Liquid Web — Overview
Founded in 1997, Liquid Web has over 30,000 clients in over 150 countries and the company has received the INC. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies award for 9 years in a row. They serve many recognizable big-name brands including Motorola, Red Bull, ESPN, and United Way.
They are famous for their fast and high-quality support, known as ‘Heroic Support’. All Liquid Web hosting servers are highly tuned for speed, performance, and security making it a completely hassle-free hosting solution. Their WordPress hosting option includes staging sites, automatic updates, and an intuitive dashboard to manage all your sites in one place.
Solid First Impression with Impressive Support Statistics
In exchange for the higher costs of business hosting, Liquid Web provides a higher grade of tech support. They’ve branded their support team as “heroic” and “the most helpful humans in hosting.” That translates into 100% uptime and as little as 59 seconds of support response time from certified technicians.
In addition to a crew of 250 customer-facing support personnel, Liquid Web also retains a “Sonar Monitoring” team. The sole purpose of this team is to resolve server issues immediately — often before the customer is aware of a problem.
By focusing on helpfulness, in 2015 the company achieved a top Net Promoter Score (NPS), a score that benchmarks businesses for customer loyalty, beating such popular heavyweights as Apple, Amazon, and JetBlue. Liquid Web also earned a spot on PCMag’s top ten hosting list for 2017 and landed on INC 5000’s Fastest Growing Companies eight times in the last ten years.
1. Hosting Options
Liquid Web is a provider of advanced hosting, so the company is ideal for someone looking for more than a shared hosting plan. Here’s how shared hosting differs from the options offered by Liquid Web:
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) Plans
VPS plans are very similar to shared plans. There is a physical server that hosts multiple websites. The biggest difference, however, is the increased performance offered by a VPS plan.
Web hosts maintain strict delineation between the sites hosting on a VPS server — whereas a shared plan offers a pool of resources from which any site on that server can draw from, the resources allocated to you on a VPS server can be used by your site only.
Dedicated servers are those where the entirety of a server is used to serve your site and your site only. You have full control over the configuration and set up of the server — whereas more limited plans place restrictions on what software you can use and the like, dedicated servers allow you to pick and choose the options that best meet the needs of your website.
Most importantly, these are the most secure and most performant hosting options, which is important if you are handling highly sensitive information for a highly-trafficked website. You can certainly secure your site with a VPS plan (and sometimes a shared hosting plan), but dedicated servers offer you the best in terms of security and performance.
Cloud hosting basically means that your site is hosted on a distributed network of servers. The specific distribution varies, but with cloud hosting, you get the perks of a distributed network: reliability due to redundancy and failover, so your site continues to be accessible in case any single (or even multiple) parts of the network fails.
Do You Need Specialty Hosting?
Yes and no. Depending on the host, you may not get the features you need to set up a secure shop, especially if you are planning on spinning up an e-commerce storefront. Furthermore, depending on your traffic levels, you may need resources that are not offered by a shared plan.
When you get started with your online storefront, performance might not be on your radar. However, if you are planning on any type of growth, you may want to factor in the fact that heavy traffic loads could lead to performance issues that lead to declines in profit. As such, you will want an option that can handle your site both now and in the future.
2. Liquid Web Features
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, and it’s estimated that it powers at least 25% of the web. As such, web hosting companies have been increasingly offering hosting solutions that are catered specifically for this platform. One of the brands offering such hosting plans is Liquid Web.
Although this company has been around since 1997, it wasn’t until 2015 that they rolled out their managed WordPress hosting packages at the Word Camp US convention.
Although a late entrant into the managed WordPress hosting niche, Liquid Web has raised the bar for other service providers who want to offer a similar service. Find out what to expect from their services by reading this Liquid Web managed WordPress hosting overview.
Do You Use WooCommerce?
Moreover, if you are a WooCommerce user, you will definitely want to check out Liquid Web. While many hosts offer WordPress-specific hosting, Liquid Web offers hosted WooCommerce packages designed to optimize the performance of online stores built on this platform. Bad performance directly correlates to declines in profits, so as a small business owner, you will want to minimize the possibility of such issues as much as possible.
Finally, if you are a Microsoft user in need of specialized hosting (such as a web application that runs on ASP.NET), you will find support for these with Liquid Web.
3. Plans and Pricing
Liquid Web’s entry-level prices are a bit higher than what most web hosts charge. Part of this has to do with the fact that they offer managed WordPress hosting on a VPS environment. What’s more, prices are inclusive of many other features that other web hosts offer as up-sells.
