Liquid Web vs. SiteGround
We'll be looking at SiteGround vs. Liquid Web today. If you've ever wondered which of the two hosts is the best for you, well you're at the right place.
SiteGround and Liquid Web will be going head to head, and we'll be finding out which hosting company offers the best deal and why.
How will we be doing this? Easy. We bought hosting plans on both platforms and did a tonne of research, so we'll be comparing them on the basis of our performance tests, customer support test and a whole lot of other important metrics.
But first, an overview.
Liquid Web vs. SiteGround Overview
SiteGround was founded in Sophia, Bulgaria in 2004. The company is pretty big as well, employing over 500 people and hosting over two million domains worldwide. Unlike many other hosting companies, SiteGround is a privately owned company.
Liquid Web is not as big as SiteGround as the company only has about 32,000 customers. Founded in 1997, Liquid Web deals with managed hosting solutions, while SiteGround basically sells all sorts of hosting – from shared hosting to dedicated server hosting.
What this also means that Liquid Web's plans are significantly more expensive than SiteGround's shared hosting plans – and this is saying a lot because SiteGround plans are one of the most expensive shared hosting options on the market.
With over two million domains, SiteGround is certainly the most popular host of the two. However, that means ridiculously little in terms of performance and quality. The most popular hosts have, sometimes, put in shocking performances.
What You Should Know when comparing Liquid Web and SiteGround
SiteGround and Liquid Web aren’t very similar when it comes to the services that they provide. For example, SiteGround is well known for its Shared Hosting which, even if quite expensive, is popular because it comes with top performance. Even when compared with other tops hosts like Bluehost, SiteGround manages to stand its ground. This is clearly seen in our SiteGround vs. Bluehost comparison.
On the other hand, FlyWheel does not even offer that kind of service. The most affordable FLyWheel plan Tiny starts at $13.00 per month and it’s a Managed WordPress Hosting Plan.
As such, we'll be comparing only the basic plans that SiteGround and Liquid Web have in common, which is the managed WordPress hosting tier plans and Cloud hosting plans. Our performance tests were done on managed WordPress hosting plans, and our opinion on the speed and uptime of SiteGround and Liquid Web is only valid in the context of managed WordPress hosting.
We'll be checking outperformance using our speed and uptime tests.
To test uptime on the two hosts, we did the only logical thing. We bought plans on SiteGround and Liquid Web, and then used Pingdom to test uptime for a four-month period. Here are the results we got over those four months.
Over our testing period, Liquid Web recorded amazing uptime with a perfect 100% score. That's impressive to say the least. SiteGround was also impressive with a 99.99% uptime, but Liquid Web is the host with the clearly better uptime here.
Uptime can be fickle, and many hosts are usually one faulty server away from offering hours and hours of downtime. If this happens (as it often does), what guarantees do you have?
SiteGround has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. That means that for every percent of uptime below 99.9%, users will be entitled to a month of free hosting.
Liquid Web has a much better uptime guarantee at 100%. This means that for every hour of downtime experienced by users (as recorded by Liquid Web's service logs), users are entitled to credit for 10 times (1,000%) the actual amount of downtime. So that means if your site is down for 1 hour, you receive credit of up to ten hours.
There are limitations to these uptime guarantees though. One of such limitations is that downtime from scheduled maintenances (this includes software and hardware maintenance) are not to be compensated. In addition to this, downtime from malicious attacks is not liable to be compensated as well. While SiteGround and Liquid Web will do all they can to stop the attack and restore your site, they cannot guarantee that you won't experience a period of downtime during the process.
There is no way SiteGround could have won this. Liquid Web has a 100% uptime and a 100% uptime guarantee. They probably have the best uptime combination that we have reviewed in recent times. They were always going to win this one.
Before we go to our speed tests, we'll take a look at factors that affect speed like CDN and spread of data centers. Hopefully, that should put our eventual speed results in context.
