How to Browse Faster on Limited Bandwidth

Not every netizen is blessed with a Fast Connection or Unlimited Bandwidth. Thanks to the regulations in switching data plans, I fall into that category of the unlucky netizens. But I stay online almost half of my day and my friends wonder how I do that.

Let me explain how I survive on a limited plan with just 1 GB free usage and yet take home most of the web! Mostly, my monthly usage is under 950 MB and I have never exceeded the 1 GB limit.
Measure Your Bandwidth

Browse the Web without Burning your Pocket

These are not just tips; this is how I do it. These might not apply to you directly, absorb what looks good and create your own game plan.

  • Always use Firefox and Opera to browse the web: Both FF and Opera are faster than IE and have got lots of Bandwidth saving features. I use Opera 9.24; since it’s not the latest version available, it doesn’t support some of the newest features in many web applications. For instance, the new version of Gmail pre-fetches the emails for faster performance which is a bandwidth sucker. It loads all emails including those which you have no intention reading at that time.
  • Block unwanted Images: Opera can block images via a button on the View bar. A Firefox Add-on ImgLikeOpera does the same on Firefox. Most websites usually contain lots of animations and images which we don’t even notice. If you need any images, you can always load specific images (Right click > View image on Opera and Right click > Load image on FF). For sites that I frequently visit, I load all the images once and then select the option to ‘load cached images only’ so that the reading experience is not compromised.
  • Block Flash and Adsense: Use the Adblock Plus Firefox Add-on to block Adsense Ads and Flash animations. A flash ad can be as big as 200 kb or even more! This add-on makes pages load faster and saves on bandwidth. If you have ever been to Digg, you might have noticed the number of Ads per page. How fast would the pages load if there were no ads?
  • Remove the Bandwidth Intensive Plugins: Some Firefox Add-on’s like those that bring you the Alexa ranks or Google PR, connect with their server to bring you the stats. If you don’t need those stats, disable those plugins. If you need the stats sometimes, but not every now and then, then create a different Firefox Profile with those plugins.
  • Hibernate Windows instead of Shutting Down: Hibernation saves your desktop the way you left it (Microsoft says that even the mouse location is saved). I save my windows and continue work from last days end. That’s saves a lot of unnecessary pageloads and saves bandwidth!
  • Use Desktop Clients like Pidgin and TweetDeck: Pidgin is an open source chat client that can connect to multiple chat networks at the same time. I use it to connect with my Yahoo and Gtalk friends and clients. Moreover it’s a very light client that doesn’t suck bandwidth the way Gtalk does. TweetDeck is a must have for twitter addicts. It makes the twitter experience more enjoyable by fetching the tweets so that you don’t have to refresh your pages to see if you have new tweets. Saves bandwidth and saves time!
  • Use a Download Manager: A download manager is a definite time saver. I use the Free Download Manger to keep track and organize downloads. Usually I save the download links and videos with FDM and download all of them towards month’s end when you exactly know how much free bandwidth remains. Also you can export the download lists and send it to your ‘Lucky’ friends with unlimited bandwidth and ask them to download it for you!
  • Block Automatic Updates: Most software have the automatic updates enabled by default. The software detects when you are connected to the internet and checks and downloads updates. So you loose control on your bandwidth. Instead, I have disabled all automatic updates and I update all my softwares towards the end of the month, when I know how much usage remains. (Thanks Anish for reminding me!)
  • Disable Opening of Files inline: Browsers open PDF files and Video files inline. It might open a PDF without telling you how big the file is. Worst part, the browser becomes non-responsive until it completes loading the file. Result: You waste bandwidth on a large PDF which you have no intention reading. You can disable that in Firefox Options. Learn how. (Thanks Quakeboy)
  • Monitor your usage: Use a Network monitor to know how much you use and how much bandwidth remains. It helps in planning things better. I use a Free Bandwidth meter from ShaPlus. It’s a good one and has the necessary options. Read the review and download it free.

A little extra can save serious money at the end of the month. If you try any of these, you might feel a little uneasy first, trust me, it will soon fly away. I had been doing these for years!

You might have more tips with you to save bandwidth and browse at lightning speed. Share them here and I will add them up (of course, with credits) to the list 🙂

Related: Visit your Favorite Websites with a Single Character

Hello, I am Arun Basil Lal. Thank you for reading!

I am a WordPress product developer and creator of Image Attributes Pro. I am passionate about solving problems and travelling the world.

