Updated · Oct 10, 2022
Best for: Small enterprises looking to establish an online presence
WordPress is the most popular content managing system (CMS) on the planet, powering six out of ten websites across the internet. But finding a reliable host can be challenging. Most vendors offer bloated products to fit into the industry, resulting in low-quality services and many complaining customers.
Luckily, Flywheel Webhosting is here to help. It offers some of the most reliable WordPress-only plans on the market. Although somewhat expensive, it provides a perfect balance between value and cost.
Its fast servers, resources, and availability are worth appreciating. You get high-spec features that are hard to come by, including auto-healing technology, local hosting, performance accelerators, and more.
So, is Flywheel worth your money? Let’s find out.
What Is Flywheel?
Flywheel was created in 2012 as a platform to help businesses grow online. Its founders are Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker, and Rick Knudtson. The trio share 20+ years’ worth of experience working as web developers, and the idea of Flywheel web hosting was born out of the issues they faced while managing websites.
Flywheel’s mission is to empower millions of users to embrace WordPress. Its hosting services are all fully-managed, letting Flywheel take care of all the heavy lifting. It only leaves customers with lightweight tasks of updating and uploading content.
At present, the Flywheel headquarters are located in Omaha, Nebraska. However, it employs 200+ happiness engineers to support 30,000+ customers globally.
Flywheel Infrastructure and Network
Flywheel has one of the most robust infrastructures in the industry. It hosts seven data centers spread across North America, Europe, and Asia. Moreover, the company runs on the Google Cloud network. Speed is the most significant benefit of this set-up as it has a high data transfer rate that’s perfect for accelerating your website’s performance.
High availability is the following advantage. With the Flywheel Google Cloud web servers, downtimes are rare. The platform runs on green hosting, using reliable energy sources. These help to minimize interruptions by providing consistent power.
All plans are powered by Virtual Private Server (VPS) technology. Unlike ordinary shared hosting, Flywheel gives dedicated resources to all its users. The configuration eliminates performance issues associated with sharing a web server with noisy neighbors.
The seamless upgrades make it possible to scale with ease. If you exhaust your allocation, upgrading will only take seconds. Best of all – your visitors won’t experience any downtime.
We also appreciate the effort Flywheel web-hosting puts into securing user data. A highly trained team of cybersecurity experts runs all its facilities. The squad performs regular penetration tests to identify and fix loopholes. Likewise, they conduct 24/7 surveillance of incoming and outgoing traffic to maximize safety.
Let’s now see what’s under the hood.
The features Flywheel hosting offers are as follows:
Flywheel uses Studio Press services to offer customers high-quality themes for free. You can access the tool straight from the Flywheel dashboard and use the live demo to test available templates.
The industries it covers are pretty broad, including ecommerce, restaurants, education, and more. You’ll also find layouts with disability-friendly features, enabling people with impaired vision to access your website’s content stress-free.
It’s possible to customize the theme’s appearance using WordPress’s Gutenberg editor. It provides reusable modules for changing the layout of any design. Apart from that, you can use the widget areas to add advanced functions to pages.
Genesis Page Builder
Flywheel reviews show praise for the host’s web builder software. It uses the Genesis framework made by Studio Press. Unlike other website builders, the application provides simple tools to supercharge your site.
Using blocks for adding content to pages, you can enhance the layout with images, videos, text, and more. And with the advanced widgets, it’s easy to add opt-in forms, social media links, and trending posts.
Changing colors, fonts, and shapes is straightforward with various customization options. All the adjustments occur in real-time to give you a glimpse of what to expect when you hit the publishing button.
The Flywheel sites you create using this software are responsive: the webpages will perfectly fit any device or browser. The only downside is that changing the default appearance for mobile is impossible. Other than that, it does a great job of creating eye-catchy designs.
While Flywheel is perfect for beginners, it offers exceptional features for developers. The platform has a staging tool that is available for creating a development environment. You can use it to clone your website for testing. The feature supports the creation of multiple environments as well. It enables several users to work simultaneously on the same project.
