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Is ServerCentral the host for you?
By Jon Penland
ServerCentral is a Chicago, IL based provider of dedicated server hosting, data center infrastructure, private cloud computing, and managed services. With data centers across the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia, ServerCentral offers a globally distributed network for customers who demand world-class network speed and uptime.
In 1999, while still in college, Jordan Lowe and Daniel Brosk founded ServerCentral as a VPS service for friends and local businesses. They quickly switched from the VPS model to a dedicated server model the following year. Over the past five years ServerCentral has placed an increased focus on managed enterprise infrastructure and private cloud computing products. ServerCentral added 10,000 accounts it’s first year in business, and has grown rapidly since it’s inception resulting in the listing of ServerCentral as one of the 5000 fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine every year between 2010 and 2014.
Today ServerCentral is known for providing high quality data centers and strong customer support. As a result they are the infrastructure provider for customers ranging from modestly sized websites and applications to internet heavyweights such as Shopify and CDW.
While dedicated servers are available, most of ServerCentral’s products and services can be categorized as customizable IT infrastructure options for enterprise customers, and cloud computing products for demanding web applications. As a result, dedicated server customers, despite their hefty monthly bill (compared to shared hosting customers), will be low-value customers for ServerCentral when compared to the high-dollar cloud and IaaS customers.
ServerCentral offers five different products:
Most visitors to WhoIsHostingThis? are probably most interested in Server Central’s dedicated server product. ServerCentral offers three basic dedicated server configurations that will cover the typical demands of large websites, applications, and databases. Custom configurations are also available upon request. Dedicated servers can be located at any of ServerCentral’s data centers, although pricing does vary to some degree based on location.
All dedicated server plans include 24/7 customer support via a ticketing system, a 100% uptime SLA (service level agreement), 24/7/365 access to onsite server tech support, server power and connectivity redundancy, and onsite spare hardware for the Chicago-area facilities.
ServerCentral provides a wide range of services as add-ons to the products offered. Many of the services are primarily applicable to high dollar contracts and enterprise level customers. However, there are some add-on services that will be of interest to dedicated server customers.
ServerCentral’s data centers are located in Chicago and Elk Grove Village, IL, Ashburn, VA, San Jose, CA, Tokyo, and Amsterdam. All data centers include complete electricity and cooling redundancy. Data centers are physically secured by 24/7 onsite security staff, screening of all data center visitors, CCTV video surveillance, isolated shipping and receiving screening, and additional security measures.
ServerCentral’s technical support team is well regarded, and ServerCentral has maintained an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau since 2001. Onsite tech support for all data centers is available 24/7/365. Customer support is also available via a ticketing system 24/7/356 and average support-ticket response time for the Chicago-area data centers is an impressively prompt 15 minutes.
Server Central’s website makes reference to a 100% uptime service level agreement. However, we were unable to locate the details of this agreement. We suggest requesting SLA details prior to entering any agreement.
All pricing listed at ServerCentral’s website was provided in monthly increments suggesting a monthly billing cycle. No reduction in price for prepayment was indicated. No indication on whether or not a contract was required to secure dedicated servers was provided. The service agreement could not be located at ServerCentral’s website, and we suggest requesting a copy of the service agreement for detailed review prior to entering an agreement with ServerCentral.
ServerCentral offers a world class data center network and highly knowledgeable tech support staff. However, their focus on enterprise and private cloud customers makes them a niche solution for customers looking for a relatively standard dedicated server. The lack of details surrounding their service level agreement and general terms of service make it difficult to fully evaluate their product offering. As a result, customers considering ServerCentral should be careful to fully investigate the commercial terms attached to their hosting agreement.
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