Flywheel Review

Introduction

Flywheel is a prominent player in the managed WordPress hosting market, known for providing robust hosting solutions specifically tailored to WordPress users. Established with a focus on simplifying the workflow for web designers and developers, Flywheel offers a range of features that help streamline the development process, from local testing to site management. What sets Flywheel apart is not just its user-centric design but also its commitment to performance, security, and exceptional support. In this review, we'll delve into how Flywheel measures up in these critical areas, evaluate its pricing structure, and explore its unique features, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of whether it's the right hosting solution for your needs.

 

 

Flywheel | Managed WordPress Hosting for Designers and Agencies Flywheel | Managed WordPress Hosting for Designers and Agencies
4.5
Pros:
  • Optimized for WordPress
  • Local Development Tool
  • Robust Security Measures
  • High Performance
  • Effective Customer Support
  • User-Friendly Interface
Cons:
  • Cost
  • Limited Cheaper Options
  • Resource Limits
  • No Email Hosting
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Performance

Performance is a crucial aspect for any managed WordPress hosting service, and Flywheel excels in this area by providing an infrastructure designed for speed and reliability. Here are some key performance features of Flywheel:

  1. Server Technology: Flywheel utilizes Google Cloud Platform, ensuring that the underlying hardware and network are designed for high performance and scalability. This choice reflects in the responsiveness of websites hosted on their platform.
  2. Caching: Flywheel has built-in server-side caching solutions, specifically configured for WordPress. This helps in significantly reducing page load times by serving cached versions of your pages without needing to access the database each time.
  3. Content Delivery Network (CDN): In partnership with Fastly, Flywheel offers a powerful CDN integration for all its plans at no additional cost. This ensures that your website’s content is delivered quickly to visitors from around the globe.
  4. SSD Drives: All Flywheel servers are equipped with solid-state drives (SSDs), which are much faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). This boosts the speed at which data is retrieved, enhancing the overall website performance.
  5. Uptime Guarantees: Flywheel promises an impressive 99.9% uptime. They actively monitor server health to maintain this guarantee, minimizing potential downtimes that could impact your business.

 

 

Security

Security is paramount in the world of web hosting, and Flywheel places a strong emphasis on protecting sites from threats and ensuring data safety. Here’s a detailed look at the security measures implemented by Flywheel:

  1. Managed WordPress Updates: Flywheel handles WordPress updates automatically, ensuring that your site always runs the latest and most secure version of WordPress. This helps mitigate vulnerabilities associated with outdated software.
  2. Free SSL Certificates: Every site hosted on Flywheel comes with a free SSL certificate, which is vital for encrypting data transmitted between the user’s browser and the website, protecting sensitive information from being intercepted by malicious actors.
  3. Nightly Backups: Flywheel provides automatic nightly backups, ensuring that a recent copy of your website is always available. These backups are stored securely and can be restored at any time with just a few clicks.
  4. Malware Monitoring and Removal: Flywheel's platform includes continuous malware monitoring, which helps detect and eliminate any potential threats before they can cause damage. In the event that malware is detected, Flywheel will remove it at no extra cost.
  5. Firewall and Login Security: Flywheel’s servers are protected by a web application firewall (WAF) that filters out harmful traffic and prevents unauthorized access. Additionally, they enforce strong password policies and offer two-factor authentication to enhance login security.
  6. IP Blocking: Flywheel allows you to block IPs directly from the dashboard, providing an extra layer of control over who can access your site, further enhancing security.

 

 

Customer Support

Customer support is a critical component of any service-oriented business, and Flywheel excels in providing high-quality, responsive support to its users. Here’s a detailed evaluation of Flywheel’s customer support:

  1. Support Channels: Flywheel offers several avenues for customer support, including live chat, phone, and email. These options ensure that users can reach out through whichever medium they prefer or that suits their needs at the moment.
  2. 24/7 Availability: Understanding the necessity of round-the-clock support in the web hosting industry, Flywheel provides 24/7 support through its live chat and email channels. This means help is always available, regardless of time zone or hour, which is crucial for addressing urgent issues that may arise.
  3. Knowledgeable Staff: Flywheel’s support team is well-trained with a deep understanding of WordPress and hosting-related issues. This expertise allows them to provide not only timely but also effective solutions to technical problems, ensuring minimal downtime and frustration for users.
  4. Resource Library: Apart from direct support, Flywheel also offers a comprehensive resource library that includes guides, articles, and tutorials. This is a great help for DIY troubleshooting and for users looking to expand their knowledge on specific aspects of managing a WordPress site.
  5. Community and Forums: While Flywheel does not have an official forum, the community around Flywheel is active, and many user groups and third-party forums provide peer support, tips, and tricks which complement the official support channels.
  6. Customer Feedback: Flywheel is responsive to customer feedback and continuously improves its support services based on user suggestions and needs. This dynamic approach ensures that the support they offer stays relevant and highly effective.

