What is the difference between GB and Gb?

Living in a digital world, you come across terms and abbreviations that sound familiar or that you partially understand. Yet, you are often in doubt if you use them at the right place and the right moment. That’s why you prefer to double-check with Google about their exact meaning. 

The difference between GB and Gb is the perfect example of the statement above. You know that both abbreviations are part of the IT terminology, but you wonder why are they are written in different ways. So it is a little blurry for the people without specific IT knowledge to differentiate these technical terms. 

In the article below, we explain what these terms mean and how to distinguish them. Moreover why it is important to know the difference.

What do GB and Gb stand for?

But first things first – to understand the difference between both abbreviations, we need to know their meaning.

Both terms GB and Gb are used as units of measurement.

They are both related to digital storage space, and you can find them often in the context of the hosting industry. But this where their similarities end.

What is Gigabyte?

GB (or Gbyte) stands for Gigabyte – the more frequently used term. It describes the memory or disk space of a computer, laptop, and any other device, where you can store different types of files/data. Another field where you can find it often is hosting services – it describes the space given if you want to rent a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or dedicated hosting package and Internet plan.

According to Cambridge dictionary:

A gigabyte is a measurement unit of computer information consisting of 1,000,000,000 bytes. It is also a unit of measurement of computer storage space equal to 1,073,741,824 bytes, which is about 1000 megabytes.

One Gigabyte is equal to 1,000,000,000 bytes. It comes after megabyte (MB) on the scale and before terabyte (TB). One Terabyte is 1000 GB.

Some of the most common “standard” sizes expressed in gigabytes include

DVDs, which can hold 4.7 gigabytes of data
Single-layer Blu-rays, which can hold approximately 25 GB of data
Hard drives, which can hold several hundred GB of data (beyond 1,000 GB, the size is in terabytes)
SSD drives, which can hold 128, 256, or 512 GB of data
Optic fiber bandwidth speed, which can reach up to 1 GB per second download/upload speed
System or video RAM, which can be 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 GB

What is a Gigabit?

A gigabit is quite similar to a gigabyte since they both represent a measure of digital storage capacity and data transfer speeds. So how do bytes differ from bits? Shortly put – one byte equals eight bits.

According to tech terms definition:

A gigabit is 109 or 1,000,000,000 bits. It is one-eighth the size of a gigabyte (GB), which means a gigabit is eight times smaller than a gigabyte. Additionally, Gigabits are mostly used to measure data transfer rates of local networks (Ethernet) and Input/Output (I/O) connections. The exact measurement looks like this: Gbps and means Gigabits per second.

Why do we often confuse the two terms?

confused person

They sound similar, and this causes a lot of confusion among users who are not tech-savvy. Sometimes hosting companies use the terms and the abbreviations interchangeably when they try to sell their storage services, which is not a good practice and customer-friendly. That way, you can be misled about the size of the storage space you pay. If in the hosting plan they have used gigabits as measuring units and you do not pay attention, you will be unpleasantly surprised to find out that you have eight times smaller storage capacity than expected.

Why is it good to understand the difference between Gigabyte and Gigabit?

To sum up, Gigabytes are mainly used to measure data storage and download/upload Internet speeds, while Gigabits describe data transfer speeds in local networks.

Usually, disk space, computer RAM, and bandwidth capacity are measured by hosting firms in Gigabytes (GB). If you see that your hosting provider uses gigabits as a measurement unit, you should know that you are getting eight times less storage space, RAM, or bandwidth compared to gigabytes. 

So do not hurry to sign the contract for the hosting plan your service provider offers unless you know if their packages include Gigabytes or Gigabits.

If you are confused when looking at their plans, ask them specifically how they measure the bandwidth or storage space they offer to the clients. Whatever they explain, make sure that you get what you pay for and nothing less.

If you are in Belgium and looking for an Internet service provider, Mixvoip can provide you with a Mixfiber PRO plan with up to 1GB download speed.

Contact our customer service in Braine l’Alleud to help you choose the best Internet package that matches your business needs.