It’s not the hot dogs and pizza that draw businesses to Chicago hosting — those are just bonuses. No, the reason so many cloud and colocation providers are in Chicago is because it has benefits no other city can offer.
At ServerCentral, we always push our partners to choose the infrastructure that matches their needs. In pretty much every instance, though, hosting in Chicago is going to be the answer to some extent — whether you’re looking for the fastest speed coast-to-coast, the security of a stable environment, or access to all of the services you might need.
We do business and have data centers all over the world, and certainly there are reasons to have your primary hosting in another city. Even still, we find ourselves more often than not recommending Chicago colocation to our partners, even if only as a secondary location.
Below, we’ll walk you through why this is, plus we’ll highlight the factors that might make you choose another city instead of Chicago colocation sites.
How being a railroad hub made Chicago a hosting hub — and made Chicago colocation centers so much faster
The railroads are what made Chicago the center of business in the first place, and they’re still doing that today — although now it’s data being shipped, not cargo trains.
A dedicated hosting environment depends on fiber, and fiber is under the train tracks.
When the U.S. government and large telecommunications companies were laying coast-to-coast fiber cable, they followed the path railroads had already created. That turned Chicago into a dense knot of fiber, with tendrils stretching directly out all over the country.
That physical infrastructure, combined with its central location, means a data center in Chicago can get information to the East Coast in 22 milliseconds and to the West Coast in 50 milliseconds.
If you’re a company with users across the U.S. and you host everything in San Francisco, it’ll take 70 milliseconds before someone in New York receives their first bit of data.
Minimizing the distance data travels also makes web hosting in the Chicago area cheaper.
Much like flying in an airplane, the seats cost the same, but you’re burning more gas the longer you travel. When you send information through fiber, you pay for each leg of the journey. Colocation in Chicago keeps those prices down.
The weather may be infamous, but it’s perfect for keeping colocation hosting in Chicago
True, Chicago is not known for having fabulous weather. But it’s also not known for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or floods.
With so many metropolises facing extreme weather in the last few years — and trends only pointing toward more of the same — Chicago’s weather looks mild by comparison.
That’s a critical differentiator for Chicago cloud services and hosting, both of which depend on even power to keep servers up and running.
There is one weather threat that Chicago can’t escape — snow — which can snap power lines throughout the city. That’s why ServerCentral’s Chicago data center gets its power via underground, concrete-encased cables. And when the snow makes the roads too treacherous to travel, we house our technicians overnight so we can continue providing 24/7 support.
In the more than 18 years ServerCentral has been in business, we haven’t had one incident where weather affected our Chicago colo. That’s stability and security other cities just can’t offer.
Hosting companies in Chicago get you easier, cheaper access to all other kinds of providers
Chicago has a long history of being a hub for internet traffic and data center hosting. That reputation — plus the programs, tax incentives, rebates and power rates — mean that almost every national and international cloud or colocation player is set up in Chicago.
All that density breeds competition, giving Chicago hosting companies competitive rates. At ServerCentral, we pass that savings onto our partners. It also means that we’re able to set you up with pretty much any business that will help you accomplish your goals, as they’re often in the same facility.
Whether you want to reach Google, Microsoft, a telecom, or a small VOIP service provider, we can get you connected.
It also gives you easy access to a second facility for disaster recovery. Take our Ashburn, Virginia data center:
Our data center in Chicago has a direct line to Ashburn that transfers in only 20 milliseconds — a time so quick you can do asynchronous replication for your SAN, making failover almost instantaneous.
You can also more easily take advantage of each location, using Ashburn to get the most advantageous connection to AWS while using Chicago for its high performance and diversity.
How other cities stack up against Chicago colocation hosting
We don’t want to say other cities don’t have their benefits — they do, and that’s why ServerCentral has data centers in so many of them. For most U.S. businesses, though, Chicago offers the best mix of benefits with the fewest drawbacks.
Dallas and Denver are two emerging hosting hubs with the accessibility of central locations, but neither have near the fiber connections Chicago has, nor the diversity of providers.
The amount of direct fiber lines terminating in Chicago makes it much easier to find a connection with the fewest hops — and thus the best performance.
Then there are regional cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and St. Louis. They may be closer to your business — even closer to your customers — but all of them are routing traffic through Chicago.
To get the fastest connection, Chicago is where you need to be.
When it makes sense to skip Chicago’s colocation
Still, there are reasons you might forgo Chicago server hosting and cloud hosting in favor of an alternative city, though those reasons are rapidly becoming fringe cases. Being a truly local business is now the only factor left that commonly prompts businesses to keep data outside of Chicago.
If all of your customers are in Indianapolis, that’s great, find hosting in Indianapolis. But the second you have a customer in Nebraska, now you need Chicago hosting.
A few decades ago, many businesses were local only. Today, though, it’s a rare company that doesn’t have national or global customers — if not now, then aspirationally in the future.
Chicago cloud and colocation sets you up to serve them all.
Getting what you need from a dedicated hosting facility
With the rundown we’ve given you, you have a lot of reasons to choose Chicago and its servers. The only reasons that matter, though, are the ones that are most important to your business.
Your infrastructure should be custom to your needs.
If you want help finding out what infrastructure makes sense for you, we can share our list of questions to ask. Just contact us.