When it comes to hosting, there’s just no beating cloud hosting. Its scalability, reliability, and speed are unmatched. However, using cloud hosting is kinda difficult and needs technical skills. This is where managed cloud hosting comes in.
With managed cloud hosting, the hosting company takes care of everything on the technical side and your job is to focus on your business or create content that ranks on SERP.
However, It is important to choose a good managed-hosting company. There are many choices to go, so it can be hard to decide which one will be right for you.
Cloudways and flywheel are the two main players in the market and let’s go on Cloudways vs Flywheel, a head-to-head comparison to help you choose the ideal one for you.
They both offer top-quality cloud hosting for different apps and platforms, especially for WordPress-powered websites. They both claim to be the best choice for those who don’t have many technical skills and want their hosting to be easy-to-use and fast.
Cloudways vs Flywheel: How do they differ initially
Cloudways is one of the best-managed cloud hosting platforms that provides a simplified experience of deploying and managing applications on top of leading cloud infrastructure providers such as DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud.
Cloudways technically act as a mediator between you and the hosting companies. Since cloud hosting is difficult to operate and manage, Cloudways takes care of it for you.
Choosing the hosting company is completely your choice (Such as AWS, Google Cloud, Linode, Vultr) and they offer a dashboard that installs the application on those servers with a few clicks. However, it’s really difficult for a common person to install the same application on those servers directly.
With Flywheel, you got to use the server that the Flywheel is offering (technically Flywheel is hosted on Google Cloud) and they focus more on the managed WordPress hosting for agencies.
They provide a lot of tools to manage multiple sites from an agency perspective. For example, the bills can be forwarded to the client with your agency’s name on them.
These are the initial difference in the comparison of Cloudways vs Flywheel. Let’s get to the other major difference between them such as performance, features, speed, and more.
Performance is an important factor to consider when choosing a web host. Your website’s performance directly impacts your site speed and SEO ranking. Furthermore, quick load times will eventually convert better and generate more sales. Thus having a powerful server is a mandatory factor when choosing the host.
So Cloudways vs Flywheel, let’s see how do they stack up against each other in terms of speed and performance.
Cloudways has a variety of choices for selecting servers (AWS, Linode, Digital Ocean, Vultr, and Google Cloud), while Flywheel does not, and instead, you are forced to use Google servers only.
I tested both the hosting with exactly the same theme(Kadence), templates, and plugins installed for a fair comparison. Both hosting has been on the cheapest plan.
Chosen plan and configuration for the test:
The base plan of digital ocean servers with 1 core processor and 1GB of ram ($10/month)
Cloudways scored 99 on desktop and 96 on mobile with Digital ocean servers. On mobile, the speed index is 4.0 S which is not that bad and can be improved with proper optimization. Overall Cloudways performed really well on tests. Now, let’s get into Flywheel and compare them both.
Chosen configuration for the test:
The base plan of the Flywheel ($15/month)
Flywheel doesn’t mention the ram and processor for any type of plan. However, I reached out to them for the information. They clarified that the ram will vary from 300MB to 1GB for the cheapest plan and could not confirm any details about the processor.
Flywheel scored similar to Cloudways on the desktop which is 99 but on mobile, Flywheel scored 93 which is a bit low compared to Cloudways. Moreover, First Contentful Paint (FCP) needs a tiny bit of improvement. Since FCP is a core web vital metric, this should be taken into consideration.
One thing you should note is that the base plan on Flywheel starts at $15/month or $150/year which is slightly higher when compared to Cloudway’s $10/month plan. It’s not much, but it is worth noting because you get slightly higher performance for a cheaper price on Cloudways.
Winner – Cloudways
You get a little bit of higher performance on Cloudways than Flywheel. Moreover, the price (if you consider it) is slightly lower on Cloudways. So the Cloudways would be the winner here.
Both Cloudways and Flywheel offer a lot of features to manage and maintain your site but however, Flywheel provides tools that can be really helpful for agencies.
Flywheel focuses more on a common user perspective rather than a developer perspective. For instance, you can’t access wp-config by yourself on Flywheel which is seriously a major drawback for WordPress developers. Moreover, there is no PHPMyAdmin on Flywheel but they have their own data-managed system which is not that good compared to PHYMyadmin.
On the other end, Cloudways convince both the common user as well the developer to efficiently use the platform. You could find all the option that is required to access your site as a developer as well as a non-developer.
