Review SummaryUpdated: July 11, 2020
- Optimized for WordPress.
- Google Cloud Platform.
- Premium CDN network.
- Workflow tools.
- White-labeled billing system.
- Custom plans available.
- Extremely high level of customer support.
- Dedicated account managers on Agency plans.
- Domains not included
- No email hosting.
- Relatively low amount of allocated resources.
- Relatively higher price points.
- Less ideal for single sites.
WordPress Hosting Review
The FlyWheel Platform
At its core, FlyWheel offers all the same features you can expect from traditional WordPress hosting plans. WordPress comes pre-installed on all sites, and they provide a handful of plugins to help optimize your site performance too. However, that’s where the similarities end.
Google Cloud Platform
Firstly, FlyWheel is one of the few hosting companies that run on Google’s Cloud Platform, meaning that all customers can take advantage of this enterprise-level infrastructure, with a range of budget appropriate plans to choose from.
If you’re considering Shared or Cloud-based hosting for your WordPress site, Cloud is the better choice performance-wise if your budget allows. In short, Cloud servers provide a reliable, high performance, and highly scalable hosting solution.
Fastly CDN & FlyCache
When it comes to speed, FlyWheel has partnered with Fastly to provide all customers hosting on a premium Content Delivery Network (CDN), no matter the plan. Fastly, is another industry-leading cloud platform that works to cache site assets and full-pages, serving globally from their network of data centers. What’s more, FlyWheel has also created a custom caching engine (FlyCache) that’s been designed specifically for WordPress sites.
While many competitors also offer CDN access with WordPress packages through Cloudflare, the primary difference here is that Flywheel’s integration is specially designed for WordPress sites and comes with many premium features you’d have to pay extra for with Cloudflare upfront.
Other than the previously mentioned infrastructure features, FlyWheel’s range of Workflow tools is where customers will get a lot of value that can’t be found elsewhere. What’s more, they’re available across all plans and price points.
The first of these great features is Blueprint. As the name suggests, Blueprint allows you to save and upload entire WordPress sites (including plugins, themes, and configurations) as templates with a single click. For agencies and freelancers who handle multiple clients, Blueprint is a great tool that helps to skip a lot of the initial setup when onboarding new clients. What’s more, if your new client already has a website, Flywheel also offers free website migration support with all plans.
On top of this, all plans also include Nightly backups, site cloning, monthly plugin updates, free SSL certificates, and 24/7 customer chat support.
For client billing and site transfer, Flywheel has simplified the process entirely. On their platform, you’ll be able to choose whether your agency or the client will be paying for hosting. If it’s the client, you’ll easily be able to email them a billing form with all the necessary information: no login details, or transfers.
In terms of team management and collaboration for your websites, FlyWheel has a custom centralized system, and it’s one of the best solutions in the market. With it, they’ve replaced having to use FTP clients like FileZilla or CyberDuck instead of providing customers a simple dashboard where to provide/revoke access for each site or all databases. Users can be invited via email, allowing them to create their own password.
What’s more, their team collaboration tool aims to streamline and simplify workflows between designers and developers. Managers can invite users to collaborate on both single sites or entire portfolios, as well as manage team activity via activity feeds and slack integration.
All this in mind, we’d have to say that FlyWheel’s platform is best utilized by individuals or agencies looking for a complete hosting platform. For those looking for a single site solution, you may find better value for money elsewhere.
Plans & Pricing
Tiny & Starter
FlyWheel’s entry-level solution provides an adequate amount of resources for a single small WordPress site. The plan is suitable for businesses looking to establish an online presence and makes a great starting point for blogs or eCommerce sites. However, with 5GB-10GB of storage space hosting, product videos may not be ideal, depending on the scale of your website.
At $13 and $25/month, respectively, customers who are just starting with WordPress hosting may find the plan to be relatively more expensive than most Shared Hosting WordPress plans on the market—coming with less overall server storage and bandwidth allocation as well.
Flywheel does charge overage for bandwidth and storage. If for some reason, you receive more traffic than your plan allows, you’ll be charged $1 per 1,000 extra monthly visitors. For storage, you’ll be charged $1 per month for every additional GB over your allotted resources.
Surprisingly, Flywheel doesn’t offer email accounts or domains with their hosting plans. According to their website, they prefer to focus on providing the best possible WordPress hosting experience. Instead, they suggest using a third-party email provider like GoogleSuite for your business email. As for domains, customers will have to purchase one through a registrar and point its nameservers to FlyWheel. Flywheel support specialists can walk you through this process, and do expect an additional $15-$20 on top of your hosting for email and domain registration.
When you take into consideration the level of infrastructure and features included with the plans, you do get a lot of value for money with FlyWheel. For businesses that are looking for a reliable solution that’s easy to set up with great support, we’d recommend this plan if your budget allows. In contrast, those looking for a more cost-effective solution needing fewer features and performance will be able to find a suitable hosting plan elsewhere on a shared physical server for a fraction of the price.
