So many hosting services compete to be the cheapest, but very few try to be the best. Liquid Web is one of those exceptions.
They provide high-performance web hosting with excellent support. But that doesn't come cheap.
Read on to find out if Liquid Web is the right choice for your needs.
- 1 Who Owns Liquid Web?
- 2 Why Are Liquid Web Hosting Plans Expensive?
- 3 Pros and Cons
- 4 The Types of Hosting That Liquid Web Offers
- 5 Cloud Sites
- 6 Is the Customer Support Worth the Cost?
- 7 Liquid Web Performance Overview
- 8 User Reviews
- 9 The Two Types of People Liquid Web is Good For
- 10 Liquid Web vs WP Engine
- 11 Summary
- 12 Your Review of Liquid Web Hosting
Who Owns Liquid Web?
In 2015, the founder of Liquid Web, Matthew Hill, sold the company to Chicago-based investment firm Madison Dearborn Partners. Hill stepped down as CEO and was replaced by Jim Geiger.
The company has invested in several other tech-based companies, including PayPal, MetroPCS, and Nexel. Their purchase of Liquid Web does not seem to have impacted their service or the quality of their hosting service.
Why Are Liquid Web Hosting Plans Expensive?
When you’re shopping around for hosting and first see Liquid Web’s pricing, it’s reasonable to be a little surprised by the high prices.
But you have to understand the prices in the right context.
Beyond Shared Hosting
First, most cheap prices on other hosting platforms are for shared hosting. You share the cost and resources of a server with other customers.
Liquid Web stopped offering shared hosting so that they could focus on higher tiered hosting where the fun innovation happens.
Performance and Support
This allows them to focus on delivering value in 2 important ways:
- Better hosting performance and experience
- Better support.
Whether these are important enough to you to justify the cost will depend on what types of websites you’re building.
This whole Liquid Web review focuses on why those aspects will or won’t help you.
Pros and Cons
Before we dig in, here is a quick rundown of the pros and cons of Liquid Web hosting.
- Fast, expert support team
- All high-quality plans
- Wide range of managed hosting options
- Cost is high
- No shared hosting
- Knowledgebase is difficult to navigate
The Types of Hosting That Liquid Web Offers
All hosting options on Liquid Web are fully managed.
That means that their staff takes care of server updates, security, and performance optimization. The idea is that they take care of all the backend support that you may not have experience in, and you take care of building your websites.
Liquid Web offers quite a few hosting options. They all focus on quality, but they are designed for different types of people.
Let’s quickly find the right one for you.
General Liquid Web Features
Many hosts offer shared hosting, a budget-friendly option for smaller sites that do not require much bandwidth or storage. Liquid Web does not offer shared hosting (they discontinued the option in 2016), and most of their plans are customizable.
This means the features of any given plan can be quite variable. However, there are some general features of Liquid Web hosting that are worth noting.
Linux vs Windows Hosting
Liquid Web offers both Linux and Windows hosting. Linux OS is the most common operating system for servers, which leaves sites that require Windows with fewer options. If you need a host for programs like Microsoft Exchange, Sharepoint, or .NET, Liquid Web has you covered.
Control panels are a visual interface that allows users to administer their servers and things like domains, email, and installed programs. Liquid Web offers two types of control panels so that you can choose the one the fits your needs best.
cPanel is the most common control panel on the market. The layout is pretty basic, but it is intuitive to use. It has a search function, though finding specific features can be clunky.
Plesk offers a cleaner interface and an easy to navigate interface, with features grouped in a nav bar on the left-hand side. Plesk is generally considered easier to use and is available for both Windows and Linux hosting.
The location of a host's datacenters can impact how fast your site loads. For example, if your host's datacenters are in the US, but most of your site visitors are in Japan, your site may load a bit slower.
Liquid Web has multiple datacenters with locations in Lansing, Michigan, Phoenix, Arizona, and Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Managed WordPress hosting starts at $29 per month. Do you need it?
Managed WordPress hosting is a higher-end hosting service where the host takes care of all the technical aspects, such as security, daily backups, and so forth. It is a solid choice for larger sites without a dedicated tech department.
Your site is hosted on servers specifically designed to optimize WordPress performance.
If you ask any developer, you’ll know that WordPress is infamous for its bloat, often resulting in slow loading times.
Liquid Web claims that some home pages (of WordPress sites) load 5 to 10 times faster than on other managed WordPress hosts. Not just any hosts, but “managed WordPress hosts,” which are meant to be top of the line.
This plan supports multiple WordPress sites, even on the lowest pricing tier.
It comes with a clean control panel to manage all of your sites at once. This is great if you’re planning to develop several WordPress websites either for yourself or clients.
There are a few remarkable features of these plans that you should know about:
- SSL certificates are free for all your sites
- You get free migrations from other hosts onto Liquid Web
- Load balancing can support up to millions of pageviews an hour
- Automatic backups.
Liquid Web also offers managed Woocommerce hosting starting at $39 per month.
This managed hosting designed specifically with ecommerce stores built with WooCommerce in mind. In this type of plan, Liquid Web takes care of all the technical aspects, such as security, speed updates, and backups.
Their managed Woocommerce plans promise faster load times, up to a 95% reduction in query loads, and fast, expert support. Also:
- Free migration
- Optimized servers for 2-10X faster speeds
- Abandoned cart email service
- Page builder plugins
- Thousands of themes
- Mobile optimized & responsive sites
- Image support
- Free SSL Certificate.
