If you are struggling with a low productivity level, stressing out over all the technical aspects of running a website, managed WordPress hosting has to be the right choice for you.
Consistently good TTFB, page caching, plugin optimization, backups and updates, high uptime percentage, site security and reliability – there are many factors to worry about single-handedly.
A managed host will take care of all the maintenance works once and for all. If you need guidance in choosing the right host, our Flywheel review will walk you through the important features, pricing and pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
Abundant in WordPress-oriented features, Flywheel makes it to the ‘best of the breed.’ They cater to the needs of every website owner, from small businesses and freelancers to agencies.
Although priced a bit upscale, Flywheel cuts the extra costs you paid to third-party providers like Let’s Encrypt for an SSL certificate, Stackpath or KeyCDN as a content delivery network, or Sucuri for site security.
Let’s find out if Flywheel is worth spending the extra bucks.
What is Flywheel?
Flywheel is a US-based managed WordPress hosting provider founded in 2012 by Dusty Davidson, Rick Knudtson and Tony Noecker, with a pursuit of simplifying the works of every web designer and developer around the globe.
Premium infrastructure and world-class customer support channels are the strong suits of Flywheel. It’s an all-in-one platform that gives you safe workspaces like demo sites and staging areas and a refreshing UI to start a WordPress site from scratch; migrates and runs your site live in no time; provides nightly backups; lets you collaborate with coworkers, and creates blueprints.
Most importantly, they accentuate all the features based on super-fast speed, scalability, and security, maintaining peerless page performance.
Features of Flywheel
Free Demo WP Websites for Customers
Not ready to make an investment in managed WordPress hosting yet? Looking for a free trial?
Flywheel offers something even more productive – free demo sites, a perfect fit for designers and web developers. You can design password-protected demo sites hosted on Flywheel subdomains for your clients without any initial payment or billing information. Modify and share your work with clients for up to 14 days.
Finally, before the site is ready to go live, either you purchase a hosting plan or simply transfer the billing process to your client’s account.
Nobody likes to go through the repetitive part of designing websites – downloading the same theme, applying the same set of essential plugins. It’s time killing and not very inspiring work as such.
What if you could create a foundation of themes, plugin configurations and other core page components for every resembling site you build for a client?
This is precisely what Flywheel’s Blueprint feature allows you to do. Create a blueprint and deploy the pre-configured settings like a template to your future projects.
Want to do away with all the headaches of sharing passwords with every team member and client one-on-one? Flywheel makes it really easy for you!
If you are an agency or a freelancer, the collaborator function of Flywheel comes in handy. This developer-friendly feature lets you add collaborators to share secured access to your site via SFTP. Simply put the Flywheel username or email id to invite someone to collaborate.
A collaborator shares equal ownership, including full access to dashboard functions and database management, except for handling bills. Once their job is done, easily deny access by removing that user.
Google Cloud Platform
Unlike a physical server with limited resources and storage, cloud hosting is a network of multiple interconnected servers, spreading your data in different machines. So if one server goes down, the entire system is still up, working.
Flywheel’s upgraded cloud infrastructure powered by GCP comes along with enterprise-level technologies such as auto-healing, Flycache, free CDN, instant scaling, staging and excellent uptime.
Free Site Migration
Switching hosts is now a piece of cake with Flywheel’s free migration plugin at hand.
Provide a few quick details, and your part is done. This DIY plugin will take care of the rest and notify you when the migration is complete with no downtime.
For a hands-free experience, you may want to rely on their WP experts’ team processing a standard migration within 1-3 business days. At an additional $49 fee, you can speed up the process to a maximum of 8 hours.
Ease of Use
For a smooth user experience, it’s not convenient to experiment with a new plugin or theme on your live website.
Flywheel enables a password-protected staging environment to finish all the development tasks without scathing the site performance or facing any downtime.
With intelligent merging, you can safely move either or both themes and plugins and databases, back and forth, between the staging and production environment until you are happy with all the changes.
User-friendly Interface and Optimized Dashboard
Installing WordPress and getting started with Flywheel is not rocket science.
