if you look at the top of the window, you will find five tabs: CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network. Select the last one, “Network”. Here, you can see every process on your computer and how much data each process is sending and receiving. If you select a process and press the “X” in the top left corner, you can quit the process. Be aware that the process might start up again automatically, though.

Now that you know what is using up your data, it’s now time to stop it. If it’s an application that was using it, try checking it’s settings and see if there is anything that you can disable to prevent it from using so much data, such as automatically checking for things like updates. Sadly, some apps just require lots of internet for it to work. You’ll need to decide if you want to keep it or delete it. If the process is not an application, try doing an internet search on the process name. For example, I had a process called “nsurlsessiond” that was using a significant amount of data. After a quick search, we found out that that process was communicating with Apple’s servers. Turning off iCloud Photo Library immediately solved the problem.

By using this method and turning off the Apple iCloud Photo library our uploads went from almost 2GB per day to 0.02GB. That simple trick is saving us hundreds of dollars a month! We also got in the habit of unplugging our internet modem when we aren’t using it or when we aren’t home. If it makes a difference or not, we haven’t determined yet, but at least then we can be sure that nothing was used while we weren’t around, and it makes looking at our Northwestel usage reports easier since it is all zeros when it is turned off for extended periods of time.

Do you have any internet saving tricks? Please share if you do!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “How we saved cash by reducing our internet usage

  1. On Mac, use Bandwidth+ app (free from App Store) to track your usage at the top of your screen. Also, shut all the internet windows you’re not using, as they use data when you’re not watching. The free OneTab extension for Chrome helps if you want to shut everything you have open but keep track for a later visit to each page. And don’t forget to turn off auto-play on Facebook videos.

    Posted on 24/12/2016 at 10:11 pm
    1. Thanks for sharing those the additional tips, every bit helps! 🙂

      Posted on 09/01/2017 at 3:12 pm