What is Liquid Web Hosting?
Headquartered in Lansing, MI, the Liquid Web team aspires to be The Most Helpful Humans In Hosting™. And with 30,000+ customers and one of the highest loyalty rates in the industry, they may very well be just that. They’ve managed to secure this reputation in part by removing themselves from the shared hosting rat race entirely.
Louder one more time for the people in the back: Liquid Web doesn’t offer any shared hosting.
This is a unique choice in an industry where shared hosting is above and beyond the biggest money maker for most of the major players. And this decision is a good representation of Liquid Web’s hosting services as a whole: they allocate their resources to creating and ensuring high-level services for customers with high-level needs.
- Highly Powerful and Flexible
- Excellent VPS and Dedicated Hosting Plans
- Delightful Customer Service
- 100% Uptime Guarantee
- No Shared Hosting
- E-Mail Costs Extra
- Pricey for Beginners
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Liquid Web Hosting Review
Liquid Web’s ideal match is needy. Because they aren’t just looking for a quick hookup; their managed, custom-built services are meant to last.
They don’t just want to be your web host, they want to be your remote Systems Administrator too. Their customer support gurus will stay on the phone with you late into the night.
They’re willing to lay it all on the line to prove that they care, including a 100% uptime guarantee.
And if you’re the jealous type, you’ll be happy to know that Liquid Web’s bread and butter is single-client dedicated servers.
Forgive us for the cheesy extended relationship-metaphor, but it is appropriate. Because before you enter into a commitment with Liquid Web, you should know that there is a catch. And for many, it’s a dealbreaker.
Across the board, Liquid Web’s prices are considerably higher than average. But they’re worth it! That is, if your projects are high-level and ambitious enough to require their services.
• LiquidWeb is a good choice for you if you…
- Need a host that can handle extremely ambitious web projects with a high level of customization and support to match.
- Know enough about web hosting to get yourself into trouble if you tried to DIY. The Liquid Web team will have your back as you build out your vision.
- Want managed plans and a dedicated server without being limited to WordPress.
- Are a freelancer managing multiple client sites and looking for a reliable and clutter-free way to optimize the hosting side of your workflow.
• Liquid Web is not for you if you…
- Want to start a small personal website or are looking for a shared hosting plan. Liquid Web is punching at a different level.
- Just can’t stomach paying so much, even if it means getting so much power and so many features.
DreamHost has VPS and managed WP hosting plans starting at under $20/month.
• Pros of Liquid Web Hosting
Liquid Web has an impressive catalog of managed hosting, cloud, and dedicated server packages to offer to the upper echelon of the market. Here are the aspects that they truly nail.
1. You want it? They’ll build it. And manage it.
Liquid Web has way too many packages and services to succinctly cover in a single review. You have a ton of options within the high performance space, from Linux to windows, VPS to cloud hosting, dedicated servers to managed WordPress and WooCommerce.
But suffice it to say, Liquid Web has the brains, brawn, and flexibility to build out and effectively manage even the most complex of hosted infrastructures.
PCI standards? Easy.
HIPAA compliance? No problem.
Reseller hosting? They got your back.
Liquid Web can design and manage custom solutions that scale, from early-stage startups to enterprise corporations. Their customized hosting solutions include a dedicated account manager who is easily accessible and collaborates with your IT Team.
2. (Some of) the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting
Liquid Web prioritizes your experience as a customer. This is already evident in their sleek, modern branding and intuitive customer interface.
And when it comes to wooing you away from your old web host, they truly nail the transition.
Migrations are free and painless and will have you forgetting your old host in no time.
But where Liquid Web really shines is in their technical support. Because their products are pricier and more advanced, they know that they are dealing with a different caliber of customer than your bargain bin shared hosting (hey, no hate! We love cheap shared hosting as much as the next guy!).
Rather than merely serving as your point of contact in times of distress, the Liquid Web support team strives to act as a stand-in for an on-site, salaried Systems Administrator.
They don’t just troubleshoot, they act as project consultants.
And when it comes to the higher levels of hosting, their expertise is unparalleled. Designing a new deployment architecture? Balancing your storage? Have some questions about networking, SSL, or additional IP requirements that you want to bounce off of somebody who knows their stuff?
