Flywheel Review: Is It Secure & Affordable Host For You? (2020)

Flywheel exemplifies one of the best things about the hosting industry:

Its diversity.

While the most famous hosting companies have a wide range of hosting options, there are also a lot of smaller companies that fill a huge range of niches.

Flywheel is one of those smaller companies that targets one specific area. And that area?

Managed WordPress hosting. In other words, hosting made for WordPress, in which the host also manages the more frustrating ends of WordPress for you.

Flywheel may not be the biggest hosting company, but it’s got a strong reputation within its niche, with some high-profile customers:

So is Flywheel your knight and shining armor, the perfect company you’ve been waiting for?

Or is it a big fish in a small pond, or even just overhyped?

I’ll answer all those questions, and more, right now. Let’s start with Flywheel’s good points:

Flywheel Review: Pros

Pro #1: Great performance

Performance is essential to evaluating any hosting plan. So how does Flywheel do?

The answer, luckily, is simple: yes!

Flywheel offers a lot of features that boost speed. I’ll talk about them again later, but these include a content delivery network (CDN) and caching, which seriously boost speeds.

On top of that, Flywheel uses Google’s Cloud platform as the basis for its hosting infrastructure:Flywheel-cloud platform

Usually, Google’s Cloud Platform only serves enterprise-scale clients.

So this way, you get access to the same, super reliable infrastructure that hosts major services like Spotify and Goldman Sachs.

So it should be no surprise that Flywheel’s uptime and speeds are so good.

Pro #2: Good pricing

We all care about the price tag at some level, even if some of us are willing to invest more or less in our sites.

The thing about managed hosting is that it’s generally expensive, at least compared to shared web hosting that works with WordPress.

And it can also be pricey compared to some cloud or VPS solutions. A lot of people would be more likely to take up managed WordPress hosting if not for the price it usually costs.

So it’s with that in mind that we’re judging the pricing.

Flywheel has just four plans:Flywheel-prices

Given the context that I described, these are pretty good prices.

The overall range is normal. But the starting price specifically is notably lower than what a lot of competing managed WordPress plans offer.

A lot of rival plans will START in the $20 to $30 range.

Another great thing about Flywheel’s pricing is that the plans can be paid monthly. Frankly, paying on a monthly basis isn’t THAT much more expensive than paying for a year in bulk.

This is excellent, as there are many people who would prefer to pay on a monthly basis because they can’t afford a bulk purchase out of pocket.

So the pricing is overall pretty good—it’s at least average for the higher tiers, and has lower starting options than is common. Plus paying is flexible.

Of course, we can’t fully evaluate price without knowing what we get for the prices:

Pro #3: Strong features

First, a look at the overall features for the different plans:

Flywheel-plan features

The resources allocated to the plans may seem a bit low at first. Personally, I’d like to see more generosity when it comes to storage and bandwidth.

However, there’s a very important thing to note here:

These resources are dedicated to the account holder. In other words, it’s not basic web hosting, where your resources are less private and don’t perform as well because you share a server with other customers.

So because your server resources are of a higher quality, it’s natural (and in line with the competition) to have resource constraints on the lower side.

Anyway, aside from that, each plan comes with loads of features.

For starters, there’s a lot of great performance-related features that come with ALL plans:

Flywheel-features2

These aren’t just common features either, by the way. FlyCache is caching geared specifically for WordPress themes and plugins. The content delivery network (CDN) is provided by one of the industry’s best.

Plus, you get SSL and “auto-healing,” which auto-patches security flaws without taking the site offline.

Additionally, all plans get a great set of site creation and management features:Flywheel-features3

Of special note here:

You can make Blueprints, which let you save your theme and plugin configurations for one site to be used in future sites; staging sites let you create clones of your site to experiment with big changes; plus local environments for developing from your computer instead of just the internet.

All in all, the feature list is very impressive. It means that people buying the first or second tiers won’t lose out on too much, with resources being the main factor in Flywheel’s different plans.

Pro #4: Easy to use

Ease of use is essential to a managed hosting service, especially managed WordPress. After all, that’s the point of having a managed solution.

Luckily, Flywheel absolutely succeeds here.

As a managed service, it’s automatically easy to use by taking care of all WordPress related things.

But on top of that, Flywheel provides its own dashboard, which combines the features of a traditional hosting control panel with the features of a hosting account dashboard.

It’s also incredibly easy to add collaborators and team members from your dashboard:

Flywheel-ease of use-collaborators

Meanwhile, the advanced features related to site development that I talked about, like site staging, are also made very easy to handle through the dashboard’s simple interface.

All together, there really isn’t anything to complain about when it comes to Flywheel’s usability. It does this part flawlessly.

Of course, having good customer support helps:

Pro #5: Good customer support

As with an easy to use interface, quality customer support is one of the major advantages offered by a managed WordPress solution.

So how does Flywheel do?

Let’s start with the representatives. You can easily contact reps through ticket/email or through live chat.

