Flywheel vs WP Engine (2018)

Laura Bernheim Laura Bernheim Hosting Expert
“We tested Flywheel & WP Engine — The winner is Flywheel!”

Let me guess — you want premium managed WordPress hosting for your business. You’ve certainly come to the right spot. Narrowing the crowded marketplace of options to Flywheel and WP Engine is an astute decision, and we can understand the dilemma in ruling out one of these top-tier hosts. Both providers structure their hosting offerings for designers, developers, and agencies, opting to market plans in terms of the number of websites or WordPress installations instead of the typical shared, virtual, or dedicated server configuration. With such similar services, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details below to see which host will be the best fit for you.

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Overall Rating
4.8/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit Flywheel »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit WP Engine »

Overall Hosting Comparison

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

A fast-growing web hosting provider laser-focused on performant WordPress hosting, Flywheel serves experienced designers, developers, and agencies a beautifully designed hosting experience with the muscle... read more +

A fast-growing web hosting provider laser-focused on performant WordPress hosting, Flywheel serves experienced designers, developers, and agencies a beautifully designed hosting experience with the muscle to back up the good looks.

More than a pretty face, Flywheel appeals to a more experienced customer base that understands the importance of a technology stack specifically tailored to hosting the world's most popular content management system.

Instead of trying to be all things to all hosting customers, Flywheel employees put all their effort into managed WordPress services — there is no email hosting, no domain services, no website builder, and no built-in eCommerce tools. Those limitations might frustrate mainstream hosting consumers, but the more tech-savvy Flywheel customers should have no problem arranging the services they need. As avid WordPress users ourselves, we appreciate Flywheel's dedication to optimizing WordPress hosting.

Flywheel deploys a virtual private server for each customer, meaning each user receives ample computing resources, stability, and security. Without shared hosting, the company's infrastructure is never overcrowded or overtaxed.

In business since 2012, the host based in Omaha, Nebraska, doubled its staff in 2016. In addition to software developers and designers, Flywheel employs numerous Happiness Engineers and Customer Success Specialists to ensure happy hosting experiences.

We appreciate that Flywheel offers assistance through phone, email tickets, and live chat during those hours, along with around-the-clock emergency support to respond to any outages. However, live support hours are restricted to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT on weekdays, and we'd love to see those hours extended to match the 24/7 norm in the industry.

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  • WordPress-exclusive hosting
  • Managed caching and security
  • 1-click staging environment
  • Nightly backups and 1-click restores
  • Free SSL certificates and migrations
  • Get started on Flywheel now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
5 GB - 120 GB
Domain Name
N/A

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

We absolutely adore WP Engine as a hosting company, but there's one huge reason we can't recommend it to everyone: It's exclusively built for WordPress users. If you are a WordPress fan, then read on! If... read more +

We absolutely adore WP Engine as a hosting company, but there's one huge reason we can't recommend it to everyone: It's exclusively built for WordPress users. If you are a WordPress fan, then read on! If not, you'll want to try one of our other recommendations.

If you care enough about your WordPress site — its security, scalability, load time, and uptime — to spend upward of $20 per month on it, then WP Engine is an ideal choice for you. It'd be tough to make a strong case arguing otherwise.

While WP Engine's price tag may scare off newbies, those who know WordPress will attest to the impressiveness of WP Engine's proprietary platform. Always updated with the latest hardware to maximize server performance, WP Engine boasts a market-leading software layer built exclusively for WordPress users. This includes the company's own caching system to ensure your site loads super quickly for visitors, a one-click staging area, and constant security monitoring to ward off online threats.

For beginners, installing a WordPress theme and getting a site up and running couldn't be easier. For more experienced folks, such as myself, WP Engine's advanced features, such as single-click development staging areas, Git integration, multiple server locations, CDN compatibility, and a ton of other niceties, can't be beat. These features make the monthly price worthwhile, compared to what the more economically competitive hosts offer.

