It lies on the River Rib and on the Roman road Ermine Street. As a result of its location, it grew mainly as a staging post with many coaching inns and has an 18th-century one cell prison known as 'The Cage' by the ford at the end of Church Street. It has a population of 4,820.
Buntingford was traditionally located within the parish of Layston. In 1937 the parish of Layston was formally abolished and replaced with the parish of Buntingford.
St. Bartholomew's Church (Layston) is now derelict and lies about half a mile to the north-east of the town. St Peter's Church, formerly a relief chapel, is the Anglican church in Buntingford and is an almost unique brick building from the age of the 17th-century Puritans. St Richard's serves the Roman Catholic community. There is also a United Reformed Church in Baldock Road.