Liquid Web vs. WP Engine (2018)

Alexandra Leslie Alexandra Leslie Hosting Expert
“We tested Liquid Web & WP Engine — The winner is Liquid Web!”

We know Liquid Web and WP Engine are two of the best premium hosting providers out there — but which one is the best? As you might imagine, the answer to that question revolves around your dedication to using WordPress. WP Engine builds its business around high-class managed WordPress hosting, while Liquid Web concentrates on high-powered infrastructure across a variety of cloud, VPS, and dedicated options. Liquid Web has made a big push into the managed WordPress and WooCommerce markets, though, so let’s see how the two providers stack up.

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Overall Rating
4.8/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit Liquid Web »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit WP Engine »

Overall Hosting Comparison

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

We've gotten to know a few key members of the Liquid Web team personally, and let us tell you: the passion they put into just talking about their products hints that this is a company worth checking out.... read more +

We've gotten to know a few key members of the Liquid Web team personally, and let us tell you: the passion they put into just talking about their products hints that this is a company worth checking out. Liquid Web boasts supreme uptime, always-there-for-you support, and a constant commitment to building out more functionality for the customer (you folks are the whole reason we do this, right?). Upon deeper review, it seems the enthusiasm of the team translates into the technology's awesomeness.

We took the Liquid Web servers for a spin. Below you'll find a sampling of the results from testing Liquid Web's signature Storm® Platform. Using a basic MongoDB application in NodeJS, without caching, we experienced page load times nearly half those of other providers. See for yourself in the chart below.

Liquid Web vs. Other: Comparing Average Page Load Times (in milliseconds)
Dallas, TX New York City, NY San Jose, CA
Liquid Web 402, 456, 440, 444 388, 357 542, 559, 530
Competitor 648, 611, 679, 709 604, 523 754, 937, 899

It can't be said enough: MILLISECONDS MATTER, and Liquid Web clearly gets that. Needless to say, we were pretty impressed with these findings.

The beauty of Liquid Web as a hosting provider is that not only will they host your new website, but they'll take care of all of the behind-the-scenes logistics of running it.

Liquid Web has a redundantly built, multi-tiered network with four datacenters based out of the US (plus one coming soon to Amsterdam). They take advantage of all the latest technologies on the market, but most uniquely, they own all of their hardware. By owning rather than leasing, they have more control over the options they can offer their clients.

Liquid Web's servers are heftily and proactively protected under the watchful guard of the Sonar Monitoring™ team. These folks are trained to constantly survey server statuses and notice issues before they affect you, resolving problems quickly and quietly; chances are you won't even realize these disaster prevention ninjas are at work.

Should disaster strike or questions come up, you are never alone. Within minutes, you can be on the line with a highly trained Heroic Support® technician who will be well-equipped to walk you through any hosting dilemma. These team members were mentored by experts, many are now Red Hat certified, and all of them uphold the Heroic Promise to be totally transparent and there for you. The Liquid Web Best Effort Support policy means they'll try to help any way that they can, even if it requires work outside of their traditional services.

Liquid Web has three main tracks for managed hosting, not including their newest managed WordPress solution, and they offer varying degrees of management for their servers (e.g., fully managed versus self-managed). You pay a bit of a premium for managed hosting, but the peace of mind you get in exchange is priceless.

With Liquid Web taking over the infrastructure management, you're free to focus on what really matters: your content and/or your customers. Customers can easily install popular blogging software and eCommerce tools through the ever-popular and easy-to-use cPanel. Users get unlimited email accounts, secure access with SSH, and really fast page loads thanks to SSD storage.

The hard-to-beat support that Liquid Web offers to their customers has been raved about by users, as evident by their consistently high NPSs (Net Promoter Score: the likelihood of a client recommending a product/service to a colleague). The devoted Heroic Support® team and equally reliable uptime rates, not to mention amazing, custom technologies, all work together to yield such customer praise (NPS of 68 in 2014).

Liquid Web's VPS hosting is arguably one of their most noteworthy services. Whether you want fully, core-, or self-managed service, they offer all the flexibility and power you need.

