Liquid Web review: our go-to VPS hosting choice?
Liquid Web is a major player when it comes to Cloud and VPS hosting. If you’re looking for the best of the best for your successful (or up and coming) web project, it will definitely show its face in at least one recommendation. So how good it actually is, and should you trust your most important projects with it?
In this LiquidWeb review, I decided to test out this premium web hosting solution. I went through pricing analysis, ease of use, performance monitoring, and testing, security overview, as well as customer support.
One thing is clear, it is not a cheap option. No, sir. It’s expensive and it targets your business with the goal to help it succeed.
This means that an even more serious analysis than regularly is needed.
So I do highly recommend grabbing a strong cup of coffee and following this review though. But if the business cannot wait, feel free to jump to conclusions.
|Price:||Managed WordPress starts at $12.67/mo|
|Current deal:||Get Liquid Web, now 75% OFF|
Pros and Cons of Liquid Web
- Powerful servers for mission-critical sites
- Big introductory discounts
- 100% uptime guarantee backed by SLA
- Server management is included
- Premium-level prices
- Advanced solution for tech-savvy
Liquid Web pricing
Liquid Web has different solutions for various users and levels of projects. Prices start quite affordably at $12.67/mo with Managed WordPress. Next up, there’s VPS for $15/mo and more advanced solutions such as dedicated servers ($169/mo) and Public Cloud ($265/mo). Keep in mind that some prices have bi-annual discounts and might differ in different data centers.
|Type of hosting||Best for|
|Managed WordPress ($12.67/mo)||Online stores, popular and commercial blogs will benefit the most. Fully managed and easy to use. Take 75% OFF now!|
|VPS hosting ($15/mo)||Projects requiring powerful servers.|
|Dedicated hosting ($169/mo)||High-security enterprise hosting for websites and applications.|
|Public Cloud hosting ($265/mo)||High scalability on cPanel platform for enterprises.|
The prices range quite a lot, and solutions such as Managed WordPress and VPS can be scaled to $600+/mo price. Nonetheless, the most popular Liquid Web option is VPS hosting, and that’s what I’m reviewing today.
Liquid Web has 4 main VPS plans. Alternatively, you can bundle these plans for an extra $5 to $30/mo to get additional features such as professional email, extra 100GB backup quota, server protection, and Threat Stack Oversight Detection system.
In any case, all plans come with the same 10TB of bandwidth, DDoS protection, monitoring, and firewall.
- 2GB RAM plan ($15/mo) comes with 2 CPUs and 40GB SSD storage.
- 4GB RAM plan ($25/mo) comes with 4CPUs and 100GB SSD storage.
- 8GB RAM plan comes with 8 CPUs and 150GB SSD storage.
- 16GB RAM plan comes with 8 CPUs and 200GB SSD storage.
At this point, everything depends on your project’s needs. Only you, personally, or your developer can calculate how much server resources will be needed. However, if you're still in the development phase – simply pick the cheapest plan and scale as needed.
Nonetheless, we still have some pricing-related topics to cover which are the best value, renewals, and money-back.
Pricing need to know
By default, Liquid Web pricing is transparent, but when many different scalability options add up, it can get slightly confusing. So is the refund policy. On the other hand, big discounts are available.
The cheapest price is picking a 2GB RAM plan with 2-years in advance payment. The total is $360. But, we are always looking to acquire even better deals, so see if there’s a discount for you.Check Liquid Web Pricing Now
Unfortunately, the price increases once your introductory period is over. It comes back to the regular monthly price, which is $59/mo for the fully managed service with InterWorx panel. By the way, you can choose to pay monthly – without big pre-payments, it's friendlier to tight budgets.
Higher renewals are nothing unusual in the web hosting industry. Some providers aren’t shy of increasing the prices by several times.
At the same time, I simply cannot bash Liquid Web for this too much. It's a premium host focusing on mission-critical projects. The fact that it is offering an introductory discount is impressive in itself, while the "standard" prices represent its quality.
One more important this is refunds. The policy is quite tricky:
- Liquid Web refund policy states that no service is eligible for refund unless stated in the SLA of that service.
- I couldn’t find any more documents covering the topic, but multiple Liquid Web reviews confirmed that you’ll get a prorated refund for unused VPS services by contacting support.
So while the first point is concerning, user experience is re-assuring. After all, paying for such a service without the possibility to cancel it, wouldn’t sound nice.
All in all, Liquid Web has an enterprise-level service that can be nipped or tucked in every direction. It all depends on your needs. This makes it quite expensive though a couple of more affordable options with introductory discounts are there too.
