You will agree with me that the choice of hosting provider can make or break your project. If you are on the market for the best hosting company in 2020, you must have come across SiteGround and Flywheel, two big names in the managed WordPress hosting industry when it comes to managed WordPress hosting. In this Flywheel vs. SiteGround comparison review, we want to compare all the crucial features to find out where each excels. We will also be sharing with you our recommendations, and ultimately, the winner in this battle. But before we go into the details, here is an overview of the two companies.
SiteGround – Full-Service WordPress Hosting for All Types of Sites
SiteGround is a renowned hosting provider that has been in business for over 15 years. The company boasts a $16.2M revenue and hosts over 2 million active websites. With more than 500 workers spread across their four offices in Stara Zagora, Sofia, Plovdiv, and Madrid, this is a company that you can trust with all your hosting needs so that you can focus on web development.
Flywheel – The Gold Standard for WordPress Development
On the other hand, Flywheel is a pretty new company that started in 2012, and unlike SiteGround, this is a managed WordPress hosting platform. Despite being a relatively new company, it is a trusted brand with its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and remote employees spread worldwide, from the West Coast to Sydney, Australia!
Flywheel vs. SiteGround Managed WordPress Hosting Comparison
As mentioned above, the biggest difference between these two platforms is that SiteGround is an all-in-one hosting solution that offers managed WordPress hosting as one of the services. On the other hand, Flywheel offers managed WordPress hosting solutions only. In this comparison review, we are comparing only the managed WordPress hosting platform. So, the big question is, why should you go for managed WordPress hosting?
Why Managed WordPress Hosting
As you may be aware, WordPress’s mission is to make website creation easy, and this is a feat the company has managed to achieve. According to data from NetCraft, over 455,000,000 websites are running on WordPress. One of the advantages of WordPress is the fact that it’s user-friendly, but despite its simplicity, not everyone can manage to create and implement a successful website with this CMS, especially the technical aspects such as hosting. That is where managed WordPress hosting comes in.
With managed WordPress hosting, users are guaranteed the best security, uptime, one-click staging, unrivaled technical support, and proper implementation in general. With all these benefits, you can now focus your attention from the technical aspects to your product, i.e., the website.
Back to the main business of the day, how does SiteGround managed WordPress hosting compare to Flywheel managed WordPress hosting? Let’s find out.
1. Plans and Pricing
The plan flexibility and pricing are two important aspects to consider when looking for the best managed WordPress hosting. You want to strike a balance between quality and affordability. So, which of these two hosting providers offers the best value for the money?
Flywheel Plans and Pricing
Flywheel has flexible plans custom-tailored to suit the needs of different customers, from the starters to the expert level users, talk of professional freelancers and agencies. Below are the plans;
- TINY: This plan is ideal for small and simple installations and costs just $!5 a month. With this plan, you can host only 1 WordPress website. It supports 5,000 monthly visits, tags, and a 5GB disk space, and 20GB bandwidth.
- STARTER: This plan is quite similar to the TINY plan, but it costs $30 a month to host a single WordPress website. The difference is that it supports a maximum of 25,000 monthly visits and has 10GB disk space and 50GB bandwidth.
- FREELANCE: For freelancers with a few clients, this is the best deal as it hosts up to 10 WordPress websites at $115 a month. There is a 100,000 monthly visits cap, 20GB disk space, and 200GB bandwidth.
- AGENCY: Once you have an agency, the AGENCY plan is the best choice, as it can host up to 30 websites for $290 a month. The traffic is capped at 400,000 visits a month, 50GB disk space, and 500GB bandwidth.
Besides the above plans, there are custom-tailored plans for larger enterprises.
SiteGround Plans and Pricing
Just like Flywheel, SiteGround also has flexible plans to meet the demands of different customers and businesses. Below are the plans and pricing;
- STARTUP: This is the base plan designed for starters, just as the name suggests, and it can host a single WordPress website at $6.99 a month, discounted from $14.99 a month. The traffic cap is 10,000 visits a month while the disk space and bandwidth are 10GB and unlimited bandwidth, respectively.
- GROWBIG: This is the most popular plan and is custom-tailored for growing businesses. The monthly charges are $9.99, down from $24.99 a month for hosting unlimited websites. The traffic cap is 25,000 monthly visits, and the disk space is 20GB. There is no bandwidth limit.
- GOGEEK: For the agencies, the GOGEEK plan will be the best. It can host unlimited websites, and allows a maximum of 100,000 monthly visits for just $14.99 a month, down from $39.99 a month. The disk space allocated is 40GB, but the bandwidth is unlimited.
Verdict: As far as pricing goes, SiteGround is the best choice as its plans are affordable. Besides the affordability, this managed WordPress hosting offers the best value for money as it doesn’t limit users on bandwidth.
2. Flywheel vs. SiteGround: Performance
When choosing a web hosting plan, the most important consideration is performance. In this segment, we are going to analyze two crucial components; uptime and speed tests.