Price-wise, Liquid Web is the fairest company I’ve had the pleasure of testing. There are so many ways web hosts can manipulate you into paying an extra dollar (or much, much more), and I was delighted to see that Liquid Web takes the honest approach; not a single upsell attempt or hidden setup fee was noted.
Another thing that differentiates Liquid Web from the competition is the company’s Price Lock Guarantee. Many other hosts lure you in with a low entry price, but charge up to four times more when it’s time for renewal. With Liquid Web, you simply never have to worry about that. The price you sign up for is the price you’ll continue paying.
If you do decide to sign up for a year or longer, you will be presented with the option to purchase a heavily discounted domain name.
You can pay using Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and PayPal. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee available for all plans.
4. Main Features
When comparing Liquid Web managed WordPress hosting plans, there are five options from which to choose. These plans include:
- Agency Plus
Depending on the selected plan, you can host between 10 and 200 WordPress sites while storage space ranges from 100GB to 1TB.
The following are the main features to expect when you choose one of the fully managed WordPress hosting plans from Liquid Web:
Liquid Web offers Plesk control panels for you to manage your website’s hosting environment and server. While it’s not quite as popular as cPanel, it is still a commonly used option.
Plesk generally isn’t as easy-to-use as cPanel, but we do not expect you to have any difficulty managing your domains, checking on your website’s resource usage, or utilizing the built-in account management features. Both brands of control panels have a reputation for being user-friendly.
Plesk also comes with an Android and iOS app so you can manage administrative tasks on the fly. That’s a plus for busy small business owners.
What can you do with Plesk? Here are just 10 of the hundreds of things you can use it for:
- Add functionality to your website
- Build websites
- Onboard new customers
- Improve your SEO (search engine optimization) which is key for increasing conversions, and sales
- Install any third-party app you want
- Set up various forms of authentication for your website(s)
- Back up your website
- Connect domain names to your web hosting
- Set up email for your site
- Check your bandwidth usage
Also, Plesk gives you access to Softaculous, a tool that enables you to, with a few clicks, add hundreds of features to your website, like:
- Blogs and microblogs
- Discussion forums and customer services forums
- Live chat apps and other customer service tools
- Project management
- A wide range of E-Commerce features
- Ad management
- Image galleries
- Social networking tools
- Polls and surveys (Good for capturing the voice of your customer.)
VPS Server Environment
It’s common knowledge that VPS servers provide better performance than shared hosting. Liquid Web decided to offer managed WordPress hosting on VPS servers in a bid to ensure fast site performance.
Their managed WordPress Hosting is powered by HipHop VM, also known as HHVM. This virtual machine platform is specifically designed as an execution engine for PHP, the backbone of WordPress. Once PHP becomes faster, so does WordPress.
Fully Managed WordPress Hosting
Keeping WordPress and its plug-ins updated can be a hassle when hosting your website on a shared server. Fortunately, automatic updates are enabled for WordPress and its plug-ins when hosting your website with Liquid Web.
Thanks to this feature, your website stays secure plus you get time to focus on the more important aspects of running a website such as creating great content and driving traffic.
Site Speed Optimized for WordPress Sites
A fast performing website is critical in today’s competitive online marketplace. Fast page load times lead to better browsing experiences, meaning more conversions and success for your online business. To ensure fast site performance, Liquid Web optimizes all servers meant for hosting managed WordPress sites with technologies such as Memcached and Mod_PageSpeed.
Additionally, Liquid Web offers a server-side CDN (content delivery network), which is designed to bolster speed and decrease load times. The company also uses fast performing SSDs solid-state drives on all their servers.
Free Site Transfers
If you already have a WordPress website, it can be easily moved to Liquid Web servers at no cost thanks to this company’s free migration service.
WP CLI Enabled
All Liquid Web managed WordPress hosting plans are WP CLI enabled. This command-line tool enables users to manage plug-ins, install multiple WordPress sites and do so much more without using a graphical browser interface.
Like most web hosts that offer managed WordPress hosting, Liquid Web ensures to install this content management system for you. Once you’ve chosen a hosting plan, you can start to customize your site with hundreds of plug-ins found in the Fantastico Library.
By default, the WordPress backend comes with several themes you can use to customize your website’s design and look.
5. Speed Tests and Uptime Guarantee
Liquid Web is a managed dedicated and VPS hosting company, but do they live up to their blazing fast promise and uptime guarantee?