Here are the comparisons of the important features of Cloudways vs Flywheel
|Free CDN||No (Starts $1/24GB)||Yes|
|installable application||WordPress, PHP, Laravel, Magento||Only WordPress|
|Multiple Sites||Yes||Yes (But from expensive plans only)|
|SFTP and SSH access||Yes||Yes|
|Support||Email, Chat, and Phone (24/7/365)||Only Chat (24/7/365)|
|Bandwidth, storage, and visits (For basic plan)||25GB storage|
1 TB bandwidth
20GB Bandwidth5000 Visits
|Free Trial||3 Days||14 Days|
|Caching||Yes||Yes (With Fastly Caching)|
Winner – It depends
If you’re an agency, then you can straight away choose Flywheel as your choice because the platform has a variety of tools such as billing transfer to manage multiple client sites.
However, if you’re a normal user you can either choose Flywheel or Cloudways and there is no major difference between the both in terms of features.
Support is the most important part of a hosting service because when you have a problem, you need it fixed as quickly as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s a technical issue or an unexpected bill, support is an integral part of hosting services. A good support team should be available 24/7 and will get back to you as soon as possible.
Moreover, the way of support is also important. Live chat, email, and phone support are the most common, but real-time assistance by phone and live chat proves to be more effective.
When it comes to supporting, Cloudways take the lead here since the platform offers support in all the methods. Live chat, phone, and ticketing systems make Cloudways easy to connect with hosting agents.
However, on Flywheel, you can only contact them by live chat and ticketing system.
Winner – Cloudways
Cloudways supports all types of support while Flywheel only supports live chat and tickets.
The number of cyberattacks is growing every year. It’s important to stay up to date on security issues and best practices.
Since websites are often the main source of information for your customers and the primary way that visitors learn about your business, it’s important to ensure that your site is secure from hackers.
Both the Cloudways and Flywheel offer industry-standard security to secure your sites from hackers and bots.
Two-factor authentication, data encryption, SSL, regular security patches, SSH gateways, and more are provided by both hosting companies.
Winner – Both
Both of the hosting platforms offer the same sort of industry-standard security for their customers.
Hosting trials can be really helpful to test out the platform before opting for paid plans. Most hosting companies provide free trials and Cloudways and Flywheel are no exception.
Cloudways provides you a 3-day free trial period with no credit card required and Flywheel has a 14 free trial but will ask for either a phone number or credit card to confirm your signup.
One thing that you should note is that getting a free trial on Cloudways is not easy (at present). Claiming a free trial requires a government-issued ID card and social media links to process. It takes up to 48 hours for the trial to get activated if the verification is successful.
When it comes to Flywheel, there are no major requirements other than a credit card or a phone number. If you don’t have a credit card, just use your phone number to get verified.
But the trial site on Flywheel won’t be visible to anyone until you subscribe to a paid plan. You can log in and edit your WordPress site as usual but the site won’t be visible to anyone.
Winner – Flywheel
Cloudways requires manual verification for a 3 days trial. You will be asked for your government-issued ID card for the verification to end successfully. On the other hand, Flywheel provides 14 days trial that can be verified by simply a phone number. However, the site will not be live to the public but that’s a fair deal because the trial is only to test out the platform.
Control panel and user interface
Cloudways and Flywheel provide a sleek and simple interface to use the platform. For a common user, creating a site on both of these platforms is really easy and simple to accomplish.
Cloudways dashboards display the server and application you currently installed. You can stop, restart, delete and add another application on top of the same server (Yes, you can add multiple WordPress sites on the same server. I will cover that in the pricing section).
On the menu, there are options to go to teams, projects, Affiliates, Add-ons, and your profile.
Servers – Displays the currently installed servers.
Applications – Displays the currently installed applications.
Teams – Teams are used to add another person to your account and assign different roles on your chosen servers and apps.
Projects – You can name and rename your projects.
Affiliates – Affiliate lets you promote their product to your customers and clients.
Add-ons – There is a variety of add-ons that can be added to the server to enhance its functionality.
Profile – Profile lets you edit everything related to your accounts such as your mail ID, Password, billing info, and more.
Just like Cloudways, Flywheel also displays the list of sites you currently have on the homepage of the dashboard.
On the main menu, you can find sites, support, add-ons, manage, and an option to add a new site.
Sites – Displays the sites currently created.
Support – Let you read the tutorial articles or contact Flywheel.
Addons – You can add all sorts of add-ons to the server.