To ensure your business is up and running always, and your clients are satisfied with your services, you need to be very careful when analyzing the uptime. Nothing sucks like loading your site only to find it offline this minute, and online the next minute. So, which managed WordPress provider boasts the best uptime between SiteGround vs. Flywheel. Below are the results after monitoring the two providers for six months.
SiteGround had an excellent record during the entire test period registering 100% uptime, so you can be sure that your business will be up and running always. The company promises users hosting for one month should the uptime dwindle.
In the case of Flywheel, there were negligible drops in three of the six months we tested it. On a good day, the uptime was 100%, but on some occasions, the uptime dropped to 99.9%, which is still acceptable by all means. This is the uptime promised in the service level agreement.
Getting the fastest managed WordPress hosting should be your priority to guarantee impressive load time on every site. In this section, we are going to look at the individual aspects that determine speed.
The first feature that determines the speed of a hosting provider is the Content Delivery Network (CDN). The CDN cuts the response time of hosts in half by using proxy servers that have the cached versions of your website. The next important aspect is the data centers, and here, settle for nothing less than a provider that boasts a wide data center network to guarantee reliability. Now, let’s find out what the two managed WordPress hosting providers offer, and how they performed in our exclusive speed tests.
SiteGround comes with a free CDN powered by Cloudflare and is available on all the plans. The advantage of Cloudflare CDN is the easy one-click integration and doesn’t need configuration. When it comes to data centers, SiteGround boasts six data center locations in the US, the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, and Australia, while the CDN network is in 194 locations worldwide.
When it comes to speed tests, SiteGround averages 280ms average response time depending on the location. To further ascertain whether these speeds could dip, we conducted load tests, and the speeds remained constant across all the locations.
Flywheel, on the other hand, deploys MaxCDN, which is also an industry leader and is quite user-friendly, just like Cloudflare CDN. When it comes to data centers, Flywheel has five data centers in North America, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. It has the globalization feature that gives users the flexibility to choose their preferred hosting location. The CDN network is also global to ensure optimal performance. As far as speed goes, Flywheel averaged 292ms. Here again, we did load tests, and the speeds were the same in all the locations.
Verdict: As far as performance is concerned, these two managed WordPress hosting platforms performed exceptionally, but then, SiteGround is a better choice because of the 100% guaranteed uptime and faster average response time across all locations.
3. SiteGround vs. Flywheel: Security and Backups
WordPress is a great CMS in terms of security, but then, without proper implementation of the necessary security procedures, your site(s) could be a victim of cyber attacks that come in the form of malware and phishing. Statistics show that Google blacklists 10,000+ websites for malware and 50,000 for phishing daily.
The security of a hosting plan is a multifaceted aspect that has several features involved. In this segment, we want to find out which of the two managed WordPress hosting platforms is the best choice in terms of security, and data backups.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption is an important security implementation for any website. They are deployed to create encrypted channels between the server and the client. To get the best value for your money, go for a provider that has partnered with any of the SSL providers to help you secure your website at no extra cost.
With SiteGround, you don’t need to spend any more money on an SSL certificate as all plans come with free SSL. You can choose between Let’s Encrypt Standard or Wildcard SSL, which are industry leaders as far as online security is concerned. If you are a beginner, the Let’s Encrypt Standard will work for you as it comes preinstalled.
Flywheel also offers free and simple Let’s Encrypt Standard SSL on all their plans to ensure your website is secure and search-engine ready. This is also a built-in integration, so if you are not an expert, you won’t have to sweat to secure your site.
Anti Malware and Vulnerabilities Scanner
A decent web hosting platform should have systems in place to keep users on the loop in the event of malware and security vulnerabilities. In many phishing and malware attacks, website owners are never involved but end up dealing with the consequences. With anti-malware and vulnerability scanners in place, everyone can be a security expert. So, which of the two hosting providers is a better choice here?
SiteGround Anti Malware and Vulnerabilities Scanner
SiteGround boasts a complex and secure architecture that uses the latest PHP 7 version, which has all the latest security implementations and bug fixes. The system has ModSecurity to protect users on shared servers and a Brute-force prevention system that kills over 2 million brute-force attempts every hour. But then, the SG Site Scanner is the most worth talking point when it comes to SiteGround’s security. Powered by Sucuri, it scans all links and checks the top blacklists to determine whether your website has been blacklisted.
Flywheel Anti Malware and Vulnerabilities Scanner
As for Flywheel, the company also has anti-malware and vulnerabilities scanners, but there are no further details. To prevent Bruteforce attempts and intruders, the site deploys a robust 2-factor authentication system and an intelligent IP blocking system. The platform also uses PHP 7.4 ready core architecture, which has all the latest security innovations and bug fixes.
Other Security Measures
There are several other security measures that you need to address when selecting the best managed WordPress hosting company. These include DDOS attack prevention, the operating system,, access restriction, and network monitoring.
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are very common and very hard to handle when they occur, so it’s essential to have the first line of defense. The operating system of the hosting provider also plays a crucial role in ensuring the site is secure. As far as access restriction goes, you should go for a hosting provider that can limit access to machines on the infrastructure. Network monitoring should also be full time to prevent intrusions. We are glad that both SiteGround and Flywheel have systems in place to take care of these extras.
