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Website design, build & ongoing care

 

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Recommended website host: Flywheel

Having already written about what hosting is and why it’s needed, I thought it would be a good idea to also let you know which hosting company I recommend. For WordPress website hosting, I recommend Flywheel.

Who are Flywheel?

Flywheel started in 2012 and they’re based in Omaha, Nebraska. They say that their mission is to improve the lives of web designers and developers who build websites on the WordPress platform.

So if they’re targeting designers and developers, why should you use them? Great question. A typical business owner with a website probably doesn’t really know what they’re looking for in a website host and would ideally like a recommendation from someone they trust on which company to use. Designers and developers like myself do tend to know what to look for in a website host, and we also tend to be a bit frustrated with website hosts in general. We want to be able to recommend hosting services to our clients, but Flywheel know that we’re not going to recommend them unless they really are great.

Why I recommend them

And great they are! For so many reasons:

  • They only host WordPress websites, so their servers are optimised specifically for WordPress websites – which helps to keep hackers out and keep your website loading time nice and fast.
  • They back up your entire website nightly. The backups are kept off-site (for extra security), but are accessible to you via a one-click restore if needed. You can also make additional backups manually at any time.
  • Although they are based in the USA, they have servers around the world. You can choose the one closest to your location to make your website that bit extra speedy.
  • Their support is exceptional. Before I used them, I tested their support and was extremely impressed with their knowledge, the clarity of their answers and the speed of their responses. I’ve contacted them many times since and have always been very pleased with the service I have received.
  • In my experience so far, their uptime is unparalleled. I haven’t noticed any downtime at all.
  • Their pricing plans are very reasonable. Their smallest plan costs just $15 per month or $165 per year – one month free if you pay for the whole year. During “Fly July” you can get three months free if you pay for the whole year!
  • Their plans have limits on the number of monthly visits, but if you go over, they don’t shut off your website. (But obviously, they’ll contact you to let you know and ask you to upgrade.)
  • They can support SSL (extra security for your website visitors) and can provide a content delivery network (to make your website load even more quickly for visitors all around the world) – this comes at an extra cost on smaller plans and is included with larger plans.

Are there any downsides?

No web host can be perfect for everyone! These are the things which I consider to be downsides to hosting with Flywheel:

  • Their normal support hours are 9am to 5pm CDT, which is 3pm to 11pm here in the UK. This means I can only access their normal support late in my working day. If they introduced earlier support hours, I’d be ecstatic! However, they do offer 24/7 emergency support, which is greatly reassuring.
    UPDATE: Flywheel now have Happiness Engineers located around the world, making it much easier to get the support you need regardless of your timezone. While their “official” support hours haven’t changed, I’m sure that it’s coming.
  • As standard, they currently enable automatic WordPress core updates. This can in some ways be considered a good thing, but when plugins are not updated at the same time, it can cause problems. I believe this may be a limitation of WordPress itself; there is talk of allowing automated plugin updates in future. But for now, I have to ask Flywheel to disable automatic updates for my clients so that I can manage them instead, updating both the core software and plugins at the same time and testing the sites to make sure no issues are introduced with the updates.

Don’t just take my word for it

You can search online yourself for Flywheel hosting reviews. In particular, take a look at hostingreviews.io, which has aggregated over 13,000 social media reviews on nearly 50 hosting companies. At the time of writing this article, Flywheel is ranked at #1. This website is especially reliable as there are no affiliate links, therefore no incentive for the owner of the website to promote any host more highly in order to make more in commissions.

Even more impressively, WordPress themselves now recommend Flywheel. For as long as I’ve been working with WordPress, there had only been three hosts listed on their website as recommended options. Now there are four – Flywheel has made the cut!

Have your say

Who have you hosted your website with, and what have your experiences with them been like? Leave me a comment to let me know – and if you know of another web host which you think might be even better than Flywheel, I’d like to hear about that, too!

If you’d like to move your WordPress website hosting to Flywheel, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to help you.

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