Manage – You can manage your organization, referrals, and Blueprints (Create a template to easily clone a WordPress site)
Profile – Option to edit your profile picture, mail ID, password, billing info, and more.
I don’t choose the winner for this because the dashboard and user interface completely depends on the user perspective and will change from user to user.
Add-ons are additional features that you get for an added cost (or some for free). You can use these to increase the functionality and usability of your site. Cloudways and Flywheel offer plenty of add-ons for reasonable costs. Let’s see what kind of add-ons are provided by each of the hosting companies, and how much they cost.
Cloudways offers 7 types of add-ons that can be added to your account.
|Addons||What is it for||Pricing|
|Support||Higher tier of support which involves advanced experts and less time delay between you and the Cloudways team.||Advanced support – $100/mo or 10% of your invoice (whichever is higher)Premium support – 500/mo or 10% of your invoice (whichever is higher)|
|DNS Made Easy||Cloudways own DNS||Starts at 5 domains for $2.50/month|
|Rackspace Email||Addon for email hosting||$1/month for 1 email|
|Elastic Email||An email marketing addon||Starts at $0.10/month for 1000 emails|
|Application Migration||This add-on lets you migrate your entire application from one server||$25 for a WordPress site and the price varies depending on the application (First migration is free)|
|Application Upgrade||Allows you to request an upgrade for any of your applications||$50 for WordPress and the price varies depending on the application|
|Cloudways CDN||Cloudways own CDN that increases your site speed and performance||$1 per 25GB / Application|
Flywheel provides 5 addons to enhance the Flywheel account.
|Addons||What is for||Pricing|
|Performance Insights||Keep track of your server’s performance such as load times, network requests, and more.||$25/month|
|Managed Plugin Updates||Automatically updates your plugins with some extra features such as auto updates before updating.||$8/month|
|Google Analytics||Lets you easily connect your Google Analytics account to your WordPress site||Free|
|Slack||Lets you easily connect your slack account to your Flywheel account.||Free|
|Security Insights||Security audits, summary, and tips.||$25/month|
Winner – Cloudways
Cloudways provides some helpful add-ons that help the user in many ways. On the other hand, Flywheel only provides simple add-ons to perform simple tasks that can be easily done by yourself or get directly from the respective providers.
For example, plugin updates can be performed by yourself from your WordPress dashboard but Flywheel charges $8 per month for this simple work.
Pricing is one of the important factors that need to consider before opting for a hosting subscription. Let’s see how both the hosting companies priced their plan and compare them in this Cloudways vs Flywheel comparison.
Cloudways plan starts at $10/month for the digital ocean server and can go all the way to $275/month for the AWS server. However, Cloudways doesn’t have an annual plan but you can add funds to your account which will automatically be used every month depending on your usage.
For the base plan, you get 1 GB of ram and 1 core processor to power the server.
Flywheel priced their base plan at $15/month (or $13/month if paid annually with 2 months free). The expensive plan on the platform is at $290/month (or $242/month if paid annually with 2 months free).
The base plan offers up to 1 GB of memory and there are no details regarding the number of cores. Even for the ram, they haven’t mentioned anything on their website, however, I reached out to them for the info.
Winner – Cloudways
Cloudways offers plans that are cheaper than Flywheel with the same (or maybe higher) performance on paper.
CloudWays vs Flywheel: The Conclusion
Cloudways and Flywheel have numerous things in common, enough to make us question whether one or the other is truly superior. Ultimately, both Cloudways and Flywheel will appeal to specific types of WordPress users, so your choice will depend on your preferences. Important features like pricing and support are similar enough that you should consider them evenly as well.
Who is Cloudways for:
The Cloudways Platform is the optimal choice for anyone who wants to have more control over their web hosting service. This can be useful for developers, as they have the power to manage their servers entirely, making their life easier. However, this doesn’t mean that the platform is not fit for common non-developer people. These kinds of people can also use Cloudways since the platform is user-friendly and has 24/7 support waiting to assist you.
Who is Flywheel for:
The Flywheel’s server is not as customizable as Cloudways so it best suits the one who just wants to host a WordPress site without getting too technical. Moreover, if you own an agency, the Flywheel can be handy since the platforms offer a variety of tools dedicated to the agency.
Affiliate Discloser: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything using these links, I will get a commission for the referral at no extra cost to you. Moreover, I only recommend things that I have personally used and always offer my honest opinion.
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