WordPress is only one CMS. But what if you’d like to get experience with Joomla, Drupal, or others?
The “Cloud Sites” offer on Liquid Web lets you create and manage several sites.
A cloud site is hosted on a cluster of servers all at once. This type of hosting offers more security and faster load times than traditional hosting, which relies on one server in one location.
It takes two clicks to install a CMS and create a new website:
It starts at $150 per month and comes with 50GB of SSD storage, and 1TB of bandwidth, which is quite a lot for most sites and applications.
Because it is a cloud-based platform, it scales easily if you need to support higher traffic or resource use at any time in the future.
What Is SSD and Why Does It Matter?
SSD stands for Solid State Drive. It is a type of storage device that uses flash storage, which results in faster more reliable storage. The older technology, HDD, uses magnetic tape and mechanical parts, which are more susceptible to damage.
If your website doesn’t need a dedicated server yet, a cloud VPS is a level down with plans starting at just $59 per month. Essentially, you get a slice of a server.
This makes it great for hosting smaller or development sites.
It’s still fully managed and comes with cPanel or Plesk (your choice) for a control panel.
Cloud Dedicated/Dedicated Server
If you have multiple sites that need a lot of resources (memory or bandwidth), you’ll need a dedicated server — starting at $189 per month.
This is about the highest performance hosting that you can find, without going for an expensive custom option.
Liquid Web does offer reseller hosting packages, but it is not as simple as just purchasing a package.
You will need to apply and be accepted to join Liquid Web's reseller program.
They offer a graduated discount plan, where you save a higher percentage as you sell more plans.
Is the Customer Support Worth the Cost?
For some, the extra level of performance and management is enough of a reason to go with a host like Liquid Web.
But you might be unsure still.
The other main source of value, as mentioned, is an incredible support. Depending on how useful it is for you, it should make your decision clear one way or the other.
Support was Liquid Web’s biggest feature even 10 years ago when I first tried them as I began to learn web development.
First, there’s a 100% uptime guarantee. Not too important unless your website going down for even a few minutes could cost hundreds of dollars or more.
What is usually more relevant is the “Heroic Support.”
Liquid Web offers 24/7/365 phone, chat, and email support.
But what’s always impressed me is the quality of that customer support. Whenever I’ve had an issue, even if it’s something I messed up, I always received in-depth, clearly personalized response.
Support on most other hosts involves talking to someone who’s doing support simultaneously for 5 other white-labeled hosting sites.
Liquid Web’s new support techs get over 300 hours of training in their first year. They know hosting really well, and they know Liquid Web really well.
There’s also a pretty good knowledge base, but it could be categorized better. You can try a quick search to find what you’re looking for, but for the most part, you can just contact support and get a faster solution.
Sound good? Visit Liquid Web now.
Liquid Web Performance Overview
During a month-long test, Liquid Host averaged an uptime of 100%. And their average response time was an amazing 241 milliseconds.
What do current and past customers of Liquid Web have to say? On average, customers give Liquid Web 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Customers highlight Liquid Web's excellent uptime and superb support, though a few customers reported issues with their sites going down regularly. Overall, the reviews are extremely positive.
The Two Types of People Liquid Web is Good For
Based on the types of hosting plans we looked at, it’s clear that there are two situations where you can get the most value out of Liquid Web.
First is when you’re developing several sites, for whatever reason. Between the managed WordPress and cloud sites plans, the cost per site is pretty reasonable. Or if those sites are all relatively large, you can get a full dedicated server.
This is a great option for freelance developers that host client sites. If you’re just looking to learn to build sites, the performance is probably over-the-top, but the support might be worth the price.
The other main situation is for businesses with a single website that gets a lot of high-value traffic. Where the website operating slowly or going down for a short time could cost a lot of money. The performance and support are well worth it in this case.
Liquid Web vs WP Engine
If you run a WordPress site and Liquid Web doesn't seem like the right fit, we suggest checking out WP Engine. WP Engine is a managed WordPress hosting provider–they do not offer shared hosting, cloud hosting, or even any non-WordPress hosting. This focus comes with several benefits.
|Liquid Web||WP Engine|
|Storage||20 GB||10 GB|
|Bandwidth||5 TB||50 GB|
|All data applies to each host's cheapest plan.|
When it comes to performance, our tests indicate that Liquid Web is slightly more stable with slightly faster page load speeds. But the differences we've found are small and probably not statistically significant.
Liquid Web's basic plan is slightly cheaper than WP Engine's. However, their plans are not exactly the same. What's more, there are yearly prices and introductory deals that are worth checking out.
Other Hosting Options
Not feeling Liquid Web or WP Engine? Here are a few more hosting options to consider.
Bluehost: if you are looking for a less expensive hosting option with reliable support, consider Bluehost. They also offer managed WP hosting at a very good price.
Siteground: this host stands out for its built-in security features, automatic updates, and fast servers — all for bargain prices.
A2 Hosting: offering more affordable shared and WordPress hosting, they focus on speed and security.
What Liquid Web offers is clear:
- Industry-leading support
- Great server performance
- Fully managed hosting
- Decent prices considering their products.
If you need top-quality hosting, you can only get different hosting — you can't get better. If this is what you need, visit Liquid Web now.
Your Review of Liquid Web Hosting
Are you a former or current Liquid Web customer? Would you recommend them? Please leave your comments below and let our visitors know what you think of Liquid Web's speed, features and customer service.
Contributing writer: Danielle Antosz. Contributing editor: Frank Moraes.