In your search for dedicated web hosting you may find that you often come across two terms related to bandwidth – unlimited, and unmetered. But what do the two terms mean, and what’s the difference?
The term ‘unlimited bandwidth’ refers to the fact that the amount of bandwidth, or the amount of data transfer, used by the website will be unlimited. The website can essentially have as many visitors as it wants, and it will never shut down or crash. Many web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth on their dedicated servers, but will outline in their terms of service how much bandwidth is actually offered. Because every server, even a dedicated one, is going to have its own limitations, it’s not actually possible for a web host to offer unlimited bandwidth. However, because all the bandwidth on the dedicated server will be used only by one website, the term ‘unlimited’ is an acceptable one. Within their terms, the web host will outline how much bandwidth is actually available on that server.
When you sign up with a dedicated web host that offers ‘unmetered bandwidth’ on the other hand, you may not find a specific limit amount, even in their terms of service. Unlike ‘unlimited bandwidth,’ which means that there will be bandwidth as long as you need it, ‘unmetered bandwidth’ means that the web hosting company will not keep track of how much bandwidth you use. Some web hosts and customers alike prefer the term ‘unmetered’ to ‘unlimited’ because they believe it’s more accurate. However, both terms do essentially mean the same thing; with the exception that with one, you may need to dig a little deeper to find out what your exact bandwidth limitations are.
While the term ‘unmetered’ is never debatable, meaning that if a web host says it’s unmetered it is, the term ‘unlimited’ can cause some to take issue with it ; but this is never the case with dedicated server hosting. When web hosts offer ‘unlimited’ bandwidth on a shared server, it is very misleading because so many different websites are using the same resources. On shared servers, a website’s bandwidth is already quite limited by its very nature and so, neither ‘unlimited’ nor ‘unmetered’ should be used.
The case isn’t so with dedicated server hosting, however. When using this type of host, all of the bandwidth on one server is intended to be used by only website, or one customer. Because of this, web hosting companies can easily and rightfully offer either two options and be correct. While these two terms do have very similar definitions, they still have very slight differences. Choosing one type over the other isn’t as important as knowing whether you need shared or dedicated web hosting; as it’s these two that will ultimately determine how much bandwidth you actually have – and whether or not your web host is keeping track of it.