Last Update | September 2021
Monthly Update - September 2021
|Hosting Plans||Managed WordPress Hosting, Managed WooCommerce Hosting, Managed Magento Hosting|
|Top Features||100% Uptime; Single-Click Auto-Scaling; 24/7 Monitoring & Alert Response; Premium SSL Certificates; PCI-Certified For Compliance; 8 Global Data Centers; Near-Instant Asset Caching; Customizable Tech Stacks; Auto Platform & Plugin Updates; Container Add-Ons; Cloud Accelerator; Customizable Technology Stack; Development Site Staging; Open Source Foundation; Free White-Glove Site Migration; 24/7/365 Support Team; 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee; Admired Partner & Affiliate Program|
|Customer Support||Live Chat; Email and Phone Support; Ticketing System; Knowledge Base|
During September, Nexcess:
- No updates
During August, Nexcess:
- Had 9 incidents in total, including degraded portal performance, ticket creation delays, intermittent connectivity issues, network disruption, and scheduled maintenance
- Introduced its Plugin Performance Monitor
- Partnered with Fast to bring their one-click checkout to thousands of online stores hosted on Nexcess’s WordPress and WooCommerce plans
- Introduced its Sales Performance Monitor
Have you ever heard of the Liquid Web Family of Brands? If not, I am here to introduce it today. However, I will focus on one of its brands, in particular, Nexcess.
Nexcess, Liquid Web, and StellarWP are all part of the Liquid Web Family of Brands. Nexcess primarily focuses on digital commerce cloud, Liquid Web’s specialty is high performance managed hosting, and StellarWP’s is WordPress software and tools.
The Liquid Web Family of Brands has more than 24 years of experience and success. Over the years, it has managed over 500,000 sites, supported over 100,000 software subscribers, and had approximately 2 million free version software users. Its purpose is to power the online potential of growing businesses, nonprofits, and organizations worldwide.
Now, onto Nexcess!
Nexcess is a fully managed hosting provider allowing for faster speeds, stronger security, inherent scalability, and trusted support. It provides Managed Magento Hosting, Managed WooCommerce, Managed WordPress, Flexible Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Hosting, Domain Registration, SSL Certificates, and many more add-ons.
The best part is, Nexcess is dedicated to the continual improvement of its services. Take, for instance, its latest release, the addition of the Sales Performance Monitor plugin into all of its WooCommerce hosting plans. It tracks your sales on the backend and measures them against a predicted model based on your site’s historical performance on a daily and weekly basis.
If your store’s sales are slowing down or disappearing in a way that is “abnormal” to your specific store’s trends, the Sales Performance Monitor will alert you, which is quite impressive. See, not many web hosting providers account for such superior features.
I will not lie; I was instantly impressed. However, I will not say anything until I test the services myself. So, let’s get right to work!
Getting Started with Nexcess
As soon as you visit Nexcess’ website, you will realize what it has to offer - Hosting optimized for the industry’s leading content & commerce platforms – WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento.
Nexcess’ site is pretty straightforward and easy on the eyes. You can find anything you need in the top Menu, consisting of Products, WPQuickStart, Pricing, Partnerships, and Resources.
Nexcess classifies its products into three categories depending on the website you want to build – eCommerce Stores, Content Sites, and Membership Sites.
Content Sites include Fully Managed WordPress Hosting, Drupal, ExpressionEngine, and Craft CMS.
Finally, the Membership Sites are divided into Fully Managed WordPress, Membership Sites with WPQuickStart by Nexcess, Fully Managed WooCommerce and ExpressionEngine.
Within Products in the Menu, you can also find all add-ons that Nexcess offers, such as Auto Scaling, Development Sites, Nexcess Edge CDN, or Containers. Here, I can also mention the remaining managed solutions from Nexcess, including Enterprise Hosting, Domain Registration, and SSL Certificates.
The WPQuickStart grants you access to Membership Sites and StoreBuilder.
The Membership sites with WPQuickStart are the fastest and most affordable way to build a membership site on WordPress. They come with perfect plugins and themes with the best from Restrict Content Pro in every membership plan, multi-level subscription packages, automated emails to communicate and connect with your members, reporting, and built-in payment integrations with Stripe Braintree, 2Checkout, Authorize.net, and PayPal.
The StoreBuilder Intelligence Engine, in turn, can help you build your unique storefront in minutes without the need for coding. While most eCommerce platforms offer starter themes that make every site look identical, Nexcess takes things to another level.
WooCommerce experts have developed the StoreBuilder with over 50,000 plugins to customize every part of your site. It lets you present an unlimited number of products and set up your catalog however you’d like, calculate city, state, & country taxes at checkout, or print shipping labels from your order dashboard. You can also collect payment via Stripe, pick from hundreds of other gateways, or integrate with a POS solution for in-person payments.