Call your Liquid Web account manager!
They will treat your query with enthusiasm, hear you out thoughtfully, and offer the most economical and quickly implemented solutions possible.
For many small businesses, this sort of expertise can support your growth and save you money.
3. Excellent Speed and 100% Uptime Guarantee
Not only does Liquid Web boast some of the fastest speeds in the industry (averages 400ms), they also offer the most generous SLA in the industry: a 100% uptime guarantee and a refund 10 times the cost of any downtime.
How exactly can they make good on such an ambitious promise? For one thing, all of Liquid Web’s core data centers are privately owned and operated from Lansing to Phoenix to Amsterdam. Each data center is equipped with redundant networks, central air, on-site security, and protected from power outages. They also operate under a 30-minute hardware replacement guarantee.
100% uptime is impossible to guarantee. But Liquid Web comes pretty darn close and is willing to compensate you for the rare exceptions. And if your website’s uptime is so valuable that even a few minutes of downtime can cost you big bucks, Liquid Web’s high prices are more than made up for by this feature alone.
4. Thoughtful Features All Around
Liquid Web hosting plans come jammed packed with tantalizing features. But beyond offering goodies, they really create an experience that is perfectly in-line with what their target demographic wants and needs.
Take, for instance, freelancers who manage multiple client websites. To see what Liquid Web had to offer this group of hosting customers, we tested out the Business Managed WordPress hosting for $149/month. A hefty price, to be sure, but here’s what we got in addition to WordPress optimized hosting:
- Space to host up to 25 sites
- 150 GB SSD
- Unlimited traffic and pageviews
- 5TB Bandwidth
- Unlimited access to the database and server
- Automatic SSL for every site
- Developer tools like SSH, Git, and WP-CLI
- iThemes Sync plugin included
This plan was decked out with everything a freelancer hosting multiple client sites could need. From painless migrations to a very modern interface, already some of the key pain points for this plan’s target demographic were covered.
But where it really sold us was in the small details built into the dashboard: the ability to make stencil sites with a single click, tag your sites for internal organization, easily create password protected views, download access and error logs, and do visual comparisons of your backed-up sites.
Customer dashboards are rarely so useable. In the case of many hosts, you may find it easier simply to bookmark the WordPress admin page for each URL you manage rather than bothering at all with the hosting dashboard unless your task concerns hosting.
Liquid Web’s dashboard provides straightforward access to all of your sites in delightfully intuitive way.
• Cons of Liquid Web Hosting
No webhost is the perfect fit for everybody. This may be more true of Liquid Web than any other host we have reviewed.
Don’t get us wrong!
We think they are an excellent match for customers who require high-performance services. But that is simply not the case for the vast majority of folks looking for web hosting.
1. No Shared Hosting
In case you missed it, Liquid Web doesn’t offer any shared hosting plans. If this is what you’re looking for, look elsewhere. Sorry (they’re not sorry).
2. Upfront costs vs. long term gains
We’ve already mentioned this many times in this review, but Liquid Web is expensive.
In pretty much every service they offer, their plans fall squarely on the “pricier than average” side of the spectrum.
In exchange for hefty upfront costs, however, Liquid Web offers an incredible 100% uptime guarantee, blazing fast page speeds, round the clock high-level support, and features you’d have to pay extra for elsewhere.
You’ll have to do the math yourself to see if this will pay off for your specific needs.
3. Email Costs Can Add Up Quick
Hosting email accounts costs extra with Liquid Web: starting at $1 per inbox per month. This is a reasonable price and their email hosting solutions are robust, but not every customer needs premium business-level email hosting services.
Be especially wary if you are migrating from a host that offered unlimited inboxes. The costs can add up fast. If you have a long list of email addresses associated with your domain, you may want to think twice (or at least konmari the list) before switching to Liquid Web.
Furthermore, paid inboxes weren’t always the policy. The per inbox pricing structure was introduced in 2017, much to the surprise and disdain of several existing customers.
That brings us to our final Liquid Web con…
4. Organizational Chaos Sometimes Rears its Ugly Head
In recent years, Liquid Web acquired WiredTree and Rackspace Cloud and brought their customers under their wing.
