Flywheel offers fully managed WordPress hosting services at a higher price point than entry-level shared hosting plans. It’s overkill for beginners and new websites, but a nice balance of ease of use, affordability, and functionality for its intended audience.
Who should choose Flywheel? Flywheel’s expensive price point, hands-on customer service, and advanced feature set make it a great choice for agencies, high-traffic websites, and anyone looking for white-glove WordPress hosting.
What we like about 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.
What fell flat
- 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.
Digital.com’s Editorial Review
Flywheel offers solid features and hosting, but I struggled to figure out what audience it was aiming its price points at. For several dollars cheaper, you can get shared or VPS server hosting, which will host a WordPress site, but you’ll need to do some DIY work on your own. For a few more dollars, you can get managed WordPress with a competitor that offers much more for your dollar.
Plans and Pricing
Flywheel offers two main hosting plans, Managed WordPress and Growth Suite, each targeting a slightly different audience.
Managed WordPress Hosting (starting at $15 per month)
- Good for: A small to midsize business or an individual that needs a WordPress site; plans range from one to 30 sites total and include increasing bandwidth, storage, and a maximum number of sites.
Growth Suite (starting at $135 per month)
- Good for: Businesses that specialize in website building for clientele and need to manage their client subscriptions.
The prices listed here are all billed monthly. For both plans, if you purchase annually instead, you get two additional months free. Also, through a partnership with WP Engine, e-commerce-specific plans are available, though Flywheel does not prevent you from installing WooCommerce on your WordPress site.
Each of Flywheel’s hosting plans provides a bevy of valuable add-ons, including global availability from five different data centers, custom WordPress caching technology, and automatic plug-in security alerts. However, these five features below help you get the biggest bang for your buck, and each one is included with every Flywheel hosting plan.
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.
Pricing + Basic Plan Features
What You Need to Know
Who owns Flywheel?
Flywheel is a WP Engine product acquired by WP Engine in 2019. Its plans are at a much lower price point than WP Engine, though. I think this may be why WP Engine wanted to acquire Flywheel in the first place.
What kind of support does Flywheel offer?
Flywheel offers 24/7 chat support on all plans, and adds 24/7 phone support for agency-level and custom plans.
Where are the Flywheel servers located?
- Iowa, U.S.
- Montreal, Canada
- London, U.K.
- Belgium, Europe
- Sydney, Australia
How We Reviewed 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.