Content Delivery Networks are a connection of proxy servers all over the world that keep a cached version of your site. This makes it easier for your site to load quicker and have better response times, and as such, they make your site faster. Not all hosting plans come with free CDN.
All SiteGround's plans come with Cloudflare CDN. You can easily activate it from your cPanel, and it is free. Liquid Web also runs a similar system. They offer free Cloudflare CDN that can easily be activated from the control panel.
However, for Liquid Web, there are other paid options like the Akamai CDN that can be used for bandwidth and storage.
Faster hosts are the ones with widespread data centers, as that makes it easier for content to get around quicker – according to conventional knowledge, that is.
Liquid Web has three main data centers which are on both the east and west coast of the United States and in central Europe.
(graphic showing data centers in Amsterdam, Phoenix Arizona, and Lansing Michigan).
SiteGround, on the other hand, has a better spread, with six data centers located on three continents.
(Show SiteGround data centers in Iowa, Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, and Eenshaven)
To run our speed test, we made an average of recorded speed from random locations around the globe. Here's a look at our results:
On average, SiteGround managed the quickest response time which was 252ms. Seeing that most of the hosting providers that we've reviewed only managed about a 500ms average uptime, SiteGround's speed is really impressive. Liquid Web did quite good as well, scoring an average of 261ms – which is also really fast.
SiteGround's page load speed was quite impressive as well, with an average page load speed of 600ms. Liquid Web's average page load speed was also around the same range.
Load Impact Test
We also tried to check what would happen if there was a traffic surge, so we sent virtual users (up to a hundred) to our site to see how well they could handle traffic surges.
The test clearly shows us that both hosts are able to maintain stable speed at high traffic, but Liquid Web is certainly the more reliable host.
Really, any of the two hosts could have won this one, but SiteGround just about edges it. With a better spread of data centers and a better response time, SiteGround comes out on top of this section.
SiteGround vs. Liquid Web for Ease Of Use
The best hosts make the job of hosting a website easier for users. Things like the sign-up process, free site transfers, and the user interface need to be looked at if you want to know just how easy to use your prospective hosting plan would be.
SiteGround has a very easy sign-up process. In fact, we only needed to click through a page of forms before getting to the checkout, where we paid and got access to our account. We've not reviewed many hosts with a better and easier sign-up process.
The sign-up process for Liquid Web was not as easy as with SiteGround, but it wasn't terrible as we only had to click through about three pages of forms before checking out. While we signed up for the GrowBig plan with SiteGround, we had to sign up for the managed WordPress hosting Spark plan of Liquid Web (it costs about $19 for a site).
Free Site Migration
We believe that all hosting plans should come with at least one free site migration. Some hosts agree, and some do not. Let's see what SiteGround and Liquid Web think.
Liquid Web has an amazing free site migration policy. They offer free migration of multiple sites on all plans.
SiteGround also offers a free migration service, however, it is only valid for one site and is only available on GrowBig plans or higher.
We've used a lot of interfaces from the highly customized version of cPanel that Bluehost offers, to the peculiar (for lack of a better word) custom panel of DreamHost, and we can say that interfaces based on cPanel are the best. If you'd bloke to know how well Bluehost's interface compares to the interface of other hosts, you can check out our Bluehost vs. DreamHost comparison.
Liquid Web makes use of different control panels and your control panel depends on the sort of plan you're on. The Managed WordPress hosting plan (the plan that we bought) came with a custom control panel. Other plans though, like the cloud hosting and dedicated hosting plans, come with a choice of using either Plesk or cPanel/WHM.
The custom control panel that we used on our Spark plan was actually pretty decent, and we can only compare it to the custom panel of Flywheel in terms of functionality. It was really that good.
SiteGround makes use of a very functional and easy to use version of cPanel. We had no problems using our site with their interface as it was a very smooth experience.
Most hosts provide free domains with all plans. However, hosting companies who do that also double as domain registration companies. SiteGround is not a domain registration company, neither is Liquid Web, so neither of them offer free domains when you sign up. If you want to buy a domain, you can buy it during checkout, but it is certainly not free.