While many customers hardly noticed any transition at all, the changeover left some inherited customers feeling burned and caused a few existing customers to perceive a temporary decline in service.
Slower support response times, billing issues, and spikes in downtime are, to a certain extent, understandable during times of transition. Especially when it concerns high-level hosting services.
Just keep in mind that, as dedicated and knowledgeable as the Liquid Web team is, they don’t have a spotless track record when it comes to internal organization and keeping customers in the loop about big changes.
• Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce Beginner Plan Review
Perhaps in part because their services are across the board on the pricey side of the spectrum, Liquid Web has begun to offer competitively priced, managed WooCommerce plans.
The beginner plan starts at $39/month, making it just a bit more expensive than Shopify’s comparable plan. What distinguishes Liquid Web’s WooCommerce Beginner package from Shopify’s are both the wide range of included features and the severe limitations:
On the up side…
Liquid Web’s Beginner WooCommerce package offers a more robust list of features than any other plan on the market. These features include:
- No transaction fees
- Limitless staff/admin accounts
- Sophisticated reporting and invoicing
- Exit offers and live shipping rates
- Product bundles, upsells, and cross sells
- Abandoned cart management through Jilt
- Free SSL certificate
- Beaver Builder comes standard
- All IconicWP plugins available for free to install
- Thousands of beautiful free themes from iTheme
On the down side…
Liquid Web’s Beginner WooCommerce package limits you to EITHER a cap at 15 products with unlimited transactions OR unlimited products with a cap at 150 orders per month.
That’s a lot to love, but also a lot to think about. Whatever the case, it’s a unique offer. Why would Liquid Web choose to be so generous with features on the one hand, and so stingy with product caps on the other?
Our theory: this competitively priced package seems to be a bid from Liquid Web to attract a different milieu of customers. Namely, those who may otherwise be scared off by their high prices.
Offering a $39/month plan could give Liquid Web an opportunity to win over budget-conscious customers with their awesome features, wonderful customer support, and rock-solid reliability (as detailed in the review above), to get them hooked, and eventually to sell them on a larger, more expensive plan.
Good strategy, right?
Sure – it just may be best if you know that this is their game plan before signing up for the Beginner package.
In our opinion, Liquid Web’s entry level WooCommerce plan simply is not sustainable for any e-commerce business with plans to gradually scale. Should your store outgrow the limitations of the Beginner Plan, you’ll need to be ready to more than double your monthly payment in order to move up to Liquid Web’s next tier of managed WooCommerce hosting.
As excellent as Liquid Web’s services are, that’s a steep incline that not every business owner is prepared to scale so quickly. While the impressive bundle of features that Liquid Web provides (even to customers on the Beginner Plan) may seem like a huge advantage over Shopify’s least expensive plan (where these goodies cost extra), it really depends on how you plan to grow your store.
Some customers may prefer to cherry-pick and pay extra for certain features as the need arises, as long as their product catalog and monthly transactions are permitted to expand without limits. If that style of growth is more what you had in mind, then Liquid Web’s WooCommerce Beginner Plan probably isn’t for you.
That said, there are two use-cases where we could see this plan really shining. Liquid Web’s WooCommerce Beginner Plan is perfect for you if:
- Your e-commerce business has a sophisticated marketing strategy and a limited catalog of higher-end products. If you never have plans to sell more than 15 products or keep a monthly inventory of more than 150 items, and your site attracts a light but steady stream of qualified leads, you could happily host your business on this plan forever.
- You are just planning a soft launch of your e-commerce site with a limited selection of products for the time being. This would give you time to use all of the great tools provided by Liquid Web at no extra cost to finetune your marketing strategy and workflow. And once you’re ready to make your big debut, you’re okay with moving on to one of Liquid Web’s much costlier high-performance plans.
We bet you won’t be disappointed by Liquid Web’s services should you sign on to their managed WooCommerce plan for beginners. As we detailed above, Liquid Web is so fast and so reliable and their support team is so exceptionally helpful that the vast majority of their customers feel the higher prices are more than justified.
