How Many Gigabytes Does The Average Computer User Need?

How Many Gigabytes Does A Person Need? These days you won’t find many people in your house that aren’t connected to the Internet at almost all times of the day. Whether they’re streaming music, playing video games, watching television or movies, or updating their Facebook status that they’re doing the above things. The thing is that the whole time you’re downloading or streaming, you’re using up precious gigabytes and many service providers put a cap on your monthly usage. In order to find out how many gigabytes per month you’ll require, you need to devise a strategy.

How Many GB Do I Need?

Obviously to know how many gigabytes you’ll need a month, you’ll have to know your usage. 1GB is about a thousand Megabytes and here is what most common applications eat up:

  • Streaming audio = roughly 60mb per hour
  • Streaming video = approx 400mb an hour
  • Streaming in 1080p on Netflix takes up 4.7GB/hour.
  • Watching a movie = approx 700mb (approximately 720p)
  • Playing a video game online = 40 to 80mb an hour
  • One 10 minutes HQ video is going to eat up about 60 to 90mb

Please note that these MB usages will vary depending on the quality of your audio or video. As you can see, a 10 minute high quality Youtube video can eat up 90mb while a 2 hour movie only takes up 700 – 800mb. Lesser quality takes up less gigabytes.

These are the most common gigabyte usage programs, so if you calculate how many hours per day you do each activity, then you can figure out how many gigs you’ll need a month. Everyday Internet surfing activities such as opening email and surfing the web hardly use up any data at all. For instance, if you did very little extra activities that ate up data usage, you could open roughly 1,000,000 emails, download 1600 songs, watch 300 YouTube videos, and write about 200,000 Facebook status updates (which might not be enough for some people). But never forget your network security when browsing the internet!

”OMG busy day today. I’m gnna wake up..breathe…breathe…go back to bed.”

How Much GB Do You Need a Month?

There are usually 3 different data packages available to users, the 5GB for casual users, the 10GB for gamers and video streamers and the unlimited package for people who work at home or are ‘power users.’ The 5GB package runs around $50, the 10GB $80 and the unlimited $140 and more. Good service providers will send you a text message or email alert when you are nearing your limit but beware of those that don’t. Overage fees can run anywhere from $10 per 1GB over and up. If you’re locked in a Call of Duty mission, you can’t just leave your men out there alone and it might end up costing you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

You can usually monitor your monthly usage by logging into your service provider’s website and looking under your account. There is also software such as AnalogX Netstat Live that you can use to monitor your monthly usage right from your desktop.

For a power user it might also be worth setting up a Gigabyte Ethernet network as you will get more speed through your existing internet package.

”Let’s finish this mission quick, I’m running out of dataaaaa”

As you can see, there are a few different factors to take into account when choosing which monthly Internet package is right for you. You’ll need to estimate your free time for browsing each month, what kind of Internet activities you perform and last but not least…your budget. It might be a tough decision but you’ll have to choose between an extra $30 to boost up to the 10GB package…or not watching the second season of AirWolf on YouTube…the choice is yours.

I know my choice

How Many Gigabytes DoI Need – Things That Can Waste GB’s

  • Youtube videos. They hog your bandwidth, especially if you are watching high definition videos.
  • Program updates running in the background are not only annoying but use up your precious gigabytes without you even knowing.
  • File backup programs that automatically copy your files to the cloud are eating your bandwidth, especially if they copy entire folders each time and not just new additions. Depending on your settings, this upload of files can happen daily.
  • Receiving photo’s through the email to your computer, especially images that have not been resized for emailing. You know when you open them, the images are huge. Same goes for sending them.
  • It is also said that programs like Skye can steel your bandwidth if it is running in the background. Not sure if this is true now days but it is better to be aware of these things.
  • Buying an ebook or a downloadable program via the internet all ads to your Gigabytes usage. The size varies and depends on what is being purchased.
  • Open tabs on your web browser might be using bandwidth. For example you might have youtube videos loading or Netflix open. 
  • According to a Sony representative, a 2-hour 4K movie download will eat up about 40 GB of storage. 4k is the new ultimate pixel view but thankfully sites like Netflix will be using the new HEVC h.265 codec for compression. That will mean anyone streaming 4K it will only require slightly more bandwidth than the current 1080p h.264 codec stream.



  1. Shaiyan Mhamud says

    Well If i could, i’d call my self a computer genius (not bragging of course) I have an 100 GB cap on my internet usage and my family has used a whopping 48.8 GB in 8 days the only projects i’m working on currently are making a voice controlled browser using visual basic. I’m guessing i some how got a trojan horse or many and its stealing my band with. I have some ports open for old servers but i don’t use the servers any more. My dad only reads the newspaper when he’s at home (rarely) and my mother just watches TV my brother plays Ghost recon online for 2 hours a day the game it self is only 5 GB and takes up 0.5 GB and hour I’m thinking about making a program that caps the internet before it gets dangerously high, but really ad truly and don’t have a clue on exactly why i’m using 10 GB a day … people are saying its probably beccause of my server but i did that 2 months ago… again if you think calling my self a genius is too much, sorry 😛

  2. Ramer says

    Hey Mitzy I only use the internet for watching youtube(about 15 clips aday) looking at craigslist ads (bout 3hours a day) & looking at different websites like wal-mart, hair & beauty websites etc. I currently have dsl but want to switch to satelite internet cause my speeds with my isp are the worst & the isp knows it & tells me theres nothing they can do. What is the best gb plan i should pick? Thank you

    • says

      Satellite Internet speeds are usually around 512 Kbps, which is equal to the slowest DSL connections. I started out with Satellite Internet as I could not get DSL for a few years. I could not wait to get DSL? I think you better check the speeds you will actually get before committing. You might be getting 1 Mbps on your DSL but you might still think it is slow. ??