The SSH gateway gives you root access for performing advanced tasks on your web server. Some of them include installation for custom apps, software, and configurations. On top of that, there are Flywheel sFTP functions that provide a simple dashboard for easy management of backend functions.
Local WordPress Hosting
Flywheel makes it possible to host your WordPress website locally on your device. The application supports the creation of an offline staging environment. As far as development goes, it works with lots of desirable features.
Other advanced options include the WP-CLI and SSH. These provide you with seamless root access to the server, allowing you to publish changes with ease.
FlyCache Website Accelerator
FlyCache is the Flywheel WordPress solution for speeding up websites. The application works by caching the most requested files on your site, reducing the number of server requests translating to better performance.
Another great thing about it is the automatic un-caching of the critical areas of your site. Some good examples are the WooCommerce cart and membership accounts. By leaving out such content, it reduces the chances of errors arising.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
All plans include Flywheel CDN services powered by Fastly, a company with 60+ edge locations globally. These help to deliver content to your visitors from the nearest servers. It ensures your users experience fast web page loading time at all times.
The web servers in all the data centers are interlinked. When one fails, the rest kick into action to keep your site online. Likewise, it makes the handling of traffic spikes a breeze. During peak times, it distributes requests across the network efficiently. Overall, it offers exceptional uptime for your website.
But that’s not all.
The collaboration feature is something that frequently appears in Flywheel hosting reviews. You can use it to add more members to joint projects and track performance. It also helps streamline the workflow and provides you with a robust section for adding roles, assigning tasks, and monitoring progress.
The activity tracker is the most helpful in finding errors, letting you trace back to where the fault occurred in real-time. What about the lazy colleagues? Well, it keeps watch of that too.
You can use the Flywheel software to invite clients. The feature gives them easy access to their projects and lets them make payments straight to your account.
Ease of Use
Flywheel doesn’t use the popular cPanel dashboard. Instead, it offers a custom solution that’s even easier to use. It comes with a simple walkthrough process for setting up your website. Once complete, you can launch your WordPress panel and install templates, plugins, and use scripts.
You can use Flywheel’s migrate plugin to bid a bad host goodbye. Should you encounter any challenges, support is just a stone’s throw away. All you need to do is open a request and wait for the magic to happen. Unfortunately, it can take up to three days. If you need same-day service, it will set you back $49.
Other Advanced Features
The list of the remaining features to cover in this Flywheel review is long. So, we’ll summarize them as follows:
- Daily Backups: The vendor offers a daily backup service for free. Though it’s inadequate, you can use a wide range of plugins for real-time backups. Some include Updraft, Jetpack, Backup Buddy.
- Auto-Healing Technology: This feature aggressively monitors the health of any Flywheel WordPress site. It helps fix glitches when they arise automatically, including wrong configurations, PHP failures, and database errors.
- Performance Insights: This $25/month add-on gives you valuable metrics of your site’s performance. It checks for load time, caching, and usability. Moreover, it provides tips and ideas to accelerate your site.
- Managed Plugin Service: This is another premium service that costs $25/month. It helps to keep all the plugins that you use up to date.
Flywheel guarantees a 99.9% uptime, which is standard across the industry. For your illustration, it means your site will be down for 90 seconds per day on average. While that’s not usually the case, it’s a way of staying on the safe side rather than offering crazy promises.
But how does it perform in real life?
To test it, we set-up a simple WordPress site and linked it to Pingdom. The cloud software makes it easy for you to track websites on autopilot. Aside from that, we installed the Jetpack plugin that provides online monitoring as well.
To our surprise, we didn’t experience any interruptions for over a month. While our outcome was impressive, many Flywheel reviews show the opposite. We did find fewer complaints about server downtimes. A closer look also reveals that it mostly occurs during traffic spikes.
On the bright side, you can upgrade to a more advanced plan to fix the issue.
