Liquid Web Hosting Review for Bloggers: Fast & Feature Heavy – WIP

If you’re running an expanding business, it’s likely that the last thing you want to deal with is your web hosting solution, which seemingly gets more and more complicated as the amount of traffic your site sees increases. Your website is a tool for your business to grow, not an area where you want to spend your time building, maintaining, and upgrading.

So, what is a blogger to do when the visitors come running in?

Enter Liquid Web.

Do They Live Up to the Hype?

Liquid Web offers a full suite of managed web hosting plans and solutions. Whether your company is experiencing its first growth spurt or is just plain big, Liquid Web provides what you need to meet the demands of your online visitors. With an emphasis on top-class customer support, Liquid Web has the service in place allowing you to focus on what you do best: running your business.

If you know what you want regarding web hosting, you can sign up for a traditional or cloud-based web hosting plan. If you don’t, you can provide Liquid Web with your objectives, and they will deploy a custom solution on your behalf. Since every business grows at different rates with varying demands, customized plans can act as a blessing in disguise.

Liquid Web SupportLiquid Web is known for their outstanding quality of support.

We will discuss all of these options throughout the review.

Liquid Web Hosting Background

Founded in 1997, Liquid Web is a privately-held web hosting company that provides managed solutions and associated add-on products for those whose traffic levels required the use of VPS or dedicated servers. Though Liquid Web began by offering shared hosting packages, this is no longer the company’s focus.

Liquid Web initially gained attention for their excellent support, which was available 24/7 (even though the company had just 16 staff members).

Liquid Web Today

Liquid Web has been honored by and included in INC’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list multiple times. Their management team states that they’re continuing to focus on growth while remaining “dedicated to its core values of unparalleled customer service and hosting solutions.”

Should you be a smaller blogger or business owner, the importance of effective customer support should be right at the top of your list.

liquid webwordpress hosting review screen shot

With a staff of just under 500 people, over 400 of them function as support engineers that are ready to answer any questions you might have regarding your website and web hosting. They promise that someone (who is based in the US) will respond to your call or live chat messages within 59 seconds, not 5-10 minutes.

For those times when you just need a quick refresher, Liquid Web maintains an up-to-date knowledge base for of information for your use.

Where is Liquid Web Based?

To serve the needs of the 30,000 customers they work with around the world, Liquid Web has data centers located in the following locations:

  • Lansing, Michigan
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

Liquid Web prides itself on its experience in hosting niche websites, such as those that need to follow HIPAA regulations. They are also familiar with PCI Compliant web hosting so you can rest assured that your customers’ sensitive data remains secure.

Overview of Web Hosting Options

Liquid Web’s hosting packages are excellent options geared toward mission-critical websites and applications. In addition to colocation services and custom solutions for enterprise clients, Liquid Web offers the following packaged hosting options:

  • WordPress
  • VPS
  • Dedicated

Managed Plans and Solutions

By default, any package or solution that you purchase from Liquid Web is managed. This includes the network infrastructure, hardware, data centers, full system monitoring, and 100% uptime.

For an additional fee, you can upgrade the management of your servers to core managed or fully managed. The specific details can be found on the Support Features Comparison.

Liquid Web also offers a managed WooCommerce solution, which could become relevant for those with growing sites looking to monetize traffic in form of an e-store. These plans start at $39/month and offer a fully managed, easy-set-up shop with features like drop shipping, custom designs and store management features.

Pricing

Depending on the type of solution you opt for, as well as the specific resources and add-ons you include with your hosting package, costs will vary. Liquid Web is not the cheapest solution around, but regarding what they offer for those who need a WordPress, VPS or dedicated-level host, their prices are very competitive.

Liquid Web Pricing

If you opt to host your site on a physical server, you will be billed monthly. If you choose to utilize a cloud-based plan, you will be charged by the day. On-the-go price plans are becoming a popular option due to their transparent nature of resource use.

WordPress Hosting

If you’re using WordPress as your content management system (CMS), and you’re looking for a fully-managed hosting package that:

  • Has been specially tweaked to maximize your sites’ performance and guarantee security
  • Doesn’t limit the number of visitors to your site or the number of plugins you use
  • Automatic daily backups
  • Automatic SSL
  • Full server access
  • Developer tools

Liquid Web’s WordPress hosting package might be right for you. While Liquid Web doesn’t offer services that get your site up and running, such as design and site creation, they do provide migration assistance of your existing WordPress sites to the Liquid Web’s servers.

Packages include SSL certificates, monitoring, automated backups, load balancing, and site optimization, and pricing is dependent on how many WordPress sites you’re hosting.

How Do the Different Managed WordPress Plans Compare?

Liquid Web offer three levels of the managed WordPress plan – it’s only fair to disclose what sort of upgrades you can expect with each.