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  1. Sriraj says:

    Try chrome Arun !! I’d say its better than Firefox. And opera, its classic look says it all and I like the flow of the page in opera just like in our iphone scrolling.
    Also Safari 4 claims to be the fastest browser on the Web currently available.
    Its 4 times faster than IE7. I also use that. In all my first choice of browser would be Chrome, followed by Firefox 3, Safari 4, Opera 10 and IE 7/8.
    And Arun, please don’t give tips like blocking Adsense, We’ll be dead soon 😀

    • Ha ha, I dont care about Adsense right now. Moreover those who would want to block it would most probably never use the Ads 😛
      Hey, it would be better if the users see the pages first..right? what if those on the slow connections leave because the page never loads? Its 100 times better if someone reads our content than see our ads.

      And there are better ways of making money than the slow Adsense 🙂

      btw, I love Firefox because of the awesome plugins it has. I need a lot of plugins even if I am browsing casually, its good to see whats behind the scenes 🙂
      I have chrome safari and a whole array of browsers, i use them to test the pages. But FF is my personal favorite 🙂

  2. Quakeboy says:

    I always wanted to write about adblock plus.. but thought I might get criticisms, plus some other reasons and did not do it..

    I appreciate that, seriously man.. I feel the same, what is more important is that our readers get a good experience.. and for that blocking ads is okay..

    maybe once we grow our blogs bigger, we can get into private ads and some other form of advertising that cannot be blocked using scripts.. 🙂

    I was using adblock plus, but i used to feel guilty as I am blocking other blogger’s revenues, but now i read mostly only using my GReader and I visit the page only if I feel like commenting.. and for some blogger, i think they just clutter too much with ads especially those who put ads exactly below the headline of the post.. Aargh I just hate it..

    • Well said, I hate pages with Ads in between the content. i dont read them unless I am compelled to. Thats the biggest turn off for me. I feel as if the author doesnt care for the reader at all.

      You said it, readers are happy, then we are too. as you said, private ads are much better than Adsense, if you can manage to get them. Btw, I already have some private ad sales, you dont have to be the leader to start that off. 🙂

      I use Adblock plus esp on Digg, see the number of ads they have? And you are a bit wrong there, Adblock plus can block any kind of advertising. It blocks even the private ads too 😛

      One trouble is that we might miss a lot, if we dont see the ads. Ads bring me lot of information, usally contest offers and hot deals, I really miss them these days 🙁

      Thanks for the support mate 🙂

      • Sriraj says:

        Where do you have your private ads Arun,this site or some other?

        • Dont you see the sponsors on the Sidebar? The first one is a private ad. I dont have any other sites online so far other than my blogger blog 😀

          • Sriraj says:

            Thats great !! I thought webtrafficroi was also an affiliate link seeing the Studiopress banner. Thats the advantage of a single topic (or almost similar) blog.

            • Yeah, I was about to tell you the same, you are too broad on topics man, its wider than generic blogging in my opinion. I would say that you cut that down and start a separate blog for the local and off-topic posts 🙂 I know a friend who does the same, he has been blogging for 2 years so far, but still the reader count is small. I am not discuraging you in any way, but in my opinion you will get more readers if you stay around one topic 🙂

              • Sriraj says:

                I know that but starting a new blog or new sub domain for categories would be pain, starting all over again !!
                Generally I place my site into ‘News category’ in any directories, so that won’t be a problem.
                And regarding my readers, 300 readers in 3 months is Ok I think?
                Any way I have a control on my feeds. In the sense, I block some category posts like politics from appearing in the feed. (People would only find those category posts through search engines or directly visiting my site)

                • Thats awesome man, maybe you should share some tips on boosting RSS readers 🙂
                  And I should share those tips on feed control to my friend. With his level of networking he should be having atleast 5000 RSS readers. But thats not what we see, and I would say it just because he writes on everything in the world. Well, I am not a niche blog evangelist, I love generic blogs rather than niche blogs 🙂

                  IMHO, Generic bloggers are more personal than niche bloggers, they often write about their life experiences too..
                  Btw, have you submitted your blog to Google News. They dont accept sites authored by a single person, but its good to apply I guess. Details here.

                  • Sriraj says:

                    No I din’t. The time has still not come. Google news is a BIG thing. It’ll take some head beating to be in there. Rather than submitting now and not getting accepted, I’d wait till my site get’s good authority and then think of it..

                    • Thats awesome farsight. I think it would be good to add atleast one more contributor before you sumbmit, I dont think they would ever waive the rule not to accept blogs authored by individuals. Good luck!

                    • Sriraj says:

                      And as I say it, my feed readers crossed 1000 today.
                      But, Where are you Arun? Not to be seen these days.

                    • Congrats buddy, yeah, am a bit away. Final year is happening, busy with exams, assignments, seminars and projects.
                      btw, I forgot to tell, I got the free win 7 upgrade DVD 🙂

  3. Quakeboy says:

    but now as I am on a really fast internet connection at office..I dont use adblock plus..

