I’ve always loved finding new ways to make money online.
I’ve also been a proponent of creating passive income streams or saving money by using resources that are already readily available to you.
I started a phone farm back in college, which was essentially a bunch of old burner phones that sat on my desk and earned money every day by watching videos/advertisements:
I’ve been slowly winding down my farming operations due to time constraints, although that whole experiment was a fun way to make $500+ in free gift cards.
However, I recently stumbled across another peculiar money making option that anyone can start in a matter of minutes.
That idea is selling internet bandwidth for cash.
Let’s see what this money making idea is all about!
Extra reading – Check out these 15 free passive income apps if you’re looking to make even more money on the side!
Whats Is Bandwidth & Why Is It Sold?
According to TechTerms.com, internet bandwidth “describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network or Internet connection. It measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time. For example, a gigabit Ethernet connection has a bandwidth of 1,000 Mbps, (125 megabytes per second).”
As it turns out, most online activities barely come close to maxing out your bandwidth for most residential internet plans.
Unless you’re downloading some hefty files or running many intensive applications at once, you probably have a lot of unused bandwidth at any given time…and this isn’t even considering the hours you spend asleep or out of the house.
So, a handful of companies have made it possible to sell your unused bandwidth to them (since you have a lot of it) in exchange for cash or cryptocurrency.
These companies then rent out your bandwidth and allow other users or companies to use it (through your IP address).
These companies often operate as or sell their services to VPNs, which allow users to access the internet through a different IP address/country than where they reside.
Some of these companies also use unused bandwidth as a type of CDN, which is basically a distributed network of servers that delivers content to users from an optimal geographic location, but VPNs are definitely the main player on the buy side.
The main thing to note here is with these services you are selling your internet usage to other people for their browsing behaviors.
Making Money With Bandwidth – FluidStack:
FluidStack is one of the newer players in the bandwidth buying industry, and they operate as a CDN to distribute content to users from nearby networks to increase page load times and overall user experience.
Once you signup and install FluidStack’s software, they will detect when your computer is idle and use your bandwidth/CPU to serve content.
The fact that FluidStack uses your CPU instead of GPU helps limit power consumption, and the whole idea of their platform is to only use your computer when it’s idle and to limit how much power you end up using.
In general, here is how their bandwidth speed to payout ratio works:
- >10MB/s upload speed – $5/month
- Faster speeds – $10 per 100MB/s
- 200 MB/s upload speed – $20/month
On their website, FluidStack states that you’re basically guaranteed to earn between $5-$50/month with their software based on your internet speed.
Keep in mind, this is per IP address, so if you have multiple IPs for some reason you could theoretically double dip.
FluidStack pays out through PayPal and all outstanding balances are processed at the end of the month. FluidStack also plans on releasing some additional ways to earn in the future, including video transcoding and geo-proxies, which will pay more.
Additionally, FluidStack will be releasing a cloud gaming feature which will allow powerful gaming rigs to host cloud gaming services for as much as $100/month, although we will have to wait and see how this actually unfolds.
Edit: 03/01/2020: Fluidstack has announced that they are focusing on cloud computer customers with access to machines with GPU’s running Fluidstack on Linux.
This means that most customers running Windows OS to rent bandwidth will no longer be able to make money from Fluidstack. In contrast, Linux machines now have guaranteed monthly payments based on the following models:
Fluidstack supports multi-GPU machines and pays out per GPU. Plus, Fluidstack garauntees utilization of 10% or less per month to help managed electricity costs.
If you have a GPU on your processor and don’t mind running Linux (or already run it), Fluidstack is definitely an excellent way to earn passive income by renting your bandwidth.
However, if you don’t have a GPU and want viable Fluidstack alternative, checkout the rest of the platforms in this list!
PacketStream is another peer-to-peer network where people can use other people’s IP addresses (for a price).
PacketStream allows users to become nodes in their network from anywhere in the world, provided you have a residential IP address.
If you sell your internet bandwidth through PacketStream, you earn $0.10/GB as the software runs in the background of your computer.
PacketStream chargers their buyers $1.00/GB, and part of the problem is that free platforms like TOR essentially allow users to browse the web anonymously as well. From what I gather, this means PacketStream is a bit weak on the buy side currently, so your earnings will probably be slow and steady.
Some users are also uninstalling Packetstream due to concerns over how their platform is used by customers, so I’d be a bit careful with this service/do more research.