All managed WordPress plans come with a standard 5 TB bandwidth as well as iThemes included. The following features do, however, differ:

 ProfessionalBusinessAgency
SSD Storage50 GB100 GB200 GB
Site Allowance10 Sites25 Sites50 Sites
Pricing$99.00/month$149.00/month$289.00/month

Obviously, the more sites you host with Liquid Web, the more disc space you get. You also get low-level access to things like SFTP, MySQL, and the command line, despite the fact that all WordPress plans are managed solutions.

Programming and Development

The WordPress packages come with features designed to make maintaining your site easier. Liquid Web takes care of all updates to the WordPress core, so you just have to manage your content.

You can test your changes using the one-click staging sites, and the iThemes Sync Pro site management tool makes it easy for you to deploy cosmetic changes to multiple sites simultaneously.

Furthermore, the WordPress-specific dashboard you use has been streamlined so that it’s easy to use without sacrificing any of the functionality you need.

VPS Hosting

Ideal for those who want the control typically afforded to those with dedicated hosting, but with the more affordable features of a VPS server, these plans are a more budget-friendly option.

Liquid Web VPS

All plans come standard with the following features:

  • Instant provisioning
  • Free bandwidth for incoming traffic; 5 TB of bandwidth for outgoing traffic
  • Daily billing, so you only pay for what you use plus easy scalability for upgrades and downgrades
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Firewalls
  • CloudFlare CDN
  • Built-in local backups
  • Protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks
  • ServerSecure
  • Excellent, 24/7 support
  • SSD RAID 1 primary drives

How Do VPS Plans Progress?

Depending on your needs, you can opt anything up to 20 processor cores, 1.6 TB of SSD disk space, and 256 GB RAM — all plans come with 10 TB of bandwidth. You also have the option of running Linux or Windows as your VPS’ operating system.

Here is a direct comparison of the managed cloud VPS plans on offer:

 VPS 1VPS 2VPS 3VPS 4
CPU2 vCPU4 vCPU8 vCPU8 vCPU
SSD Storage40 GB100 GB150 GB200 GB
RAM2 GB4 GB8 GB16 GB
Pricing$59.00/month$99.00/month$139.00/month$189.00/month

Don’t forget, custom plans are still a possibility, the above are simply plans which are offered as a ready solution.

Add-Ons

To further customize your VPS hosting package, you can opt for one or more of the following add-ons:

  • Block Storage: block storage volumes allow you to create and move data separately from your server instances
  • Object Storage: a highly-available solution allowing you to store, process, and access your data via a simple API call
  • Load balancing: allows you to distribute your traffic among several servers to provide fast access even for campaigns designed to go viral.
  • Firewalls & VPN: protect your site form malicious traffic and attacks with managed firewall options.

Dedicated Hosting

Regardless of which of Liquid Web’s data centers you choose to host your site, your dedicated hosting plan comes with the following:

  • 100% network uptime guarantee
  • ServerSecure
  • 24/7 sonar monitoring
  • Excellent, 24/7 support
  • SSD RAID 1 primary drives
  • Protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks
  • Built-in local backups
  • Gigabit uplink
  • CloudFlare CDN

If you want a dedicated hosting package with the server’s located in one of Liquid Web’s Michigan data centers, Liquid Web offers eight package options, each with varying amounts of processor cores, processing power, RAM, disk space, and bandwidth.

For those of you who are looking at a package located in Liquid Web’s Arizona and Amsterdam data centers, note that each of these locations offer four, instead of eight, different dedicated plans from which you can choose.

Add-ons

If you’ve opted for an out-of-the-box solution that doesn’t quite meet all of your needs, but you’re not interested in piecing together an entirely custom package, you can opt for add-ons. Liquid Web offers the following products that you can use in conjunction with your hosting package:

  • Firewalls to monitor in and outgoing traffic
  • Load balancing for improved workload distribution
  • SAN solutions for critical data
  • Guardian Backup, a managed backup solution that provides continuous data protection
  • KVM switch, offering you direct server access by connecting to the keyboard, video, and mouse ports on your server

Cloud Sites

For a simple, scalable solution, Cloud Sites offers a web hosting platform that can meet your needs no matter what they are. Liquid Web bills this as an “all-in-one platform for mission-critical sites and apps” offering multiple servers, full redundancy, and expandability.

All you have to do is code your site and upload it, alternatively use a trusted CMS like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla to get going. Liquid Web will take care of the rest for you.

Liquid Web Cloud Sites

As standard, the Cloud Sites plan includes:

  • Unlimited websites
  • Unlimited visitors (uncapped)
  • 50 GB SSD Storage
  • Free CloudFlare CDN
  • Built-in autoscaling
  • 1TB Bandwidth
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • 24/7/365 support
  • Client management system

Web Hosting Solutions

Liquid Web offers, in addition to the traditional and cloud-based web hosting packages, what they call web hosting solutions. You provide Liquid Web with your objectives, and the staff will deploy a preconfigured solution that they built to fit your needs. Solutions include, but aren’t limited to:

Hybrid Hosting

This is a combination of physical, managed dedicated servers and Storm Servers. One use case for this might involve dedicated customers who need to store sensitive data, yet also want the ability to easily and quickly scale up their resource allocation in the event of a traffic spike.

