How many GB internet do I need per day?

How much internet data you need per day depends on your usage habits. For light internet users who just check email and social media, 1-2 GB per month may be enough. Moderate users who stream some videos and music may need 5-10 GB per month. Heavy users who stream HD video and games can use 50 GB or more per month.

Typical Daily Internet Data Usage

Activity Data Used
Email 50 MB per hour
Social media 100 MB per hour
Web browsing 250 MB per hour
Music streaming 150 MB per hour
Video streaming (SD) 500 MB per hour
Video streaming (HD) 2 GB per hour
Video streaming (4K) 7 GB per hour
Online gaming 100 MB per hour
Video conferencing 300 MB per hour

As you can see from the table above, light internet activities like email and social media use very little data – only 50-100 MB per hour. Music streaming uses 150 MB per hour. Standard definition video streaming uses about 500 MB per hour.

High definition (HD) video streaming jumps up to 2 GB per hour. 4K streaming uses a massive 7 GB per hour. Online gaming uses about 100 MB per hour, while video conferencing uses around 300 MB per hour.

Estimating Your Needs

To estimate your daily internet data needs:

1. Make a list of your typical daily internet activities and how much time you spend on each one.

2. Look up the data usage for each activity in the table above.

3. Multiply the data usage by the time spent on each activity.

4. Add up the data needed for all activities to get your total daily internet data requirement.

For example, if you spend one hour checking email (50 MB), one hour on social media (100 MB), two hours streaming music (300 MB), and one hour gaming (100 MB), your total daily usage would be:

Email: 50 MB
Social media: 100 MB
Music: 300 MB
Gaming: 100 MB
Total: 550 MB per day

So for this light internet use, you would need approximately 0.55 GB per day. Over 30 days that would be 16.5 GB per month. A 20 GB per month internet plan would be more than enough.

Factors That Increase Needs

There are several factors that can increase your internet data requirements:

– Streaming more video content, especially in HD and 4K which use significantly more data. Just one hour of HD video could use 2 GB.

– Having multiple internet users in a household, each with their own devices and activities. Data needs multiply with each additional user.

– Using the internet for work activities like video conferencing, cloud file storage/transfer, and remote desktop access. These add to your personal use data needs.

– Downloading large files like software, games, and movies. These can easily be several GB each time.

– Backup solutions like cloud backup and storage. Automatic photo backups from smartphones use cellular data too.

– Smart home devices like security cameras which stream video to the cloud 24/7. Multi-camera setups can use several GB per day.

– Increased usage from being home more often, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. More streaming and video calls consumed additional data.

So it’s important to factor in all your usage patterns and internet connected devices when estimating your total household daily internet data needs.

Tips for Conserving Data

If you want to conserve data usage:

– Set video streaming quality to SD instead of HD in apps like YouTube and Netflix. This makes a huge impact.

– Disable auto-playing of videos on social media and music apps. Only play what you intentionally want to watch.

– Disable background app data usage and syncing where possible.

– Disable photo auto-backups to the cloud and instead only manually backup over WiFi occasionally.

– Disable security camera cloud streaming and instead record locally to microSD card.

– Take advantage of WiFi networks whenever available to reduce cellular data usage.

– Download podcasts, playlists, maps, and other content over WiFi in advance instead of streaming them.

– Uninstall unused apps which may be using data in the background.

– Monitor your data usage with tools from your mobile carrier or third party apps. Set usage alerts and data limits.

– Contact your internet provider and switch to a higher data cap if necessary. Doing this proactively can prevent overage charges down the road.

Following these tips prudently can help you minimize internet data usage and get by with a smaller monthly data plan.

Data Needs by User Level

Here are some internet data usage benchmarks for different user levels:

Light Users:

Check emails, browse social media, read news, shop online.

Don’t stream much video or music.

1-2 GB per month

Moderate Users:

Email, social media, web browsing, some video and music streaming at SD quality.

Occasional large file downloads.

5-10 GB per month

Heavy Users:

Frequent HD video, music, and gaming streaming.

Multiple internet users in a household.

Some smart home devices and cloud backups.

50 GB per month or more

As you can see, data usage can jump from just 1-2 GB for a light user up to 50+ GB for a heavy household of users with multiple streams and smart home devices. Evaluate your activities and habits closely when estimating your usage.

Internet Data Plan Options

Here are some typical wired broadband internet data plan options:

Plan Data Cap
Basic 250 GB
Moderate 500 GB
Standard 1 TB
Heavy User 2 TB
Extreme User 4 TB

And common mobile data plan options:

Plan Data Cap
Basic 5 GB
Moderate 10 GB
Standard 15 GB
Heavy User Unlimited*

*May be speed throttled after 20-50 GB

Pick a wired broadband data plan that comfortably exceeds your estimated monthly usage. For mobile plans, the unlimited plans are recommended for most users.

Also consider bundling your internet plan with TV and phone services to potentially get a discount.

Network Bandwidth Guidelines

In addition to data volume, you need sufficient network bandwidth (speed) for your activities:

Activity Minimum Bandwidth
Email and web browsing 5 Mbps
Music streaming 1 Mbps
SD video streaming 5 Mbps
HD video streaming 25 Mbps
4K video streaming 35 Mbps
Online gaming 10 Mbps
Video conferencing 1-4 Mbps

Aim for bandwidth of at least 25-50 Mbps if you have several users/devices streaming HD video simultaneously. Physical connection type also matters – fiber optic > cable > DSL.

Saving on Data Plan Costs

Here are some tips to reduce your monthly data plan costs:

– Take advantage of promotional rates and new customer deals from internet providers. Loyalty discounts may also be available.

– Downgrade or change plans if current one exceeds your needs and overcharges you. Monitor usage trends.

– Use tools like data compression and caching to reduce data consumption.

– Connect your smartphone to home and work WiFi whenever possible to stay off costly cellular data.

– Explore reseller, prepaid, or MVNO cell plans which can save $10-$20 monthly over major carrier plans.

– Purchase data in bulk – some providers offer cheaper rates if you prepay for 6 months or a year upfront.

– Use internet only for critical activities on cellular networks and do bulk downloading on WiFi.

– Enable auto-pay and paperless billing to reduce monthly fees by $5 or more.

– Cut the cable cord and switch to internet based streaming TV which can save $50+ per month over traditional cable.

– Share subscriptions to streaming services with family and friends to reduce costs.

Being a savvy and informed internet consumer can help you optimize your data plan and save money each month. Monitor your usage closely and pick the best value plan.


How much internet data you need per day depends completely on your usage habits – light users may get by on 1-2 GB per month while heavy users might require 50 GB or more. Carefully estimate your daily time spent on activities requiring internet access and multiply by typical data usage rates. Also factor in additional users and devices in your household adding to your total requirements. Monitor your usage over time and switch data plans accordingly to make sure you have enough data without overspending each month. Utilize tips like streaming at lower quality, using WiFi instead of cellular whenever possible, and taking advantage of promotional plan rates and bulk data discounts. With some informed analysis and optimization, you can have the ideal internet data plan to meet your household’s needs.

Leave a Comment