Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting: An Overview and Review

Posted on April 8, 2019 by in WordPress | 29 comments

Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting: An Overview and Review

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to WordPress hosting providers. The Content Management System (CMS) is so popular that there’s an entire sub-industry built around its hosting needs. Some of those hosts cater themselves to a more tech-savvy crowd, and Flywheel fits into that category.

Flywheel offers a lot of features geared towards WordPress developers and designers that make it a very unique web host. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the platform, discuss its key features and pricing, and help you determine if it’s a good fit for you.

Let’s get to it!

An Introduction to Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting

When it comes to hosting providers, you usually have two flavors: those that market themselves to site owners and the ones for the people who make websites. Flywheel is a managed WordPress host that caters itself to that second crowd. If you take a look at their website, you’ll notice almost their entire pitch is built around how their services can make your work easier.

Flywheel's Home page.

In short, we like the platform a lot, but it’s definitely not for everyone (nor is any web host, for that matter). With that in mind, we’re going to break down what separates Flywheel from other managed WordPress hosts, to help you decide if it’s for you.

Key Features of Flywheel Hosting:

  • Custom WordPress blueprints
  • An in-house local staging tool
  • Online staging functionality for your sites
  • The ability to transfer billing directly to clients
  • Automated daily backups
  • Access to ‘collaborator’ accounts so you don’t have to share your Flywheel credentials
  • White-labeling functionality
  • Free WordPress migrations

Pricing: Flywheel plans start at $14 per month for a single website | More Information

A Closer Look at Flywheel’s Standout Features

When it comes to picking a WordPress host, the three most important factors are price, ease of use, and features. We’ll cover the first two in a minute, but for now, let’s talk about functionality.

WordPress Blueprints

Flywheel offers a feature that enables you to save snapshots of a WordPress website as ‘blueprints‘. Then, you can use them later as templates for new sites. You can save up to ten of these handy blueprints to your account indefinitely.

Flywheel's Blueprints feature.

If you make sites for clients, there are probably plugin and theme combinations you re-use throughout the sites you work on. With blueprints, you can save those combinations and generate sites with them, saving you some time. Overall, it’s an excellent feature, but one you’re unlikely to touch if you’re not a developer.

Online Staging Websites

Staging functionality is becoming pretty common nowadays, at least among good web hosts. It enables you to create a copy of your live website and use it to test changes safely. Then, once you’re done tinkering, you can ‘push’ those updates live, confident that you won’t break anything important on your website.

Since staging websites aren’t all that uncommon, we decided to focus on how easy it is to manage them using Flywheel. Staging isn’t enabled by default for new Flywheel accounts, so you need to go into your settings to turn it on. Having said that, the process is perfectly straightforward, although it can take a while for the staging copy of your site to be ready, depending on its size.

It’s worth noting that you can have staging copies for multiple Flywheel websites. However, the feature doesn’t work with WordPress multisite, which is par for the course. Aside from that, the initial setup is simple. You can push changes live just by pressing a button, so it’s a pretty streamlined system.

Flywheel's staging sites.

The only bad news is that if you use the Tiny plan – which is the basic Flywheel tier – you don’t get access to staging websites. According to the company, that’s because they’re too resource intensive for the Tiny plan, which is understandable but sad news. However, Flywheel also offers another approach that enables you to test changes to your site safely.

Local by Flywheel

There are a lot of ways to create local WordPress websites. However, a lot of them aren’t particularly user-friendly. Flywheel, on the other hand, offers a tool called Local by Flywheel that enables you to create locally hosted WordPress websites with a few clicks. It stands out due to an amazing user interface.

The Local by Flywheel Home page.

We took a close look at Local when it came out a while ago. Since then, we’re pleasantly surprised with the number of features they’ve added. For example, you can now push websites from Local directly to your Flywheel account, if you have one.

Connecting a Local by Flywheel site to your Flywheel hosting account.

This distinction is important because Local is available for anyone to use for free, even if you don’t have a Flywheel account. There’s also a premium version for teams, starting at $50 per month. This version enables you to deploy Local sites as staging copies to your Flywheel account.

Aside from that, free users get access to all the other features Local offers. You can set up unlimited local websites, create demo URLs so other people can access them, set up blueprints, and more. Overall, Local is a fantastic tool if you like working with local WordPress websites and don’t want to mess around with software stacks or virtual containers.

Client Billing Transfer

A lot of times, clients will already have hosting set up when they come to you for help with a WordPress website. However, others expect you to take care of it, usually because they’re not sure how to pick the right provider.

Flywheel offers a cool feature that enables you to set up sites with them and transfer billing directly to clients. That means you can start working right away and let your client take care of hosting payments, so you don’t have to add them to your costs later on:

Flywheel's client billing transfer feature.

