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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 range of cloud, dedicated, reseller, virtual private server (VPS), and WordPress server packages with enough flexibility and muscle to power the likes of Eddie Bauer, Home Depot, National Geographic, Porsche, and Symantec. Be prepared to pay premium prices for this managed, enterprise-class service, however, and forget about the cheaper shared hosting tier of service: Liquid Web doesn’t offer it. Smaller businesses may prefer PCMag’s overall favorite web hosts, DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, which offer more affordably priced packages that include shared hosting plans.
Liquid Web excels in managed hosting; in fact, that’s the reason for the service’s Editors’ Choice designation. With managed hosting, a business doesn’t house its servers onsite. Instead, the servers are hosted at a web host’s datacenter. That might sound like a description of what every web hosting service does, but Liquid Web goes far beyond simply serving up files remotely. The company can handle all the site’s administrative duties and support tasks, regardless of complexity and scale. As you’d probably suspect, this type of service is designed with big businesses in mind. Liquid Web’s managed hosting is also quite pricey, but with the big ticket comes big specs.
No Shared Web Hosting
As mentioned, Liquid Web does not offer shared web hosting, which is generally used by individuals and the smallest of businesses. If you want to dabble in that hosting category, you must look elsewhere.
VPS Web Hosting
If you want a server with significant power, but without the high dedicated-server price tag, check out Liquid Web’s VPS servers. VPS hosting is a higher form of shared hosting, except that you deal with far more powerful (and guaranteed) system resources.
The entry-level VPS plan (starting at $4.99 per month) includes 1GB of RAM, 30GB of solid-state drive storage, 1TB of monthly data transfers, unlimited domains, and unlimited email. On the other end of the spectrum, Liquid Web’s high-end option (starting at $296 per month) ups the ante by including 96GB of RAM, 750GB of SSD storage, and the option to use either Linux- or Windows-based servers. You can also contact Liquid Web if you want to spec out a more powerful server.
Liquid Web’s RAM and storage totals are the best I’ve seen for their price point. That’s a big qualifier, however, given Liquid Web’s prices.
Unlike many other VPS services I have 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.
Dedicated Web Hosting
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. With dedicated hosting, your site taps a server’s full system resources, instead of sharing them with other sites.
Liquid Web’s dedicated servers come in a variety of configurations, ranging from a server with single processor, two 480GB solid-state drives (with a 1TB backup drive), 5TB of monthly data transfers, and 16GB of RAM (starting at $199 per month) to a server with high-end, dual processors with two 480GB solid-state drives (and a 4TB SATA backup drive), 8TB of monthly data transfers, and 64GB of RAM (starting at $599 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.
WordPress Web Hosting
Liquid Web also offers three tiers of managed WordPress web hosting, starting at $119 per month for 5TB of monthly data transfers, 10 domains, and a 100GB solid-state drive. As with other managed WordPress hosts, Liquid Web has one-click installs, automatic updates, and access to hundreds of apps and WordPress 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 preinstalled. Once you’re logged into WordPress, you can create posts, pages, and galleries as you would with any other self-hosted WordPress site. I was able to quickly create a rudimentary test 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 WordPress theme that was purchased elsewhere.
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.
Website uptime is one of the most important aspects of a hosting service. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. You do not want that. Fortunately, Liquid Web is incredibly dependable.
I use a website monitoring tool to track my test sites’ uptime over a two-week period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings my websites and sends me an email if it is unable to contact any of my sites for at least one minute. The data revealed that Liquid Web didn’t go down once over the course of those 14 days.
Excellent Customer Service
Liquid Web boasts an excellent Heroic Support customer service team, a squad of knowledgeable people who assist you in under a minute if you reach out by phone, in under 30 minutes if you submit a help desk ticket, and in 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 the difference between cloud hosting and traditional hosting. 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.
Since Liquid Web is pricey, it’s good that the service’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is typical 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. DreamHost, for example, has an impressive 97-day money-back guarantee.
Expensive, but Powerful
Without question, Liquid Web is one of the most-powerful web hosts PCMag has reviewed, and it’s a clear Editors’ Choice for managed web hosting. It has numerous packages with absolutely killer specs—specs that will cost you a pretty penny. Liquid Web may not have shared hosting packages, but the company’s excellent dedicated and VPS hosting are enough to place it among the web hosting elite.
If your business requires high-powered, managed web hosting, Liquid Web will do the job, and do the job very well.