Hosting management – is Liquid Web easy to use?
Liquid Web is an advanced solution, so I’m not expecting it to be as straightforward as shared hosting. Nonetheless, the advertised plans come fully managed with the InterWorx control panel. This means that it’s enough for you to take care of application installation and general settings, while Liquid Web does the rest – launches the server, prepares it for use, and takes care of maintenance.
The initial experience is as described. After the purchase, I logged in and saw that my server was “being built.” In a couple of minutes, the status changed to Running, and I was ready to explore the interfaces.
The interface you see above is the main account management interface, where you’ll see your services, billing information, support, and so on. It’s quite outdated, but Liquid Web is working on a new interface. You can already see it by clicking My Liquid Web.
My Liquid Web will replace the old interface, but as of now, it’s not yet fully functional. Some menu items work fully, while some redirect you back to the old interface.
Nonetheless, in terms of hosting management with Liquid Web, there’s just one important thing to mention.
If you are not buying a domain from Liquid Web, you’ll need to point it to your server yourself. The same goes for performance and speed optimizations – that’s your responsibility unless you buy additional Liquid Web services.
So while Liquid Web is a managed service, site-level management such as domain, performance, and application-level security is up to you. All that is done in the account management interface.
What does Liquid Web control panel look like?
InterWorx control panel consists of 2 different management areas – NodeWorx and SiteWorx. NodeWorx is reserved for server-level management, while SiteWorx deals with individual websites’ tasks.
In any case, you’ll first end up in NodeWorx, where you’ll be able to assign space for the website. You can reach it by clicking on your server listing in either the old management area or the new one and finding the InterWorx button.
This is the interface it takes you to:
This interface shows all the information related to your service. The left side menu has all the management options such as reseller hosting management, system services, or plugins. In the middle, you can see if all services are operational as well as the possibility to reboot or stop them.
If we are not getting into details as to what which option does, the most important one will be the SiteWorx option. It has an Accounts section where you’ll be able to assign server space to your website.
Basically, you need to create an account for yourself here to reach SiteWorx.
The creation includes setting up simple things like main domain, email, and password. You can also assign server resources – keep unlimited or slice them up.
By the way, you can use this to host your clients’ websites as a shared hosting service. They’d each get a piece of your VPS server and an individual SiteWorx control panel.
Once you’re done setting up that account by filling out all the details, you can reach SiteWorx.
This is more like cPanel, with exactly the same functionalities.
SiteWorx is used for a variety of day-to-day tasks:
- You can install WordPress or any other app with the familiar Softaculous one-click installer library.
- Email accounts with your domain can be created there too.
- Domain management for adding new domains or creating subdomains is available. This is also where you’ll be able to install free SSL certificates.
- Database management and PHPMyAdmin are there.
- File manager, account options, backups, and other website-related settings are available.
Generally, SiteWorx has the same functionality as any other control panel. It’s quite easy to use as well, once you’re used to the new design. Well, that’s more the case if you were using cPanel before.
Overall, Liquid Web is easy to use as it sets up the server for you and includes a graphical interface to manage the services. On the other hand, it’s also easy to get lost among the many management modules. So while advanced users will feel there like in a playground, beginners might need some time to get over that learning curve. After all, Liquid Web is a very advanced solution.
Performance – is Liquid Web fast?
Performance is the key thing that you pay for when buying hosting, and Liquid Web quickly proves its worth. In all the tests, it showed reliable and fast results. Plus, the servers are powerful enough to handle significant amounts of traffic.
Let’s take a more detailed look into each of the tests.
Liquid Web uptime and response time
One of the most important performance metrics is uptime, and Liquid web does not fail to impress. In over a little bit more than 2 weeks, it was up 100% of the time. In fact, the provider is so confident in its abilities that it has a 100% uptime guarantee backed by a service level agreement. This means that you'll be compensated if there's excessive downtime.
Of course, 100% uptime is an aspiration and it's likely that provider will have to have some downtime for maintenance or any other reason.
As for response time, Liquid Web is not as impressive. The average 521ms response time is a little above the industry average. Although for a provider like this one, I would've expected something flashier.
Nonetheless, this is a result that a bare server achieves, with no optimizations or speed-boosting technology in place. So Liquid Web definitely deserves some praise for reliability and a pass for the response time.
Liquid Web speed
To test Liquid Web speed, I first wanted to see how fast it loads an empty WordPress installation from different locations. This makes for a great comparison point.
The key measure we are looking at is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). As long as it is lower than 2.5 seconds – we are good. And Liquid Web is good, with LCP in the US at only 666ms.