  4. JAGAN says:

    adblock plus is a great tool you are right in tipping it.pleas avoid to suggest blocking adsense as almost every blogger has dream to make most of it rest is perfect.

    • First I think its time that you add your site link here with every comment 🙂

      btw, whatever thats in store for you will come to you, thats what I believe in. And i make the most from Adsense at night, that means mostly the US visitors are using it. Luckily, connection speeds are good in the US, so most of them wont need Adblock plus at all 🙂

      Glad that you enjoyed it, some of your questions triggered this post, thanks for that too 🙂

  5. Amal Roy says:

    I was some one like you and were using most of the tips mentioned here. They are really good ones. Now i have got the BSNL 500C+ plan as i have told you before. Finally i was able to get it this month. Now i am free to browse without worrying about bandwidth. If we really care about the bandwidth these tips are the best.

    • So you graduated into a lucky one! I remember we talking over that once 🙂 When I applied to change my plan, they say that I have to wait till one year is complete. I had chosen to pay one year payment in lumpsum, that was a mistake 🙁

      Anyway I can change the plan this October 🙂 and be a lucky one like you!

  6. Rishi says:

    I commend your ability to live such a limited lifestyle, Arun. My ISP allows only 250 GB per month, but I can’t imagine living with a 1 GB cap. Well done buddy!

    • Only 250 GB? ROFL 🙂 Have you ever used more than 10 GB? Even my friends with unlimited bandwidth connections never use more than 10 GB, btw speeds are a bit low here, the maximum now available is 16 mbps. But its usually lesser than 2 mbps 🙁

      My friends say the same, but I find it confortable with 1 GB 🙂

  7. Anish K.S says:

    While using FF disable the Update check, Using FF is a very good Technic

  8. Nihar says:

    Why don’t you pay 1350 and get Unlimited package. Limited packages are waste…

    • I have an application filed for a change of data plan, things are snail slow here man, it take time to change over. I cant wait to browse the net on an unlimited plan, that seems to be like a dream now.. 🙁

  9. Mr. I says:

    Hey Arun, latest tip: Use Opera 10. It is out of beta now and Turbo makes web a lot faster(if you are ready to compromise on pic quality!)

  10. Udegbunam Chukwudi says:

    This will sure do come in handy as I plan on buying a 3GB plan @ $62 a month from one of the new telecoms here. I was kinda skeptical as to what I could do with 3GB but this article clears it all.

    A work around Gmail preloading emails is to set your account to automatically use basic html each time you log in.

    You need to switch to Opera 10 Turbo. As Mr. I said, that browser kicks a*s on slow connections and it saves bandwidth too 😉

    I’m not getting the whole adsense loads slowly thing. The connection at my aunt’s place is a la dial up and adsense ads on my blog load as fast as ever. Oh! I just remembered. I’ve got a caching htaccess hack on my blog.

    @Quakeboy & Arun Basil Lal : Most bloggers leave adsense ads below the post title as it’s said to be a hotspot for clicks. Well, I guess I agree with your point that we should give the readers what they want and not plague them with ads. Thus I’ve moved my adsense ad to after the post. That way the readers can have a pleasurable experience reading my posts.
    P.S: Google Adsense on my blog, is activated for search engine visitors ONLY. Regular visitors are free from Adsense Ads.

    @Arun Basil Lal: Give me 250GB of bandwidth any day and I’ll show you how to maximise it. LOL

    • Adsense Ads take a while to load in slower connections. In my part of the world, some connections are terribly slow, I have lived on that for over 4 years. You should be lucky.
      I cannot use 250 GB a day. maybe a week. lol

  11. Udegbunam Chukwudi says:

    @Arun Basil: Slow down. I didn’t mean 250GB a day! That’s one hell of a task. lol

  12. Udegbunam Chukwudi says:

    Update of my previous comment
    Just checked my adsense stat and I haven’t earned a dime in past 2 weeks since applying the “show adsense to search engine visitors only” hack. I’ve made up my mind to remove the hack and show ads to everybody but they’ll definitely not be bothered by them till they finish reading the article.

    • I have been thinking of doing that for a while, but then am thinking of removing ads all together. Thanks for the tip.

      • Udegbunam Chukwudi says:

        @Arun Basil Lal: What’s gonna be your source of revenue if you remove all the ads on your blog?

        • Affiliates and other opportunities (like other projects) that I get through the blog. Ads share only less than 20% of the income.

          • Udegbunam Chukwudi says:

            I’ve been thinking about providing services too but I need to be sure I can dedicate all my time to it so as not to have disgruntled customers.
            I’m kinda trying to cut a clean image from the rest of Nigerians trying to make money online through hyped marketing strategies and poor customer service.
            Best of luck mate. You deserve it!

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