To put their promises to the test, we created a test WordPress site on Liquid Web hosting using the default Twenty Seventeen theme and dummy content for theme development, including images.
We used Pingdom to test our demo site’s speed. Here are the test results:
According to Pingdom’s website speed test, our test site loaded in less than a second when tested from San Jose, California. That’s faster than 91% of all tested sites.
Apart from Pingdom, we also used a testing tool called Load Impact to figure out how Liquid Web handles visitors during a traffic surge. Load Impact sent some virtual users (VUs) to our site and gradually built up to 100 visitors at a time to test how the server handles it.
In the chart, you can find a blue line (VUs active) which shows the number of virtual users sent to our Liquid Web site and a green line (VU load time) which represents how much time it took to load a web page for a user.
Liquid Web’s server load performed consistently throughout the test even at peak traffic. Evidently, a traffic surge doesn’t have an impact on server load. Impressive.
Liquid Web Data Centers
At the time of writing this review, the company reports owning and operating three data centers in Michigan, Arizona, and Lansing. With complete control over the network infrastructure, Liquid Web promises an uptime of up to 100%. All three datacenters are state-of-the-art facilities, designed to ensure reliable network availability at all times.
Both US datacenters are SSAE-16 approved.
Other Uptime Features
To ensure minimal latency and fast connections at any given time, Liquid Web uses up to four Tier 1 bandwidth providers. Power outages are also unlikely to take out servers since Liquid Web uses UPS systems and the company has emergency generators on standby.
All servers also continue to perform at peak levels since they’re kept in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms.
6. Security and Backups
Securing data stored on servers is one of the features that any reliable web host should offer. When hosting a website at an offsite location, there are many threats that can compromise the safety and availability of your data.
Liquid Web doesn’t disappoint when it comes to website security since they try to address almost every threat that might compromise the privacy and safety of data stored on their servers.
For starters, all the datacenter locations are under strict security 24/7/365. Server control rooms can only be accessed by authorized technical staff. To mitigate break-ins and server theft, Liquid Web deploys on-site security guards and their facilities are under camera surveillance at all times.
If hackers are a concern, you should be glad to know that Liquid Web activates a CSF firewall by default on all servers. An added benefit of the managed WordPress hosting plans is that SSL site encryption comes as a standard feature.
With your website encrypted, you offer a secure checkout that will not leak customer credit card numbers. Liquid Web schedules free automatic nightly site backups as well, which will help you recover your website in case of any incident that involves loss of data.
7. Help and Support
If there’s one area where Liquid Web has made an effort to stand out from the crowd, it’s their customer service, which is dubbed as “Heroic Support.” Both paying customers and individuals interested in setting up a hosting account can contact the customer support team via phone or live chat.
Liquid Web‘s support options
Liquid Web operates a ticket support system as well that allows paying customers to seek assistance via email. The company promises to offer excellent support from a group of more than 100 Red Hat Certified experts, which means that customers won’t be attended to by inexperienced or unskilled agents.
Best of all, you don’t have to pay more to access their premium Heroic Support since most of the WordPress managed hosting plans run on fully managed VPS servers except for the Enterprise plan.
Liquid Web Support Promise
Under their Heroic Support promise, Liquid Web has committed to deliver fast response times whenever you are in need of assistance. This includes wait times of only 59 seconds for phone and live chat support and responses from help desk tickets within 30 minutes.
For webmasters experiencing problems that can be fixed without the need to contact support, Liquid Web has a comprehensive knowledge base on their online support center. The knowledge base is easy to navigate and even has a search box for quickly and easily finding troubleshooting materials on your specific topic.
Help resources range from FAQs, and “how-to” help articles, to tutorials and “getting started guides”. These resources make it easy to learn more about hosting solutions and ways to solve common problems.
8. Extras and Bonuses
This web host offers a few value-added services free of charge. Here is the list of Liquid Web bonuses for those who choose the managed WordPress hosting plans.
- Free SSD
- Free website transfers
- Servers support sites with unlimited visitors
Liquid Web Review Summary:
This web host offers solid features, excellent Heroic Support, and fully managed WordPress hosting on high-performance VPS servers. What’s more, the hosting plans on offer are scalable, which means that should your site grow and require more server resources, Liquid Web has you covered.
Overall, if you’re willing to spend on premium managed WordPress Hosting, then this web host should definitely be on your list of options. The people over at Liquid Web are the real deal and they will take care of you. You’ll be in good hands with them.
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