So how do I really check my usage?

From time to time users query the amount of credit used up during a session. This is only natural when logging on to check email and seeing usage that does not fit earlier patterns. In this post, which is generally applicable whether using RedButton or not, we discuss what may cause

usage spikes, how to keep them in check and how you can monitor usage in fine grained detail.

In terms of your exact usage you may verify it yourself by logging into your RedButton account (“Buy Credits” from the portal page) and clicking on “Internet Usage History” on the left. It will show you when you logged in, for how long and especially what your uploads/downloads and credit usage was per session. This aggregate information is useful but does not provide fine grained detail in terms of which programs ended up using the connection.

When it comes to usage specifics, unfortunately there are many programs in the background that use bandwidth without your explicit instruction. Examples are Windows or Mac automatic security related system updates, automatic anti-virus/firewall updates, java updates, VoIP programs using bandwidth behind your back to route other people’s phone calls, iTunes downloading movies and many more. Such usage is sporadic in nature, one day there will be zero available updates (though anti-virus programs tend to update itself daily) and the next your Windows Update will try to download the next service pack which may take up tons of MB’s (Windows XP SP3 is 48MB for instance).

In order to prevent this from happening you may temporarily

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turn off these services though we do not recommend turning off security related service upgrades (operating system, anti-virus/firewall upgrades etc.). If you do it will expose your computer to a whole bunch of security vulnerabilities and problems which could ultimately cause more damage than the additional bandwidth expense is worth. For example we have had confirmed cases in the past where virus checkers were not updated, customers’ laptops got infected with viruses that then proceeded to upload heavy amounts of data resulting in their credits disappearing quicker than they could look.

One thing you can do is download Netlimiter Monitor (, a freeware third party tool that let’s you monitor which program uses up what bandwidth and how much. It is only 2.3MB large and will help you greatly in tracking down what’s using up all your credits. A word of caution, this tool will give you slightly lower total upload/download figures than our system (especially uploads) because it counts the data on a different network layer than we do.

We hope we have clarified why sometimes our system, or any other, shows more usage than you yourself have explicitly initiated. If you have any questions or feedback please let us know.

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2 Responses to “So how do I really check my usage?”

  1. Thanks for this information.

    You guys at Red button have solved a mystery for me, I always wondered what all those programs running in the background were.

    I won't bother about turning off services to save a rand or two in credits, because I see now, that the automatic downloads that AVG needs to keep my laptop safe are a vital part of maintaining my computer.

    I will look at net limitor and load it up, because its cool to see where my credits are going.

    Thanks guys

  2. hi i still dnt think this explains it. because when i use skyrove for the same activities from the same spot my skyrove lasts longer. and im quite aware of the danger of programmes downloading in the background and i have set them to all ask permission first before downloading so i really do think redbutton usage counter is a bit dubious…

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