A WordPress blog you’ve been thinking about utilising Nexcess managed hosting for
With the purchase of prominent WordPress plugin businesses like iThemes, Restrict Content Pro, The Events Calendar, and others, Liquid Web, the parent company of Nexcess, has been aggressive in the WordPress sector.
While Liquid Web has a wide range of hosting options, its managed WordPress and WooCommerce hosting services are housed on Nexcess (as well as managed Magento hosting).
For the sake of this Nexcess review, we’ll be focusing on the standard managed WordPress hosting (which is also what we’re evaluating for performance). Even though the managed WooCommerce plans are an attractive alternative for WooCommerce shops, we’ll mention them briefly.
Generally speaking, Nexcess provides good value for money in terms of performance and functionality, but it does have a few flaws, so be sure to conduct your research before committing to it.
We’ll conclude our Nexcess assessment by suggesting when Nexcess makes sense and when an alternative host is preferable.
⚙️ Nexcess Key Features
Let’s begin by taking a brief glance at the available options. You can find all of this in the Nexcess marketing text, so we won’t go into great detail, but we still think it’s important to show you what you gain access to fast.
- Built-in server-level caching.
- Integrated content delivery network (CDN).
- Built-in image compression.
- Auto-scaling to handle high-traffic situations.
Security and maintenance features:
- WordPress core and plugin updates, including visual comparison testing to automatically catch update problems before they happen on your live site.
- Automatic daily backups and on-demand backups.
- Free iThemes Security Pro access.
- Free SSL certificates.
- One-click staging sites.
- Malware monitoring.
- “Stencils” let you quickly create sites with pre-configured settings/themes/plugins.
- Email hosting (but this is not available on the cheapest Spark plan).
Nexcess Managed WooCommerce Hosting Review of Features
Managed WooCommerce hosting services from Nexcess provide a wealth of tools to help you make your business a success if you use WooCommerce.
It starts with Nexcess StoreBuilder, a programme that attempts to streamline the process of setting up a functional WooCommerce store and create a “Shopify”-like environment.
You’ll also receive performance-enhancing features like:
- WooCommerce-optimized caching
- A custom database table for orders (on the highest-tier plan)
Finally, you’ll get access to a ton of free plugins, themes, and eCommerce tools. The exact list depends on your plan, but the pool of options includes:
- Astra Pro
- Iconic WP plugins
- Beaver Builder (our review) and Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder
- Jilt email
- Glew reporting
- Dokan Pro
🚀 Nexcess Performance Tests
The speed at which your website loads is critical since it has an impact on the user experience, SEO, and conversion rates, among other things.
In high-traffic circumstances, your website hosting may make or break how quickly pages load, so choose a provider that excels in this area.
We used two separate speed testing tools to evaluate Nexcess’s performance on our own test WordPress site.
- We used WebPageTest and set it up to perform nine tests and average the results. This gives us access to a wide range of metrics, including TTFB, LCP, and fully loaded time.
- We can observe the performance of a single visitor with WebPageTest, but your site is likely to have several people using it at the same time. Then there’s Load Focus, which shows us if Nexcess can keep up its performance even in a busy environment (20 visitors browsing in the same 60-second window).
To create a realistic test environment, we set up our test site with a full demo site from the popular Astra theme.
🤗 Nexcess User Experience
For better management of your WordPress website, Nexcess provides a unique dashboard for you (s).
However, it’s not the easiest dashboard for beginners to use because of its style and lack of accessibility to essential functions. That said, most non-technical WordPress users should have no difficulty using it. Don’t get us wrong. It’s just not as user-friendly as, say, Bluehost in terms of experience and vocabulary.
Other tools like an in-browser file manager (you must use FTP) or a redirection manager are missing from the dashboard.
After logging in for the first time, you will get the following overview of important billing information and announcements:
Overall, Nexcess performed very well in both tests. In WebPageTest, our test site loaded in under one second even though we throttled the connection speed to 20 Mbps download. This is quite good, though a tiny bit behind hosts like Kinsta and WP Engine:
To access the actual management dashboards, you need to go to Plans → (Select Plan) → (Select Site)
The primary dashboard for an individual site provides you access to all of your site’s tools and features, and the sidebar on the left lets you quickly switch between them.
The Performance tab is selected by default, and it allows you to enable performance-enhancing options (like auto-scaling, the content delivery network, and Nginx acceleration). It also allows you to clear the cache on your website and get some basic use statistics.
📞 Nexcess Support Review
All of Nexcess’ plans provide access to live customer assistance seven days a week. Live chat, email/ticket and phone are all options for contacting customer service, and there are specific phone numbers for the Americas, Australia and the United Kingdom.
It appears that not all channels are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, therefore you may have to use ticket assistance after business hours. There were no live chat operators available on Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, so the only alternative was to submit a support request.
There is a wide range of support quality. Although the support crew is pleasant and helpful, many other customers have complained about the slow response times and the inability to access 24/7 live chat assistance, which may be irritating if you have an urgent issue.
For the most part, the assistance should be adequate for the majority of customers, however those that require white-glove, fast response help may wish to choose Kinsta, Flywheel or WP Engine instead. All of these service providers give live chat assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week (or at least within 10 minutes or so). But they’re also more expensive than Nexcess, so it’s not like you’re getting anything for nothing.
💰 Nexcess Pricing Review
For those on a tighter budget, Nexcess provides a variety of price options, ranging from the $20 Spark plan we tried to enterprise-focused plans costing over $1,000 per month.
You may choose to pay monthly or annually for all of the options, and you’ll receive two months free (or four months free for your first year).
Other managed WordPress hosting companies impose arbitrary visit limitations, while Nexcess does not. As an alternative, your only restrictions are the following:
- The number of websites
👍👎 Nexcess Pros and Cons
- Nexcess offers excellent performance even under scale, as evidenced by stellar results in our tests from both WebPageTest and Load Focus.
- Nexcess’s entry-level Spark plan is cheaper than equivalent plans from hosts like WP Engine or Kinsta.
- You get access to all the managed WordPress hosting features you’d expect such as staging sites and daily backups.
- You get some unique features that most other hosts don’t offer, such as the visual comparison testing when applying updates, which is really convenient.
- There are dedicated managed WooCommerce hosting plans, which is great if you’re running an eCommerce store.
- There are no arbitrary visit limits like many other managed WordPress hosts have – only bandwidth limits.
- The support isn’t as responsive as you’d get from other hosts like WP Engine, Kinsta, or Flywheel. If you value premium support, you might want to pay a little more for those hosts.
- The dashboard lacks some useful tools like in-browser file manager.
- Nexcess only offers email hosting on its cheapest tier – if you upgrade beyond the Spark plan, you need to find separate email hosting, which is a bit odd.