The best result is in the US, where the server hosting this site is located. The further we go, the longer it takes to load. Time in the UK is 912ms, while in India – 2.2 seconds.
This result is not the best I’ve ever got but is still very good, as we manage to fit into those 2.5 seconds.
Plus, it’s important to understand that we are using a bare server with no app-specific configurations or speed-boosting technology. By the way, as the server instance is entirely yours, you can implement the needed optimizations such as web server software or Cloudflare content delivery network. The latter one is free, and it will work to battle latency – potentially speeding up website load times in faraway locations too.
If you have a specific audience to target, you can choose a server to be located closest to that audience. Liquid Web has 3 data centers in the US and one in Europe.
Next up in speed testing, I set up a nice theme with demo content on it to replicate a real functioning website. As it adds quite some weight, we can compare how much Liquid Web will slow down.
And that is not much at all. LCP increases to just 1 second which leaves more than enough time to recommended 2.5s.
Speed Visualization gives even more insight.
For example, the first checkpoint is TTFB which represents the time in which the server first reacted to the request to open the page. It’s just 186ms and is almost as fast as it gets.
In 774ms visitors first see that the page is loading and the fully loaded time is 1.2 seconds.
I don’t know if I really need to put this in words, but this is fast. To get your website loaded in a second + an eyeblink is what many speed-focused website owners seek.
Altogether, Liquid Web is very fast even with 0 optimizations in place. And as this is VPS, you have the power to put all optimizations and configurations in that you need.
Liquid Web stress testing
Stress testing shows us if a provider can handle a big surge in traffic that’s send over a short period of time. In this case, I've sent 50 Virtual Users (bots) to the site over 5 minutes.
Liquid Web easily passed the test. What we are looking here is the blue line (speed) and the grey line (number of bots).
In ideal scenarios, the blue line would stay flat no matter how many visitors join in. However, Liquid Web slowed down slightly as the number of bots reached 50.
This is quite understandable, as I am using the smallest server available and CPU and RAM limits are quite low. At the same time, 50 visitors on one page do put a significant load on the server. Nonetheless, all bots’ requests came through, so a small slow down is nothing to worry about.
So even on the cheapest plan, Liquid Web is capable of supporting big surges in traffic.
All in all, performance testing considered, Liquid Web justifies itself quite well. Even without any optimizations, it’s reliable, fast, and powerful. And that’s what we are paying for when purchasing an advanced service like this.
Security – is Liquid Web secure?
Liquid Web takes advanced measures to keep its servers secure and protected. Nonetheless, you’ll need to take care of some of the things yourself.
This is what Liquid Web takes care of for you:
- Standard DDoS protection – provider monitors traffic and protects from sudden attacks.
- Standard ServerSecure security package – available by default on all servers, this solution configures the best security settings to protect your website from common threats such as malware.
- An integrated firewall is available to turn on from your dashboard. It will work as the first filter to block malicious traffic from reaching the server.
While these measures are advanced and take care of common threats, some security gaps will need to be filled by you.
This is what you’ll need to take care of:
- Liquid Web does not install SSL certificates automatically, but free Let’s Encrypt ones are available in your control panel. So don’t forget to generate and activate them yourself and update WordPress URLS from http to https.
- Server backups are performed by the provider, but you’ll need to take care of secure storage of them.
- You will need to take care of application security by yourself by setting up and configuring web application firewall.
Overall, Liquid Web security is comprehensive but is mostly focusing on the server level. That is server moitoring and threat prevention. Additionally, you get free SSLs and automated backups. Meanwhile, application security is your own responsibility.
Will Liquid Web customer support help me?
You can reach Liquid Web customer support via live chat, phone, or tickets 24/7. Additionally, tutorials and documentation is available in the knowledge base.
Liquid Web calls their support agents “the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting®.” And yes, they do have that trademarked.
So I decided to check on this claim and contacted the support a couple of times.
My first interaction was with sales agent. I wanted to know what price I will pay after the introductory period discounts are over.
I got connected instantly and received a very straightforward answer. Which is amazing. What I did not appreciate was that after the chat, the agent sent me a follow-up email even though I checked the box that I don’t want to get promotional emails.
So if you are protecting your mailbox from unwanted emails, use fake one for sales interactions.
Technical support was also instant. I wanted to get some security advice and get info about SSL.
As for security advice, the agent redirected me to knowledge base. Which, while efficient, doesn’t go well with the “Most Helpful Humans in Hosting®” claim.
As for SSL certificates, the agent explained where to find the option and complimented that with another knowledgebase article.