SSD power comes standard on all Liquid Web VPS plans, which means less latency and more security with RAID protection. VPS users also get Liquid Web's in-house-built Storm® Firewall for added peace of mind.

VPS users can easily scale up and down, create and deploy server instances, and only pay (even by the day) for what they use. With instant provisioning, API access, and real-time server monitoring, you should feel confident in a Liquid Web VPS.

Individuals and mom-and-pop shops looking to build a site will probably at least consider WordPress at some point in their hosting shopping. Liquid Web has introduced a Managed WordPress Hosting solution, which includes all the technology and support Liquid Web is known for, plus SSL certificates for all users. The team will migrate your WordPress site to Liquid Web for free, then maintain automatic backups and updates to the core and plugins.

Liquid Web's dedicated servers offer more flexibility than traditional dedicated server resources, particularly with the innovation of their Storm® Dedicated Server.

Liquid Web has 50+ developers behind the maintenance of their platforms, and that includes tons of optional extras for added security, speed, and storage. Dedicated users can opt to include firewalls, load balancers, a CDN, or Liquid Web's Guardian Backup service, among other Dedicated Add-Ons.

The Storm® Dedicated Server offers the concentrated power you'd expect from a traditional dedicated service with the added customization of a cloud-based environment. While traditional dedicated servers don't guarantee instant provisioning, SSDs, and automatic migrations, the Storm® Platform does.

The bottom line is that if you're ready for the real deal in web hosting — high-powered hardware and a team you can count on — you should consider Liquid Web. Their highly reliable Heroic Support® team experts help make for highly available sites. They own their servers and have a team dedicated to building out new solutions that make their customers' lives easier and sites safer. Based on our experience, it's really no surprise that customers consistently vouch for Liquid Web managed hosting.

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  • Heroic Support® and fully managed hosting services
  • Sonar Monitoring™ team detects and treats issues
  • Consistently recommended by customers to colleagues
  • Storm® Platform touts cloud flexibility with custom add-ons
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.
Money Back Guarantee
N/A
Disk Space
50 GB - 1.6 TB SSD
Domain Name
2 - 5 Domains FREE

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

We absolutely adore WP Engine as a hosting company, but there's one huge reason we can't recommend it to everyone: It's exclusively built for WordPress users. If you are a WordPress fan, then read on! If... read more +

We absolutely adore WP Engine as a hosting company, but there's one huge reason we can't recommend it to everyone: It's exclusively built for WordPress users. If you are a WordPress fan, then read on! If not, you'll want to try one of our other recommendations.

If you care enough about your WordPress site — its security, scalability, load time, and uptime — to spend upward of $20 per month on it, then WP Engine is an ideal choice for you. It'd be tough to make a strong case arguing otherwise.

While WP Engine's price tag may scare off newbies, those who know WordPress will attest to the impressiveness of WP Engine's proprietary platform. Always updated with the latest hardware to maximize server performance, WP Engine boasts a market-leading software layer built exclusively for WordPress users. This includes the company's own caching system to ensure your site loads super quickly for visitors, a one-click staging area, and constant security monitoring to ward off online threats.

For beginners, installing a WordPress theme and getting a site up and running couldn't be easier. For more experienced folks, such as myself, WP Engine's advanced features, such as single-click development staging areas, Git integration, multiple server locations, CDN compatibility, and a ton of other niceties, can't be beat. These features make the monthly price worthwhile, compared to what the more economically competitive hosts offer.

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  • WordPress-exclusive hosting
  • Proprietary caching technology
  • 1-click WordPress install
  • FREE SSL and CDN ready
  • 20% off your first payment (was $24.20/month, now $19.33)
  • Get started on WP Engine now.
Money Back Guarantee
60 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Cheap Hosting Comparison

Cheap Rating

N/A

Cheap Rating

N/A

Neither host currently offers this type of hosting. While we do not recommend choosing these hosts for this web hosting category, we do recommend our expert's top pick for 2018's Best Cheap Hosting. See 2018's Best Cheap Hosting »

Dedicated Hosting Comparison

Dedicated Rating

★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

#1 out of 7 in Dedicated Hosting reviews

Liquid Web's strong suit is their managed dedicated server hosting. They own and operate three state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and have over 50 developers working tirelessly to build and maintain... read more +

Liquid Web's strong suit is their managed dedicated server hosting. They own and operate three state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and have over 50 developers working tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added performance and security.