Like we've explained earlier, Liquid Web doesn't offer the regular hosting service so they don't have a site builder – nor do they need one.
SiteGround, on the other hand, offers a free Weebly site builder is great if you plan on creating less than six pages. If you want to create more, you'll have to subscribe to the Weebly Pro plan.
We've used the Weebly site builder, and as site builders go, it is up there with the very best.
For people new to hosting, staging environments can be the difference between hours of needless downtime and smooth operation. Staging environments allow you to test changes you might want to make on your live site on a dummy site. That way, you have no need to make needless experiments on your website.
This is one issue that not a lot of hosting companies agree on. Some companies offer staging environments “en suite” with all plans, while some offer it on only top plans. Let's see what SiteGround and Liquid Web think about staging environments.
Liquid Web allows you to create a staging environment on your managed WordPress plan quite easily (we know because we created one ourselves and it was an easy 4-5 steps process). You simply click on the Manage Site option, then click on staging and then click copy live site to staging. Once that's done, all you need to do is to click the staging domain link to open the staging site. Importantly, this can be done on all of Liquid Web plans.
As easy as can be, right?
SiteGround isn't quite as malleable as Liquid Web (which makes sense because Liquid Web has liquid in its name and SiteGround has ground so…), so they don't offer staging sites on all plans. In fact, only the GoGeek plan, which is the top tier plan that costs about $14, comes with staging sites.
On the GoGeek plan (which we suppose is not exclusively for geeks, even though the name states otherwise?), you can easily create a staging site by clicking on the staging icon that is under the Software and Service option. After that, you just need to click on the create staging copy icon to create your staging site.
There is no way that a managed hosting solution was going to lose this section. Liquid Web had almost everything on lock: from a great interface to an easy sign-up process, to unlimited free site transfers to all access staging sites. The only thing missing was a free domain, but since SiteGround did not deliver that either, it did not really matter in the final analysis. Without a shadow of a doubt, Liquid Web is the easier to use hosting platform.
SiteGround vs. Liquid Web: Customer Support
To test support quality, we decided to contact the customer support staff multiple times over our testing period to ask questions.
To measure quality, we looked at wait time (time that elapsed between when we initiated contact and when we got a representative to talk to us) and quality of support (how helpful the information or help that was finally rendered proved to be).
Customer Support Channel
Liquid Web and SiteGround have identical customer support channels with phone support, live chat support and email/ticketing support available 24/7.
Customer Service Test
Liquid Web says that they have the ‘most helpful humans in hosting'. And we were eager to check that out. To a great extent, they aren't wrong.
When we tried to connect to a live representative through their live chat platform, we experienced less than a minute of wait time on all occasions. That's amazing because most hosts that we've reviewed (Especially Bluehost and HostGator) always manage to make us wait an average of five minutes before allowing us to connect to a live chat representative.
Connecting to a live representative from SiteGround was easy – we never had cause to wait for more than one minute before a live rep spoke to us. Impressively, sometimes we never even had to wait at all.
Additionally, there's something so human-like about SiteGround's live chat platform. When we connected to a live rep, there was always a tab that showed his/her name, hobbies, picture and a short bio. It made us connect more.
Aside from the aesthetics of the live chat, the live representative that we spoke to were friendly, knowledgeable and super helpful, although we didn't really need their help.
Phone Support and Email/Ticketing Support
Phone support was more of the same. Wait time was very short, about a minute or thereabouts and the quality of support rendered was top notch. Importantly, we were never put on hold or advised to go read an article – these are things that one often encounters when one contacts the customer support of a lot of hosting.
Our tickets/Emails were replied quickly (most times under ten hours) and the replies were usually comprehensive solutions to our problems.
The knowledgebases of SiteGround and Liquid Web are stock full of helpful articles and tutorials that can help you solve the most basic problems that you encounter.
In terms of quality, we found nothing to differentiate one host from the other. Both SiteGround and Liquid Web had very high-quality articles and tutorials.
