Interview with Liquid Web CEO Jim Geiger

jim-geiger-2Are you going to start a business and is in terrible need of online exposure?

Are you full of ideas yet don’t know where to start?

Regardless if your business is new or old or hanging in the balance, it is always necessary to get a web hosting service you can trust!

We have lots of web hosting services in the market today, yet some are just full of gimmicks and promises they won’t be able to keep.

Since we want to be with the best, why not subscribe to the best!

Fortunately today, we have the Liquid Web CEO Himself to tell us why they belong to the A-listers!

FYI:

Liquid Web is one of the highest rated web hosting services in the market. If you haven’t made a decision yet maybe this can help you out.

Without further ado, let’s start!

We are honored to have you here Jim. Thank you for taking the time off your busy schedule to answer our questions.

First off, we’d like to know a short introduction of your company.

Can you give us a brief overview of your company’s past and the people who made it possible?

Liquid Web was founded in 1997 and is now a $100 million web hosting and cloud services provider devoted to delighting customers. Our mission is to heroically empower web professionals worldwide by delivering reliable, highly available, secure and hassle-free hosting.

We have over 30,000 of these web-dependent small businesses and the designers, developers and digital agencies that serve them spanning 150 countries. We recognize that these professionals are reliant on the web to grow, scale and compete and have built an experience that is industry leading for uptime, support and product innovation.

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We have assembled a world-class team, global data centers and an expert group of 24/7/365 solution engineers. With more than 550 on-site staff members, we’re proud of our customer’s recognition of our industry leading customer experience. I like to tell people that we’re the best kept secret in hosting with a Net Promoter Score*that is in the 70’s, which makes it the highest in the hosting industry and ranks among the world’s most loved brands. We’ve been recognized among Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for the last ten years.

We purchased Liquid Web from the company’s founder in 2015 with backing from Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (MDP), a leading private equity investment firm based in Chicago. We acquired Liquid Web because of its dedication to the customer experience, positive customer sentiment and superior hosting products. Its brand affinity matched the most loved brands in the world.

There have been very few developments in hosting that have simplified the lives and pain points of the people involved. My vision for the company continues to be innovating products and services that address the trends toward simplification seen in the marketplace and delivering the best experience in hosting. A great example of that vision is our recent acquisition of Cloud Sites from Rackspace, which augments our product portfolio with an all-in-one technology platform designed for high-traffic websites with easy scalability.

Q2 Net Promoter Score of 74

Liquid Web was founded in 1997. We can see that the company has matured so much since then. Based on all those years of experience, what can you say about the webhosting industry? What has changed over the years?

I’ll focus my response on the market we serve and know well – the web dependent small business entrepreneurs and the web creators that serve them.

First, more SMBs are web dependent than ten years ago as companies have moved beyond static brochure ware to sharing dynamic and interactive content with their customers as well as deploying ecommerce solutions to complete transactions.

Second, content management systems and ecommerce solutions have made it easier to deploy these solutions and enabled a growing portion of the web creator market – web designers and front end web developers to create more web sites with minimal application development assistance.

Third, hosting providers that serve this customer base have been focused on providing managed application hosting for these common applications (e.g., WordPress, Magento)

The great news is that the web and cloud have allowed SMBs to better compete with big enterprise. The challenge is that businesses are reliant on the web and cloud now more than ever before, which means hosting can’t be an afterthought, it has to be part of the overall business strategy. There have been very few developments in hosting that have simplified the lives and pain points of the people involved.

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Our solution – simplifying the hosting experience while seamlessly optimizing the performance of these services that power these web and cloud technologies. We’ve seen already the trend in simplification with the mass adoption of applications such as Word Press and Magento. Liquid Web aims to continually improve the usability and reliability of the systems behind those services while delivering the best customer experience in hosting.

What do you think are the most common features that people look for in a web host? What are web hosting’s greatest selling points?

High availability, high performance and security are table stakes for anyone shopping for a hosting provider.

I believe Web Professionals are also seeking a “hosting partner”, someone whose solutioning and support extends beyond that of a typical vendor relationship. They need to know that their hosting provider is there when they need them, experts in their craft and eager to find solutions. When they call their provider, they want to reach the kind of employee they would hire if they could.

And I think customers want to make sure that their partner has the financial scale to survive and invest in improving my products and business processes. Choosing a hosting partner with scale, experience and a diverse product portfolio will position customers to be able to grow and innovate with a wider variety of platform and applications that can meet their unique needs.

Do you mind giving us a brief idea of Liquid Web’s major offerings? What are your most sought after services?

Liquid Web offers a broad and deep web hosting product line to satisfy workloads and meet the needs of our Web Dependent professional customer the way they want to buy and manage hosting.

Our legacy and flagship products are our Managed Hosting Servers. We offer Dedicated and Cloud (VPS) single and multi-tenant environments where we have spent 17 years innovating products and serving customers who need high availability and want to control the management of the servers at the command line or via C-panel. Those products come with our Hosting Essentials, or services that we think every customer needs. Somewhat unique to Liquid Web, we also offer Advanced Services where customers can work with our team to create Managed Engineering Services for High Availability.

Our recent acquisition of Cloud Sites from Rackspace allows us to provide an all-in-one technology platform designed for high-traffic/flex-traffic websites with easy scalability. With Cloud Sites, customers can upload content and managed at the folder level. We’re excited about this offering and the benefits it brings to Designers and Developers that want to host multiple sites, needCloud redundancy and enjoy automatic elasticity as they enjoy success with those sites.