Liquid Web offers single, dual, and quad processor servers with fully, core-, or self-managed plans. All dedicated server customers reap the benefits and support of the Heroic Support® team and the 24/7 protection of the Sonar Monitoring™ team.

Featuring top-of-the-line Cisco equipment, the Liquid Web N+1 network is redundantly built to allow routing devices to quickly self-heal. They're designed to bounce back and correct system failures without interrupting the customer's connection. With the integration of premier providers, Level 3, Verizon, Comcast, Cogent, and Equinix, the Liquid Web network is optimized for rapid and fault-resistant performance.

Liquid Web boasted an incredible 99.995% uptime rate in 2014, a bragging right that's helped shape their reputation for performance. With the maintenance of 50+ developers, the Liquid Web infrastructure is engineered to evade and survive typical site disasters.

Should disaster strike, the Sonar Monitoring™ team is trained to catch the issue first, performing system-level health checks and patches 24/7, so they can hopefully have it handled before you're even aware of the situation. Meanwhile, the Heroic Support® team of 300+ experts is available anytime to help with any troubleshooting need.

For the dev nerds out there, one of our favorite facets of Liquid Web as a hosting provider is the commitment to in-house-built technology. All of their team members' experience and expertise becomes very evident once you check out their custom Storm® Platform.

If you're in need of dedicated resources, drawn to the customization of the Cloud, and know you need screaming fast performance, the Storm® Dedicated Server may be your solution. These custom server systems allow for cloud-like flexibility that traditional dedicated servers aren't capable of, like instant provisioning and automatic migrations.

The Liquid Web development team is constantly coming up with new Storm® Add-Ons, like Load Balancers, Block Storage, Object Storage, and a VPN. Think you can't afford such full-featured and flexible hardware? Think again. With pricing starting around $110/month, the Storm® Platform is great for the cost-conscious dedicated server shopper.

If you want feature-rich dedicated resources and relentlessly reliable technical support, Liquid Web should be on your short list. They're known for strong managed service offerings, but the drawback to managed hosting is usually the cost. Liquid Web doesn't leave you hanging there though — in-house solutions like the Storm® Dedicated Server keep the cloud-level flexibility and performance up and the cost down.

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  • 100% network and power uptime guarantees
  • Custom configurations, SSDs, and instant provisioning
  • Auto-migrations, backups, and 24/7 Sonar Monitoring™
  • Block/object storage and load balancer add-ons
  • Our visitors pay $79.98/month! (usually $189/month)
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.
Money Back Guarantee
N/A
Disk Space
211 GB - 1,775 GB SSD
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Dedicated Rating

N/A

WP Engine does not currently offer this type of hosting. We would not recommend choosing this host for this hosting category.

VPS Hosting Comparison

VPS Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

#5 out of 9 in VPS Hosting reviews

It's no secret by now that Liquid Web is known for best-in-class technology and reliability that exceeds expectations (from uptime to technical support). Their VPSs embody that reputation to its fullest... read more +

It's no secret by now that Liquid Web is known for best-in-class technology and reliability that exceeds expectations (from uptime to technical support). Their VPSs embody that reputation to its fullest — including a new Managed WordPress product (Hop one tab over to the WordPress Review for more info on this awesome addition.).

They offer a high-powered VPS solution as well as their in-house-built, cloud-based Storm® Servers, all of which are backed by their popular SLAs (service-level agreements) promising high uptime rates and highly reliable help from the Heroic Support® experts.

With high-powered SSDs and, of course, the Heroic Support® team, the VPS platform shines among the managed services offered at Liquid Web. You'll pay a bit of a premium for managed hosting, but there's a reason customers rave about the Heroic Support®, incredible SLAs, and excellent uptime rates.