We do not have too many draws, but sometimes the quality of the hosts we are comparing is just too high for us to find a winner. SiteGround and Liquid Web have great customer support infrastructure with amazing wait time, great platforms, high quality, and even an amazing knowledge base. It is a deserved draw.
Many hosting companies have the annoying habit of locking new users in with rock bottom prices that only span two or three years. After this period, they immediately jack up the prices, leaving customers in uncomfortable situations.
That's why it is important to choose a host with an agreeable money-back guarantee period so that you aren't locked into a long and useless contract.
SiteGround has a standard thirty days money-back guarantee for shared hosting plans, while they have a shorter fifteen-day money-back guarantee for cloud hosting plans.
Customers must note that this money-back guarantee is only applicable to the hosting fees paid. Other add-ons gotten at checkout are non-refundable.
Liquid Web, on the other hand, offers absolutely no refunds. And, in a weird convoluted way, this makes sense. This is because Liquid Web allows you to pay on a month by month or year by year basis, without drawing you in with extremely low prices that get jacked up after two years or three.
The host with an actual money-back guarantee was always going to win this one. Thirty days money-back-guarantee is not something to jump off the ground for, but it is better than nothing. SiteGround takes this one for us.
The internet is a scary place and you deserve a host that takes things like backups, SSL certificates and site security seriously.
Companies like Let's Encrypt have made it easier for sites to get free SSL certificates, however not all hosts offer them.
SiteGround and Liquid Web are two of the many hosts who offer a free SSL certificate on all plans. All of their plans come pre-installed with SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt.
If you're putting a website up, you're putting a lot of things at risk. That's why it's important that you back up your most important files because even the most secure systems can be hacked. If or when that happens, you need to be sure that your site is safe and can be restored at a moment's notice.
Now, since Liquid Web is a managed hosting solutions provider, we were not very surprised to find out that the host offers free daily backups on all hosting plans.
SiteGround also offers backups on hosting plans. The host keeps backups of customers for up to thirty days. Backups of Shared and Cloud hosting plans are kept for a period of up to thirty and seven days accordingly. If you have the SiteGround backup service enabled on your account, you can easily restore backups yourself from cPanel at no extra charge.
Liquid Web offers both paid and free security options. The Web protection provides malware and remediation service. It costs about $20 per month. In addition to this, Liquid Web has a Cloudflare Web Application Firewall that is managed by Cloudflare and helps you stay one step ahead of attacks from malware by updating new security rules automatically.
Asides that, Liquid Web has strong DDoS protection that monitors your site in real-time and shields you from disruption of service attacks.
SiteGround also had a robust security system. The host offers a proprietary security app called the SG scanner. The SG scanner is powered by Sucuri and is a malware detection application and early warning system that prevents attacks on your website.
The SG scanner also checks authoritative blacklist sites to check if your site has been blacklisted. If it has been, it automatically notifies you by mail. However, we would only advise that you activate the SG scanner on GrowBig plans or higher. The SG scanner costs $19.80 per year ($1.65 monthly).
When it comes to firewalls, SiteGround has that covered with ModSecurity which is an open-source web application firewall. Additionally, SiteGround makes sure that security rules are updated every week. This protects users from common malware and attacks.
|Anti-malware||Yes||SG Site scanner($19.80/m)|
|Vulnerabilities scanner||Yes||SG Site scanner($19.80/m)|
Liquid Web was always going to win this one. Why? Managed hosting always has the best security infrastructure, that is one of the reasons why people choose managed hosting in the first place. However, that does not mean that SiteGround security is terrible. For a hosting company in their class, SiteGround has a pretty good security infrastructure.
SiteGround vs. Liquid Web: Plans and Pricing
No matter how good a service provider is, it must be at the right price for it to be a viable offer. We'll compare the quality and price of the Managed WordPress hosting plans of SiteGround and Liquid Web to see exactly which host offers the best deal.