Once you log in, you may opt for the Blueprint feature or site migration to import any pre-designed template or a website from a different host during the installation process. Or just start from scratch with a brand new WordPress site.
If you are familiar with unintuitive cheap hosts like cPanel, Flywheel’s customized crisp and modern dashboard design will instantly catch your attention. It is easy to handle the nitty-gritty of all your WordPress sites from one streamlined control panel.
Using the staging environment, controlling collaborators as an admin, uploading files, managing bills – everything is at your fingertips.
Flywheel’s proprietary caching system Flycache stores the complete HTML structure of your web pages instead of retrieving data each time from the server. This effectively lowers the overall latency rate, resulting in blazing fast load time and highly optimized hosting performance.
For in-depth analysis of your site performance, actionable insights, and comparing current data with old reports to see your growth, get the performance insights add-on for an extra $25/month.
Excellent uptime is another perk of cloud hosting. Although Flywheel doesn’t come up with any percentage or uptime guarantee, they have a consistent success rate of 99.97%-100% web availability.
A global CDN powered by Fastly is available by default with all Flywheel plans. Fastly’s worldwide Points-of-Presence servers (PoPs) carry the cached content to every far-reaching user. Full HTML caching of your site pages reduces loading speed drastically, boosts search engine ranking and provides optimum user experience.
A new update gone wrong or a server downtime – aren’t these a website owner’s recurring nightmares? A complete backup is always a smart decision.
Now sleep sound when Flywheel is automatically backing up your files and database every night. You can restore the full site within 30 days and retreat to any previous version.
Flywheel’s user-friendly interface lets you create manual backups selectively and download them for safekeeping.
If you are running a website, you already know how important an SSL certificate can be to build a trust quotient for your customers and audience. Flywheel offers 100% free multi-domain SSL certificates on all their plans powered by Let’s Encrypt. One SSL for all your domains – great deal, right?
Free Malware Scan
The chances are low that crossing the server level security plugins of Flywheel, your site will get hacked. If that ever happens, their team of happiness engineers is active round-the-clock to rescue your site as good as new.
Flywheel also features 2-factor authentication and limited login attempts to resist brute force attacks. In fact, they are one step ahead of the intruders through intelligent IP blocking.
Aren’t you tired already with the robotic autoresponders on a support line? Flywheel promises in-app support with their global team of real-time WordPress experts, keen to solve your problems at the oddest hours. You can communicate through:
- 24/7/365 live chat channel and email ticketing help desk
- Telephone support for customers paying $250 or more/ month
As well as, you get access to their rich resources of plenty of help articles containing every tip and trick about Flywheel’s features, billing, site management and more.
Flywheel has very thoughtfully updated four pricing plans to serve different criteria of different customers, including a free CDN, SSL certificate, Studiopress themes on all of them.
- Tiny – $13/month
- Starter – $25/month
- Freelance – $96/month
- Agency – $242/month
Compare the detailed features of every plan and see which one fits you best, depending on the monthly visits you expect and your required bandwidth and storage space.
Flywheel doesn’t trap you in any long term commitment. Cancel any time and get a refund within 3 days for a monthly subscription and 30 days if you subscribed for an annual plan.
Pros and Cons
- Free WordPress plugin for fastest site migration on your own time and with full technical control in your court.
- One-stop, customized control panel to manage all your sites in one account.
- Use the time-saver Blueprint feature to skip creating an initial set-up for recurring sites.
- Flywheel doesn’t provide any email hosting or domain registration as they promote the idea of working with the ‘best of the breed.’
- Reaching your plan’s monthly visitor and storage limit will charge you overage fees.
Quality is synonymous with Flywheel. Think no more if you can stretch your budget slightly because, with Flywheel, you get it all – speed, performance and support.
Even better, take the 14-days free demo trial and get hands-on experience of the superior features and services provided by Flywheel.
There are always cheaper alternatives available like Bluehost or SiteGround. But if you are looking for a faster and more secure web host to manage single or multiple sites, built on a WordPress-specific infrastructure, you can absolutely count on Flywheel.
By Soubhik Chakrabarti