For busy entrepreneurs with less time on their hands, getting managed WP hosting can be a way to save effort, time, and manpower.
A managed WP hosting service takes care of all the technical aspects of WordPress, including backups, security, updates, and more.
Today, we’ll be looking at two popular managed WP hosting services – WP Engine and FlyWheel.
WP Engine Overview
WP Engine, without a doubt, is one of the most well-known hosted WordPress solutions.
The company has received a variety of awards, such as the International Business Award, Top Workplaces, Ethics in Business and Community, and more.
Who Is It For?
WP Engine is great for anyone who wants to improve the performance of their WordPress site but doesn’t have the time or resources to do it alone. Here’s who can benefit from their service:
- Small and medium-sized business
- Enterprise-level businesses
- Agencies that manage websites for clients
Let’s explore some of WP Engine’s top features and how these features can be useful for marketers, developers, and the others mentioned above.
WP Engine Setup & Customization
WP Engine is easy to set up and customize.
- Themes – There are 36 free customizable StudioPress themes to choose from with built-in SEO features
- Migration Plugin – This plugin makes it easy to migrate your site to WP Engine with a few clicks, without losing anything
- Premium Migration Service – An account manager is also available to take care of the technical aspects of migration if necessary
- Launch Review – WP Engine’s team is available to review your site before you launch it to make sure it is ready
- Automatic Updates – All major WordPress updates will be handled for you automatically; minor updates will be tested first
- Automatic Backups – It is important to back up your site so that you don’t lose data, and this is done automatically when you use WP Engine
- Free SSL Certificate – You can add it with one click
- Free CDN – Start using a CDN to speed up your site with a single click
WP Engine Team Management
WP Engine is great for enterprises with small or large teams.
- Team Access – You can set up user permissions so that proper roles and access levels apply
- Site Ownership Transfer – If you are building sites for clients, you can easily transfer site ownership to them
- Activity Log – Check your activity history to stay on track of what your team members are doing on your site
- Developer Connections – There are Git and SFTP connections available so that your development team can keep using their tools
- Developer Tools – WP Engine comes with DevKit, which allows your development team to build sites with SSH Gateway access, push and pull deployments, and three environments: Dev, Stage, and Prod, including dedicated dev environments
Optimized WordPress Performance
One of the reasons to sign up for a managed WP hosting service is the improved performance you can get.
- Increased Speed – As mentioned, you get a free CDN, which can speed up your site and protect you from hackers
- Increased Security – Besides the free CDN, you get a free SSL
Two-Factor Authentication – This optional feature can also increase security
- Threat Monitoring – WP Engine will monitor your site for threats by detecting and blocking malicious behavior before it gets out of hand
- Disaster Recovery – If your site does go down, it will be back up soon with the help of WP Engine’s experts
- Dedicated Security Team – All security audits will be taken care of for you by their expert team
- Global Performance – WP Engine has Global Data Centers in Asia, the Pacific, North America, and Europe for improved performance and speed regardless of where you are in the world
- Amazon Web Services – WP Engine is an Amazon Web Services Advanced Technology Partner, and they offer a variety of cloud solutions
- Downtime Prevention – Prevent website downtime with WP Engine’s CDN and other security measures
- Premium Caching – Speed up your site by using EverCache
- Scalability – WP Engine can manage increased spikes in activity without downtime
Detailed Reports and Analytics
WP Engine’s detailed analytics will help you optimize your performance.
- Simplified Google Analytics – See your Google Analytics stats straight from your WordPress admin dashboard, presented in a simplified manner so that it is easy to understand the most important data
- Website Speed Analytics – These stats are also integrated into your user dashboard. They show you exactly how new plugins or site features affect website speed and page performance
- Application Performance Analytics – See data about the performance of your web applications; this will help your IT team eliminate issues
WP Engine Integrations and Plugins
With WP Engine, you will have access to a wide variety of third-party plugins and integrated services.
Integrations – You can integrate with many third-party platforms and services
Plugins – You will have access to the entire WordPress plugin library
Partnerships – WP Engine has partnered with services such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform
WP Engine Customer Support
WP Engine has a robust support center.
- Contributors and Experts – There are experts dedicated to 14 different specific subject matters ready to help you with any problems you might face. Each team member is trained for weeks
- International 24/7 Support – A team of US- and Ireland-based support experts is available 24/7
- Support Center – There is a large support center with how-to articles and guides on how to use every technical aspect of WP Engine
- Resource Center – The resource center has articles to help you grow your business
- Solution Center – Here you can find plugins and third-party services to help with any problem you might be experiencing
- WP Engine Status – This is a separate site that will tell you if any the main site or any other services from WP Engine is down (WPEngineStatus.com)
WP Engine Affiliate Program
WP Engine’s affiliate program has won several awards.
For WP Engine sales, you get $200 minimum commissions, and you also get 35 percent commissions from any StudioPress premium theme sales.
Affiliate cookies last for 180 days (StudioPress cookies only last for 60 days), and you will be able to use pre-designed banners and custom landing pages to promote WP Engine.
You will also be able to offer exclusive discounts and promotions to customers.