In my experience, chatting with customer support is always very fast and helpful:

As you can see from the time stamps, this whole process took just a few minutes, with the representative needing little time to respond.

Flywheel also has solid informational material you can browse or search at your leisure.

This includes a solid set of video tutorials and tips:Flywheel-support-videos

As well as plenty of written articles in a variety of categories:

Flywheel-support-help articles

And that’s on top of other things, like ebooks and the company’s blog.

In fact, Flywheel has a lot more information available for customer support than most other managed WordPress-only hosts do.

A lot of these other managed hosts don’t provide extensive knowledge bases because they count on their representatives and easy interface to resolve all issues.

However, it’s always good to have information available for the customer to be informed and able to make the best choices. So here, Flywheel stands out.

Pro #6: Good security

If you’ll remember, Flywheel includes a lot of features that relate to security, like: SSL for every site; SSH gateway for managing sites; and the latest scripts (which also boosts performance).

Plus, in general, everything you do on Flywheel is encrypted, and Flywheel’s tech is regularly updated.

On top of that, Flywheel has security compliance certifications:

Flywheel-security-certifications

It might look short, since there are only two shown, but in reality they refer to a lot of certified security actions.

SOC2, for example, includes a range of practices—from network threat detection, to data protection, to reporting metrics, and so on.

Also, Flywheel uses Google’s Cloud platform, so the underlying infrastructure is definitely secure.

However, its features, digital practices, and security certifications go a long way in making it a more trustworthy provider.

Flywheel Review: Cons

Con #1: Updating plugins is extra

One of the biggest complaints people have about WordPress is about updating plugins.

Of course, plugins make WordPress a powerhouse CMS. But they also CONSTANTLY require updating, and when you have a lot of plugins, it can be tedious to attend to them.

So if you’re paying extra to have managed WordPress, my opinion is that the host should make some effort to offer automatic plugin updates.

There are a couple hosts that don’t include plugin or theme updates because it can risk causing issues with the site.

However, other hosts simply allow the option for automatic plugin updates, and give customers the ability to turn it off for the special cases that may require manual updating to avoid site issues.

While it’s good that Flywheel at least offers you the option, it’s unfortunate that it costs extra.Flywheel-addons

Proportionate to the price you pay for a given plan, it’s a bit frustrating. If you’re paying for the first tier, and you buy a year in bulk, that’s $156.

So $25 for automatic plugin updates for your single site means 16% of what you already pay for the entire managed WordPress service.

Con #2: Traffic and bandwidth limits

It’s very common for hosting companies to say how much traffic a paid plan can accommodate.

However, these are usually estimates, not hard limits.

But with Flywheel, the traffic numbers are actual limits, not simple estimates.

In fairness to Flywheel, you won’t be forced to upgrade automatically and your site won’t be shut down. Instead you’ll simply be billed overage fees for the traffic above your plan’s limit.

These fees are just $1 per extra 1,000 visitors. So it’s really not that much at all.

It’s also worth noting that the same thing is true for bandwidth and storage:

In the case of bandwidth, if you get a lot more traffic than your plan is supposed to handle, you’ll probably use a lot more bandwidth too. So you’ll have overage fees for that.

Meanwhile, storage is just an extra dollar per GB per month. So it’s not too hard at all to up your plan’s resources without upgrading.

So while this isn’t a huge deal, it is a tad frustrating.

Con #3: Not great for customers on a tight budget

I know, I know—I already said that Flywheel has very good pricing.

And you know what?

I stand by that. It does…for a managed WordPress solution.

But, there are many people reading this who may be prioritizing price first and foremost.

If that’s you, be warned—if Flywheel looks too expensive to you, just about any other managed WordPress host will, too.

In other words, it’s not a big flaw of Flywheel itself, nor is it your fault for not wanting to drop cash on it. It’s just the nature of the niche that Flywheel is in.

Budget customers can still find hosting that’s optimized for WordPress though:

There are quite a few web hosting companies that are considerably cheaper, and provide good support or WordPress-related features despite not offering managed services.

You can check out my list of the best WordPress hosting providers here for more on that.

Flywheel Review: Do we recommend Flywheel?

After all that you’ve read so far, you deserve a straight answer.

The short version is, yes, I definitely recommend Flywheel.

The long version is:

Yes, I still recommend Flywheel, but not to people who are prioritizing overall price.

The thing about Flywheel is that, if you want a managed WordPress service, it’s excellent. It ticks off all the boxes, adds some more of its own, AND has good pricing relative to its competitors.

But if you don’t care about getting a relatively good cost, and just need a cheap host period, Flywheel is probably too pricey. It’d be worth checking out hosting that isn’t managed.

That’s the only real drawback though. Aside from that, Flywheel is good for pretty much everyone who wants WordPress hosting!

Of course, if you’re still not sure, don’t worry!

The best way to find out if Flywheel is for you…is to just try it, risk-free!

Flywheel-try free

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