PacketStream states that their main clients are businesses who need to test web applications/ads without running into IP bans or detection (which is pretty common with VPNs).
You can run PacketStream on Windows or Mac, and payouts are done via PayPal once you reach $5.
Honeygain is one of the newer players in this industry, and the app has gotten a lot of love and hate in various Reddit communities.
With a global user base and the ability to be run on windows and android devices, Honeygain seems pretty appealing at first glance. After all, most software that allows you to sell bandwidth does not work on mobile devices.
However, Honeygain does have a $20 cashout threshold via PayPal, and they only pay $1USD/10GB of bandwidth used.
From what I’ve seen on Reddit, the buy side can be pretty limited, so earning performance is rather volatile. It seems like some users are cashing out $40+ a month while others can barely make a dollar.
Honeygain does allow for multiple devices on the same IP, so if you have some old burner phones it could be worth trying out!
Edit: Be sure to checkout the feedback about Honeygain in the comments of this post. It seems like Honeygain is slow to respond, not always paying, and possible getting user IP addresses flagged. I’d be immensely cautious if you’re planning on using this app to sell bandwidth.
Edit 9/30/2019: Honeygain has been removed from the Google Playstore, perhaps temporarily. They alleged it was because a new app version resulted in a data breach, but people have also stated that Honeygain has been being flagged as malware. I’d recommend avoiding this app entirely.
Privatix is another method to sell your internet bandwidth for money, although this platform comes with a crypto flavor!
With Privatix, “any user can sell his spare or idle Internet broadband to the Network and get paid for it instantly with crypto. The payments come from buyers, who purchase the bandwidth via third-party applications or directly.”
Privatix software can be run on PCs, Mac, or Linux, and the software is free.
Most of the buyers in Privatix’s network are VPN providers and CDNs from what I gather, and Privatix is attempting to make a secure Ethereum token-based network where this bandwidth can be exchanged.
Privatix issues users PRIX tokens for participating in their blockchain, although their software is still developing and how much you can earn seems to vary quite greatly from what I’ve read.
Currently, one PRIX token is worth roughly $1.48 USD.
The Mysterium Network provides another option to sell your bandwidth for cryptocurrency, and the concept is incredibly similar to Privatix.
Mysterium functions as a ‘decentralized VPN service,’ with a focus on user privacy/anonymity and end-to-end encryption.
The Mysterium Network is currently running a node pilot project that is available on Windows, Mac, and Raspberry Pi, which is pretty neat if you ask me.
Once you are part of the network, you can rent out your bandwidth for Ethereum. As with Privatix, how much you earn really depends on your upload speed and a variety of other factors (I believe your location might play into it as VPN traffic probably prefers U.S. IPs for many tasks over other countries).
LoadTeam is yet another option to make money with bandwidth, and their app allows for multiple computers to run under the same account, which is kinda neat.
You can use the LoadTeam calculator to estimate how much you could earn on a monthly basis.
Your account balance will update periodically as your computer completes tasks, and you can tweak how hard your computer works in the background on this application.
I actually have 0 idea what these ‘tasks’ are, and I’m admittedly sketched out, but this whole post is one weird rabbit hole anywhere so here we are!
Users can cashout via PayPal upon reaching $1 with LoadTeam.
A Quick Disclaimer – The Risks & Final Thoughts:
I’m going to conclude this whole article with an important statement: this is kinda sketchy.
Now, I’ve engaged in plenty of…uhm…less than kosher online money making endeavors while I was a student to make some beermoney, and from running my phone farm to dabbling in the sale of online textbooks, I’ve definitely gotten a taste of these sorts of things.
However, selling Bandwidth is not something you should do without thought.
Depending on where you live and what ISP you use, you might have more stringent laws surrounding what your IP address is used for.
Companies like FluidStack have stated that they don’t access your data or files and that they even block users from going to malicious/harmful websites, but this is still a risk you have to factor in.
By using these services you are opting in to be part of a network and you have 0 control about how people use it.
Personally, this would be the sort of passive income stream I would 100% use when I was back in college and living in a building with hundreds of people on the same network, but I don’t think I’ll run it on my home network.
You won’t get rich by selling your internet bandwidth, but if you are comfortable with the process and you do your due diligence, you can probably earn a few hundred bucks a year if you have fast upload speed.
A new passive income idea, or a recipe for disaster? Who even knows!
I’ll catch you guys in the next one! 😉
Tom is a 23 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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