What is Flywheel?
Flywheel is a managed WordPress hosting company based in Omaha, Nebraska with offices in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 2013, the company gears its hosting services for designers and developers who make a living launching websites for clients.
How Good is Flywheel Hosting?
Flywheel offers a hip and affordable managed WordPress hosting option to rival stuffier, more expensive managed hosting companies like WP Engine. Flywheel isn’t for amateur webmasters, with the bulk of their clientele being made up by designers and developers. Flywheel support is super knowledgeable and familiar with complex development issues, and their plans are built to scale. We recommend Flywheel for digital creatives who desire flexibility from their hosting company. Explore other options if you’re a beginner, or if you’re representing a corporate entity that desires ultra-hands on management.
- Dedicated WordPress Management
- Cost per Visitor Is Negotiable
- Free Migrations / Free Demo Sites
- Automatic Backups with Easy Restore Process
- Developer & Designer friendly features
- Slow turnaround times on support, no 24/7 access
- Sites can be slow
- Staging is still in beta
Our Official Flywheel Review
Flywheel has an edgy and attractive feel that so many other hosting companies lack. Compared with the cartoonish look of big names like HostGator, or the stuffy feel of elite hosting companies like Rackspace, Flywheel is a breath of fresh air. Built for designers and developers looking to launch sites for their clients, Flywheel has found their niche in the managed WordPress hosting market. Most of Flywheel’s features are top notch and a perfect fit for their intended clientele. However, some minor annoyances might dissuade some users. We’d also advise against Flywheel for sites that receive millions of visits monthly.
Best Features of Flywheel Hosting
Flywheel built for designers and developers who truly know their way around WordPress, and therefore know it well enough to know that outsourcing the management of its security and updates is well worth their while. These guys are savvy and know exactly what their techie clients want in a hosting service, namely speed, innovative and intuitive features, security, and regular backups.
Affordable, Dedicated WordPress Management
With WordPress being the number one CMS used worldwide, it is no wonder that managed WordPress hosting has become a hot industry in recent years. Flywheel nicely fills the niche between novice webmasters using GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting platform (starting $3.99/month), and multi-million dollar corporations using WP Engine’s ultra professional version ($29.99/month). Flywheel starts at $15/month with flexible scalability for those looking to host multiple sites.
Cost per Visitor Is Negotiable
One of the billing metrics that is popular among dedicated WordPress management companies is the number of visitors a WordPress a website is expected to receive. Many of these companies hold firm to their policy of charging a certain amount of money for certain amount visitors. Flywheel is different – we’ve been able to negotiate the cost per visitor prices. This is hugely valuable for sites that plan to scale with time.
One Login for All Your WordPress Websites
When you’re a webmaster for several WordPress websites, you may find yourself with a little black book that is full of usernames and passwords. However, with Flywheel that isn’t the case. Flywheel allows you to migrate all of your WordPress websites under one credential. On top of that, if you need to collaborate with other people, Flywheel will give each person their own login credentials. This feature makes Flywheel an easy choice for design and development agencies managing multiple websites.
Free, Fast Migrations
If you are unsatisfied with your current WordPress management company, Flywheel will migrate all of your current websites to their servers, securely and for free. Plus, they’re super speedy at it, with migrations usually taking between 24 and 48 hours. And if you want it really fast, they offer an 8 hour expedited migrations for $49.
Free Demo Sites
While Flywheel generally charges on a per-domain basis, they do allow for unlimited demo and staging capabilities – yet another feature that makes them perfect for professional developers and designers. Although these sites are not live, they do allow customers to build a website and test its functionality in full.
Top Notch Security includes a Free SSL
Flywheel is constantly scanning your sites for malware, and does such a thorough job that you won’t ever need to install another WordPress security plugin. In the event that your site is hacked, their team will work tirelessly to fix the issue and return your site to normal. Plus, they throw in a free SSL with every domain you register with them.
Automatic Backups with Easy Restore Process
Flywheel performs automatic daily backups. That means that each and every day, Flywheel will back up all your changes to make sure that the integrity of your websites stays intact. If there ever was an issue with your site, Flywheel makes the restore process easy with a 1-click operation. This feature alone can save you the hassle of ever having to find and online backup company to safeguard the integrity of the data that is your website.
Downsides of Flywheel Hosting
Flywheel Customer Service is Really Smart, but not Always Accessible
Flywheel hosting has a reputation for providing fantastic support. Their team is just as nerdy as their general clientele, and can almost always meet you at any depth of technical issue you’re experiencing. That said, they do not offer live chat support, and phone and support ticket hours are more or less limited to regular business times. While most tickets are responded to within 24 hours and receive courteous, helpful answers, this may not be adequate for everyone. If you live in a different time zone, work odd hours, or anticipate needing a lot of tech support, Flywheel may not have the resources at hand to get back to you immediately. This may be expected on the cheaper priced plans, but once you start paying $100/month, 24/7 support should come standard. WP Engine, Flywheel’s top competitor, gives higher-tier customers 24/7 access to customer support.