This also gives clients access to the Flywheel dashboard. However, you get to keep a separate collaborator login that has full access to all the same privileges. This way, you don’t even need to worry about handing off credentials once the work is done.

To be fair, you probably won’t touch this feature at all if you’re just looking to host a website of your own. However, it’s nice to have the option there, particularly if you’re a developer or designer.

Is Flywheel the Right Hosting Provider for Your Website?

Flywheel offers one of the most intuitive and painless hosting solutions for WordPress. Their dashboard, in particular, is a joy to use, although it doesn’t include as many options as, for example, cPanel:

Adding a new site to your Flywheel hosting account.

That said, Flywheel may not be the perfect fit for every WordPress user. We would recommend it if you fit into any of these three user profiles:

  • You want a hassle-free hosting experience for your website and don’t mind paying a little bit more for it.
  • You work with a lot of websites and you want a host that enables you to efficiently manage projects in bulk.
  • You’re a developer or designer and you just want access to some cool hosting features to play with.

Flywheel could also be an excellent option if you want to set up a small WordPress website. Its Tiny plan is more expensive than shared hosting, but the price isn’t terrible for a managed service and all the associated perks.

Flywheel's single site plans pricing table.

Now, if you need a bit more firepower for a single website, things get a bit dicier. More powerful plans for single sites come at $28 and $69 per month. At those price points, Flywheel doesn’t look too attractive.

However, if you’re considering using Flywheel, you’re probably interested in its bulk site plans. They’re a bit on the expensive side for hosting, but keep in mind – this is a work expense. The cost is pretty reasonable if you see it from that angle:

Flywheel's multiple site plans pricing table.

Finally, let’s talk about how Flywheel fits into the managed WordPress ecosystem. There are some web hosts that offer much cheaper managed hosting plans, but they usually don’t include as many features as Flywheel does. Alternatively, there are other providers with much higher price tags that primarily target demanding, cutting-edge websites.

Flywheel is pretty interesting in that it offers a middle-of-the-road approach. Its prices are pretty great if you work with WordPress for a living, and it shouldn’t give you many headaches. Plus, you get access to a lot of cool features, so it gets a thumbs up from us.

Conclusion

Managed WordPress hosting offers a very hands-off experience that enables you to focus on the day-to-day tasks of running and growing your website. However, it almost always comes at a higher price tag, and Flywheel is no exception.

Still, with single-site plans starting at $14 per month, Flywheel isn’t out of reach. Plus, it offers helpful features for designers and developers, including Local by Flywheel and the ability to transfer hosting bills to clients. If your work involves creating WordPress websites, then Flywheel is worth considering.

Do you have any thoughts about Flywheel’s managed WordPress hosting? Share your opinions with us in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by PROSTOR / shutterstock.com

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29 Comments

  1. We’ve been hosting all our sites with Flywheel for the past year or so, coulndn’t be happier.

    Well worth paying a little more for in my opinion 🙂

    • Thanks for your insight, Pete. 🙂

    • Flywheel is a complete ripoff, their hardware and software is subpar compared to Siteground and Digital Ocean, alone. They (flywheel) charge $250 per month for 30 sites under a customized wordpress hosting plan. Siteground offers a cloud server that you can run 50+ large sites, easily with max bandwidth, etc for only $80/month! Flywheel is moving to Google Cloud within a year from now, which is a subpar platform compared to the many hosting companies that use AWS, the industry standard for web hosting. Smh, I guess divi writes paid articles? If not, youbshould really broaden your horizons many of the third party plugins and hosting you guys write about are generic, at best. Also can you guys ever work on speed improvements and actually show the metrics instead of writing “how fast” your theme supposedly is. I’ve used divi since before 2.0 and I have the newest update you guys released. Support is quite shoddy as well from you Divi, c’mon man. Other than that, love you.

  2. I have a number of clients with their sites hosted by them, very good host, stable, customer support knows their stuff as well. As above, if your budget allows a good choice.

    • Thanks for the real-world take on Flywheel, Ian!

  3. We are in the process of moving ALL of our sites over to Flywheel from GoDaddy. So far our sites run much faster, and the customer service and the transition has been great.

    • Good to hear, Ginger. 🙂

  4. I’ve been hosting sites on FlyWheel for a couple of years now. I’m VERY happy with their interface, service, and support.

    • That’s good to hear, Jules – I’m sure our readers will use your comment to help them with their decision. 🙂

  5. The new Hosting for WPMU DEV is amazing and very cheaper. Excellent service like here with the elegant team

    • Maybe that’s one we can look at in the future, Nicolas. 🙂 (and thanks for the kind words!)

  6. this is a great article but however, I never tried this one I always tried GoDaddy but if you are saying we can check it out but we all know GoDaddy is more popular then this. just be my frank opinion

    • U can try Flywheel for free, they give u 14 day trial sites.

