Securing the optimum web hosting service for a website has long been a mind-blogging task for most. After all, your web hosting service can either make or break your business, so, understandably, people take a long time to decide on the best one for their business. Prominent brands like Cloudways and Flywheel can make a choice even more difficult.
Cloud hosting has gained much momentum in recent years; this is not surprising given its scalability, flexibility, and reliability, which can help bring your business to the next level. However, some may find cloud hosting pricey and not easy to manage, especially for those not tech-savvy; this is where managed cloud hosting comes into play.
Flywheel and Cloudways Comparison
Let’s read my unbiased Flywheel versus Cloudways comparison review:
Cloudways and Flywheel are household names, especially in the managed cloud hosting industry.
What is Flywheel?
Flywheel is relatively new and established in 2012 with its base in Omaha, Nebraska, the US. The founders, Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker, and Rick Knudtson, believe in supporting many in their endeavor to build their websites on WordPress.
Although there are many notable names in the market, Flywheel has started making waves in the industry by becoming a force to be reckoned with when it comes to managed WordPress hosting solutions.
What is Cloudways?
Founded by Aaqib Gadit and Pere Hospital in 2012, Cloudways is as new as Flywheel. Cloudways has stamped its mark in the cloud hosting hall-of-fame by working toward making the Cloud easily accessible to everyone.
Its five key partners, namely Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, Linode, and Vultr, show that they mean business and are here to stay. Cloudways has more than 280 employees from over 20 countries; this shows their diversity.
Notable Hosting Features
Both Flywheel and Cloudways have much to offer. The range of their services is varied and commendable. However, for this article, I will only be focusing on the noteworthy features that make the two companies stand out.
Flywheel Hosting Key Features
Flywheel focuses on managed WordPress hosting and is on Google Cloud. It is not surprising that WordPress has priority since it empowers 43% of the websites in the world. Flywheel’s servers and services are catered specifically for WordPress.
The container technology by Google Cloud facilitates support for any traffic spikes. As such, this increases your WordPress website’s resilience. Also, in the event of a service failure, the auto-healing technology kicks in so that you enjoy high uptime.
Flywheel deploys FlyCache – their custom caching technology that helps speed things up. Perhaps the highlight here is that you get a CDN (powered by Fastly) free so that people all over the globe will have faster access to your site. After all, speed is a search engine’s ranking signal you do not want to ignore. The Plugin Security Alerts notifies of any suspicious plugins and fixes any malware for free.
Another noteworthy point, Flywheel provides numerous tools to cater to agencies. For example, the Billing Transfer feature sends bills to clients bearing the agency’s name. Also, agencies can manage many websites by streamlining their workflows and collaborations. Flywheel even has an Agency paid plan.
Offering managed WordPress hosting, Flywheel takes the load off you. They take care of everything on your website’s management – the security, software updates, and technical matters, including managing the caching and performance.
Cloudways Hosting Key Features
Unlike Flywheel, which supports only Google Cloud, Cloudways rides on five cloud hosting providers – Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services. Hence, you have more choices. If you do not need high performance and are on a budget, the first three will do you good. However, if your website has high demands, Amazon Web Service or Google Cloud could fit you.
I would say that Cloudways has the edge over Flywheel here. Their managed cloud hosting plans offer a greater breadth of choice. Even if there’s little technical difference between some, it’s a user-centric opportunity.
Cloudways acts as the intermediary between you and the hosting company. They provide the dashboard for you to manage your choice of the cloud provider.
Perhaps the highlight of Cloudways is its unique way of caching that is available in several forms, such as Varnish (server-level), Redis, and others. But its most precious certainly is the Breeze caching plugin meant for WordPress websites. Cloudways developed Breeze, a cache plugin that works like a breeze when caching. It rivals that of other top commercial options like W3 Cache.
And for the larger organizations, Cloudways allows multiple users per account to manage their hosting accounts. Simply put, Cloudways is versatile and able to meet the different needs of businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Speed: Is Flywheel or Cloudways Faster?
Speed is one of the criteria when measuring the quality of a web hosting provider. Although Flywheels does have its share of speed-enhancing features, Cloudways still takes the lead.