Loading time is important, so making sure your host provides you with the best speeds is crucial. We ran some tests to check the speeds supplied by Flywheel. While results may vary, a well-optimized site will always impress.
First, we checked the network ping. It measures the duration it takes to connect to and from a server. For this one, our set-up managed to record around 150ms. That’s almost as fast as the blink of an eye.
Next, we checked for the time-to-first-byte (TTFB). It looks for the responsiveness of the web server in sending the first file. On this one, the host’s performance averaged around 200ms.
Lastly, we inspected the page loading time. From our test website, we got approximately 1.15 seconds. With that figure, your visitors should expect pages to load in under 1.5 seconds. That’s 50% better than the recommended value of 3.0 seconds.
There are various Flywheel hosting plans available:
All Flywheel WP plans are designed to make web hosting hassle-free. It fits a wide range of users that don’t want to fumble with code. While this host gives you a dedicated VPS, it’s mean on the resources. Sadly, it restricts the number of visitors that you can receive as well.
Another downside is the lack of a Flywheel email service. It was quite surprising to us, especially since other hosts provide this at no extra cost. But you do get a free Flywheel SSL certificate, Studio Press themes, and the collaboration feature with your plan. Fastly global CDN is in the mix as well.
For developers, the SSH and sFTP access details are available for free. You can use them to modify your web server as you wish. It’s also ideal for optimizing for performance and security.
The Growth suite plans are tailored for users that need more juice, ideal for managing clients. The multi-site support makes it easy to create additional sub-domains. Likewise, you’ll find a migration dashboard for monitoring the transfer of websites. The feature is most suitable when transferring sites to your customers.
You’ll also get access to a dedicated accounts manager. The person is responsible for offering you one-on-one support when the need arises. Apart from that, you can contact them to seek advice for upgrading your hosting needs.
But this plan has some flaws. For starters, the storage space is minimal. The host will only give you a maximum of 50GB unless you select a custom hosting solution. On top of that, you better have deep pockets since Flywheel prices for the Growth Suite start at $133/month.
If you operate an online shop, then Flywheel WooCommerce is your best pick. It offers powerful features to help you set-up a successful internet business, including an inventory management system, shopping cart, and payment gateway.
There is support for 50,000+ products, and you can add different variations for items. For example, you can set the size, color, fabric, and more for each product. You can even set different pricing for each variation.
In terms of shipping, you can give your clients the choice of local pickup or shipping it to their address. Apart from that, it’s possible to set different rates based on location, weight, and distance.
The geolocation feature did impress us while writing this Flywheel review. It can detect the location of your visitors and calculate tax and shipping costs. You can additionally use it to adjust prices based on a visitor’s local currency.
The server includes global caching, better uptime, and faster CDN delivery. All these go towards ensuring that your site is fast, responsive, and butter-smooth.
However, it costs $75/month. And that doesn’t include the $25/month add-on needed to track performance. All in all, it’s still an excellent choice for running high-performance eCommerce sites.
While the company’s customer support is not the best, it's still acceptable. You can access the team via chat, email, and phone 24/7. The first two are accessible in all plans, but phone support is available on the Agency plan only.
We tested the live chat, as it’s the channel most customers prefer to use. The first thing that you’ll notice is the host uses a bot to book requests. We found it helpful in providing answers for common problems.
For complex issues, however, it will transfer the request to an agent. From our experience, it took around 5 minutes for a real person to show up. And when they did, they were slow to reply. But luckily, they’re humble, polite, and will do everything possible to resolve your issue.
Flywheel reviews repeatedly mention the knowledge base as well. It has 200+ articles that cover a wide range of topics. You can use the search tool to narrow down issues fast. It’s neat, well-organized, and refreshing to use.
Flywheel vs WPEngine
WP Engine is one of Flywheel’s competitors. So we’ll take a look at the differences so you can make the right choice.
Both companies specialize in offering WordPress-only plans. A quick comparison shows that their packaging of products is almost identical. WP Engine, however, has more expensive options that target advanced users. And neither of the companies provides domain registration nor email services.
