[no_toc]Big businesses require robust Web hosting services to maintain their online presences, and Liquid Web is one that many of the largest brands trust. The company has a wide range of shared server, virtual private server (VPS), and dedicated server packages with enough flexibility and muscle to power the likes of ESPN, FedEx, MTV, and Zappos, among others.
Liquid Web is pricey, so it’s good that the service’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is usual in the Web hosting industry. Still, considering the amount of money that a company is likely to spend for Liquid Web hosting, it would be nice to see a larger refund window. For example, Dreamhost has an impressive 97-day money-back guarantee.
Shared Web Hosting Packages
Liquid Web has four shared hosting packages that offer comparatively little server performance for price. Standard ($14.95 per month) includes a skimpy 5GB of solid-state drive disk space, a low 240GB of monthly data transfers, and a much-appreciated two free domain names. Webmaster (starting at $19.95 per month) offers just 20GB of storage, 400GB of monthly data transfers, and three free domain names. Professional ($24.95 per month) ups the storage to 40GB, the monthly data transfers to 640GB, the free domain names to five, and includes a free, dedicated IP address and free secure socket layer (SSL) certificate. Semi-Dedicated (starting at $40 per month) adds a guaranteed 1GB of RAM and one CPU core (burstable up to 2GB of RAM and two CPU cores).
Shared hosting is clearly not the sweet spot for Liquid Web, as those are only decent plans (at best). If you want more bang for your buck, check out Arvixe’s PersonalClass shared hosting options. An overall Editors’ Choice for Web hosting services, Arvixe has plans that all boast the ability to host six domains and include unlimited monthly data transfers and storage, starting at $5.60 per month—a fraction of Liquid Web’s shared hosting cost. Arvixe’s PersonalClassPro (starting at $8.00 per month) adds unlimited domains.
Dreamhost, also a Web hosting services, offers tierless shared Web hosting plans (starting at $10.95 per month, or $9.95 per month with a one-year commitment) that boast unlimited disk storage space, domains, email, and monthly data transfers.
Dedicated Web Hosting Packages
If you’re looking to build your website on the strongest possible foundation, however, you’ll want to check out Liquid Web’s dedicated server offerings. They come in a variety of configurations, ranging from a single-core (starting at $179 per month) to a quad-core (starting at an incredibly high $799 per month). Clearly, Liquid Web’s dedicated servers are aimed at businesses that want sharp website performance and that have the money to spend on it.
All Liquid Web dedicated servers start with a base configuration that includes 8GB of RAM, a 250GB primary hard drive, a 1TB backup hard drive, 5TB of data transfers per month, unlimited domains, and unlimited email. The main differences between are the CPU cores and clock speeds—until you start configuring the servers. For example, you can outfit Liquid Web’s servers with an incredible 512GB of RAM, but it’ll cost you an extra $1,200 per month. You can configure the servers with up to 6TB of hard drive storage.
Liquid Web’s well-rounded dedicated server packages outclass HostGator’s excellent, SMB-friendly plans. That said, the gulf bewteen the two is so large that HostGator remains the Editors’ Choice for the category. We’ll compare Liquid Web against Rackspace and other high-end Web hosting services in the near future to determine an Editors’ Choice in the enterprise space.
Storm VPS Web Hosting Packages
If you want a server with significant power, but without the high dedicated-server pricetag, check out Liquid Web’s virtual private servers. Unlike many other VPS services I reviewed, Liquid Web only charges for the number of days you use the service per month, which comes in handy if you decided to cancel your account.
The low-end Storm VPS plan (starting at $1.64 per day) includes 1GB of RAM, 50GB of solid-state drive storage, 5TB of monthly data transfers, unlimited domains, and unlimited email. On the other end of the spectrum, Liquid Web’s high-end Storm VPS option (starting at $82.84 per day) ups the ante by including 512GB of RAM and 1.8TB of storage. In fact, Arvixe, our current Editors’ Choice for VPS services, maxed out at a comparatively paltry 4GB of RAM and 100GB of storage.
You can configure the Linux- or Windows-based VPS with up to 25TB of monthly data transfers for an extra $750 per month, but 1&1, Arvixe, and DreamHost offer unlimited monthly data transfers. Still, Liquid Web’s RAM and storage totals are the best we’ve seen of the VPS services that we reviewed, for their price point. We’ll determine if Liquid Web’s worthy of an Editors’ Choice once we compare it to some other enterprise-class hosts.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Liquid Web also offers three tiers of managed WordPress Web hosting that offer the same specs as the company’s shared, Storm VPS, and dedicated hosting platforms. As with other managed WordPress hosts, Liquid Web has one-click installs, automatic updates, and access to hundreds of apps and plug-ins courtesy of its Fantastico library.
Liquid Web’s managed hosting environment is specifically designed for installing WordPress and associated plug-ins. In fact, you don’t have to install the CMS at all, as it comes pre-installed. Once you’re logged into WordPress, you can create posts, pages, and galleries as you would with any other self-hosted WordPress site. I quickly created a rudimentary page that got the job done.
The WordPress installation’s back end contains several themes you can apply to your site to give it an attractive look or extra functionality. You can, of course, use a theme that was purchased elsewhere.
Want Security? Liquid Web’s got you covered. The company offers firewalls, SSL, virtual private networks (VPN), malware scanning and removal, and much more.
Some features come bundled with specific packages, while others you’ll need to purchase as add-ons. Liquid Web has free nightly backups, too, which will safeguard you should your site suffer massive damage.
Liquid Web boasts of its excellent Heroic Support customer service team, a squad of knowledgeable people who assist you in under a minute if you reach out by phone, under 30 minutes if you submit a help desk ticket, and under 59 seconds if you reach out by chat. Sounds good, yes? It is.
I fired up the Web chat on a weekday morning to ask a representative about how to import my WordPress.com setup into Liquid Web. A rep came to my aid seconds later and gave me a friendly, thorough explanation. I was impressed with the speed and thoroughness of the response.
I later tested the Liquid Web’s phone support on a weeknight. My goal was to discover the difference between regular Liquid Web hosting and WordPress hosting. I waited less than a minute before someone took my call, which fell within the Heroic Support’s much-touted small wait window. The response was friendly and helpful, and I experienced no language or accent issues during my call.
A Powerful but Expensive Web Host
Without question, Liquid Web is one of the most-powerful Web hosts, and it’s a clear Editors’ Choice for enterprise-level Web hosting. It has numerous packages with absolutely stacked specs—specs that will cost you a pretty penny. Liquid Web may not have equally fine shared or managed WordPress hosting packages, but the company’s excellent dedicated and VPS hosting are enough to place it among the Web hosting elite.
That’s not to say that Arvixe or Dreamhost are irrelevant—far from it. They remain Editors’ Choice award-winners for those who need more wallet-friendly Web hosting options. Still, if your business requires truly high-end Web hosting, Liquid Web will do the job, and do the job quite well.