Liquid Web Review: We Ruthlessly Review The Pros And Cons Of Hosting With Them
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If you’re running an expanding business, one of the last things you want to deal with is your web hosting solution. Inevitably, it gets 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 Hosting Background
- Overview of Web Hosting Options
- WordPress Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Cloud Sites
- Web Hosting Solutions
- The Storm Platform
- Cloud Server Management
- Storm Servers vs Traditional Dedicated/VPS
- Liquid Web Security
- Pros and Cons of Liquid Web
- Is Liquid Web Right For You?
- Frequently Asked Questions
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 the emphasis on top-class customer support, Liquid Web has services in place allowing you to focus on what you do best: running your business.
Set Plans and Customizable Solutions
If you know what you look for in 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 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 they’re continuing to focus on growth while remaining “dedicated to core values of unparalleled customer service and hosting solutions.”
Whether you’re a beginner blogger or a business owner, the importance of effective customer support should be right at the top of your list.
How Big is LiquidWeb’s Team?
With a staff of just under 500 people, over 400 of them function as support engineers. These experts are ready to answer most website and hosting related questions you may fire their way.
They promise that US-based agent will respond to your call or live chat messages within 59 seconds, not 5-10 minutes. For times in need of a quick refresher, Liquid Web maintains an up-to-date knowledge base for 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 reliant on HIPAA regulations. They are also familiar with PCI Compliant web hosting so rest assured that your customers’ valuable data is stored securely.
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:
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.
Are There E-Commerce Solutions?
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.
Plans start at $29/month and offer a fully managed, easy-set-up shop with features like drop shipping, custom designs, and store management features.
Value of LiquidWeb
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 searching for a WordPress, VPS or dedicated-level host, their prices are competitive.
If you opt to host your site on a physical server, you will be billed monthly. If you choose to make use of a cloud-based plan, you will be charged daily. On-the-go price plans are becoming a popular option due to their transparent nature of resource use.
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
Migration Assistance and Additional Features
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:
|SSD Storage||50 GB||100 GB||200 GB|
|Site Allowance||10 Sites||25 Sites||50 Sites|
The more sites you host with Liquid Web, the more disc space you get. Furthermore, you gain low-level access to the likes of SFTP, MySQL and command line. It is unusual to have this degree of freedom with 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.
Additionally, the WordPress-specific dashboard has been streamlined so that it’s easy to use without sacrificing any of the functionality you need.
Ideal for those seeking dedicated hosting equivalent control, but with the more affordable features of a VPS server. These plans are the closest options to a budget-friendly solution.
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
- CloudFlare CDN
- Built-in local backups
- Protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks
- 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 1||VPS 2||VPS 3||VPS 4|
|CPU||2 vCPU||4 vCPU||8 vCPU||8 vCPU|
|SSD Storage||40 GB||100 GB||150 GB||200 GB|
|RAM||2 GB||4 GB||8 GB||16 GB|
Don’t forget, custom plans are still a possibility, the above are simply plans which are offered as a ready solution.
To further customize your VPS hosting package, you can opt for one or more of the following add-ons:
Block storage volumes allow you to create and move data separately from your server instances
A highly-available solution allowing you to store, process, and access your data via a simple API call
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.
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
- 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
Packages Vary Depending on Datacenter Location
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
- Disk space
For those of you looking at a package located in Liquid Web’s Arizona and Amsterdam data centers, note that each of these locations offer four dedicated plan types instead of eight.
Not keen to piece together a fully customized plan? If you’ve opted for an out-of-the-box solution, you can select a range of 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
For a simple, scalable solution, Cloud Sites offers a web hosting platform to meet your needs, no matter how complex. 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.
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
In addition to traditional cloud-based hosting plans, Liquid Web offers another service called web hosting solutions. The dedicated engineers simply collect your objectives, the staff then deploy a preconfigured solution specifically built to fit your needs.
Solutions include, but aren’t limited to:
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.
What Do I Get with Storm?
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.
It gives you complete control to your server and grants you immediate access to powerful features such as:
- 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:
- Cloning and resizing servers
- Modifying firewall rules
- Restoring backups
- Creating private networks
Unlike non-cloud options, Storm pricing is calculated on daily resource usage. You only pay for what you use.
Not only does Liquid Web make it hassle-free to upscale or downscale on any given day with the Server Dashboard, but they also make it financially prudent for you to do so. Plan-hopping is easy.
Regardless of which Storm Platform option you choose, you can opt for add-ons to further customize your plan.
The add-on options are identical those offered with VPS plans in the form of block storage, object storage, load balancing, firewalls, and VPN.
Storm Servers vs Traditional Dedicated/VPS
Plans working with 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
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
Choices between Linux and Windows operating system are also yours to make, along with the corresponding control panel of preference.
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.
Decide How Much You Want to Pay
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.
Is Storm Cloud Flexible?
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?
Datacenters are located in:
- Lansing, MI (US Central)
- Phoenix, AZ (US Central)
- Amsterdam, NL (Europe)
How Secure Are LiquidWeb’s Datacenters?
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
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.
- 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
- 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.
|Storage||100 GB||10 GB||Unlimited|
|Freebies||One domain name|
One domain name
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.
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.
Soon to Be Big and Need Serious Resource Caps?
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.
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 go with, 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.
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