Hosting your WordPress site on Flywheel is cheaper. You’ll have access to the Tiny plan that starts at just $13/month. WP Engine’s most affordable offer starts at $30/month. Resource allocation is similar, but WP Engine has additional plans under Hosting Plus and Secure Hosting. These offer more resources than what you get on Flywheel Webhosting.
While the two shine in uptime, WP Engine is more reliable. The company provides customers with a service level agreement (SLA) of 99.9%. Should it fail to uphold this, you’ll stand to receive a 5% credit.
Overall, WP Engine shines in terms of features for power users. But it’s the affordable Flywheel prices that will win your heart.
As mentioned before, there are a variety of different plans offered by Flywheel. There is a 14-day demo you can try before committing financially. All plans include a free SSL, Studio Press themes, Genesis framework, cloning.
Offer includes 5,000 monthly visits, 5GB disk space, and 20GB bandwidth for one WordPress site.
Offer includes 25,000 monthly visits, 10GB disk space, and 50GB bandwidth for one WordPress site.
Offer includes 100,000 monthly visits, 20GB disk space, and 200GB bandwidth for up to 10 sites.
Offer includes 400,000 monthly visits, 50GB disk space, and 500GB bandwidth for up to 30 sites.
Offer includes 100,000 monthly visits, 20GB disk space, 200GB bandwidth for up to 10 sites
Offer includes 400,000 monthly visits, 50GB disk space, and 500GB bandwidth for up to 30 sites.
- Performance Insights ($25/month for the first site, $2/month extra per additional site): Receive reports with site performance, areas of improvement, and other recommendations.
- Managed Plugin Updates ($25/month for the first site, $2/month extra per additional site): Automatically updates all plugins for you.
Flywheel has a 72-hour refund policy on the monthly plans. On the yearly tiers, you’ll have 30-days to ask for your money back.
Flywheel Review - Verdict
Flywheel is a reliable WordPress-only hosting provider. It offers a wide range of plans for all types of users. All plans come with advanced developer tools for supporting online businesses, including migration dashboard, staging sites, and support for clients. The host does well when it comes to reliability. Other than the excellent uptime, it offers a powerful CDN service.
On the downside, Flywheel lacks resource allocation. Each plan is designed for a limited number of visitors. Once you reach that number, you’ll have to deal with frequent downtimes. Sadly, you’ll need to upgrade to a higher plan to resolve it. Other issues include steep prices and slow customer support.
As we wrap up this Flywheel review, remember to sign-up for the 14-day free demo. It will give you more than enough time to test the service. Finally, do check out the FAQ section for more useful insights.
Is Flywheel shared hosting?
No, Flywheel offers dedicated resources on all its plans. The approach prevents abusive users from overloading the systems. All customers get to experience high-quality services at all times.
Is Flywheel hosting worth it?
Yes, Flywheel web hosting provides users with incredible services. Even though the price is high, you get dedicated CPU resources, bandwidth, storage, and Fastly premium global CDN. Developer tools are also available, such as a migration dashboard, server root access, and staging.
Why is Flywheel so expensive?
Flywheel is expensive because it offers a wide range of premium services. These include fast web servers, a global CDN network, and multi-site support. You also get access to high-quality themes, collaboration for teams, and nightly backups. While most hosts sell the mentioned features as costly add-ons, Flywheel lets you enjoy them at fair prices.
Who owns Flywheel hosting?
Flywheel is owned by Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker, and Rick Knudtson. The trio set-up the company in 2012 to offer an easy way for managing websites. You can read more about its features, price, and performance in our Flywheel review.
Daniel is a curious thinker that loves everything about tech. If he spots something interesting, rest assured that he’ll reverse-engineer it. Apart from being an internet addict, he loves building web servers from scratch. Well, it’s not his profession per se. But it’s a passion he picked up after a series of unfortunate events involving terrible hosts. He’s the “hosting guy”.
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