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  • WordPress-exclusive hosting
  • Proprietary caching technology
  • 1-click WordPress install
  • FREE SSL and CDN ready
  • 20% off your first payment (was $24.20/month, now $19.33)
  • Get started on WP Engine now.
Money Back Guarantee
60 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Cheap Hosting Comparison

Cheap Rating

N/A

Cheap Rating

N/A

Neither host currently offers this type of hosting. While we do not recommend choosing these hosts for this web hosting category, we do recommend our expert's top pick for 2018's Best Cheap Hosting. See 2018's Best Cheap Hosting »

Dedicated Hosting Comparison

Dedicated Rating

N/A

Dedicated Rating

N/A

Neither host currently offers this type of hosting. While we do not recommend choosing these hosts for this web hosting category, we do recommend our expert's top pick for 2018's Best Dedicated Hosting. See 2018's Best Dedicated Hosting »

VPS Hosting Comparison

VPS Rating

★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

Flywheel takes an interesting approach to web hosting by giving each customer a virtual private server, or VPS. The company doesn't offer shared or dedicated plans, instead focusing on doing one thing... read more +

Flywheel takes an interesting approach to web hosting by giving each customer a virtual private server, or VPS. The company doesn't offer shared or dedicated plans, instead focusing on doing one thing exceptionally well.

The company offers single-site or bulk hosting plans, referring to the number of WordPress installations allowed. The $14-per-month price tag for the most affordable single-site plan will seem a little steep for novice customers who are used to seeing shared hosting, unlimited websites, and costs less than $5 per month. The added infrastructure, resources, and managed support, however, make Flywheel an excellent deal for developers and designers with more discerning tastes.

Flywheel starts single-site hosting plans with 5GB of storage and 250GB of bandwidth, along with a free site migration and SSL certificate. Traffic is limited to 5,000 monthly visits with the most basic plan, but Flywheel won't shut off your site if you go over. Single-site plans scale to 100,000 monthly visits, 20GB of storage, and 1TB of bandwidth.

Flywheel doesn't share as much information about the company's infrastructure as we'd like, but we like what we can find: server-side Varnish caching, NGINX web servers, chrooted PHP-FPM, and, naturally, MySQL databases. All features allude to Flywheel's technical prowess and WordPress expertise.

With the infrastructure optimized for speed, Flywheel engineers devote ample time to security. In fact, Flywheel is so confident in its protections that customers aren't allowed to install additional security plugins for fear of interference and slowing down performance. Servers are configured with WordPress security best practices, and server-level blocking and scanning services prevent brute force attacks and protect core files.

If a site does become infected, Flywheel will remove the malware for free. Flywheel's partnership with Sucuri means customers get world-class malware scanning, and the company's intelligent IP blocking detects attackers within seconds and prevents them from attacking the network.

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  • Server-side caching and CDN ready
  • WordPress-optimized infrastructure
  • Choice of 10 server locations
  • Easy billing transfers for resellers
  • NGINX comes standard for speed
  • Get started on Flywheel now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
5 GB - 120 GB
Domain Name
N/A

VPS Rating

N/A

WP Engine does not currently offer this type of hosting. We would not recommend choosing this host for this hosting category.

WordPress Hosting Comparison

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

It seems rather obvious (and repetitive) to say that a web host that solely hosts WordPress sites excels at hosting WordPress — but it's true. In addition to infrastructure optimized for the world-famous... read more +

It seems rather obvious (and repetitive) to say that a web host that solely hosts WordPress sites excels at hosting WordPress — but it's true. In addition to infrastructure optimized for the world-famous content management system, Flywheel offers several proprietary, one-of-a-kind services that extend WordPress hosting beyond traditional norms.

We're suckers for hosts that provide WordPress staging environments, and Flywheel has one of the best — no need for an additional server or plugins. Users can push and pull changes between production and staging environments with just one click of the mouse, in addition to selectively merging the database or just themes and plugins. Staging environments are the perfect way to test how new plugins or updated versions of WordPress will affect your website.