Primary data failures are so common, and that’s why we have data backup systems. But then, not all hosting providers have reliable and frequent data backups. If you are running an agency, or multiple websites on the same hosting plan, you need to tread carefully in terms of data back up. So, which is the best deal when it comes to data backups?
Flywheel Data Backup
Flywheel boasts nightly backups meaning you can get back all your data with one-click restore points. You don’t need to install the often heavy backup plugins as the system stores data for 30 days on the robust and reliable Google Cloud Storage for maximum security.
SiteGround Data Backup
Siteground also has automatic free backups, but then, they are exclusive to the GOBIG and GOGEEK plans, so if you are on the STARTUP plan, you will need to install backup plugins, which can be quite hectic. Here again, you get one-click restore points, and the data is stored for 30 days.
Verdict: When it comes to security and backups, it is a draw between these two managed WordPress hosting heavyweights. SiteGround is a great deal as far as security is concerned, but it limits users on the entry-level plans when it comes to backups. On the other hand, Flywheel excels in backups as it offers daily backups on all plans. So here, you have to decide between security and backups; what will you compromise?
5. Usability and Customer Support
While Flywheel and SiteGround offer managed WordPress hosting, there are several aspects you need to be aware of regarding the usability. Find out which hosting provider is easier to get started with and the customer service options available.
Site Migration and Staging and More
In case you want to move to any of these two managed WordPress hosting providers, you need to assess the migration options. Some providers charge for migration, while others offer this service for free. The turnaround time should also be a concern. On the other hand, staging comes in handy when you want to test new website features of plugins before publishing. It allows users to clone their website and deploy new features without altering the main site.
SiteGround Migration and Staging and More
SiteGround offers free migration on all their plans courtesy of the SiteGround Migrator WordPress plugin. For the record, free migration is available for one site only; you will have to incur charges for additional sites. Besides free migration, there is a one-click WordPress staging that helps users build and test sites before deploying them. One advantage of SiteGround, as far as usability is concerned, is the Dev Toolkit that includes tools such as WP-CLI, SSH access, PHP version control, and Git integration. The service also tags along with collaboration tools that allow for easy addition of collaborators, Whitelabel access, and more.
Flywheel Migration and Staging
Flywheel is a great deal as far as migration is concerned because it offers free and unlimited site migrations with the proprietary WordPress migration plugin. There is also an expedited migration feature that you pay for if you want fast migrations. There is an intuitive dashboard where you can submit, prioritize, and even monitor the progress of all migrations initiated. As for staging environments, you can take advantage of the sandbox environment. The advantage of Flywheel in terms of usability is the Self Healing feature, which ensures each WordPress site on the platform heals itself in the event of service failures. The platform also fosters collaboration by allowing users to add collaborators, giving them secure access to a single site or multiple sites.
Customer is king, but few companies understand this. In this segment, we want to determine which company has the best customer service in terms of channels, responsiveness, and resourcefulness.
SiteGround Customer Service
SiteGround offers customer service on several channels, including live chat, a telephone line, and an email ticketing system. Our tests revealed that the customer service responsiveness is excellent courtesy of the dedicated and responsive team that is knowledgeable and resourceful. There is a knowledge base with thousands of resourceful articles to help you out where necessary.
Flywheel Customer Service
Flywheel has a formidable customer service team available on live chat, phone, and ticketing, but then, the Tiny, Starter, and Freelancer plans don’t support telephone support. We tested the level of responsiveness and resourcefulness, and we are glad to report that it is reliable. There is also a knowledge base with tons of helpful information.
SiteGround vs. Flywheel: Which is the Best Choice?
There you have it, folks, a SiteGround vs. Flywheel comparison review. Now, the big question is, which is the best managed WordPress hosting provider in 2020?
Well, Flywheel has its fair share of advantages, especially when it comes to usability. But then, its overall rating dips considering the high pricing compared to SiteGround. Talking of advantages, this is a company that focuses solely on managed WordPress hosting. That means the company’s mission and vision are aligned to providing the best in class managed WordPress hosting. If you are entirely green, this is the best choice as there are even plans that offer dedicated account managers.
On the other hand, SiteGround performs exceptionally in terms of security, and performance and is a more reputable hosting provider than Flywheel. What’s more? The pricing is very affordable and offers the best bang for the buck. But then, managed WordPress hosting is just among the services they offer, so the company is not well aligned to simplifying the process for clients who are green.
Flywheel vs SiteGround: So, Who’s the Winner?
It’s very hard to call a winner in this SiteGround vs. Flywheel debate. But then, as a client, it’s important to know what you want. If you want a user-friendly managed WordPress hosting provider, Flywheel should be the best choice as the company entirely deals with managed WordPress hosting. But then, if you are a little bit conversant with the basic technicalities involved, you will get better value for money with SiteGround.
So, in a nutshell, SiteGround is a cheap managed WordPress hosting provider for users who are at least conversant with web development. On the other hand, Flywheel is for the green users who want basic guidance when it comes to WordPress web development, but at an extra price. So, where do you fall? That’s the elephant in the room.