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Excellent Hosting for WP
A reasonable alternative to WP Engine, but with some issues
Typical Flywheel Prices
|Service||Monthly Price Range|
|Shared Hosting||$13.00 - $242.00||4 plans|
Last Update | June 2021
Monthly Update - June 2021
|Hosting Plans||Managed WordPress Hosting|
|Top Features||Blazing-fast Site Speed; Free CDN + Custom Caching; Free SSL Certificates; Optimized For WordPress; Hacker-free Security; Easy Sftp Access; Staging For Every Site; Powerful Built-in Tools|
|Customer Support||Live Chat; Phone and Email Support; Schedule a Demo; Knowledge Base|
During June, Flywheel:
- Reported email sending delays, SFTP Maintenance, and customer sites being inaccessible
During May, Flywheel:
- Didn’t issue any new features or updates
- Reported four cloud maintenance and connectivity issues in total
Flywheel has a reputation for being a leading WordPress hosting provider that is endorsed by WordPress.org itself. It has a promise of delivering fast speeds, a high level of performance, and support that is needed to keep WordPress websites running as smoothly as possible.
It has its own in-house built user interface that makes it really simple to build websites, offering free demo sites and even one-click staging.
There are even free SSL and DNS updates, and you can create and restore nightly backups, transfer the bill to clients, collaborate with coworkers and manage 1000s of websites from the dashboard.
Keep in mind that it also has a free migrations plugin, which allows you to move all of your sites whenever you’d like to do so. This is a WordPress plugin, so it streamlines things tremendously.
With promises this high, I had to jump on the bandwagon and see if they truly live up to the reputation.
Let’s find out.
Getting Started with Flywheel Hosting
Setting things up at Flywheel hosting is actually quite simple, you just need to follow these steps.
Here’s what I did.
After visiting the website, I clicked on the “GET STARTED” button on the top right corner of the screen.
I got redirected to another page, where they requested a bit more info.
The username, password, and email address? This is too easy.
After clicking on next you can enter your first name, last name, gender, and who you work for.
And here’s the screen you’ll arrive at. This is your home screen.
Now, you can either click on “NEW SITE” on the top right or “Create a new site” which is in green around the middle. This will initiate the creation process, which by itself is straightforward.
Okay so, setting things up here, you can decide who owns this site: you or your organization.
Then you’ll need to select a plan.
You’ll be redirected to this screen, where you can either set up WordPress hosting exclusively or WordPress hosting alongside billing and client management features.
I’m only interested in WordPress hosting, so for the time being, that’s what I selected.
Here’s where you’ll get to pick your hosting package. For the purposes of this review, I’m going with the Tiny plan, as I want to see how this host performs at its cheapest point, however, if you’re making an account, make sure that you pick the hosting plan that is right for your specific needs.
Once you click on “Choose Plan”, you’ll need to enter additional information for payment.
This means that you have to write the subscription name, add a payment method, and a billing address.
When you click on add a new payment method, you can pay by either adding a new credit card or by adding a new PayPal account.
When you select “add new credit card”, you’ll need to enter the cardholder’s name, card number, CVV, Exp. Month (MM), Exp. Year (YYYY), Country, ZIP/Postal Code, and Account Description.
Once you do all of that, simply click on “Add Card” to complete the process.
Once that’s completed, you can enter some other details, such as the site’s name and the temporary domain, and create the WordPress user by entering your username and a password.
Then all you have to do is wait for the website to be created, and this only takes a few minutes.
And that’s all there is to create a website on Flywheel and get started.
Setting Things up at Flywheel Hosting
While we’re at the setting up stage, let’s review what we can do here.
The add screen option essentially lets you customize this tab so you can have a clearer view of the page, assuming you run multiple pages.
You can also add collaborators to the website by entering their email.
The plugin tab lets you install plugins, and it can even update them for you (for a fee).
You’ll need to enter your password here to start installing plugins.
Keep in mind that you can find your password under the privacy mode tab, which is enabled by default.
When it comes to the performance insights tab, this is essentially an advertisement tool.
Here you can pay $25 per month to get performance insights.
The stats page lets you see your visits and your plan usage.
If you click on Stats, this is the screen you’ll see.
Since I just installed WordPress, and have nothing more added, it’s currently empty, but over time it will generate data.
The Backups tab lets you create a new backup.
All you have to do is name it.
And just wait for it to finish.
The advanced tab gets tricky, as it gives you access to a lot of quick actions.
You can see your WordPress version here, and you can even enable Multisite support or see your PHP version.
You can also connect through SSH, Flush Cache, Reset WordPress Login Attempts, and Export Logs.
On the Site Options tab, you can turn on staging, turn on development mode, enable CDN powered by Fastly, enable WP_DEBUG which is WordPress’s debug mode, and enable WP_CACHE which allows approved caching plugins to build and control a persistent cache.
If you click on the little gear icon, which is known as site options, you can do the following:
- Change the site name
- Create a blueprint
- Manage billing
- Clone site
- Delete site
- Restore Site to default
Just for reference, here’s how the website looks by default, without you doing anything after WordPress has been installed.
Now, on the main navigation bar on the top, you can also access the “Manage” tab.
Here, you can access organizations, blueprints, and referrals.