WP Engine Pricing
WP Engine is reasonably priced. They have several plans.
- Startup – $35/month or $350/year: One site, 25,000 visits, 10GB local storage, and 50GB bandwidth
- Growth – $115/month or $1150/year: Five sites, 100,000 visits, 20GB local storage, and 200GB bandwidth. You also get phone support in addition to live chat
- Scale – $290/month or $2900/year: 15 sites, 400,000 visits, 30GB local storage, and 400GB bandwidth
- Custom – Custom price: Up to 25 sites, unlimited visits, up to 1TB local storage, and unlimited bandwidth
As you can see, you can get two months free off any plan by signing up for yearly billing.
All in all, WP Engine is one of the best managed WordPress services and is also a great value for the money.
Flywheel, at GetFlywheel.com, was founded in 2012. Its three founders started it in Omaha, Nebraska, because they were tired of the unreliable solutions that were available to them at the time.
Who Is It For?
Flywheel is perfect for:
- Freelancers who want a managed platform that lets them build sites and collaborate with clients
- Agencies that manage websites for clients
- Enterprise teams with many members who want to collaborate securely and scale projects
Here are some of Flywheel’s best features.
Getting Started and Building Sites
Flywheel offers premium WordPress hosting solutions for secure and quick performance.
- Free Migration – Moving your website to Flywheel is easy. Whether you have one site or 100, migration is free – and you only start paying for Flywheel after the migration process is over.
- Blueprints – Flywheel takes themes to the next level. Blueprints are bundles of popular themes with useful plugins. You can create a blueprint for all your future sites so that they automatically come with the plugins you want. This makes setting up websites easy and quick and lets you focus on important design and configuration details.
- Test Your Changes – A common problem with editing sites is that you have to risk having something go wrong on your live site. This isn’t a problem with Flywheel as they have a separate sandbox environment which you can use to test your edits. They will only go live when you are ready.
- Push and Pull – This separated environment also lets you test WordPress and plugin updates and see how they will affect your site. You can also test out new plugins. You can easily push or pull edits to or from your live site to your testing environment, and you can decide whether to move only themes and plugins or also the database.
- Site Cloning- This is another way to quickly create sites. You can clone an existing site so that you have a copy. You can either edit and customize the second site or keep it as it is. This can be useful if you want to create many sites for clients with similar structures and only need to edit the details.
Flywheel helps optimize your site’s performance.
- Optimized Security – Flywheel optimizes your security at the server level so you don’t need any third-party plugins like Sucuri anymore. For example, their intelligent IP blocking service will prevent intruders.
- Two-Factor Authentication – This gives you an added layer of security.
- Limited Login Attempts – Turn on this feature to avoid people breaking your password through brute force.
- Disaster Recovery – If your site does get compromised, Flywheel’s team of experts will clean up your site and remove any malware.
- FlyCache – FlyCache speeds up your site by catching your content. It works together with Flywheel’s CDN to deliver cached content from global points of presence around the world and for increased security. This works even for ecommerce and membership sites. Caching is customizable, and exception rules are automatically applied for certain plugins.
- Choose Your Data Center- Flywheel has data centers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia. Regardless of where you are in the world, you will get quick speeds. You can choose your data center yourself for optimized performance.
- Automatic Backups- Your site will be backed up automatically every night. This way, all of your daily updates will be saved and can be restored with a single click.
Flywheel makes it easy for teams and organizations to collaborate.
- Organizations – Add team members to your organizations. You can assign roles and permissions and allow different team members to create, publish, and edit sites. You can invite clients or team members to collaborate on projects without having to share passwords. Teammates who have full access can be added, and you can revoke access and permissions at any time.
- Central Dashboard – All team member sites will be visible from a single dashboard.
- Real-Time Feeds – An activity feed will show you who is doing what in real time. For example, the feed will get updated as soon as someone publishes a site or makes an edit.
- Real-Time Notifications: You can also get real-time notifications through the Slack integration.
- Billing Management – You will also have a centralized dashboard to manage all of your organization’s subscriptions.
Agencies will find that Flywheel makes it easy to manage clients.
- Demo Sites – It’s important to be able to show potential clients what you can do. Create demo sites to showcase to clients.
- Ownership Transfer – You can easily transfer ownership to a client and send them a bill after you build their site.
- Retain Access – Even after transferring ownership to a client, you will retain access as a collaborator. This allows you to make edits and take care of updates when necessary. You don’t need a separate password; it will still be accessible from your dashboard.
Flywheel Agency Partner
You can also become an Agency Partner. This lets you resell hosting to clients.
You will get a dedicated account manager to help you manage your clients.
Your agency site will be hosted for free, and Flywheel will take care of all of your clients’ WordPress needs, including updates, backups, caching, security, and more.
You can get paid up to $500 for each site you develop and transfer to clients on Flywheel.
With Flywheel’s white-label service, you get a client-facing dashboard that is customized and branded with your company’s logos.
You will be backed up by Flywheel’s support staff, but you can set your own prices. You can also set up your own subscriptions for recurring revenue.