Enterprise and High-Performance

Solutions (such as those required by gaming websites) that include high availability, disaster recovery, powerful hardware, multiple system redundancies, and fine-grain management

HIPAA-Compliant Network Solutions

that make it easy for customers to be sure that sensitive data stays private

Further available plans include small- to medium-sized business options — these give you the most bang for your buck, regardless of your business’ size.

The Storm Platform

In addition to their traditional web hosting offerings, Liquid Web offers numerous cloud-based options, all of which are built on what Liquid Web calls the Storm Platform.

The Storm Platform combines the power of traditional web hosting with the flexibility of cloud-based web hosting. Regardless of whether you choose the Storm VPS, Dedicated, or Private Cloud option, you will get:

  • Easy upgrades and downgrades
  • Easy creation and deployment of server images
  • Programmatic access your server via API
  • SSD storage solutions
  • The ability to move between VPS and dedicated hosting plans

The storm platform is evidently a decent choice for growing businesses looking for web hosting — flexible scalability allows for you to up and downgrades with ease.

Cloud Server Management

To manage your cloud environment, you can use the Storm Server Dashboard, which gives you complete control to your server and grants you immediate access to powerful features such as monitoring, rebooting, cloning, or adding new products to your cloud account.

Liquid Web also offers a mobile-friendly version of the dashboard so you can manage your server no matter where you are.

The Storm API

If you want to create applications that easily integrate with the Storm Platform, you can do so. The Storm API allows you access to everything that you can control via the Server Dashboard, such as creating, cloning, and resizing servers, modifying firewall rules, restoring backups, creating private networks, and so on.

Pricing

Unlike Liquid Web’s non-cloud options, Storm pricing is calculated by the day, rather than by the week or by the month. As such, you only pay for what you use. Not only does Liquid Web make it easy to scale up and down a number of resources you have dedicated to your site on any given day with the Server Dashboard, but they also make it financially prudent for you to do so.

Add-ons

Regardless of which Storm Platform option you choose, you can opt for add-ons to further customize your package. These add-ons include:

  • Block Storage: block storage volumes allow you to create and move data separately from your server instances
  • Object Storage: a highly-available solution allowing you to store, process, and access your data via a simple API call
  • Load balancing: improves the distribution of workload across servers
  • VPN: a virtual private network.

Why Choose Storm Dedicated/VPS over Liquid Web’s Traditional Dedicated/VPS

Packages utilizing the Storm Platform include the following features which aren’t included in traditional plans (though they can be added at additional cost):

  • Automatic migrations
  • Instant provisioning
  • Cloud flexibility
  • Solid-state drives

Storm VPS

Liquid Web offers four out-of-the-box Storm VPS options, but as always, you’re welcome to contact their sales teams if none of them meet your needs exactly. When customizing your VPS plan, you can add as much as you need, up to the following maximums:

  • 20 processor cores
  • 1.6 TB solid-state drive
  • 256 GB RAM

You can also choose between Linux and Windows for your operating system (as well as the corresponding control panel, since these aren’t included).

Storm Dedicated

If you need exact control over your server specifications or you need a lot of resources dedicated to your site, Storm’s Dedicated Hosting option might be right for you.

For those who want a pre-configured option, Storm has three listed, but you can also order exactly what you need regarding processor cores, RAM, and the number of solid-state drives. As always, each package comes with the standard Liquid Web hosting features, such as security suites, backups, and CDNs.

If you’re on a strict budget, the Storm server builder allows you to filter your options based on how much you want to pay per month. This is nice since you can provide your maximum budget and look at just the options that you can afford.

Storm Private Cloud

If neither the Storm VPS option nor the Dedicated hosting meets your needs, you can opt for a private cloud. Liquid Web says that having your cloud is “like having a private data center you control.” Of all the cloud-based options available, having a private cloud allows you the most granular control of your resources.

Within your cloud, you can easily create, move, resize, or destroy any number of virtual instances using the Storm Server Dashboard. With just a simple slider, you can configure the number of resources (RAM, disk space, cores) allocated to a given server. You can also move instances from the private cloud to the public cloud or create a public network of private cloud servers — the options are endless.

Liquid Web Security

Thus far, Liquid Web has proven to be a top-grade hosting provider with a team of hundreds of in-house specialists across multiple cities. But how are they equipped in the security department?