The organization’s tab allows you to transfer all of your existing subscriptions as well as payment methods to an Organization, or you can simply start fresh with a new organization and keep your existing subscriptions in a personal account.
Blueprints allow you to create common themes and plugins blueprints.
All you have to do is set up a site for blueprints, create new ones, and use them when creating new sites, it’s that simple.
The referrals tab is where things can get a bit interesting. You can share Flywheel and get paid, or in other words, you can refer your friends and clients and earn 300% of each referred site’s monthly rate.
If you want to enable SSL, go to the right side of the menu on the main website management tab, click on the three dots next to the domain name, and click on Enable SSL.
And you should see it enabled now.
Now, here’s the thing. Instead of using cPanel, Flywheel has developed their own web hosting alternative dashboard, which is specifically designed to improve the workflow of creating as well as offloading websites. So you’re unfortunately not getting cPanel here.
Keep in mind that you also get access to Free WordPress website migrations, and to get started, you need to create a free Flywheel account, and fill in the migration request form.
Furthermore, a copy of your existing WordPress website will be created by the in-house migration team, where it will be copied over to the FLywheel demo server. Keep in mind that this process is free, but it can take 24 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can pay $49 and get it done within 8 hours.
Level of Support at Flywheel Hosting
The best way I love to test customer support is to, well, chat with them if I can through live chat support, or by opening a ticket to see how long It takes for them to resolve it.
To start, click on “Get Help” on the bottom right corner of the screen.
Click on “Chat Now”.
Now, you can either choose to create a ticket or send them a direct message.
Let’s see how the tickets work like.
On the “Open a Ticket” menu, you can click on manage subject, select which site you want them to look at, and the category. Finally, enter the message.
Finally, click on “Send Message”.
It should look like this.
That’s about it.
Let’s see how the live chat will feel like.
First, you’re here with a bot, and you have to squeeze your way in order to speak with a real person.
Okay, so, wow. They created a personalized video showcasing the cancellation process.
It has my name in there and everything, I’ve never experienced this level of support before, and it’s quite impressive.
So, let me show you what they showed me, and what I did.
Click on account, followed by billing on the top right corner of the screen.
Followed by details.
Then click on this gear icon here.
And click on Cancel Subscription.
State your reasons and enter your password.
Remember to check “Yes, I am sure I want to cancel my subscription.”
That’s all there is to it.
Once I completed it, I sent a screenshot.
This is the best customer experience I’ve ever had so far out of any hosting provider out there, and I just had to point it out.
So to summarize, within 5 to 10 minutes, they not only replied, they recorded an entire video. Brilliant support.
Uptime and Speed
Now, since my website hasn’t been up on this hosting provider for several years, I cannot really vouch for the long-term performance, however throughout my time testing it, I saw solid performance.
It remained at 99.99% uptime and had a response time of between 150ms to 250ms, which is excellent.
When it comes to speed, this will vary depending on the themes and plugins installed on the website, however, with a light theme and two to three plugins, and a total page size of 200kb, you can expect a load time between 400ms to 600ms at the most, which is exceptional for WordPress standards.
Pricing of Flywheel Hosting
So here’s what I love about the pricing. You’re not getting any special offer, or discount, or things like that. Sure, you can get a free month or two here and there, but they clearly show you how much this will cost you, and this price will remain like this forever. For example, many other hosts will tell you that they cost $4 or $3 per month, but that’s only valid for the initial, sign-up time, of a year or two, or at times you even have to pay three years upfront for the best discount. Here it’s quite simple. You have the original pricing by default, and you can pay monthly.
You have a total of four plans, including:
- Tiny – Supports up to 1 WordPress Site, 5.000 Monthly Visits, Gives you 5GB of storage, and 20GB bandwidth.
- Starter – Supports up to 1 WordPress Site, 25.000 Monthly Visits, Gives you 10GB of storage, and 50GB bandwidth.
- Freelance – Supports up to 10 WordPress Sites, 100.000 Monthly Visits, Gives you 20GB of storage, and 200GB bandwidth.
- Agency - Supports up to 30 WordPress Sites, 400.000 Monthly Visits, Gives you 50GB of storage, and 500GB bandwidth.
You can also create a custom-built plan if your requirements are higher than the ones showcased here.
Pros and Cons of Flywheel Hosting
- Features a Flywheel Cloud Platform which is powered by GCP
- Features many data centers in different countries around the globe
- Affordable pricing
- Free SSL Certificates
- 24/7 Truly Reliable Support
- Excellent Performance
- Flywheel does not host personal email inboxes
- Has no built-in Git deployment
Well, this turned out to be quite a surprise. While Flywheel offers all of the standard features of any hosting provider, and at a competitive price point, you are genuinely getting excellent WordPress hosting through which you can have a wonderful time managing hundreds of websites through their simplistic, in-house built user interface, and that’s what I love about it. However, the one thing that truly took it out of the park for me was the support.
Not only did they almost instantly reply to me, but they even recorded a new, custom video, showing me how to do things step by step, and that’s a luxury level support service I’ve never experienced before, and that is why I have to recommend them for beginners.
It’s simple to manage, so if you ever get stuck, you know that there’s a support team there to assist you, both visually through videos and textually through the live chat support system.