  3. Suzie says

    Mitz; my husband and I bout a motor home. We will be traveling some . I do not know if KOoA campgrounds have Internet available. On the road I want to be able to look up things or p.aces while we are there or going there. Also I play games like poker and candy crush to keep busy. We won’t need to download music. I have an I pad and a lap top that will travel with us. I get e mails and use Facebook.
    How many gigs do you think I should get and with who most reasonable. And also if we get a phone that is up to date. We have something for the stone ages to travel with! Would it be cheaper to use the phone , can you get intent from your phone into your I pad. I am not very computer savvy. Please help!

    • says

      A few of my friends are using a phone for the internet and are having trouble with connections. Sometimes they are standing on a hill or out in the open to get internet. Ha ha I am in Australia though. Another option is to take advantage of the many free hotspots. For example McDonald’s restaurants have free WiFi. You can sit and have a coffee and get free internet.. Also there are mini WiFi hotspots you can buy on a plan and connect all of your devices. Unfortunately the reception depends on where you are at the time.

      Just to browse the internet, Facebook and play games you would need a min of 3GB – 5GB and that is probably a very small plan. But some games take up more bandwidth if played online. Maybe you could have some games on your laptop to play if you need to cut down a bit.

  4. Jack says

    I have a 240 gig or 180 gig cap and I got an email that said I am at 90% percent towards the cap. The only thing I do is: watch youtube, download apps(I have downloaded a few when transferring them to my iPad) and download a game every now and again from steam, oh, and play Xbox Live for a few hours. Were any of those things able to take such a huge chunk of data? Sorry for the long comment 😛

    • says

      If you are playing online games, connected to the internet, this can use up bandwidth. Also watching youtube is like downloading. Even listening to the radio on the internet uses bandwidth. You can easily contact your isp (internet service provider) to ask what is using most of your allowance.

    • Andy says

      I work for an isp and most cannot tell you what your usage is going to as they dont track your activities. Video games alone just being played dont use much data, where it would stick you is updates, demos, add-ons, etc. If you watch a lot of youtube, especially in high quality youll notice its going to eat your data. Other things people arent typicaly aware of are backup programs. Anything like carbonite, icloud, or any other form of online storage will eat your usage fast because the information is not only being downloaded, but uploaded (often by the gig, which can occur daily depending on program setting). If its only you and you have one computer I might reccomend a program such as netlimiter. This monitors usage only on the device its installed on but will break it all down, allowing you to see what programs are doing what with your usage.

  5. Chrissy says

    Im fixing to start hosting my own chat room; thats 14hrs. 4 hours, 4 days/month. Will an 8 mb do or will I need more?

  6. Bob Dawes says

    What you omitted to mention is how much is used up by things you have no control over (or very little) like:
    Windows updates
    Application updates
    AV updates
    Cloud backups
    Cloud applications
    Online purchases such as ebooks
    And the list is getting bigger

  7. SHiva says

    I use my phone at home off my wifi. Saves HUGE mbs and gives me a far faster connection(up to 40mips). I am on the 4gb program and never come close to it.

    My home internet is capped at 300gb, I dont think I come close to that either

  8. Ricky says

    I use clear as my ISP. They provide a wireless 4G internet service, which is priced very well and can go with me wherever I go. However, the issue with wireless services is common throughout all wireless devices is that they are limited (so far). My ping is often high at home, which can drastically affect your speed no matter how fast your connection is. It is relatively low when traveling. So, this makes me think that it is due to being indoors, which means the signal has to travel through more material. I was thinking about getting a couple of high gain antennas for the router to use while I am at home. Do you think that will help any?

    • says

      Hi Ricky
      Where I live we do not even have 4G available..We don’t even have cable!! I am on ADSL still and I have a separate 3G mobile internet connection. We are backwards here in Australia…Especially when you are not in a major city.

      Of course I agree that wireless loses strength when objects are in the way and maybe an antennas might work.. there also might be some other interference at your house too? check a few different areas out before doing anything.

  9. says

    I always surfing on the internet, listening music, watching videos and movies online and download anything that I want but in the long run I never thought that each one of those are consumes a big mb in my PC. I personally thank you for letting us know about it. Thanks a lot!

  10. says

    Hello! I live in Europe and I haven’t heard of bandwidth limitations for some time now. I currently pay 40 Euro per month for 15 Mbps unlimited plan.
    It is a decent speed for me. I really don’t like to be limited in the data amount aspect though!
    Thank you!

  11. David says

    Hi Mitz. I’m definitely in the power user category. I could never make do on a bandwidth limitation. I will use all I can.

    Definitely have the ‘unlimited’ plan.

    For those who can’t get it or don’t have it. You can buy a daily unlimited plan at the local coffee shop for the price of a cup of coffee.