Just know that this entry-level WooCommerce plan isn’t built to grow with you — it’s built to get you hooked!
Liquid Web strives to be the best web hosting provider on the market – and that is reflected in their high costs. But you wouldn’t have read to the end of this review if you were scared off by high prices, now would you?
Liquid Web resides in a different league than companies who make their money primarily through shared hosting. In the high-performance niche of the market, they offer a portfolio of products tailored for your most ambitious projects. Their services are flexible, reliable, and backed with a highly knowledgeable support staff that will take the time and stress of managing the server off your plate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does LiquidWeb offer Linux or Windows hosting?
Their web hosting services include both Windows and Linux hosting.
Will LiquidWeb try to raise my price when it’s time for me to renew my contract?
No, your pricing should remain constant with their existing price structure.
Do I get a free domain name included with my web hosting plan?
Yes, each web hosting account gets 1,3, or 5 free domain names, depending upon each customer’s needs.
Does LiquidWeb offer WHOIS domain name privacy?
Yes, for an additional fee customers may add WHOIS privacy to their web hosting plan.
Does LiquidWeb have Virtual Private Server (VPS) service?
Where is this web hosting service located?
LiquidWeb is located in Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A.
What programming languages does LiquidWeb support?
LiquidWeb supports Ruby, ASP, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET, Perl, and PHP.
Does LiquidWeb have any affiliate program?
Can I host WordPress on LiquidWeb’s service?
Does LiquidWeb have any website building software included?
There are no website building software included, but they provide access to platforms such as WordPress and Joomla to make it easy for you to build your website if you wish.
Can I use PrestaShop with LiquidWeb hosting?
Yes, you can easily install the PrestaShop e-commerce software on your servers if you want to.
How easy is it to move WordPress installs over to LiquidWeb?
What about image heavy sites on LiquidWeb? Are they ok?
Do you get a user control panel with LiquidWeb service?
What kind of guarantee do they offer?
Does LiquidWeb have content distribution network (CDN) services?
Yes, CDN services are included with all of their hosting contracts.
How often does LiquidWeb perform backups?
They perform backups every night to a server off-site for your security.
How many email addresses are allowed with LiquidWeb hosting?
Number of emails and email storage is unlimited when you purchase a web hosting plan.
Does LiquidWeb offer a student discount?
Yes, you can find their student discount on their website, and non-profit organizations may also receive a discount if they request one.
What about video streaming? How well does LiquidWeb work for that?
Their shared platform works reasonably well for video streaming, but it’s recommended to use dedicated sites or a site run on VPS for quality video streaming.
Does LiquidWeb offer unlimited storage space and bandwidth?
Yes, they offer both, but they reserve the right to revoke the privileges if they find abuse or excess use.
I have four websites. Which one of LiquidWeb’s services would work to host my sites?
Every one of LiquidWeb’s hosting plans are capable of handling four websites at once.
What are the standard contract lengths for LiquidWeb hosting?
What are my payment options if I choose LiquidWeb?
They accept wire transfers, Paypal, and most major credit cards as payment for services.
Will my e-commerce website work well using LiquidWeb?
Yes, their web hosting plans work very well with all e-commerce sites, supporting features like shopping carts and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for security.
Is LiquidWeb a secure web hosting product?
Where exactly are LiquidWeb’s data centers physically located?
LiquidWeb has four data centers currently, with one in Phoenix Arizona, and three more in the state of Michigan.
Can LiquidWeb help me transfer my existing websites over to their service? I don’t have the time or knowledge to do it.
What kind of customer support is available if I have any issues?
What if I’m not happy with their web hosting service?
Hopefully all the questions you have about this web hosting service have been answered above. If you’ve been shopping around for a domestic web hosting service that has industry leading features, LiquidWeb is a great choice. They have a plan for every size customer, from one domain name to 1,000. Industry leading customer support, 24/7 monitoring and security, and the ability to configure your system to your needs are what make this web hosting service truly unique. They also offer their site migration service which makes transferring your data to your new LiquidWeb servers as easy as humanly possible. In a market that’s crowded with web hosting companies, North American customers will be extremely pleased with the pricing, flexibility, and ease of switching to LiquidWeb.