Flywheel further streamlined the design and development process when it acquired popular local WordPress development platform Pressmatic, eventually relaunching it as Local by Flywheel. Local™ removes the technical headaches of configuration and debugging local environments and allows for one-click WordPress installations, flexible infrastructure, simple root access, and shareable URLs.

We also appreciate that Flywheel enables designers, developers, and agencies to package together commonly used themes and plugins for rapid, automated configuration of new sites and projects. Blueprints can be saved and deployed with speed and simplicity, empowering you to focus on a client's specific needs and customizations.

In addition to free site migrations and all-VPS architecture, Flywheel further expands WordPress hosting with performant server-side Varnish caching and full-featured, free demo sites.

Everything is controlled from a gorgeous, easy-to-use interface. All your sites are hosted and accessible through the admin portal, meaning you don't have to remember all the different logins for sites you manage. Traditional hosting customers might miss the standard cPanel installation, but Flywheel's platform was clearly designed for people passionate about well-crafted user experiences.

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  • Free local WP development app
  • Managed security scans with Sucuri
  • Sandbox environment for staging
  • In-house WP expertise and support
  • All-VPS infrastructure
  • Get started on Flywheel now.
Money Back Guarantee
30 days
Disk Space
5 GB - 120 GB
Domain Name
N/A

WordPress Rating

★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

#8 out of 10 in WordPress Hosting reviews

Do you care enough about your WordPress site — its security, scalability, load time, and uptime — to spend around $20, or more, per month on it? If you answered "yes," then WP Engine is a fine... read more +

Do you care enough about your WordPress site — its security, scalability, load time, and uptime — to spend around $20, or more, per month on it? If you answered "yes," then WP Engine is a fine choice! You've come to the right place.

While WP Engine's price tag will scare off many, those who know WordPress, and the power that comes when the forces of WordPress and WP Engine combine, will likely praise the robustness of the WP Engine platform. Always updated with the latest hardware to maximize server performance, WP Engine boasts a market-leading software layer built exclusively for WordPress. This includes a proprietary caching system to ensure minimal page load times for visitors, a one-click development staging area, and around-the-clock security monitoring for your site.

Installing WordPress, setting up a theme, and moving a site from production to publication is simple for beginners. More experienced users will appreciate the single-click development staging areas, Git integration, choice of server locations, CDN compatibility, and other niceties. These features make the higher-end monthly price worthwhile, in my humble opinion.

Plus, there's my personal favorite feature: the built-in caching system. This feature allows WP Engine sites to outperform almost all other WordPress sites without the use of plugins. This means you can focus more on your content and design and let the experts at WP Engine focus on maintaining your site's ridiculously great performance.

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  • Enterprise-level WordPress hosting
  • Built-in caching and staging
  • Unlimited data transfer
  • Daily backups and 1-click restore
  • 20% discount for HostingAdvice users (was $24.20/month)
  • Get started on WP Engine now.
Money Back Guarantee
60 days
Disk Space
10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name
New or Transfer

Site Builder Hosting Comparison

Website Builder Rating

N/A

Website Builder Rating

N/A

Neither host currently offers this type of hosting. While we do not recommend choosing these hosts for this web hosting category, we do recommend our expert's top pick for 2018's Best Site Builder Hosting. See 2018's Best Site Builder Hosting »

Flywheel vs. WP Engine - Our Conclusion

Laura Bernheim Laura Bernheim Hosting Expert
“We tested Flywheel & WP Engine — The winner is Flywheel!”

There you have it! As you can imagine, we’ve rated these two similar hosts quite closely. We appreciate how fine-tuned both companies are, by choosing to focus on doing one thing (managed WordPress hosting) exceptionally well. As such, both companies got relatively low marks for pricing; unfortunately, they’re often compared with the more mainstream providers like Bluehost, SiteGround, and InMotion Hosting. For business-facing hosting, though, our analysis shows that Flywheel and WP Engine are very tough to beat.

Overall Rating
4.8/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit Flywheel »
Overall Rating
4.5/5.0 ★★★★★
Visit WP Engine »