SiteGround has three WordPress hosting plans which are the StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek plans. Liquid Web has double that number, with six plans. The plans are the Spark (the plan that we bought for this comparison), Marker, and Builder packages.
Basic Plan comparison
SiteGround's StartUp plan is the basic plan which comes with a single website, 10 GB of space, ten thousand monthly visits, unmetered traffic, free daily backups, and free emails. The StartUp plan costs about $3.95 per month ($11.95 for renewal).
Liquid Web's comparable plan is the Spark plan. The plan comes with a single site, 15 GB of storage, 2 terabytes of bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts. It costs just about $19 per month – a huge difference from the StartUp plan by SiteGround.
The main thing to look at in hosting plans is the number of websites allowed, and in this criteria, the StartUp and Spark plan are quite similar. Asides this, the plans have a difference of just 5GB in disk space. So, in theory, this Spark plan should and the StartUp plans should cost about the same thing – unfortunately, they don't.
The Spark plan is way more expensive and we simply cannot see a reason for that. SiteGround's StartUp plan is way cheaper and has comparable specs – so, to us, SiteGround offers the better deal.
|Flywheel Tiny||Liquid Web Spark|
|Monthly Visitors||5.000||2TB Bandwidth|
Medium Plan Comparison
Here, the GrowBig plan of SiteGround will be going against the Marker plan of Liquid Web.
The GrowBig plan costs only about $5.95 per month (renewal after a two year period costs $19.95). The plan comes with unlimited websites, 20GB of webspace, and capacity for 100,000 visitors per month. This is in addition to all the basic features of the StartUp plan.
The Marker plan is quite expensive, at $79 per month. To put that in context, SiteGround's most expensive plan (the GoGeek plan) isn't as expensive as the Marker plan. The Marker plan has really impressive specs as it comes with up to five sites, 40GB of storage, 3 TB of bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts.
It is easy to think that because the GrowBig plan has unlimited sites, it is better than the Marker. However, that's not true. With only 20GB of webspace, the GrowBig plan may not be able to even host 5 huge sites successfully.
The Marker plan, on the other hand, comes with double that storage and that's something to consider when weighing the value of both packages.
We certainly think the Marker plan from Liquid Web has better specs than the GrowBig plan, but we absolutely do not think that it is worth $79 per month. For this reason, the GrowBig plan wins this comparison.
|Flywheel Starter||Liquid Web Maker|
|Websites||1||Up to 5|
|Monthly Visitors||25.000||3TB Bandwidth|
Top Tier plan comparison
The top tier plans are the GoGeek plan of SiteGround – which costs $11.95 per month (renewal costs $34.95) and the Builder plan of Liquid Web.
The GoGeek plan comes with unlimited sites, 30GB of storage, capacity for a hundred thousand visits per month, and premium WordPress features like free WP transfer, WordPress SuperCacher, advanced and on-demand backups, and 1-click WordPress staging.
At $11.95 per month, this is a pretty decent service.
The Builder plan costs $149 per month and comes with 25 sites, a hundred GB of storage, five terabytes of bandwidth, and unlimited emails.
|Flywheel Freelancer||Liquid Web Builder|
|Websites||Up to 10||Up to 25|
|Monthly Visitors||100.000||5TB Bandwidth|
On the whole, one thing is clear; Liquid Web and SiteGround have different customers in mind in terms of managed WordPress hosting. In terms of quality, both deals are actually really great. The GoGeek plan is great for customers who have multiple small sites that they control, while the Builder plan is great for customers or developers with much more sites who would like a premium managed hosting experience.
However, we simply can't see why the Builder plan, at $149, wouldn't at least come with unlimited diskspace or websites. The GoGeek plan is cheaper, and in our opinion, worth what its asking.
Cloud hosting plan comparison
The managed WordPress hosting plan was a bit skewed because SiteGround plans were way cheaper than Liquid Web and as such packed way lower performance.
So to offset that, we'll be comparing the Cloud hosting plans of both hosts as they have way more comparable plans.