RAID-protected SSD storage comes standard for Liquid Web VPS users, which decreases latency and keeps your page loads fast and secure. They offer a range of management plans, as well as cPanel control and API access, so you get the perfect level of infrastructural management support for you and your site.

The Liquid Web VPS infrastructure was engineered with customer priorities in mind. These solutions are ideal for users that want cloud-like flexibility, such as billing by the day and custom configurations, but also seek the affordability of shared hosting. Customers can instantly provision and deploy their virtual server, easily upgrade, downgrade, clone, or resize, and only pay for the resources they use.

Liquid Web's SLAs promise speedy response times and industry-leading performance. Their blazing fast and fault-resistant servers are backed by the round-the-clock attention of the Sonar Monitoring™ team.

Not only does the Heroic Promise ensure a Heroic Support® technician will get to you quickly, but their policy of Best Effort Support guarantees that they will attempt to help with any problem you encounter. That kind of customer support translates into customer loyalty, and it's a commitment that's rare and wonderful in this industry.

In 2014 Liquid Web yielded an incredible uptime rate of 99.995%. With their wholly owned hardware being watched over and maintained by highly trained technicians, there's no reason to doubt their promise of virtually nonexistent downtime in the future.

All server statuses are watched around the clock by the Sonar Monitoring™ team, which is trained to detect system issues quickly, and ideally have problems resolved before a hiccup even shows up on your radar.

In addition to a heroic army of support, Liquid Web has 50+ developers dedicated to the build-out and up-keep of custom solutions. A great example would be their Storm® Platform: an in-house innovation based on their top-of-the-line VPS infrastructure.

With automatic migrations and provisioning and easy scaling options, the Storm® Cloud Server offers all the SSD speed and custom functionality you want in an affordable, shared cloud environment. To give users even more options, Liquid Web developers are constantly working on new projects, including the latest Storm® Private Cloud functionality and their Block Storage, Object Storage, and VPN Storm® Add-Ons.

If you want easy scaling, screaming fast speed, custom functionalities, and unparalleled support, look no further than Liquid Web for your VPS. They own all the hardware and have a rather large development team in their corner, so the technological possibilities are pretty much limitless. We'd recommend going with their custom Storm® Servers, which offer all the power, flexibility, and scaling options you'd require of a virtual or dedicated server with the affordability and ease of use of a shared hosting solution.

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  • Only pay for resources you use with daily billing
  • 5TB of outgoing bandwidth and FREE incoming bandwidth
  • API access and cPanel available
  • Instant provisioning and SSD speed
  • FREE Storm® Firewall and real-time server monitoring
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.
Money Back Guarantee
N/A
Disk Space
50 GB - 1.6 TB SSD
Domain Name
FREE (1 year)

VPS Rating

N/A

WP Engine does not currently offer this type of hosting. We would not recommend choosing this host for this hosting category.

WordPress Hosting Comparison

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.6/5.0

#10 out of 10 in WordPress Hosting reviews

The latest addition to the Liquid Web hosting lineup is their Managed WordPress Hosting solution. This WordPress product was built based on the VPS infrastructure and is backed by the Heroic Support® that... read more +

The latest addition to the Liquid Web hosting lineup is their Managed WordPress Hosting solution. This WordPress product was built based on the VPS infrastructure and is backed by the Heroic Support® that Liquid Web customers already love. The fully managed support they offer rids site owners of the responsibility of maintaining core installs and updates, as well as monitoring the server infrastructure. You run your WordPress blog or business, Liquid Web will run the rest.

WordPress has become the go-to site builder and blogging platform for business owners and individuals everywhere. Its ease of use and low, low cost (none) is hard to match. This new WordPress product offered by Liquid Web takes that intuitiveness and goes one step further — offering the simplicity of the WordPress UI backed by Liquid Web's reputation for high-performance technology and fully managed support.

Liquid Web Director of Marketing, Jason Grasshoff once told us, "The advantage over other managed WordPress hosts is we own the hardware."

Liquid Web owns four US-centralized datacenters in Michigan and Arizona. Since the company owns the technology, the developers have full creative liberties and control when building out a new product like this WordPress solution. The network is geographically redundant and primed for steady and reliable disaster recovery.

