The popularity of WordPress as a content management system is at an all-time high, and as WordPress continues to gain more and more ground, so do web hosting companies offering managed WordPress hosting services. Among these, Flywheel is a trendy web host offering managed WordPress hosting for agencies, designers, and developers.
Compared to regular shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting comes with a number of “extra” services built into the hosting package, which aim to take care of updates, backups, speed optimization, security, uptime, and other technical aspects of your WordPress site, so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.
Since its inception in 2012, Flywheel has managed to grow their business despite being in a highly competitive niche. So, what is it that sets Flywheel apart from other managed WordPress hosting providers? Our Flywheel review below will bring you the answers!
Quick Overview of FlyWheel
Flywheel impresses right from the start: Its fresh-faced and snazzy website is a definite plus, especially that they set out to attract the designer crowd, which may be harder to impress with a plain-looking website.
A quick scroll on their main page offers information on the hosting features and the starting prices for their services, so you can get a quick glimpse of what to expect from Flywheel.
Besides the services you’d expect from a managed WordPress plan, Flywheel also offers a sleek set of development tools (site staging, site cloning, blueprints) and workflow management tools that will pique the interest of developers and agencies.
Flywheel certainly looks the part, but is it a good option for managed WordPress hosting? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the Flywheel managed WordPress hosting universe.
Plans & Pricing
Flywheel managed WordPress plans are offered through three categories – Single Site Plans with individual installs on a pay-as-you-go basis, Bulk Plans with 10+ WordPress installs, and custom Flywheel Enterprise Managed WordPress plans for more robust WordPress hosting needs.
The Single Site Plans category offers three packages in the $15-$75/month price range, unless you sign up for yearly plans, which offer a 1 free month discount. These plans range from a starter package to a professional option. Free site migration and a free SSL is included with all plans. While lower the tier plans charge extra for CDN or multisite support, the Professional plan includes these for free.
In terms of resources, storage is offered from 5 GB to 20 GB and bandwidth from 250 GB to 1 TB, while visitor limits range from 5,000 monthly visits to 100,000 monthly visits.
The Bulk Plans managed WordPress category offers packages in the $100-$250 price range for pre-configured plans with up to 30 WordPress installs, and a made-to-order Custom option for 30+ WordPress installs. Here too, you can enjoy a month off with yearly plans.
Pre-configured plans have a monthly limit of 150,000 visits for the Freelance plan and 600,000 visits for the Agency plan. In terms of resources, these plans offer 40 to 120 GB disk space, 4 TB to 8 TB bandwidth, free SSL certificate, CDN, multisite support, and site-staging. For custom resources and millions of monthly visits, we recommend asking for a custom quote.
The Enterprise managed WordPress plan, the Flywheel Blue, offers enterprise-level WordPress infrastructure, instant traffic scaling, managed updates, daily health check, enterprise-grade security with automated malware scanning, security monitoring and patching, disaster recovery plans, free SSL, premium SLA, built-in auto-failover, dedicated account management, etc. Prices start at $2500/month.
Those interested in becoming a hosting reseller can join the Flywheel’ Agency Partner program and get free hosting for your agency or business site as well as other perks like dedicated account management, hands-off maintenance, and white labelling.
Based on the above, it’s clear that Flywheel is ready to take on not only developers or other creative professionals, but also larger agencies with enterprise-level WordPress hosting requirements.
Now that we have a clear overview of the pricing and plans at Flywheel, let’s see how their customer support works.
If you’re hell-bent on having customer support round-the-clock, you may be bummed out by the fact that 24/7 support is only available for emergencies.
Other than this setback, Flywheel offers many support options including live chat, ticketing system, and phone support, all of which can be contacted Monday to Friday during work hours.
As for support documentation, you can browse over 100 articles, get access to free eBooks, or sign up for a free Design Trends email course.
All in all, Flywheel did not disappoint in our customer support tests, replying within 24 hours for email enquiries and within 1 minute for live chat enquiries. Our questions were answered in a detailed and courteous manner each time.
Behind the sleek design, there are a range of powerful WordPress-specific features included to help freelancers and agencies build, launch, and manage their websites. Here is a quick rundown of the hosting features offered by Flywheel:
- Free SSL certificates with all plans (powered by Let’s Encrypt);
- Free website migration without any limit to the number of sites that can be migrated;
- Free staging sites, which allow you to test changes to your site without affecting your live site, and push changes to production with a single click;
- Site cloning, which allows you to get started on a new site without having to start over the plugin installation each time;
- The Blueprints feature makes it possible to package up common themes and plugins as a custom configuration for future projects;
- VPS servers on all plans;
- Server-side caching;
- Free Demo Sites for 14 days, Flywheel allows you to sign up, start building your site, and get billed only when you’re ready to push it live. You can also share demo sites with clients, so they can track progress;
- Backups are offered for free, on a nightly basis and they’re stored off-site. Restores can be made with a single-click;
- Easy CDN integrations;
- Built-in site stats;
- Great security features featuring security monitoring and malware removal;
- Easier SFTP access (one-click);
- Multisite support;
- Collaboration tools;
- Nginx based server as standard;
- Choice of 12 server locations;
- Easy scalability;
- PayPal payment accepted, no credit card required.
- Local development tool by Flywheel;
- Expert WordPress support;
- Clean and minimalist user interface that’s beautifully designed and streamlined for WordPress;
- Freebies (free design templates, ebooks, etc.).
These are the features that make Flywheel a powerful managed WordPress hosting provider. The list of features is not exhaustive, you can consult the full list on the Flywheel website. Flywheel is continuously improving and expanding their features, and currently there are some other features in the works, such as premium support, remote site importing, off-site backups for your local sites, and more!
Flywheel mentions offering “impressive uptime” in its list of features, but it doesn’t make any clarifications to what that means or offer any uptime guarantees except for an uptime SLA offered with its enterprise plans.
Our speed test for Flywheel for all tested server locations (New York, Melbourne, and Stockholm) have clocked in at under 2 seconds, which is hardly a surprise given that Flywheel uses its own server-side caching system that confers top performance even for robust, high-traffic websites. There is no need to install caching plugins of your own to try to speed up your site.
Regardless of the hosting plan you are on (Tiny or Enterprise), the caching technology can handle traffic spikes in the millions of visitors’ magnitude, without a cough. Even if you have an ecommerce site that’s difficult to cache due to their dynamic nature, Flywheel can assist in making sure that your ecommerce site is fully cached.
Besides server-side caching, Flywheel partnered with MaxCDN to provide easy CDN integration, to take your speed global. Therefore, no matter where your visitors are, MaxCDN makes sure to deliver images and static files from the server that’s closest to them.
Flywheel Pros & Cons
- Hosting created with developers and designers in mind
- Limitless website migrations
- VPS performance hosting
- No overage charges
- Great site speed performance
- Good suite of WordPress specific tools and advanced options
- Sleek and highly usable interface
- Customer support limited to work days and work hours (24/7 support is only on an emergency-only basis)
- No built-in Git deployment
- A bit pricey if you want to host multiple WordPress sites
Flywheel Review Conclusion
The developer-oriented hosting features and great performance are hands-down the best selling points of Flywheel. These coupled with their eye-candy interface make Flywheel a strong choice for managed WordPress hosting, regardless of whether you’re an agency with enterprise-level WordPress hosting needs, a freelance designer wanting to host a single WordPress site, or developer wanting to host multiple WordPress installs.
Despite being on the pricier side compared to the managed WordPress hosting plans of cheap shared hosting providers like Siteground or BlueHost, if your budget permits more wiggle room, you’ll find that Flywheel is worth the extra buck.