The Pricing section once again points out the products for different terms, along with discount codes and other deals.
Partnerships feature the Agencies and Affiliates.
The Nexcess Agency Partner Program allows you to earn up to 18% for the lifetime of every client, get co-marketing opportunities, exclusive discounts and offers, and the featured partner status.
The Nexcess Affiliate Program lets you earn $150 or 150% of the first month’s service per referral sale, whichever is higher. According to its cookie-based software, you’ll earn commissions on customers who convert up to 90 days after their first click from your site.
I will leave the Resources for later on within the Support section. Now, onto purchase!
As you already know, I always go for the most basic plan a web hosting provider has to offer. Not only it’s the cheapest one, but it also lets me know what the company offers at its minimum. Starting from there, things (features) can only improve. So, you’ll essentially get what you pay for!
In Nexcess’s case, that’s the Managed WordPress Hosting plan.
Once you click on this category within Products, you will instantly notice what makes Nexcess’s Fully Managed WordPress Hosting special. The plans feature a built-in CDN with 22 locations and advanced caching for ultra-fast loading, automated updates, instant auto-scaling, pre-installed plugins, plus 1-click staging.
As a customer, you can also benefit from premium tools, such as Visual Compare, WP Merge, iThemes Security Pro, iThemes Sync, TinyPNG, and Qubely Pro, image compression, or the 24/7/365 WordPress experts’ security monitoring & support.
Nexcess offers seven Managed WordPress Hosting Plans – Spark, Maker, Designer, Builder, Producer, Executive, and Enterprise.
You can get each plan on a monthly or annual basis. Furthermore, all plans have a staging environment, included free WordPress site migration, 30-day backups, unlimited email accounts, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
What I especially liked at this point is Nexcess’ transparent pricing. See, they offered a discount at the time of my purchase. However, they clearly state that you will benefit from this promotional price the first six months after the initial investment. Then, you can expect a higher renewal price (as specified without any discount).
With Nexcess’s cheapest plan, Spark, you get one website, up to 15GB storage, and 2TB bandwidth. These numbers gradually increase, up to 250 sites, 800GB storage, and 10TB bandwidth in the Enterprise plan, being the most expensive one.
If you scroll a bit down, you’ll get to a comprehensive comparison of all Managed WordPress plans.
As you can spot, Nexcess allows for a whole bunch of freebies, even in the most basic plan.
You can find many WordPress Features, such as WordPress Core and Plugin Updates, Visual Regression Testing, and One-Click Staging Site. The Security Features cover Free SSL Certificates, Daily Backups, and IThemes Security Pro. At last, the Performance Features cover PHP 7, Nexcess CDN, Image Compression, and Image Lazy Loading.
The Spark plan is much more than I expected. So, I will go for that one! I clicked on ‘Get Started,’ which took me to the following screen.
Here, you can choose the billing term, enter account information, or any coupon codes you have at hand. In my case, Nexcess automatically inserted the coupon code to be eligible for their discount.
First, you must enter the required account information and check the boxes (if you agree to their terms). Then you can Sign Up.
Once you have an account, you can add your Billing Information – Billing Address and Payment Method.
Here’re the requirements within Billing Address.
You can then add your card and finally the Plan Information. At this point, you can name your plan and select a server location from Europe, the US, or Asia.
Once you fill everything in, you can click on ‘Purchase.’ It’s as simple as that! You will see the following message in a matter of seconds.
Setting Things up at Nexcess
The Managed WordPress Hosting plans come with a proprietary control panel. It’s an easy-to-use interface that allows the simultaneous management of multiple WordPress sites from a single access point.
It took approximately 20 minutes for Nexcess to activate my service. Here’s how they welcomed me.
The Control Panel consists of Home, Plans, SSL, Support, Billing, and DNS.
Home grants you quick access to Support, Invoices, and Credits. On the right, you can also find Status and Ongoing Incidents.
In Status, you can find Support Services, Cloud Container Services, Nexcess Cloud, Platform Operations, and Data Centers & Network. More precisely, you can check whether all is up and running.
Next, in Plans, you can check your services. As you can see, I have one active service, the My WordPress Spark Plan.
Here, you can click on ‘Create Plan,’ which will take you to the following screen.
First, you need to select an application, then create a profile and review your order. Essentially, this section grants you access to all the plans I have explained earlier. So, I will skip on any further elaboration.
Instead, I will access the Site Dashboard for my Spark plan. It consists of Performance, Access, Domain Options, Environment, SSL, Logs, Scheduled Tasks, MySQL, Email, Backups, Visual Comparison, Dev Environments, and Containers.
