How to Limit Internet Bandwidth on Your PC

There’s nothing worse than paying for really good bandwidth speeds, only to have it stolen by everyone else in the room. Or, perhaps you’re on one of those data plans that charges you for data you use (a disgusting practice, but they’re out there). Whether you’re looking to limit yourself or limit the internet bandwidth for others, you need to first know how.

There are a number of methods that can limit bandwidth usage, some easier than others and some much harder. Look below for a method that works for you, whether you’re looking for something fast or more involved.

Use Your Equipment’s QoS

Quality of Service

QoS technology, or also known as “Quality of Service” technology, is software that comes with your modem and or router that can limit internet bandwidth connected devices are using. Depending on your equipment, some come with traffic identification that picks up on a computer’s IP or MAC address and, through the software, use that to limit their usage.

Other pieces of QoS software can even balance priority, giving some devices access to more bandwidth and others less. Unfortunately, because of the sheer number of modems and routers one can buy, listing the steps for each QoS software is way beyond the scope of this article.

But fear not. If you’re looking for your own equipment’s QoS software, do a quick search for it with your favorite search engine and you can easily find it that way. Most QoS software lists their interface options in a similar fashion. You’ll want to look for something like “QoS Setup” or “IP QoS,” or anything pertaining to QoS.

Once you’re on the interface, you’ll get a breakdown of all currently connected devices. With each one, you can prioritize the devices. Do you want yours to have the highest priority? Set it to “Maximum Bandwidth Limit,” ensuring that you’ll get the most every single time. Do you have kids hogging the bandwidth with their annoying Fortnite game? Bring theirs down to a low priority. See how much they do their little dances then. You are now the master.

Using Software to Limit Bandwidth

This wonderful piece of software, NetLimiter, is a wonderful way of limiting the amount of bandwidth connected devices are using. And the best part? It’s free, well, at least its “lite” version is free. Comparing it to the paid version, you use NetLimiter Lite just fine without ever having to upgrade. If you do, you won’t regret it.

bandwidth processes

Rather than focus on limiting devices directly, it limits the amount of bandwidth processes and applications are using. Say your browser is using too much and you’re online games are suffering from it. Grant it, you could shut it down, but we don’t have time for rational solutions. Instead, fire NetLimiter up and bottleneck the amount of bandwidth it’s using.

Another great program known as NetBalancer works in the same way. It provides a list of processes and applications currently running. You can choose to prioritize the bandwidth of said processes and save some of your bandwidth. Does Steam really need all of it right now, when it isn’t in use? Nope.

NetLimiter

NetBalancer is always free, but like NetLimiter, it has a “pro” version that comes with a few more features than it’s free-to-use counterpart.

Limiting Bandwidth with Windows Settings

As a bonus, if you’re looking to limit the bandwidth Windows uses when it updates your PC, and considering NetLimiter can’t limit specific programs unless you pay for it, having the option to hold the amount of bandwidth Windows uses is a godsend. Considering some people have network plans that count their data usage, Windows can be a real hog on data and you don’t always have to keep Windows up-to-date.

1. Start by opening the Windows Startup menu located in the bottom left corner of your screen by default. Or, alternatively, you can hit the Windows key on your keyboard, if you have one.

2. Once opened, click on Settings, the gear icon located on the left hand side of the Windows Startup menu.

3. In the Windows Settings window, click Update & Security.

4. In the left hand column, click Windows Update. You can find it at the top of the menu.

Advanced Options

5. In the Windows Update page, head down to Advanced Options.

6. Now, head down the Advanced Options page to Delivery Optimization.

7. Choose Advanced Options again, near the bottom of the page.

limit the amount of bandwidth

You’ll see a slider for both downloading and uploading data from Windows updates. You can limit the amount of bandwidth that’s used during a download in the background as well as the foreground.

limit bandwidth

For uploading, you can limit bandwidth as well as the amount of monthly upload. Make sure that altering either that you put a checkmark in the box it’s associated with for the changes to be made.