Online business’ are becoming ever more popular in the modern world! Did you know that people have estimated just over half a million websites are started every single day! That’s pretty mind blowing stuff, right there! As you can imagine, website hosts have also become hot property, fighting to house this e-real estate 🙂 Today we are looking at one of those hosts, Flywheel. Want to find out how good they are? Read on…this is my full and honest Flywheel review!
Who are Flywheel?
Flywheel are a hosting company that have been around since 2012. They were started by Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker and Rick Knudtson out of Omaha. Nebraska. Interestingly, Flywheel were acquired by WPEngine in 2019, one of their competitors in the market. Although, from what I can tell, the founders are still actively working at Flywheel. This tells me they are continuing to operate as a separate entity to WPEngine, although this could change going forward. After the takeover, they stated that Flywheel would focus more on the small business market.
What Do Flywheel do?
Flywheel are providers of managed hosting for WordPress, who focus more on customers in creative fields that don’t have the technical know how to host their sites themselves.
In case you have lived under a rock, WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used blogging platforms. Managed hosting means that Flywheel will host and maintain these websites on behalf of these creatives. Of course, it doesn’t have to be creatives…anyone that wants a WordPress website would be interested 🙂
If your website goes down, they will help. If someone hacks your site, they will help. If you have a problem with your site that you need help with……guess who will help? 🙂 This is the whole point of managed hosting. Yes, you are paying more than the raw cost of a server. This gives you access to a team of people that will offer all the support needed to keep your WordPress site up and running well.
What are the Main Features of Flywheel?
Powered by Google Cloud
Flywheel often like to talk about the fact that they offer lightning fast and reliable hosting. They recently switched to using the Google Cloud Platform to do this, a server provider with a great reputation in the industry. They take these servers and tune them to work best in a WordPress environment. Note that these are not shared hosting, like you find on many of the cheaper hosting plans offered by the competition.
Flywheel offer a wide range of add-ons that you can subscribe to add more functionality to your Flywheel experience. These can add things such as performance insights (that give you tips to speed up your site) to getting Flywheel to help you update any plugins on your site every month.
A CDN is a content delivery network, something that will clone the content of your site and store on it’s servers at key points all over the world. This makes your site much faster to access, even from more remote areas of the globe. CDN’s are included in all of Flywheel’s plans.
Flywheel don’t just give you third party caching options such as Light Speed Cache, instead they have made their own Flywheel specific caching solution to speed up your site. This caching is tuned to work specifically for Flywheel and WordPress sites.
Flywheel claim that your website will be able to ‘auto heal’ itself if there are service failures, giving better up-time and reliability.
Security & Malware Cleanup
Flywheel will make sure that your website and the server hosting it are as secure as possible to potential attacks by hackers and such like. If malware does end up on your website, Flywheel will help you clean this up for free.
Flywheel offer nightly backups for all their hosted sites, making it easy to rollback or restore if there are problems.
Flywheel offer to help with keeping your WordPress site up to date. This is helpful, as some of these updates have the potential to break your site if not done with care.
Flywheel offer free site migration, taking the worry out of moving one of your sites across to their hosting.
Flywheel offer a suite of tools that will really help you when creating and updating the content on your WordPress sites.
Blueprints allow you to group together your favorite themes and plugins to be quickly deployed on new sites.
You can clone sites right within the Flywheel platform.
Flywheel offer staging environments. Make changes to your site and only make these changes live when you are happy that everything is working as expected.
Flywheel like to tell you that they have ‘real people’ available to help you 24/7.
As is becoming standard with a lot of web hosts these days, every website you have with Flywheel comes with a free SSL certificate.
Tools for Teams
Flywheel have a tool named ‘Organizations’ to help support a number of team members collaborating on website projects. Great if you are a web agency that creates a lot of sites, for example.
How Much Does Flywheel Cost?
As you can see above, Flywheel is not exactly cheap. However, this is managed hosting. If you want all those extra addons you are going to have to pay a premium. The cheapest ‘Tiny’ plan costs $15 a month and allows you one website with 5000 monthly visits, 5GB of storage and 20GB of bandwidth. This goes up to $30 a month for 25000 monthly visits, 10GB of storage and 50GB of bandwidth.
First, I would like to compare Flywheel with Kinsta, one of their major competitors for managed hosting. The first thing to note is that Kinsta’s cheapest plan is $30 a month. When compared with the Flywheel plan (of the same price) you get 5000 less allowed visits at 20000, with the other headline figures being along the same lines. However, Kinsta only give you one premium site migration (done by hand), with the rest being basic migrations. Flywheel don’t make this distinction, allowing unlimited migrations by hand if required.
Then, we can look at comparing with Siteground’s managed WordPress hosting options, a host that a lot choose. They have a ‘Grow Big’ account which has similar specs to Flywheel’s $30 plan, but allows unlimited websites to Flywheel’s one. Siteground offers a heavy discount for the first year though, making the price $9.99 a month going up to $24.99 for renewals. To be fair, you have to pay for a year to get this. When you do the same over at Flywheel the price also goes down to $25.
