The Difference Between Unmetered Bandwidth and Unlimited Bandwidth

Many experts in IT get asked a lot of questions about technical terminology. One of the common questions asked is, “Is unmetered bandwidth the same as unlimited bandwidth?” 

Bandwidth Basics

Out of 7.83 billion people on the planet, 4.66 people actively use the internet as of the start of 2021. Each day, any one of those billions could do a search and end up on your website. To accommodate the number of visitors, and make sure your website works quickly for them, you need a server with the right amount of bandwidth.

Bandwidth basically defines how much data your server can handle and how quickly it can handle it. Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second (MBPs).

What is Unmetered Bandwidth?

Unmetered bandwidth means that there are literally no meters monitoring the data transfer on your server. This means you can’t be charged for the amount of data you use by your hosting company. 

However, always check what speed a host is offering on unmetered plans. It’s great to know you can transfer data as and when you want, but if the bandwidth is consistently low, visitors might notice your website become slow, or unresponsive when it experiences an above-average amount of traffic.

In short, unmetered bandwidth is an amount of bandwidth that the host chooses, but you can use as much as you like with no additional charges. To accommodate this, hosting companies may provide a dedicated server to a single business.

What is Unlimited Bandwidth?

Unlimited bandwidth certainly sounds like it should be the same prospect for businesses as unmetered bandwidth. However, unlimited in this context is often used as a marketing term. Truly unlimited bandwidth can’t exist, as it could potentially be infinite. Unlimited bandwidth propose the possibility of:

  • Higher bandwidth with a set amount of usage
  • Access to high-speed data transfer but a charge per amount of data used
  • Access to high-speed data transfer and an allowance of data per month, with data transfer chargeable once businesses exceed this amount

Clearly, the term “unlimited” does not represent the traditional sense of the word, but most hosting companies will be happy to clarify the details of any hosting package for businesses.

Should I Choose Unlimited or Unmetered Bandwidth?

As both terms are used by hosting companies, it’s crucial that you get to the bottom of what the company is actually offering. Good questions to ask are:

  • Will your business be sharing a server, and if so, does this affect the amount of support available for each business?
  • For unmetered bandwidth, can the hosting company guarantee a minimum bandwidth that’s acceptable for your business needs?
  • Can your unlimited bandwidth provider guarantee an acceptable amount of downtime?
  • Can you look at reports and reviews from other businesses that have used the same services and plans?

Ultimately, you want a plan that allows you to stream the data you want to your website. It should be able to handle not only the traffic you’re experiencing now, but increased traffic as your business grows and expands.

Unlimited bandwidth may be faster but can be more costly. Unmetered bandwidth will normally have fewer hidden costs, but could be slower. For more information on managed services for SMBs, get in touch with a managed service provider so they can clarify any questions you might have.