Like the Tiny & Starter plan, FlyWheel comes at a comparatively high price point for the number of resources you get. At $96/month, you could essentially purchase managed VPS hosting or an unmanaged dedicated server for a similar price. Where customers on this plan are more likely to get the most value out of this plan is through Fly Wheels’ additional features that improve business workflow and client management.
Some of the features we think freelancers or small agencies will like the most is FlyWheel’s simple billing transfer process we mentioned previously. For small teams especially, Blueprint and free site migrations will go a long way in speeding up client onboarding and site setup.
Storage-wise, you can expect about 2GB of storage per site if all WordPress installs were utilized, substantially restricting this plan to hosting small to medium-sized websites for clients. This includes both email and installation storage too. FlyWheel does allow customers to add additional sites at $20/month per site. However, there’s no mention of increasing storage or bandwidth as needed.
Speaking of bandwidth, 200GB may seem quite low for this amount of sites, although FlyWheel’s with site caching and CDN hosting, you won’t notice as much of a hit to your allocated bandwidth resources. Another benefit of Flywheel’s platform is that they’re able to offer custom plans in case your business doesn’t exactly fit within their pricing or packages.
Agency and Custom
Finally, FlyWheel’s Agency platform starts at $242/month and ensures about 1.6GB of storage per site if all resources are used. Again, compared to other options on the market, this amount of resources is quite low for the price you pay. However, the real value comes in FlyWheel’s overall platform.
With Agency and Custom plans, you’ll now have access to phone support, a dashboard to view website migration progress, and a dedicated account manager to ensure business goals are kept. A lot of customers at the agency level may appreciate having a dedicated account manager and is one of many unique aspects to FlyWheel’s offering.
Overall, FlyWheel’s Agency plan is where their collaboration and workflow features provide the most value. In short, client accounts and billing is simplified, site monitoring and updates are all managed, and team collaboration is also more accessible and more secure.
FlyWheels WordPress support is better than most providers on the market.
Flywheel Server Performance
To test Flywheel’s hosting performance we used a few Pingdom reports. Over the span of a year, Pingdom’s probes (located across North America) performed daily checks, on a basic website (less than 100KBs) hosted on Flywheel’s shared server environment. Additionally, there was no throttling added to these checks, so slower response times can be expected for 3G or 4G connections.
Yearly Server Performance:
Average Response Time
Data shown as monthly Uptime averages for a basic Flywheel website
Server performance can affect all aspects of your site. Case studies have consistently found that customer wait times (page load and response times) directly affect everything from SEM, revenue, and traffic growth. By a lot too, here’s just one example:
For Mobify, every 100ms decrease in homepage load speed worked out to a 1.11% increase in session-based conversion, yielding an average annual revenue increase of nearly $380,000.
One of Flywheel’s most valuable assets is their ability to keep your website secure with any actions on your part. They do this by integrating all hosting packages with a lot of essential security features. With Flywheel, all WordPress core files are locked so that hackers and bots can’t make changes or add any malware to your websites. On the other hand, Flywheel doesn’t allow customers to make changes to these files, either. Any changes that you need to make, like updating your wp-config.php or .htaccess files will need to be done by one of their support specialists.
Another way that Flywheel protects your website is by forcing strong passwords for admin-level users. Weak and previously used passwords leave your WordPress install wide open to brute-force attacks to steal your login information. Flywheel also comes with Intelligent IP Blocking to prevent access to IP addresses, which have previously failed WordPress login attempts, spam comments, and XMLRPC connections. Flywheel gives all of its customer’s free malware scanning and removal. If your website is ever hacked, chat with one of their support agents to have your website cleaned or restored.
Customer Support Review
FlyWheel has “heavily caffeinated” customer support agents available 24/7 via webchat or email support ticket. Once you login, a chat option appears on the right-hand side of your Flywheel hosting dashboard. Support tickets are also created within your hosting panel and are generally answered within 24 hours.
Only the agency and custom plans will have access to phone support during business hours. However, we must say that their 24/7 live chat is better than most, so you shouldn’t be worried about the level of technical support achievable through their chat system.
Flywheel also has a vast knowledge base and blog filled with articles and tutorials to walk you through everyday tasks. Here you’ll find more about how to manage and secure your websites, add domains, make changes to your hosting plan, and more.
On top of that, they also offer free eBooks for everything from business to marketing. This is a unique and great touch we can get behind.
Overall, customers will appreciate the fact the FlyWheel operates like a small business. In that their team is not outsourced, and they have a full understanding of WordPress. Through their dedicated team, you can expect support with a range of matters such as plugin conflicts, theme issues, server-level problems, and even recommendations or optimizations.
FlyWheel offer support tickets via the Client Dashboard
FlyWheel’s live chat is available 24/7/365, and accessible within their app.
Tutorials & Guides
FlyWheels offer one of the richest knowledge bases on the market and even include free e-books.
FlyWheel offers free migration for both new customers and new clients for resellers.
FlyWheel offers technical customer support via phone, Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm EST.
FlyWheel’s level of technical customer support is better than most on the market.
FlyWheel does not mention offering customer support across multiple languages.
FlyWheel doesn’t have a dedicated community forum for customer support and troubleshooting.
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