Love cPanel? Look Elsewhere.
Flywheel’s custom dashboard is super sleek and has a ton of helpful tools, but if you’re a die-hard fan of cPanel and are reluctant to learn another interface, then Flywheel isn’t for you. DreamHost is another host, specializing in shared hosting, that eschews cPanel in favor of their own dashboard. Most WordPress pros won’t take issue with this, but it is something to consider if you or your coworkers struggle to keep track of the dozens of different dashboard interfaces you interact with on a daily basis.
Staging Area Is in Beta
A staging area is where you can make several unsaved changes to your website and then simply push the changes to the live site. Flywheel’s staging area is in Beta. They do claim that it will soon not be in Beta, but for now, you may not get a fully functional staging area. WP Engine beats them out in this area, for now at least.
Load Times aren’t the Fastest
Flywheel claims to have blazing fast speeds, but in our experience this may be a bit of an empty claim. Uploading an average-sized WordPress install took well over an hour, and sometimes more complex web pages would crawl to load. Their cacheing features certainly help these issues, but even then their speeds were significantly below those experienced with WP Engine. There are tons of factors that contribute to pageload times, but we found that across the board, Flywheel left something to be desired. For super fast speeds, we recommend A2 Hosting and their optimized WordPress install.
If expect or have grown used to the white glove treatment of managed WordPress hosting companies like WP Engine, we don’t recommend switching to Flywheel. A much smaller company with a very start-uppy feel, Flywheel may disappoint those who want everything handled for them with the professional clout to match. However, for scrappy freelancers who are looking for a flexible, affordable, and savvy option for hosting, Flywheel is a dream come true. Their dashboard is built to manage your clients’ websites seamlessly, and every month they roll out new features and offerings catered exactly for those who make their living launching sites. If you’re looking for an affordable option and have a DIY attitude, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Flywheel managed WordPress hosting.
Flywheel Questions and Answers
Flywheel is easy enough for anyone to use, and since anyone can figure out how to use it, there are plenty of questions around. Fortunately, there are answers for those questions, which is what you’ll find here. Having a one-stop shop for all of your questions will help you figure out if Flywheel is the hosting site you want for your website. This should answer a lot of common questions new customers have regarding Flywheel.
How can one move into a bulk plan out of a single site?
How does one start staging?
Is it possible to change the data center location of a site?
Can I reinstall the WordPress Core files?
Can one force SSL on a site?
Are there discounts available for nonprofit organizations?
How can one go live on Flywheel?
What is a white screen / 500 error mean?
What is the meaning of managed WordPress hosting?
Is Flywheel accessible via SSH?
What’s a demo site?
- Demo sites are like a practice run for a website. You can create a site, and set up a demonstration before you pay for it. This is useful for anyone who is creating a website for a client. You will be able to provide an example of what the website is, how it will look, and it’s free. It’s a good way to hand off a website to a client when they’re ready to take care of the payments.
- If you want to set up a demo site, you will create a new site. You can select “My client will pay later” when the billing information pops up. You can upload the site to your client, transfer the billing, and then make the site live. It’s a good way to make sure it’s good to go before investing any money into a site.
What is a visit, according to Flywheel?
Is there a reason passwords are protected?
Will Flywheel support multisite?
- Flywheel will support multisite on a variety of plans. It is not provided with the Tiny plan, and your customized plan allows you to use multisite. However, all the sites within the multisite installation, should not exceed the disk limits when they’re all added together.
- If you want to enable multisite, you can do so in the add-ons tab, and turn multisite on. Flywheel will run multiple unique domains with a single installation of the multisite function. You will need to contact Flywheel support to have them assist you in the process.
What are the names of Flywheel’s servers?
What is the right Flywheel plan?
Will Flywheel assist migrating a site?
- Yes, Flywheel will assist migrating a site, and considering how difficult it is to move a WordPress site, Flywheel will migrate a site for free. You will need to make a request that covers some details about your previous hosting account. Flywheel transfers your site and sets it up as a demo. You can preview the demo to see how your site performs before you make it live.
- The steps to transfer a site are easy. You want to make a backup of your site, and Flywheel makes a demo site on your account. You can search the database, and replace any old URL’s. Flywheel will scan the site for malware, verify the performance, and appearance, and make sure everything is running properly. When everything checks out, the site is transferred for payment. It usually takes about one to two days.