Performance lets you check or modify your domain name. In this section, you can also find total and free disk space, add New Relic’s performance monitoring to your site, enable the Content Delivery Network (CDN) services or NGINX Accelerator. The Purge Cache lets you clear cached content from Nginx, Varnish, and/or CDN to force updated versions to be pulled from the webserver.
Bandwidth usage, PHP-FPM, and Cloud Auto Scaling are also part of the Performance section.
Next, Access consists of Secure Shell (SSH / SFTP), FTP / SSL via explicit TLS, and Password Protection.
The Password Protection sure is a unique feature. It requires visitors to have a password to view your site, especially useful during website development.
Nexcess allows for two Domain Options – to modify your master domain or designate a pointer domain that redirects visitors to your master domain.
Application, PHP, Redis, and IP Address are part of the Environment.
In the SSL subsection, you can check the SSL Certificate Status or enable Auto Let’s Encrypt Certificate.
Next in the Menu are the Logs, listing all past interactions on your WP site.
If you have any Scheduled Tasks, Nexcess will also organize them for you.
MySQL allows you to launch the phpMyAdmin panel to perform operations on your database from your browser. Right next to it, you can add a database and user, or check them below.
From Email, you can enable/disable Local Mail Delivery or login to your email boxes and send/receive mail through your web browser using Webmail.
Now, even though Nexcess performs daily backups, you can also create manual ones using the control panel.
Visual Comparison is yet another useful feature. It performs a visual regression test on key pages of your site in case you go for a plugin that accounts for a major change on your site.
If you have a development environment, it will show up here. If not, feel free to create one!
At last, Nexcess lists the Containers, such as Elasticsearch, RabbitMQ, or Solr, you can enable within the control panel.
Next, you can find SSL below Plans in the Menu. As you can see, I have none. So, let’s see what Nexcess has to offer. I can either Import Certificate or Order one.
I went to Order one.
Nexcess offers several options in this regard, including Single Domain, Multi Domains, and Wildcard.
I’ll skip on the Support section for now. Next, you can find Billing. It displays your Invoices, Credits, Payments, Payment Info, and Orders.
At last, there’s the DNS where you can create your first DNS Zone.
And that’s more or less all you can find within the Client Area.
Performance, Speed, and Uptime
Nexcess has eight data centers, in the US (US Midwest Southfield, MI, US Midwest Dearborn, MI, US West San Jose, CA, and US-South Miami, FL), Europe (UK South Surrey, UK South West Sussex, UK, and The Netherlands West Amsterdam, NL), and Asia Pacific (Australia South Sydney, NSW).
The company has chosen each data center location carefully for security, performance, and strategic positioning. Nexcess’s data centers are also PCI compliant, with additional redundancies and a 24/7 support team.
Better yet, Nexcess owns three of the datacenters (US-Central Region, US-West Region, and EU-Central Region). It has over 25,000 servers in privately owned data centers. They come with redundant cooling, networks, and power to guarantee uptime and speed.
The cloud storage employs SSDs, RAID, Apache 2.4, MySQL 5.7, and PHP 7.0/7.1, all of which together reduce memory use, enhance load balancing, and increase security.
Liquid Web guarantees network uptime to be 100%, along with very few web-hosting companies on the market. See, that’s almost impossible to reach, so Nexcess points out several exceptions, such as malicious attacks, cPanel issues, scheduled network, hardware, or software maintenance, and so on.
I have to say; Nexcess goes far and beyond when it comes to performance. It provides superior, powerful features regarding speed, such as tier-1 bandwidth connections that minimize latency across the globe and built-in image optimization tools that compress images and ensure fast loading. The company also supports the latest PHP 7 and HTTP/2, further improving site speed and security.
The Auto-scaling add-on automatically allocates more resources to your website for free for 24 hours if you simultaneously get hit with a massive influx of users. In turn, you can avoid any downtime on your WP site, which is one of the main reasons for losing visitors. However, keep in mind, if your increased stream of traffic continues, you’ll eventually need to upgrade to a more expensive plan with enhanced features/capabilities.
Another feature I like with Nexcess is its server status site, allowing you (as the customer) to track all incidents and average uptime.
You can also check the Current Status of the servers. For instance, when I assessed the feature, the average uptime for the last 90 days was 99.97%.
Level of Support at Nexcess
Nexcess provides superior support, even if you are not one of its customers (yet). You can access its Resources, consisting of Help, Knowledge Base, Blog, Store Builders Podcast, WooCommerce Resources, Case Studies, Web Tools, and System Status.
Also, you can call the support or ‘Chat with a Human’ from the bottom right corner.