Altogether, the interaction was very quick and straightforward. The agent was also friendly. At the same time, I might understand the “managed” hosting concept differently than Liquid Web. I might have expected some of the stuff to be done by the agent… Perhaps?
Nonetheless, this was still very good and efficient. Plus, I got to see that Liquid Web’s knowledge base is extensive and covers not just control panel documentation, but includes advice in terms of web security and management.
In your hosting agreement, Liquid Web takes responsibility to respond live chat messages and phone calls in 59 seconds, while tickets will be responded in 59 minutes.
So I wasn’t just lucky to get connected instantly, that’s the policy and you’ll be compensated if Liquid Web is not able to respond to you in that time.
Now, if support agent redirects you to knowledge base or you want to find help on your own, it’s there, available, and very well maintained.
Articles are updated regularly and categorized logically. There shouldn’t be any issues in finding what you need. Complimentary to the knowledge base, you can also browse through Liquid Web’s case studies and sign up for webinars to learn more about web development, management, and security.
Overall, Liquid Web has thorough and efficient customer support. You’ll get help immediately. And while I’d personally enjoy more actionable help, support agents will definitely guide you in the right direction. Not to mention professional development opportunities that are available together with knowledgebase.
Liquid Web review – the final verdict
In this LiquidWeb review, I went through extensive testing to see if this provider is worth the hype. I found out that it is an advanced and high-performing solution that’s best used for business projects and web-based applications that need critical reliability and stability.
So putting each aspect on the table, what does Liquid Web look like?
|Feature||Managed VPS for mission-critical projects|
|Pricing||Liquid Web is a very advanced hosting solution that employs only the best hardware for its services. This makes it quite expensive. On the other hand, introductory discounts and some more affordable hosting options are available for tighter budgets. Plus, paying month-to-month can reduce your initial investment.|
|Ease of Use||InterWorx control panel is included by default, making Liquid Web one of the easiest VPS services to use. Just keep in mind that it is an advanced service, and you’ll take full advantage of it if you had prior experience with VPS or if you’re willing to study.|
|Performance||With a 100% uptime guarantee and result, Liquid Web is among the most reliable providers. It also showed speedy load time and handled a significant load of traffic without any optimizations set up.|
|Security||Liquid Web takes care of essential server security while application protection is left up to each website’s owner. Nonetheless, DDoS, firewalls, and SSL certificates are either automatically on, or you can easily set them up in the control panel.|
|Support||24/7 live chat and phone support have a guarantee of 59 seconds response time while tickets will be answered within 59 minutes. The agents are friendly and knowledgeable, while the knowledge base is well maintained. Plus, you get access to case studies and webinars for professional development.|
Who do I recommend Liquid Web hosting to?
Liquid Web is best for hosting eCommerce websites and web applications as it offers advanced solutions to power them. Additionally, experienced users will benefit from the service the most, although not as technical people will be able to comprehend and use services quite easily too.
Alternatives to Liquid Web
Liquid Web can sound and look intimidating no matter how good of a service it offers. Especially if it's your first time picking VPS. Or, it might simply not be what you are looking for. So in case you would like to see something different, there is a range of very different providers available.
For example, WP Engine is a friendlier yet still a premium alternative for WordPress sites, while Hostinger is friendly on a budget without sacrificing performance.
For high-performing managed WordPress hosting without the technical aspect of it, WP Engine is the best option right now. The provider takes care of server management and security and provides you with a variety of tools to manage websites efficiently. That is staging, collaboration tools, and performance-boosting software.
To get all that, pricing starts at $22.50/mo which is not entirely cheap. On the other hand, it’s an option designed for businesses and agencies to optimize their processes.
On the completely different side of the spectrum, we have Hostinger’s cheap plans. Semi-managed VPS starts at just $4.95/mo and you get performance that can be compared to Liquid Web (see our Hostinger review for more details).
At the same time, you will lose the “fully-managed” aspect, meaning, that server will be launched for you, but you are the one responsible for configurations. That’s quite easy, as a control panel is provided, but might be more challenging to beginners.
Liquid Web FAQs
What is Liquid Web hosting?
Liquid Web is a managed web hosting provider known for its managed VPS solutions. It offers strong uptime, commendable customer service, and feature-packed plans. It does not offer shared hosting, and it is pretty expensive compared to other web hosts.
Who owns Liquid Web?
Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners is the majority owner of Liquid Web Hosting.
Is Liquid Web a good hosting provider?
Yes, Liquid Web is a good hosting provider. Its services cost a bit more than most, but the quality makes up for it. Users will get powerful features, excellent 24/7 customer support, and reliable uptime. It is a popular choice for anyone looking for mission-critical hosting.