Their datacenters are located in:

  • Lansing, MI (US Central)
  • Phoenix, AZ (US Central)
  • Amsterdam, NL (Europe)

Liquid Web Blogging Backup

And yes, they’re prepared. Overviewing Liquid Web’s security and reliability for all 25,000+ servers, you get:

  • 3 privately owned core data centers
  • On-site security
  • Geographic redundancy
  • Constant monitoring by hardware professionals
  • Premium bandwidth
  • Redundant networks
  • Professional cooling and power systems

Backups

Basic scheduled and account-level backups are at your disposal for free. Liquid Web, however, offers an advanced cloud backup plan starting at $12/month, which lands you:

  • Full server backups
  • Daily automatic backups
  • On-demand backups
  • Whole server restoration
  • Bare-metal restoration
  • Physically isolated storage

Uptime and Response Time

Using some useful data with the help of Pingdom, we have accumulated some average statistics for the past 10 months. So how does Liquid Web stand against their own word of a 100% uptime guarantee?

The average uptime was recorded as 98.24% due to an unfortunate incident in June. Customers, in this case, were eligible for 10 times the value of the additional downtime outside of the 30 minutes guaranteed fix window.

The average response time came in at 340.9 ms — this is an impressive score for server speed.

Pros and Cons of Liquid Web

So how does this powerful, mega-host fare for you bloggers looking to either get started or upgrade to a sturdier plan to support your growing business? Let’s find out by weighing out a few strengths and shortcomings.

Pros

  • WordPress and user-friendly plan available
  • Seamless scalability
  • Outstanding cross-platform support all year, every day
  • Fully-managed plans
  • Powerful datacenters and security measures in place
  • Generous resources for lower level plans

Cons

  • Costly compared to competitors
  • No shared hosting available
  • Lack of freebies (domain, SSL)

Best Liquid Web Alternatives with Shared Hosting

All in all, Liquid Web has far more strengths and weaknesses. For those of you looking for a simpler option, preferably one with shared hosting and some additional freebies to get started under $10/month, check out these three alternatives.

 HostPapaSiteGroundArvixe
Storage100 GB10 GBUnlimited
BandwidthUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
FreebiesOne domain name
SSL certificate
CloudFlare CDN
Daily backups
SSL certificate
Unlimited MySQL
CloudFlare CDN
Online store
One domain name
Instant set-up
WordPress AvailableYesYesYes
Pricing$3.95/month$3.95/month$7.00/month

ServInt as a VPS Alternative

Additionally, if you are after a cheaper VPS plan, ServInt offer a variety of plans under the name of Flex VPS. With the basic plan, you get:

  • 1x CPU Priority
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 30GB RAID 10 Storage
  • Centos 7.x Base OS
  • 1 IP Address
  • 10TB Bandwidth
  • Daily Off-Server Backups

Is Liquid Web Right For You?

Liquid Web is certainly not the most inexpensive option out there when it comes to VPS or dedicated web hosting packages, but their feature-rich options at all levels easily justify their prices.

While they may not be the most ideal hosting provider to launch your first website with, they are one to consider for websites starting to establish itself on the web.

Check out Liquid Web’s hosting options»

If you’re a hands-on, DIY type with the time and technical savvy needed to manage your own site’s hosting solution, then Liquid Web probably isn’t the best option for you.

However, if you need a robust, reliable solution that’s backed up with solid service, legendary, around-the-clock customer support, and lots of extensibility to grow, Liquid Web is likely a great hosting choice.

sign up for liquid web

Finding all the options overwhelming? If you want to leave the decision-making to Liquid Web, Cloud Sites might be the right package for you.

All you have to do is create your site and upload all of the relevant files to Liquid Web. They will do the rest for you. You won’t have to make any server-related decision, you won’t have to implement features to ensure your site is performant, and you won’t have to do any hands-on work to make sure that your hosting solution meets your site and your traffic levels’ needs.

Regardless of which option you choose, Liquid Web is a solid choice if you’re seeking a managed web hosting option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few useful answers which may help you decide if Liquid Web is for you, alternatively assist you in getting started.

What control panel do I get with Liquid Web and what can it do?

Liquid Web plans come with the standard cPanel. Having a popular user-friendly control panel as such allows you to:

  • Easily manage email accounts
  • Manage databases
  • Perform SSL certificate installations
  • Domain management
  • Adjust security options

How do I migrate a site?

Liquid Web provides a custom plugin which allows you to migrate a live site to their managed WordPress portal. You can find a five-step guide on Liquid Web’s knowledgebase to get you going.

How do I create a new site with WordPress?

Simply head over to your managed WordPress dashboard and select ‘Create new site’. If you wish, give your site a nickname which allows you to identify it easily in the future. Once you’ve performed these steps, you’ll get an email with your username and password to access your /wp-admin/ login screen.


Image Source: Pixabay | 377053

« Previous Host Review – HostGator | Next Host Review – Media Temple »