Liquid Web has four cloud VPS hosting plans and they are the 2GB, 4GB, 6GB and 8GB plans. SiteGround also has only four cloud hosting plans and they are the Entry, Business, Business Plus and Super Power plans.
The plans have some disparity in terms of price, but they pack roughly the same quality so they ought to give us a rough idea of the quality of deals on offer by both hosts.
Entry Plan vs. 2GB plan
The entry plan of SiteGround comes with 2 CPU cores, 40GB of SSD space, 5 Terabytes of Data Transfer, 4GB of memory and costs $80 per month.
The 2GB plan of Liquid Web comes with 2 virtual CPUs, 40 GB of SSD space, and 10 Terabytes of Data Transfer. It comes with free 100GB of backups. At $29 per month, this is an amazing deal and is the cheaper option – even with virtual CPUs.
|SiteGround Entry Plan||Flywheel 2GB Plan|
Business plan vs. 4 GB Ram plan
The 4GB ram plan of Liquid Web comes with 4 virtual CPUs, a 100GB of SSD disk space, 10 Terabytes of bandwidth, and a hundred gigabytes of backup. The plan costs $49 per month.
The Business plan of SiteGround comes with 3 CPU cores, 6 GB memory, 60 GB SSD webspace, and 5 Terabytes of data transfer. The plan costs $120 per month.
|SiteGround Business Plan||Flywheel 4GB Plan|
Business Plus plan vs. 6 GB plan
The Business plan of SiteGround comes with 4 CPU cores, 8 GB of memory, 80GB of SSD storage, and 5 terabytes of data transfer. The plan costs $160 per month.
The 6 GB plan of Liquid Web comes with 8 virtual CPU, comes with 150 GB of SSD storage, and ten terabytes of bandwidth. It also comes with 100 GB of backups. The plan costs $69 per month.
It's really telling that Liquid Web's plan comes with 70GB more storage than a plan that costs double.
|SiteGround Business Plus Plan||Flywheel 6GB Plan|
16 GB plan vs. Super Power plan
The Super Power plan of SiteGround comes with 8 CPU cores, 10GB of memory, 5 terabytes of data transfer, and 120 GB of SSD storage. The plan costs a whopping $240 per month. For only 120 GB of storage, this might be a tad bit high and not very reflective of the value of the plan.
The 16 GB plan of Liquid Web comes with 8 virtual CPUs, 200 GB of SSD storage and ten terabytes of bandwidth. The plan also comes with a 100GB of backup and costs only about $129 per month.
It's obvious that Liquid Web's 16 GB plan has more value for money than the Super Power plan.
Pricing Winner – Draw: This was a difficult section, as in most cases Liquid Web and SiteGround offer radically different plans, values and prices. However, in terms of quality and price, neither host goes extremely above board.
|SiteGround Super Power Plan||Flywheel 16GB Plan|
While there are a few plans (like the Super Power plan from SiteGround and the Builder plan from Liquid Web) that we think are way too expensive, on a whole, SiteGround and Liquid Web offer reasonable prices.
SiteGround vs. Liquid Web: Major Differences
- The first major difference between both hosts is that they offer very different services. SiteGround offers a wider range of services, while Liquid Web only offers managed hosting plans that are made for big businesses, not small businesses and/or individuals.
- Another major difference is that SiteGround offers standard money-back guarantees while Liquid Web does not
- Liquid Web has better security Infrastructure than SiteGround
- Liquid Web offers hosting on Linux and Windows while SiteGround only offers Linux based hosting.
SiteGround vs. Liquid Web: Our Pick
Liquid Web is a managed WordPress hosting solutions provider, and as such would always give more in terms of value compared to a less specialised host like SiteGround. The fact that SiteGround was able to match Liquid Web in terms of performance, customer service and even pricing show that SiteGround offers far above average service. However, at the final analysis, Liquid Web bested SiteGround in terms of uptime, security, and ease of use. So, SiteGround vs. Liquid Web? It was very close, but Liquid Web takes this one for us.