I will start a conversation with a live chat agent for sure. But first, let’s check what another support Nexcess has to offer.
If you click on Help, you will get to Nexcess Support, where you can contact an expert or find the FAQs, covering three categories – general, support, and services.
If you scroll a bit down, you can also explore popular knowledge library categories, such as File Management, Control Panel Tools, or Email.
Essentially, clicking on one of the categories will take you to the Knowledgebase.
Within the Client Area, you can also find the ticketing system within Support.
At the bottom of the Menu, you can also find live chat, email, and phone support options. You can also choose to browse the Knowledge Base from here.
I will go for the live chat option to check their response times. As usual, I will require a refund.
Once you click on the live chat option, you will see the following window. You can choose from three departments to handle your request – Sales, Support, and Billing. Now, while the first two are available 24/7, the billing department is in the office between 8 AM and 4 PM EST Monday-Friday. I have to say; it makes sense.
Refunds fall under Billing requests, but unfortunately, I cannot use the live chat feature for this purpose. I see this quite often with web hosting providers, as it’s more of a mechanic task. See, you don’t need much expertise to grant me a refund.
Still, I will ‘play dumb,’ as I want to check how long it takes them to respond and how friendly is the Nexcess support team. Off we go!
I messaged the Sales Department. I got instant support (in a second). The agent was super friendly and helpful. Anyways, he redirected me to the ticketing system, as expected.
When you open a ticket, you can once again choose from the same three departments. This time, I went with Billing. In Subject, I had the options for Activation Awaiting and Refund. So, I went for the second. Then, I added the service, recipient, and receiver.
Once I submitted the ticket, Nexcess added it to my Client Area. Here’s how it looks!
Security and Backups
Nexcess is dedicated to security, shows through many of its features. Here, I would mention its WordPress core and plugin updates, such as the visual comparison testing to automatically catch update problems before they happen on your live site. Furthermore, Nexcess offers 24/7 monitoring and alarm response, one-click staging sites, free iThemes Security Pro access, free SSL certificates, and malware monitoring.
As mentioned before, you can choose from several SSL certificates for your WP site.
Also, Nexcess is indeed superior when it comes to backups. See, not many web hosting providers allow for free backups. Even when they do, they provide a weekly or monthly backup. That’s not the case with Nexcess. Instead, the company makes daily backups, each of which is kept for 30 days.
In other words, you cannot ever lose more than 24 hours’ worth of content or updates with Nexcess. So, rest assured, Nexcess will back everything up while you focus on your core business.
Specific Features of Nexcess
Most of all, we can recognize Nexcess as the company of 4S – Scalability, Security, Speed, and Support. It’s how they advertise themselves, consequently, how we know them.
However, that’s not where it ends. Nexcess has so much more to offer, and here are some of its unique features to better understand what I am talking about:
- 100% Uptime With Single-Click Auto-Scaling
- PHP And PHP7 Support
- 24/7 Monitoring & Alert Response
- Premium SSL Certificates
- Proactive Patching & Updates
- Global Data Centers
- Near-Instant Asset Caching
- Customizable Tech Stacks
- Auto Platform & Plugin Updates
- Container Add-Ons
- Cloud Accelerator For To Drive Performance
- Customizable Technology Stack
- PCI-Compliant Infrastructure For Secure Processing
- Dev Site Staging To Safely Test Updates
- Open Source Foundation For Innovation & Growth
- 20 Years Of Hosting Experience
- 500,000 Websites Under Management
- Admired Partner & Affiliate Program
- Magento Association Platinum Partner
- Inc. 5000 11 Time Honoree
- 24/7/365 Support Team
- Free White-Glove Site Migration
- Magento Master On Staff
Overall, I had a smooth and user-friendly experience with Nexcess. However, I have to say; it might be slightly more challenging for first-time users. It seems like you need at least a little bit of experience to navigate through the control panel and explore all it has to offer. Still, there’s a reason behind it. See, Nexcess aims at the most professional level. It comes with many advanced features, all of which account for its above-average prices.
For instance, the Stencils feature lets you quickly create sites with pre-configured settings/themes/plugins. It’s an especially useful one, and you cannot find it often within other web hosts. Other worthy mentions are the 100% uptime guarantee and lots of freebies available in all plans. As a user, you can also benefit from email hosting. Well, except in the cheapest, Spark plan (the one I got).
Finally, Nexcess prides itself on offering dedicated support around the clock. I tested this, and I am here to say, their agents are indeed friendly, knowledgable, and helpful. Furthermore, you can use their comprehensive Knowledge Base, Email, Phone Support, or the Ticketing System for billing issues, like in my case, a refund.