 

 

Pricing

Pricing is often a decisive factor when choosing a web hosting service. Flywheel offers a variety of pricing plans that cater to different needs, from individual freelancers to large agencies. Here’s an overview of their pricing structure and what you can expect from each plan:

  1. Starter Plan: Aimed at small websites or personal projects, the Starter plan begins at $15 per month. It includes 5,000 monthly visits, 5GB disk space, and 20GB bandwidth. This plan also offers free SSL certificates and CDN services, making it a good starting point for small-scale sites.
  2. Freelance Plan: Priced at $115 per month, this plan is suitable for freelancers or small businesses. It supports up to 10 sites, 100,000 monthly visits, 20GB disk space, and 200GB bandwidth. This plan also includes advanced features like staging sites and multisite support.
  3. Agency Plan: Designed for larger businesses or agencies, this plan costs $290 per month and supports up to 30 sites. It offers 400,000 monthly visits, 50GB disk space, and 500GB bandwidth, along with priority support and a dedicated account manager.
  4. Custom Solutions: For enterprises or users with specific needs, Flywheel offers custom plans. These include everything in the Agency plan plus features like high availability, dedicated clusters, and managed onboarding. Pricing is custom-tailored based on the specific requirements of the business.
  5. Add-Ons: Flywheel offers several add-ons, such as additional sites for smaller plans, performance insights, and plugin updates, which can be purchased to enhance your hosting experience.

 

 

Specific Features

Flywheel stands out in the managed WordPress hosting market not only for its performance and support but also through several specific features that enhance the user experience and site management capabilities. Here’s a look at some of these unique features:

  1. Local by Flywheel: Perhaps one of the most notable features is "Local by Flywheel," a free local development software that allows developers to design, develop, and deploy WordPress sites locally, with the option to easily push changes to a live Flywheel site. This tool is incredibly beneficial for developers looking to streamline their workflow.
  2. Blueprints: Flywheel offers a feature called Blueprints, which allows users to save a custom configuration of themes and plugins as a template. This can be reused for new projects, significantly speeding up the development process for agencies and freelancers who often create new sites with similar setups.
  3. Staging Sites: Every plan includes access to staging sites, which allows you to clone your live site and make changes in a test environment. Once you are happy with the modifications, you can push them to the live site with just a few clicks. This feature is vital for maintaining site integrity during updates and changes.
  4. Collaboration Tools: Flywheel makes it easy to collaborate with others. You can add collaborators to your projects, who then get their own Flywheel dashboard. This is particularly useful for teams and clients, as it provides a way to work together without sharing your main account credentials.
  5. Simple SSL Integration: Flywheel provides free, simple SSL certificate installation, ensuring that every site hosted on their platform is secured and trusted by browsers, which is crucial for SEO and user trust.
  6. Performance Insights: An optional add-on, Performance Insights offers regular reports on how well your site is performing, with actionable advice on how to improve loading times and overall site performance. This helps in keeping your site optimized and performing at its best.

 

 

Pros and Cons

 

Pros of Flywheel

  1. Optimized for WordPress: Flywheel is specifically tailored for WordPress sites, offering optimized performance and features that cater to WordPress users.
  2. Local Development Tool: The availability of "Local by Flywheel," a powerful tool for local WordPress development, allows for easy testing and deployment of sites.
  3. Robust Security Measures: Includes free SSL certificates, nightly backups, malware monitoring, and easy-to-implement security features to protect websites.
  4. High Performance: Leveraging the Google Cloud Platform, Flywheel provides fast loading times with built-in caching and a free CDN.
  5. Effective Customer Support: Offers 24/7 support through multiple channels, staffed by knowledgeable personnel familiar with WordPress.
  6. User-Friendly Interface: The dashboard and overall user interface are intuitive, making site management straightforward for all user levels.

Cons of Flywheel

  1. Cost: Generally more expensive than some other web hosting options, which might deter smaller sites or beginners just starting out.
  2. Limited Cheaper Options: The entry-level plan might still be out of reach for those on a tight budget, and scaling up can be costly.
  3. Resource Limits: Some users report that the monthly visit and bandwidth limits could be restrictive, potentially leading to additional charges if exceeded.
  4. No Email Hosting: Unlike some other hosts, Flywheel does not offer email hosting, which means users need to find and manage a separate provider for email services.

 

 

Final Thoughts and Ratings

After evaluating Flywheel across various aspects including performance, security, customer support, pricing, and specific features, it's clear that Flywheel stands out as a robust managed WordPress hosting solution. Here’s a summary and final rating:

  • Performance: Flywheel’s use of Google Cloud Platform and built-in performance features like caching and CDN integration ensure fast load times and high reliability.
  • Security: Comprehensive security measures including free SSL, nightly backups, and malware scanning provide a secure environment for your WordPress sites.
  • Customer Support: With 24/7 access and multiple channels, coupled with a knowledgeable team, Flywheel excels in supporting its users effectively.
  • Pricing: While not the cheapest option, Flywheel's pricing is competitive given the quality of services and features included. The tiered plans make it accessible for different user needs.
  • Specific Features: Unique offerings like Local by Flywheel, Blueprints, and easy collaboration tools significantly enhance the user experience, particularly for developers and agencies.
Overall Ratings
4.5/5

Alternatives to Flywheel:

  1. WP Engine: Similar in many respects to Flywheel with strong performance and support, but often at a higher price point. Offers extensive enterprise solutions.
  2. SiteGround: Offers managed WordPress hosting with excellent customer service at more budget-friendly prices. Great for those starting out.
  3. Bluehost: Known for its affordability and integration with WordPress, making it suitable for beginners and small businesses needing a cost-effective solution.

Flywheel is an excellent choice for those who prioritize reliability, support, and are looking for specific WordPress-focused features. It’s particularly well-suited for web developers and agencies that manage multiple WordPress sites.

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