Cloudways’ HTTP2 enabled servers, over 60 Global Data Centers, SSD-based servers, pre-configured PHP-FPM (speeds up the PHP environment), and their in-house developed Breeze cache plugin pushes Cloudways to the forefront of the pack.
Ease of Use
No matter how sophisticated and advanced a system is, it proves useless if people don’t know how to use it. Hence, usability is a factor that deserves consideration. Both Cloudways and Flywheel do offer simple interfaces. For the average Joe, both are solid options.
Flywheel’s in-house developed dashboard is overall clear and easy to use. It allows you to administer to all your WordPress sites via one interface. The same login to your dashboard gives you access to the SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) server. You can upload files without needing to know the site-specific credentials.
Their dashboard also facilitates easy collaboration with other team members. Billing can be done seamlessly for your clients, and you can easily invite collaborators. There are advanced search and filtering options to help speed up your searches. You can also tag your sites within the dashboard; this helps manage multiple sites at one go.
Flywheel’s interface is user-centric, and newbies will find using this easy as pie.
Cloudways dashboard is well-segregated and organized. Using it is easy, especially if you are used to such GUI interfaces. You can quickly locate all functions (server management, backup, package management, and others). Although the dashboard is powerful and packed with many features, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to maneuver through everything; a plus point indeed.
A point to note – Cloudways has a WordPress plugin that speeds up site migrations to the Cloudways platform. Just input some information and click a button to move a site. It is that easy! However, the terms used could prove challenging for beginners to grapple with; this is something that hopefully Cloudways would work toward improving.
Many overlook customer support as the features, speed and performance seem to bear heavier weightage. However, having quality and responsive customer support is essential to a successful website.
Flywheel Customer Support
Flywheel support is 24/7/365 and comes in live chat, a ticketing system, and phone support that is operational only during office hours (available only for the top two paid plans). They have an in-depth and comprehensive resource center. That said, Trustpilot’s Flywheel reviews were overall weak.
Cloudways Customer Support
Like Flywheel, Cloudways support is 24/7/365 and supports live chat and a ticketing system. Their resource center is complete and well-organized. Cloudways offers three support add-ons – Standard, Advanced, and Premium with the Standard plan being free. The add-ons differ in the expertise level you get from the support team, and the SLA promised.
Trustpilot reviews of Cloudways look more encouraging, scoring a 4.5, a good figure indeed. There was a minimal number that complained of Cloudway’s slow response. But overall, the support rendered was praiseworthy.
Plans and Pricing: Flywheel vs Cloudways
Flywheel and Cloudways offer similar pricing models where the fee changes based on the resources needed. Cloudways differ in that you have the choice to select the infrastructure partner you want, and the pricing changes as well.
Flywheel Plans & Pricing
Flywheel’s pricing starts from $15/month. You can pay annually at $13/month with two free months. The plans differ in the number of supported sites, storage, bandwidth, and visits a month. I find that most of the core features are in all the plans; this is great, especially for the lowest tier.
However, if you need a dedicated account manager and phone support, you must consider the top two paid plans.
Cloudways Plans & Pricing
Cloudways plans start from as low as $12/month with Digital Ocean. With Linode, the price remains the same, but if you opt for AWS or Google Cloud, the price increases to more than $30/month. So, if your website demands are not high, you can opt for the cheaper plans.
Cloudways make it super easy for you to scale up anytime you need. However, scaling down is another matter unless you’re on AWS or Google Cloud. You only pay for resources you use, and there’s no lock-in contract. At least you are given a cheaper option for a managed cloud hosting solution.
Verdict: Should You Choose Cloudways or Flywheel?
Managed cloud hosting involves the hosting company taking care of everything on the technical side for you. Hence, this explains the critical need to appoint someone reputable and trustworthy. Both Cloudways and Flywheel are quality managed cloud hosting providers, especially for WordPress websites.
They appeal to different types of WordPress users for various reasons. However, if you run an agency, you may want to consider Flywheel since they do offer tools specific to agency use. That said, Cloudways soars in speed, performance, support, uptime, and most others. So, your ultimate decision lies with your business goals and preferences.
I would choose Cloudways because my priority is the cost, and I am OK with Digital Ocean. Cloudways is one of the best-managed cloud hosting platforms with a very modest price tag.