Table of Contents
|Flywheel standout features|
|Performance||Fast and reliable hosting|
|Average response time||Approximately 15ms|
|Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)||Free SSL certificate from LetsEncrypt.org|
|Secure Shell (SSH) and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) access||Yes, included with all hosting packages|
|Support||24/7 support via email or live chat|
What Are the Pros and Cons of Flywheel?
WordPress is the main product Flywheel offers, and it provides a wide range of sizes and value-added features to help make your WordPress site the best it can be. Yet all of this is offered at a lower price point than most competitors, and you do get what you pay for.
Pros of Flywheel
- Daily backups: These are included with every plan, turned on automatically, and kept for 30 days.
- SSH access with universal SFTP: Flywheel’s “Universal SFTP” means that if you have multiple sites, you can use one login to access all of your sites.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) included: Flywheel accounts all include built-in integration with Fastly at no additional charge.
Cons of Flywheel
- Limited WordPress migration: Flywheel offers “free” migration, but after a bit of digging, it turns out this is a Flywheel-supplied WordPress plug-in versus migration with a support technician.
- Less server for your dollar vs. the competition: Flywheel’s price points do not do much to differentiate Flywheel’s competitors, and in general, it seems like you get less server per dollar.
- Limited phone-based support: This type of support is only available at the highest pricing tiers.
Built-in CDN (via Fastly)
Having a CDN means your site will load quicker and more reliably. A CDN takes the static parts of your website (images, style sheets, text content) and copies them to a network of servers that deliver your content from a server close to whoever is accessing your site. This speeds up load times and adds some reliability if, for instance, your main server is down.
Fastly is a well-known and well-respected CDN going shoulder-to-shoulder with Akamai, CloudFlare, and others. Flywheel offers this at no extra cost — a huge boon to your site — as even the most basic Fastly plans have an associated cost.
Flywheel’s inclusion of a staging site is a welcome feature, adding a lot of value for no cost to you. With a staging site, you can put together new content and changes for your site, and preview them all without ever going live. That way, your site looks exactly how you expect it.
Some hosting providers make this a paid feature (for example, Nexcess), but I was pleasantly surprised to see this was included at no charge.
Backups are essential for anything mission-critical. As the expression says: one is none, two is one. Flywheel’s hosting includes 30 days of nightly backups, so you can rest assured if you need to restore to a previous point in time, you can do so.
Blazing fast response times
When testing my site, I got some of the fastest time-to-first-byte (TTFB) times I’ve seen among hosting providers. Webpage load times can vary widely depending on the amount and complexity of content on a given page, so I use TTFB as a metric for how fast a hosting provider is. How quickly those first few bytes reach a web browser is solely the responsibility of your hosting provider, and the quickest providers start with a fast time to when your browser gets its first bytes.
This is probably due to a combination of the Fastly CDN sitting in front of your site and Flywheel’s own FlyCache, a custom WordPress caching engine that integrates with the CDN to, in Flywheel’s own words, “make WordPress sites fly.” I suspect that’s why I was getting such fast TTFB times.
Flywheel has many more value-added features that all deserve a small mention, but there are too many to list here. These are the ones that stood out to me and why:
- Free basic SSL via Let’s Encrypt: This feature is table stakes for most hosting providers these days, but Flywheel is very upfront about that this is basic SSL provided through Let’s Encrypt — a free SSL provider in its own right.
- All-in-one SFTP: If you have more than one site, this lets you access them all with one SFTP login rather than multiple ones, and it is a nice touch to ease management difficulties.
- Free migration tools: Flywheel advertises “free” migration, but actually, a WordPress plug-in migrates you. It does offer white-glove migration but at an added charge.
Compare Flywheel Alternatives
Because Flywheel’s main specialty is managed WordPress, all the recommended alternatives also provide WordPress hosting. These comparisons are based on how well the alternatives handle managed WordPress first, weighing additional features after. The pricing below reflects its managed WordPress hosting, specifically even if the hosting provider has packages at a lower or higher price.
Additionally, many of these providers have introductory prices available for a period, after which the price renews at the regular rate. Pricing below reflects this regular rate.
This is how Flywheel compares to other managed WordPress hosting providers:
Frequently Asked Questions About Flywheel
Who owns Flywheel?
What kind of support does Flywheel offer?
Where are the Flywheel servers located?
- Iowa, U.S.
- Montreal, Canada
- London, U.K.
- Belgium, Europe
- Sydney, Australia
What are the best alternatives to Flywheel?
How I Rated Flywheel
I test web hosts based on the following factors:
- Plan value: What plans are available, and do they offer a good value?
- Ease of use: Is the dashboard easy to navigate?
- Support: How fast can you get help when needed, and is support genuinely helpful?
- Features: What features does the host offer, and how do they compare to similar competitors?
- Security: Does the host offer SSL certificates, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack protection, backup services, and scans for viruses and malware?
- Speed and uptime: Does the provider offer a fast, stable environment for your website? How does it perform in tests, and what kind of servers does the hosting company use?
- Recent improvements: What has the host done lately to update its technology and services?
Learn more about our review methodology.