Having started my first website in 1999, I’ve gone through several web hosts.
Overall, I’ve been fortunate because they were all OK.
The only sour time was when my account got deleted. That was 100% my fault.
As a result – I don’t worry too much about web hosts. For me, it is like buying bread. It’s not all that different one host to another. At least, I didn’t think so.
After years of recommendation by a friend, I finally broke down and switched to Liquid Web. Since their prices are higher, I’ve always resisted, until then.
One of the first things that I liked was the ability to create a server anytime I wanted to. I can also scale it up and down as needed from the control panel. They bill by the day so I don’t have to commit to a whole month or more if a spike or more resources is needed.
Besides technical stuff, there are two things they’ve done better than any web host I’ve had to date.
1. (Server) Sonar Monitoring
2. Intelligent Support
Let’s start with the monitoring. For each server you set up with Liquid Web, you can tell them to monitor its health for you. It can be a little scary at first getting notifications that your server was unresponsive and they rebooted and so on. However, the nice thing is just that. They do it all for you. If the notifications worry you. You can even turn them off.
Me, I like receiving notifications as it gives me an indicator if something is up.
Many hosts have decent support. Almost all my previous hosts respond in a timely fashion. With Liquid Web so far, I usually get a response within a few up to 30 minutes. Once, I received a response in 2 minutes.
When you first send in a ticket, you get a response. Depending on the issue, this could be a note to let you know – hey give me a bit of time, I’ll look into that for you. If it’s a small issue, they will respond with a solution. I LOVE the former.
This is one thing I’ve always tried to tell our support to do. When you receive a help request. Don’t leave people wondering if you need time, let them know first and then go about finding the solution.
Many hosts have automated – we received your ticket notices and so does Liquid Web. But having a human let me know they are working on it is a really nice touch.
Changing of Shifts
How many times have you had to deal with several people and you keep repeating yourself?
At Liquid Web, when the techs change shifts, they actually update my ticket. They let me know there is a shift change. Sometimes the one who helped me before will say he/she is ending their shift and handing it over to so and so (yes, a real name). And sometimes, the new person coming in will say,
“I’m starting this shift and had your ticket handed to me, let me know if you need further assistance.”
Love that. It makes me feel well taken care of.
Most hosts have a tiered support. The front line is usually less knowledgeable staff (read paid less). This way, it costs the company less to handle the small tickets. Tickets where common questions are fielded. If a ticket requires more, then a higher level technician is brought in.
I don’t know if Liquid Web does this or not but if they do, then their first level support is pretty knowledgeable.
They also don’t talk down to me. If something is over my head and I let them know, they’ve been patient.
When I need them to help me track down problematic sites, they do it. For example, I knew for a long time under the old host that one account at least is giving me trouble. However, I don’t know how or where and their techs could not help me narrow it down. They seemed to know just as much as I do on server management or less.
At Liquid Web, I asked them to help me trace these accounts and they named it right down to the file that could be problematic or getting attacked.
They make intelligent suggestions and often implement them for me when I give them to go ahead. I’ve worked with clients where their hosts would want extra for this. Up to $200 an hour. Yikes!
Yes, I pay more on average but they also spoil me. That’s hard to give up.