      What exactly are the advantages of being on a worldwide known hosting? If u care about u or your clients, u’ll go with the most secure, fast, accessible, etc… Don’t u think?

    • There isn’t anything worst. I had 2 clients that transfered from Go Daddy and their sites were completely infected. Support is the worst, speed is the worst and everything else is the worst. Sorry but anything is better than Go Daddy.

      On the other hand Local by Flywheel is great, it is the fastest as far as Local development is concerned. Great interface with nice addons like nginx and SSL just to name a few. If their hosting is anything like their Local it should be great. I will probably try them in the near future.

  7. I feel like I’ve jockeyed around to most hosts out there. For one reason or another, I just kept having to pick-up and move. Usually, because customer service or server integrity took a dive…but Flywheel is a different story. I’ve been running close to 200 sites with Flywheel now for a year and a half and absolutely love them and their platform. Sure, I could save a bunch of money with a few shared hosting accounts, but the peace of mind I get knowing that I have the experts at Flywheel behind me is nearly priceless.

    • Great stuff, Greg – it sounds like another happy Flywheel user here!

  8. Great Article,

    You get what you pay for. You can go with Expensive hosting, Like Liquid Web, Kinsta, WP Engine or Fly Wheel or just cheap one, but you will feel frustrated most of the time with the speed of your website.

    • Thanks for your input, Farhang!

  9. I can’t argue with anything said in the article, but it looks like it was written by someone who doesn’t know much about Flywheel as it skips the best parts of what they offer. Number one – they offer 100% free malware removal on all accounts. They also handle ALL security and caching server-side, so you do not need any security or caching plugins. They also have amazing and fast customer service. Adding their integrated CDN is also a breeze.

    They also just switched all new accounts to a Google Cloud platform. Once this is fully implemented across all existing accounts, the “Tiny” plan will get all the same perks as the bigger plans and the CDN will be FREE on all three plans.

    That being said, there are drawbacks to consider. Because of the security setup, you don’t have access to certain files and settings. However, their support department is usually quite happy to make adjustments when needed. Also, you need to bring your own DNS (the free tier of Cloudflare is perfect for this), and they don’t host email.

    These are the items that really make Flywheel stand out from other hosts and “managed” providers.

    • Thanks for pointing these things out, David. We certainly know what we’re talking about, but sometimes we can’t include everything. Though, you’ve undoubtedly helped other readers with your insight. 🙂

    • Yes! Don’t miss these pieces just because they’re under the hood. Flywheel is amazing!

  10. This is useful and helpful post. Really full of knowledge. Thanks for sharing.

  11. You should checkout RAIDBOXES. The same like flywheel but cheeper. Especially for Europe.

  12. I’ve been using Flywheel for several years now and I think they have the best tech support ever!!

    In my opinion the highlight of this company is the security by far!!!

    In the past, before I discoverd Flywheel, I had to use iThemes Security plugin in all my sites to keep them ALMOST save (I got some of them hacked real bad), which I didn’t liked at all because A) security was a bit outside of my confort zone and B) was a pretty heavy plugin with too many options I didn’t need.

    Since I’m at Flywheel they take care of the security and even better, they clean your sites for free (unlimmited times) if ever get hacked (which has never happened to me again)!!

    The backup and recovery system is soooooooo convenient, fast and easy to use…!!!

    In other hand, the Local App by Flywheel is the worst thing I’ve ever used. By the site’s description I thought was the best local app ever until I started using it… Extremely slow, u can die waiting for it to load!! Some of the great features as pullin/pushing sites between loacl and cloud don’t even work, they get stuck on infinite loading loops… Even worse, some of the sites I created with the app become completely useles for unknown reasons… And, please, don’t u ever try to update the app if u care about your work… I’ve lost some of them because another thing that doesn’t work almost never are the backups… so if the update fails it has nowhere to go back…

    I’ve been trying the Local App from several computers from different friends and collegues always getting the same results, so is not my computer’s fault, that app it’s just poorly coded.

    So, as u see, I REALLY LOVE the Flywheel hosting itself and I REALLY HATE the local app. I cannot understand how something works as a charm and another thing developed by the same company can be so wrong…

    Hope it helps!!

  13. I hear positive things about both Flywheel and SiteGround. I am planning to move away from my current host that I have been using for a couple of years due to a repeating issue that they can’t seem to permanently resolve. Would anyone recommend one over the other? Thanks.

    • I think both are of stellar quality – it really comes down to personal preference. We suggest trying both out for a month and see which one suits you better. 🙂

  14. I have been using Flywheel for the past 2+ years and I host over 100 sites with them. There service and support is worth money.

  15. I host all of my clients on Flywheel. Moving to Flywheel I ever made for my business.

    Nightly automated backups, one-click restore, top-notch security, staging sites, speed, stability, amazing support, and so much more!

    I can’t emphasize enough how great Flywheel is. Try it out. You won’t be disappointed.

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