When it comes to the Internet what is the most important place in the world? Is it San Francisco? New York? London? Tokyo? If you guessed any of those it is certainly understandable but it is not. The most important city on the Internet is closer to Nicely Done Sites than you think and you probably have never even heard of it. Where is it?

It is Ashburn, Virginia.

Lots To Do in Loudoun County

There are a lot of things to do in Loudoun County, Virginia situated along the Potomac River and there is something for everyone. If you like history it’s there as Loudoun County was founded in 1757 and even served as the government seat when the capitol was evacuated in 1814. Several small Civil War battlefields can be found, most famously Ball’s Bluff where the only sitting US Senator killed in action occurred. The county features urban settings with Leesburg, suburban sprawl and rural settings as well. Over 30 breweries can be found in the county, one for every day of the week! Dulles International Airport can be found in Loudoun County and Ashburn will soon be linked to the Washington Metro system.

About the only thing that cannot be found is a professional sports team, though as Nicely Done Sites fans in York may remember they were slated to get a baseball team in the Atlantic League but that never came to pass. So they never got to see the Automated Ball and Strike system up close, too bad.

Location, Location, Location

This proximity to the national capital of Washington DC (about 45 miles) made Loudoun County an ideal location to establish infrastructure for the expansion of the Internet in the mid-1990s. At the time the county was mostly rural with low prices for land. The electricity rate was 20% cheaper than the national rate and this spurred the creation of the Dulles Technology Corridor. Data centers use a lot of electricity after all. It is possible that the Dulles Technology Corridor can give Silicon Valley a run for its money when it comes to being the tech hub of the US.

AOL was the first to make Ashburn its home in 1996. At the time they were the largest ISP in the world making Loudoun County suddenly the most important hub on the Internet. More followed and the Silicon Valley of the East gained national prominence when Amazon, Google and Facebook established data centers there in what has become Data Center Alley. Time has of course not been kind to AOL but they still maintain a data center in Ashburn.

Data Is King

Data is king in today’s world and the amount of information that passes through data centers in Ashburn and Loudoun County is staggering. While there are no firm numbers the network company Cisco estimates that as much as 45,000 gigabytes of data goes over the Internet every second and 70% of that traffic goes through Ashburn. It passes through smoothly as well, which is more than can be said of actual vehicular traffic in the area.

Ashburn and Loudoun County have four of the ten largest cloud computing campuses in the world. No other market in the world has more than one. Located here are Amazon Web Services, Dupont Fabros, Digital Realty (clients include Amazon and LinkedIn and merged with Dupont Fabros) and Equinix. All told there are 5 million square feet of data center space there. For at least a decade there has not been one day that has not seen the construction of a new facility in the Ashburn area. 

In today’s society the Internet is a vital cog. Who knows what would happen should the Internet go down, even for a few hours. Who knew that the most important city on the Internet is only about 100 miles away from Nicely Done Sites. It’s closer than you think.

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