Since this new solution is built based upon Liquid Web's legacy VPS infrastructure, it had to be optimized with the top technologies on the market today. They use Pagespeed and Memcached to keep your WordPress webpages loading quickly, with MariaDB, PHP/HHVM, and Apache in the stack to keep performance at an all-time high.

The Managed WordPress Hosting wouldn't be Liquid Web without the Heroic Support® team. Give them a call anytime and you should be connected with a Red Hat certified system administrator. He or she will inevitably have extensive experience dealing with any question you might have, but even if you've got a problem that's not typically covered in their listed services, they'll try to help. The Liquid Web policy of Best Effort Support means they promise to attempt to solve any problem you throw their way.

WordPress is a favorite recommendation of ours for personal and professional websites alike. When you combine the flexibility and intuitiveness of WordPress with the best-in-class infrastructure and support of Liquid Web, you've got a match made in hosting heaven. Managed WordPress Hosting is going to give you all the performance and customization you want without the frustration. If you're thinking of building a WordPress site, you should consider letting Liquid Web help you do it.

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  • Managed servers, FREE migrations, and Heroic Support®
  • Globalsign® SSL certificates and command line access
  • Automatic backups and updates to the WP Core/plugins
  • Manage multiple WordPress sites with a single install
  • Usually $119/month, but our users get $90 off first month!
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.
Money Back Guarantee
N/A
Disk Space
100 GB - 1.8 TB SSD
Domain Name
New or Transfer

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

#8 out of 10 in WordPress Hosting reviews

Do you care enough about your WordPress site — its security, scalability, load time, and uptime — to spend around $20, or more, per month on it? If you answered "yes," then WP Engine is a fine... read more +

Do you care enough about your WordPress site — its security, scalability, load time, and uptime — to spend around $20, or more, per month on it? If you answered "yes," then WP Engine is a fine choice! You've come to the right place.

While WP Engine's price tag will scare off many, those who know WordPress, and the power that comes when the forces of WordPress and WP Engine combine, will likely praise the robustness of the WP Engine platform. Always updated with the latest hardware to maximize server performance, WP Engine boasts a market-leading software layer built exclusively for WordPress. This includes a proprietary caching system to ensure minimal page load times for visitors, a one-click development staging area, and around-the-clock security monitoring for your site.

Installing WordPress, setting up a theme, and moving a site from production to publication is simple for beginners. More experienced users will appreciate the single-click development staging areas, Git integration, choice of server locations, CDN compatibility, and other niceties. These features make the higher-end monthly price worthwhile, in my humble opinion.

Plus, there's my personal favorite feature: the built-in caching system. This feature allows WP Engine sites to outperform almost all other WordPress sites without the use of plugins. This means you can focus more on your content and design and let the experts at WP Engine focus on maintaining your site's ridiculously great performance.

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  • Enterprise-level WordPress hosting
  • Built-in caching and staging
  • Unlimited data transfer
  • Daily backups and 1-click restore
  • 20% discount for HostingAdvice users (was $24.20/month)
  • Get started on WP Engine now.
Money Back Guarantee
60 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Site Builder Hosting Comparison

Website Builder Rating

N/A

Website Builder Rating

N/A

Neither host currently offers this type of hosting. While we do not recommend choosing these hosts for this web hosting category, we do recommend our expert's top pick for 2018's Best Site Builder Hosting. See 2018's Best Site Builder Hosting »

Liquid Web vs. WP Engine - Our Conclusion

Alexandra Leslie Alexandra Leslie Hosting Expert
“We tested Liquid Web & WP Engine — The winner is Liquid Web!”

Just because Liquid Web is more of a web hosting generalist than WP Engine, when it comes to delivering performant, secure, and highly optimized services, Liquid Web is no slouch. We obviously greatly appreciate the flexibility of being able to switch servers or content management systems, but we completely support the laser-like attention to detail that WP Engine devotes to continually improve the WordPress user experience. When looking for high-stakes WordPress hosting, however, look no further than our chosen winner.

Overall Rating
4.8/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit Liquid Web »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit WP Engine »