Flywheel Local WordPress Development
Flywheel’s local WordPress development environment lets you create shareable URLs to show to clients and has SSH access, free local SSL support, and more.
Flywheel Customer Support and Resources
Flywheel, like WP Engine, offers great support to their customers.
- Schedule a Demo – Go here to sign up for a free demo of the platform
- Ebook Library – Flywheel has a large ebook library, covering topics such as “Vacation Checklist for Designers” and “How to Solve Plugin Conflicts”
- Video Library – Videos about Flywheel and marketing tips
- Help Docs – Help documentation about technical and billing questions
- Web Design Trends – A free 14-day email course with web design tips
- Customer Support – Customer Support is available via live chat 24/7 from your dashboard. Phone support is only available on the highest plan.
Flywheel is cheaper than WP Engine. Here are the available plans:
- Starter – $25/month or $275/year: One website, 25,000 monthly visits, 5GB disk storage, and 50GB bandwidth
- Freelance – $115/month or $1265/year: Up to 10 sites, 100,000 monthly visits, 10GB disk space, and 200GB bandwidth
- Agency – $290/month or $3190/year: Up to 30 sites, 500,000 monthly visits, 50GB disk space, and 500 GB bandwidth
- Custom – Custom price and limits
Even the starter plan includes most of the features.
Some features are premium; for example, phone support, the migration dashboard, and a dedicated account manager are only included in the Agency plan.
As you can see, Flywheel’s cheapest plan is cheaper than WP Engine’s lowest plan, and while the other two plans have similar prices as WP Engine (at least if you sign up for monthly billing), Flywheel offers more monthly visits, disk space, and bandwidth for the same price.
Optional Add-On Services
Flywheel has several other services you can get for an additional monthly price.
- Performance Insights – starting at $25/month: Get in-depth performance insights about your visitors
- Plugin Updates – starting at $25/month: Monthly plugin updates done for you by the Flywheel team
- Security Insights – starting at $25/month: Get insights into security risks or attacks on your site. Quarterly security audits are included.
- White label – The White Label service costs $99/month.
Although Flywheel can be cheaper and offer more than WP Engine, you have to be okay with not having detailed analytics or done-for-you plugin updates without paying extra.
This is definitely a disadvantage with Flywheel.
WP Engine vs Flywheel – How Do Experiences Compare?
- TrustPilot Reviews: WP Engine has an average rating of 2.8 on Trustpilot, and Flywheel’s rating is 3.5. However, Flywheel currently has fewer than 10 reviews, making the data not very reliable. In addition, take Trustpilot average ratings with a grain of salt, as it’s common for even excellent companies to have low average ratings due to the small percentage of disgruntled customers who take to Trustpilot in droves to voice their complaints.
- Customer Support: WP Engine has better customer support. With Flywheel, you need to pay for an expensive plan to get phone support, and phone support is not available 24/7.
- Speed and Performance: According to this blog post, WP Engine delivers a faster average speed than Flywheel. In addition, WP Engine guarantees a discount if you experience any downtime.
- Migration: This marketer reported a bad experience with migrating to Flywheel, reporting that there were endless errors with uploading WordPress and it took 1.5 hours. However, it’s possible that it was a one-off thing.
- Design: WP Engine offers great design options with their StudioPress themes.
- Price and Value for Money: As shown above, Flywheel offers cheaper plans and more value for your money. WP Engine can get expensive.
Why Get WP Managed Hosting?
You may be wondering why it would be worth paying a few hundred dollars a year for managed WP hosting when you can be paying a few dollars a month with a hosting platform such as BlueHost.
Here are some of the top benefits of managed WP hosting:
- Better Security : Your website will be more secure. Managed WP hosting services install security features to protect your site from spam and hacking attempts. They also monitor your site for suspicious activity and will help you restore your site if you do experience any problems.
- Better Performance: Through CDNs, caching, and other services, you will get more uptime, quicker page load speeds, and an overall improved performance.
- Support From Experts: The level of support you will get with a managed WP hosting service is a lot higher than what you can get with a regular hosting service such as Namecheap or Bluehost.
- Testing Environments: You can get access to local and staging environments that allow you to test out features before you install them for optimal performance.
- Done-For-You Updates: Don’t worry anymore about having to update all of your plugins yourself. Everything will be taken care of for you.
- Team Collaboration: Managed hosting services make it easy to manage a team and collaborate with colleagues on projects.
- Manage Clients: Agencies and freelancers can benefit the most from managed WP hosting, as it allows them to build and manage sites for multiple clients.
- Be More Productive: At the end of the day, with regular, unmanaged hosting, you will need to focus on maintaining your site regularly. Things can come up that take up time and effort and reduce productivity, such as plugins that aren’t working properly or security issues. With managed hosting, you can focus on web design, creating content, and making sales.
Wrapping It Up
Both WordPress and Flywheel are great options.
If your budget isn’t an issue for you, you would probably be better off with WP Engine, as it has been around for a long time, is reliable, and offers slightly better performance.
On the other hand, if you are trying to save costs, Flywheel will give you better value for your money.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.