‘Gigabit' vs 'Gigabyte': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on June 4, 2023

When it comes to technical terms, the difference between 'gigabit' vs. 'gigabyte' perplexes a lot of people. You are in the right place, though. This guide, with definitions, usage tips, and examples, will teach you the meaning of each term.

Before we get into it, do you need a quick answer? 

If so, here it is: 

  • 'Gigabit' is a noun defined as a data measurement equal to roughly 1,000 megabits. 
  • 'Gigabyte' is also a noun name for data measurement equal to roughly 1,000 megabytes or 1,000,000,000 bytes. 

There is much more to learn about these two terms. So, please stick around until the end of this post!

What is the Difference Between 'Gigabit' vs. 'Gigabyte?'

Both words are nouns used in computing to quantify measurements of data. The first is the smaller of the two and equal to one-eighth of a 'byte.' The latter equals 1,000 or, more specifically, 1,024 megabytes, or 1,073,741,824 bytes.

Computer systems use 1,024 instead of 1,000.

However, most resources say that:

  • A megabyte is 1,000 bytes, and
  •  A is 1,000 megabytes.
  • However, computing systems actually calculate data using 1,024.

How to Use 'Gigabit' vs. 'Gigabyte'

You know that 'gigabit' and 'gigabyte' are data measurements. But do you know when you would use these terms?

  • 'Gigabit' may be used to measure your internet speed.

For example, you may have seen the abbreviation Gbps when you are performing an internet speed test, or you may hear someone say:

We just switched to gigabit fiber optic internet. Surprisingly, it is noticeably faster than our previous broadband service, with download and upload speeds close to 1 Gbps. 

  • Use 'gigabit' if you are ordering gig internet.

For example, you might tell a customer service rep:

Hello, can you please tell me the rates for your gigabit internet options? I only need one gigabit at this time, but I would like the prices for the 1 and 2-gigabit packages.

  • Use 'gigabytes' when talking about storage on your PC, external hard drive, or other device.

For example, you might ask someone:

Do you think a 500-gigabyte external memory drive is large enough, or should I get a terabyte of storage? 

  • Use 'gigabyte' when referencing your available storage space.

For example, I might say:

I knew I should have paid more for the iPhone with 256 gigabytes of internal storage. I purchased the 128-gigabyte version, and I've already run out of space. 

Calculations and Abbreviations of 'Gigabit' vs. 'Gigabyte?'

'Gigabit' vs. 'gigabyte' are data measurements. A 'gigabit' is smaller than a 'gigabyte.' The 'gigabyte' abbreviation is GB, and for 'gigabit,' it is Gb

When these terms first came into existence, the exact measurement of a 'gigabyte' was 1024 megabytes. Take a look at the table below to learn about other measurements and how they compare to a 'gigabit' vs. 'gigabyte':

  • Bit - 1 Bit
  • Gigabit - 1,024 megabits
  • Byte - 8 Bits
  • Kilobyte - 1,024 Bytes
  • Megabyte - 1,024 Kilobytes
  • Gigabyte - 1,024 Megabytes
  • Terabyte - 1,024 Gigabytes
  • Petabyte - 1,024 Terabytes
  • Exabyte - 1,024 Petabytes
  • Zettabyte - 1,024 Exabytes
  • Yottabyte - 1,024 Zettabyte
  • Brontobyte - 1,024 Yottabytes

The computer industry standardized the measurements so they would match their names. So, you may find information stating that a 'gigabyte' is 1,000 megabytes or that 1 gigabit is equal to 1,000 megabits.

Unless you check your internet speed or speak to someone about your download and upload speeds, you will likely never use 'gigabit.' 'Gigabyte' is a more common term. It is the unit of measurement for the internal storage in your phone.

It is also the measurement used to calculate internal memory in your Macbook or PC and other devices.

Definition of 'Gigabit': What Does 'Gigabit' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'gigabit' means:

  • 1,000,000,000 bits

Definition of 'Gigabyte': What Does 'Gigabyte' Mean?

The same dictionary defines 'gigabyte' as:

  • 1024 megabytes or 1,073,741,82 bytes
  • Or 1,000,000,000 bytes

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Gigabit' vs. 'Gigabyte'

Many proficient English speakers and writers mispronounce 'gigabit' vs. 'gigabyte.' If you are unsure how to pronounce these words, the guide below will help. And even if you think you know the correct pronunciation, take a look at the phonetic spellings below to ensure you are saying them correctly.

  • Pronounce 'gigabit' using this phonetic spelling:


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'gigabyte':


Sample Sentences Using 'Gigabit' vs. 'Gigabyte'

Now, read the sample sentences below to ensure you know how to use 'gigabit' vs. 'gigabyte.'


  • I was surprised to learn that gigabit-speed internet is not much more expensive than my current service.
  • I pay $50 per month, and gigabit internet averages $60 to $80 per month.
  • The gigabit internet is nearly ten times faster than my current plan.
  • Gigabit internet uploads and downloads close to a Gb per second.
  • Have you had your Gigabit internet installed? I want to see how fast it is before I sign a contract.
  • Industry experts expect gigabit internet to be the standard soon.


  • A 16-gigabyte phone is not even worth buying. It will run out of storage too quickly.
  • I love my 750 GB external hard drive.
  • I need a memory card for my camera. Can you stop at the store on the way home and pick up a 64-gigabyte memory card?


  • Everyone has heard of a gigabyte, but far fewer people are familiar with the smaller 'gigabit.'
  • Our computer teacher taught us that a 'gigabyte' is 1,000 or 1,024 megabytes, and a gigabit is 1,000 or 1,024 megabits.
  • A gigabit is a little bit of a gigabyte, and a megabit is a little bit of a megabyte.

Final Thoughts on 'Gigabit' vs. 'Gigabytes'

We reviewed a lot of information. So, here is a quick recap:

  • 'Gigabit' and 'gigabytes' are measurements used to calculate how much or how fast data is traveling.
  • A 'gigabit' is equal to 1,000 or 1,024 megabits.
  • A 'gigabyte' is 1,000 or 1,024 megabytes.

These terms are so similar in spelling and the way they sound that it might be challenging to remember the difference. But don't worry. You can come back to this page anytime to review this lesson.

You can also check out the other confusing word guides here to learn about other commonly misused English terms. Each post contains definitions, pronunciations, grammar rules, and tips you can apply to other words and sayings. So, they are a fantastic way to expand your vocabulary and improve your grammar.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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