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Is there a way so that I can selectively limit bandwidth of a running process?

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There is a whole list of applications here that can do this: – BGM Jul 29 at 15:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 30 down vote accepted

I use NetBalancer. While its a paid software, a free version exists, but can restrict traffic on upto 3 processes at a time.

Net Balancer Free

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By default it doesn't monitor internal LAN transfers and it doesn't balance until 80% of the bandwidth is used. You can configure it though. – Jader Dias Jul 12 '11 at 20:16
This appears to work terribly bad on Windows XP. Instead of transparently narrowing the bandwidth, it appears to drop down packets/requests, half of times web pages won't open at all, displaying the default DNS search results instead, programs would go awry etc. – GSerg Apr 9 '13 at 15:07
@GSerg dropping packets is just about the only way to "transparently narrow the bandwidth". (not that this helps fix any issues you're having on XP, of course...) – romkyns Jun 19 '14 at 23:05

I use Net Limiter, which has a free version, but unfortunately you'll need to pay for the limitation feature.

NetLimiter is an ultimate internet traffic control and monitoring tool designed for Windows. You can use NetLimiter to set download/upload transfer rate limits for applications or even single connection and monitor their internet traffic.

Along with this unique feature, Netlimiter offers comprehensive set of internet statistical tools. It includes real-time traffic measurement and long-term per-application internet traffic statistics

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No, the lite/pro versions, which allow traffic limiting, aren't free. – demonkoryu Mar 28 '13 at 10:34
This one, on contrary, works quite good on Windows XP. – GSerg Apr 9 '13 at 15:29

There are good reasons to look at the "Internet facing router" approach for managing a network as a whole - however as the original question was specific and the user may very well be the only computer on the network, that is a secondary concern.


Per the current top answer, I am now testing out NetBalancer. It seems to work really well - and is easy to configure. The free/unlicensed version allows you to do so for up to 3 applications which, for me right now, is perfect (I'm using it to limit Origin's downloads only).

If you need to manage more than 3 applications, then the only down side of NetBalancer is the price - at ~$50.


The alternative is NetLimiter. It has a free trial period - but starts at ~$20 for the Lite version or ~$30 for the Pro version. NetLimiter is the tried-and-tested go-to application for many SysAdmins.

When NetLimiter's trial ends, until you buy a license, it becomes a monitoring-only tool - and no longer supports throttling. This can still be useful - but not for this use case.

Using a Router (with an explanation of why this isn't a good approach to this use case).

Though using a smart/highly-configurable router is usually the better approach to wholistic network management, the disconnect between that and the original question is not explained in @ZaB's answer. The original question is specifically asking about a process - which a router has no way reliably to identify.

The one variation that is close to useful on this end is if an application only communicates over a specific channel or type of traffic that easily can be identified by the router. An example is below of EA's Origin downloads:

Origin presently uses Akamai. Typically I set automatic downloads/updates to run at any time - but I'd prefer that it not use all the line capacity while I'm busy doing other more important things. Origin happens to be very bad at this sort of thing, thus it doesn't support download schedules or download throttling. Currently my desktop is downloading a game using the server "". A MikroTik router (an example of a smart router) can take note that this DNS name was used (it will be in the DNS cache with an IP address) and can be configured temporarily to add the destination server's IP address to an "address list". All traffic to/from the address list can be added to a throttled queue thereby, technically, throttling a single application.

The approach above is naive however. EA could at any time change the server name, the protocol used, etc - and my shiny new rule will be rendered useless.

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Internet facing router is a better place for traffic shapers, just like every entrance to VPN. PS i used to use netlimiter before installing alternate firmware on home gateway.

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What alternative firewall? how did you do this? your answer is very vague – Simon Sheehan Feb 25 '12 at 23:16
No traffic shaper supports IPv6 yet. – Ian Boyd Jun 20 '12 at 16:44
And how exactly is a router supposed to know which process originates the traffic? – romkyns Jun 19 '14 at 23:06

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