Finally, Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress is perfect for one or multiple WordPress sites.We bring years of WordPress hosting experience and have created finely-tuned servers & data centers designed to optimize your WordPress instance and support your WordPress installation and server infrastructure. For customers that want a user experience less involved with technology and more to do with publishing and design, we are about to launch our Managed Word Press PAAS product. This is a perfect example on how we are designing our service with a highly intuitive user interface, allowing a customer to more easily setup and manage WordPress sites.

Our product portfolio is intentionally designed our products so customers can choose their own adventure, whether its hands on or hands off or a hybrid of the two.

liquid_web_wordpress

Every web hosting company in the market today has its own set of features and freebies. This is due to the harsh competition in gaining more customers. As a strong competitor in the market, do you mind giving us a few reasons why customers should pick you over the competition? Why choose Liquid Web?

Liquid Web combines people, performance and brand promises to bring an amazing customer experience to the web-hosting world for professionals looking for a true partner to help them grow. Whether you’ve had a bad experience with a previous provider or you’ve outgrown your old provider or you have an ambitious new plan, we will recommend the right approach for you. We care about fixing the problem or finding the best solution or pushing the limits. We are empowered to do whatever it takes. Each of us has a relentless devotion to simplifying our products, delighting our Customers and being a True Hosting Partner.

An example of how that experience manifests itself for our customers:

Customers reach our highly technical and approachable Support Technicians (over 150 of which are Red Hat Certified) on the first contact.

We own and control our Data Centers. We provide 24/7 access to our network operations and security operations professionals. And if there is ever a problem, we can fix it fast.

We have the best Service Level Agreements and Guarantees in the industry:

30 Minute Hardware Replacement Guarantee

100% Network and Data Center Uptime Guarantee

30 Minute Initial Response Guarantee

And, if for any reason we fail to meet our SLA commitments, you will receive a credit for 10 times (1,000%) the actual amount of time you were affected.

Liquid Web is known to be one of the best performing web hosting services in the market. How do you guys keep your standards high? What’s the secret of a great we host?

At Liquid Web, we’re totally and unequivocally dedicated to the satisfaction of our customers. In sheer importance to us, nothing else even comes close. Everything we do, every product we make, every new team member we hire must contribute to the creation of the web hosting experience that will earn us our vision of being “the world’s most loved hosting provider.”

My observation is that this industry has previously focused on products, hung out their shingle and assumed customers would come. At Liquid Web, were focused first on our customer. Our goal is making life easier for the Web Professionals we serve … you might say it is our cause. In an otherwise cold, technical industry, we aim to bring a human touch that contributes mightily to the success and satisfaction of our customers.

We do all the worrying and provide round-the-clock hosting, flawlessly. Protecting what they create. Preserving their spectacular websites. Simplifying our products so they can focus on work they love. They get the freedom to create great web content, grow their business and keep their clients satisfied.

We’re listening to our customers and empowering 550 employees to deliver a remarkable experience.

It’s how we can help Web Professionals to have peace of mind and the time to innovate and to strengthen their business.

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For the benefit of our curious readers, can you tell us the target market for your Web Hosting plans and which ones would work best for them.

Our sweet spot are web-dependent small businesses and the designers, developers and digital agencies that serve them. These are businesses heavily dependent on the web and cloud as core to their business model. Some of our customers have grown to Enterprise level but most fall in this web dependent category. Most of these sites service content or commerce.

Which of your plans would work great with newbies? If ever someone wants to try out your services before going in an advanced plan which plan would you recommend?

Given our broad product portfolio, we have entry level offerings for each of our product lines:

Dedicated: Managed single CPU server typically priced around $200, which combined with our included hosting essentials, is a market leader in terms of value.

Cloud VPS: Our managed 2G VPS at $79 again combined with the included hosting essentials is a premier value as evidenced by third party benchmarking that shows it is one of the fasted virtual servers on the planet.

CloudSites: Currently we have a $150 plan with unlimited sites, and customers don’t have to “guess the level of success” they need for hosting as this plan has a usage component when customers receive additional traffic beyond what is included in the plan

WordPress: Currently we offer our Managed WordPress product on our Cloud offerings, and we will be extending to our other platforms over the next few months.

And all of our products come with unlimited customer support, a 100% uptime guarantee and complete security.

It’s indicated in your page that you offer security services. In terms of security, how secure is Liquid Web?

At our scale, we have a 24×7 security operations team at Liquid Web has an entire security team dedicated to keeping your services and our network clear of security threats. We also have a wide variety of security services available for to our customers.

liquid_web_support

We can see that the company has been awarded INC.5000’s the Fastest Growing Companies award in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. That is such a great milestone for the company? Any plans of expanding in the near future?

Yes, Liquid Web has actually won this award consecutively for the past 10 years. Over the last three years Liquid Web has experienced a 40 percent growth rate. We plan to continually grow the company and expand our product and service offerings.

In August, we announced our Cloud Sites acquisition from Rackspace and we plan to invest in a new facility in downtown San Antonio. We are dedicated to these newest Liquid Web employees and to investing in and expanding the Cloud Sites platform.

Lastly, do you offer discounts or promotions you would like to share to our readers?

Liquid Web frequently offers discounts and promotions depending on the time of year. We enjoy providing these offers to new and existing customers. Currently, we’re offering a $70 discount on all Managed WordPress packages. To take advantage this and other Liquid Web promotions you can visit our website at www.liquidweb.com.

And there you have it folks! If you have any comments or suggestions please post it in the comment section below.

Thank you so much for your time Jim. We wish you great luck and fortune in the years to come.

1 Comment
  1. Reply Feenta October 22, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Interesting interview! Thanks for posting this. I’ve been looking into Liquid Web for my VPS and this definitely improved my opinion of them.

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