Liquid Web Hosting

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. HostGator, the PCMag Editors’ Choice for shared web hosting services is an excellent place to start. HostGator offers Linux- or Windows-based based shared hosting packages that give small- and medium-size business room to grow (starting at $3.95 per month). HostGator is the service to explore for cheap web hosting.

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. Hostwinds is the Editors’ Choice for VPS service for the SMBs that are our main audience, but if you’re shopping for enterprise-level hosting, Liquid Web is definitely worth checking out. In fact, Hostwinds offers unlimited monthly data transfer across the board.

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.

Liquid Web Hosting

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.

Liquid Web’s well-rounded, managed-level dedicated server packages outclass AccuWebs’ excellent, SMB-friendly plans. That said, the price and spec differences between the two are so large that AccuWebremains the Editors’ Choice for dedicated web hosting for personal use and SMBs. AccuWeb offers a choice of Linux- or Windows-based servers, up to 512GB of RAM, 2TB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers. It’s an apple and oranges situation, and Liquid Web is truly in its own class.

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.

A2 is the PCMag Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting. A2 boasts a pre-built environment that offers many WordPress-friendly features, including live malware protection and curated plug-ins designed to enhance your experience. More importantly, A2 boasts unlimited storage and monthly data transfers across the board.

For more on the content management system, read How to Get Started With WordPress.

Liquid Web Hosting

Cloud Web Hosting

Besides shared, VPS, dedicated, and WordPress hosting, Liquid Web also offers cloud hosting. With cloud hosting, the resources that your site needs to operate are shared across multiple servers.

Liquid Web’s cloud hosting comes in many four tiers, and with either the Linux or Windows operating system. The prices start at $4.99 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 30GB of storage, and 1TB of monthly data) and scale to nearly $1,000 per month depending on your configuration of choice. There’s a lot of flexibility should you need to expand server resources.

However, DreamHost$4.50 at DreamHost – Cloud wins PCMag Editors’ Choice, mainly because it’s available to a broader cross section of would-be cloud-hosting users than Liquid Web’s higher-end, managed solutions, which are in a category of their own. DreamHost has excellent packages that start at $4.50 per month (for 512MB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers) and top out at $48 per month (for four CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers).

Reseller Web Hosting

If you’re looking to get into the web hosting business for yourself, but you don’t want to deal with managing servers, bandwidth, and other infrastructure matters, check out Liquid Web’s excellent reseller web hosting packages. Liquid Web’s plans, starting at $59 per month, come with an exclusive WebHost Manager Complete Solution (or WHMCS) plug-in and instant provisioning.

The dedicated and VPS reseller packages are of both the Linux and Windows variety, and they have the same RAM, monthly data transfers, and storage amounts as those that Liquid Web supplies directly. There are, again, no shared reseller hosting plans. Liquid Web also lets you apply your own branding to the servers you rent, and it supplies 24/7 tech support, too.

Liquid Web offers well-rounded reseller plans, but Hostwinds goes the extra mile with stacked specs in a larger variety of server categories. As a result, Hostwinds is the Editors’ Choice for reseller hosting.

Liquid Web Hosting

Security Features

Want Security? Liquid Web’s got you covered. The company offers firewalls, Secure Socket Layer (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.

Excellent Uptime

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.

Liquid Web Hosting

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.

That’s not to say that DreamHost, HostGator, or Hostwinds are irrelevant—far from it. They remain Editors’ Choice overall award-winners for those who need more wallet-friendly web hosting options. Still, if your business requires high-powered, managed web hosting, Liquid Web will do the job, and do the job very well.

For more on getting started online, read our tips on how to create a website. You might also want to check out our story on how to register a domain name for your website.

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