The thing is, Siteground don’t use Google Cloud servers and they don’t have all the features (such as auto healing technology) that Flywheel have.
What Do We like about Flywheel?
Piece of Mind
Flywheel offer a full suite of services for their customers, meaning you will have no worries about the health of your site. No matter what problem your site may have in the future, you know that an expert can be contacted to help you fix in no time. I have been particularly impressed with the included malware removal service, something that not all hosts offer.
When you imagine how many site visitors can be lost when your site is down, this piece of mind is invaluable.
I have to say, this is the best knowledgebase/ help section I have ever seen! Seriously! Yes, they have the frequently asked questions sections and step by step tutorials that other have too. On top of this, they have a good selection of eBooks on subjects such as ‘15 tips for designing WordPress sites faster with Flywheel’ and ‘The ultimate WordPress eCommerce performance guide’. This type of thing really does set Flywheel apart from the competition.
Great for Non-Techies
If you are involved in web based business but you are not a tech savvy person, this is the exact reason that platforms such as Flywheel are created. All of the tech stuff is hidden from your sight, leaving you to just choose options and commands from a graphical user interface. If you worry about technology, a service such as Flywheel will be the crutch you may need.
Great User Platform
Flywheel clearly have an excellent design team, because the user interface is top notch. This is a prime example of simple and crisp modern design. All features and commands that you will need to use are easy to find and executed in a sleek way. Some other hosts make you navigate more confusing panels such as cPanel. Not Flywheel! They present you with a custom made portal to achieve the same end result.
First Rung of Managed Hosting
The thing that sets Flywheel apart from a lot of other managed hosting providers is the fact that they are willing to cater to the smaller business’. As you saw earlier, Kinsta only have plans that start at $30 a month. Flywheel start at $15, a much more reasonable cost for a fledgling business. This means that any business can now get onto the first rung of the managed hosting ladder, making it easy for them to move onto more expensive plans as their business grows.
What most do is start with a lesser host (such as Siteground), and then migrate their sites to one of these managed hosting platforms when they get more traffic and earnings. Flywheel takes away these migration hassles, but letting people in at a base level.
And you will be getting access to a rock solid server on Google Cloud. A server that will handle load and usage spikes much better than cheaper options.
What Don’t We Like about Flywheel?
Not Enough Control for Tech Nerds
If you are a tech nerd, you might not be happy with the more technical options available here. Accessing tools such as phpMyAdmin is not possible, for example. You WP-Config file is also locked down by Flywheel, and you have to ask their developers to make edits.
Should you use Flywheel to Host your Site?
When all is said and done, should you choose Flywheel to host your website? Well, that very much depends on your situation.
If you don’t have any idea about technology and constantly worry about your site going down! If hosting basically scares the life out of you, then Flywheel is the host for you. They offer an excellent service for technophobes, essentially taking care of all that technical jargon and giving you a simple dashboard in it’s place. If you have any issues, their support will sort it out. Yes, you will pay a bit more, but you will have super fast WordPress hosting without any of the technical worry.
If you have a website with a large amount of traffic, and you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge yourself regarding server maintenance, I would recommend Flywheel for you. The thing is, with large amount of visitors time is money. It’s that simple! And you don’t want to be messing around if your site has a problem. First of all, Flywheel offers high quality servers for a lower cost than their competition (such as Kinsta mentioned above), whilst still having a team to respond quickly and solve any issues that arise. For me, this is worth paying a slight premium for.
However, if you have a site with lower traffic (or even a number of sites with low traffic), an option like Siteground might be a better option. If you are at least a bit tech savvy and have some experience with hosting websites and Cpanel style interfaces, you might not need the full on service offered at Flywheel. If you do have some downtime with your site, this isn’t the end of the world with lower traffic sites. Yes, the servers won’t be quite as lightning fast, but you will have a solid option that will be saving you some money along the way. Especially if you are hosting multiple sites.
There you have it, that’s the different situations where I would and wouldn’t recommend Flywheel. They really do have a top offering in the world of web hosting. You can see above that I have very little bad to say about their offering!
If you are a tech nerd, then what are you even doing here?? Managed hosting is not for you! Why not do what I did and learn how to take bare servers from a service such as Vultr and turn them into super fast WordPress installs yourself. I use an open source product called Wordops to allow me to do this (and maintain these servers) with just a few text commands. After adding my own CDN (such as BunnyCDN) I have a site equally as fast as Flywheel. If you are a geek, you can then get Flywheel grade servers for much cheaper. But if things go wrong, you are on your own 🙂
To go and look at Flywheel for yourself, simply click HERE to go to their official website. If you want to look at my other recommended host Siteground, you can also check them out HERE. Finally, if you are a tech nerd and want to get deep in the weeds of making your own servers, check out Vultr HERE.
Disclaimer: My reviews are always full and honest. Yes, they may have affiliate links in where I can earn a small commission, but this never influences my rating. I want you to trust and come back to my reviews!