On our menu today, we have SiteGround vs. Flywheel. We’ll be dissecting the two hosts to figure out exactly which one is better and offers the best value for you.
How will we be doing that? Easy. We bought hosting plans from both Flywheel and SiteGround, did tests on them, did a lot of research, and we’ll be comparing both hosts on the basis of important things like customer support quality, pricing, security infrastructure, speed, and uptime.
At the end of our comparison, we’ll give a final verdict on which host we think is the best based on our tests. While we recommend that you agree with us, you don’t have to. You can come to your own conclusion with the information we’ve put together.
But first, an overview of both companies.
SiteGround vs. Flywheel Overview
SiteGround is a Bulgarian company and was founded in 2004 while Flywheel was founded in 2012.
Flywheel is part of a new generation of hosting companies that only offer managed WordPress hosting services. SiteGround is not one of such companies and on the other hand, offers Shared hosting, VPS hosting as well as managed WordPress hosting services.
Unlike many other hosts in the market, SiteGround and Flywheel do not take a lot of pains to make their services affordable for everyone. SiteGround’s hosting plans (including the traditionally cheaper Shared Hosting plans) are markedly more expensive than those of their competitors. The same can be said of Flywheel.
However, both hosts back up their prices with amazing performance. That’s one thing that we can tell you for free.
Does it matter which host is the most popular? Apparently, to some, it does. Well, SiteGround is older than Flywheel by a few years and offers services to a broader range of customers so SiteGround is clearly the more popular host.
So how can we decide which host is better than the other? Well, our performance tests have a thing or two to tell us.
SiteGround vs. Flywheel: Performance
We’ll be comparing the performance of both Flywheel and SiteGround with speed and uptime.
To test uptime, we bought hosting plans from the two companies, set up our dummy accounts and started monitoring uptime over a period of four months. Here’s what we found out.
From our results, you can see that both hosts clearly have amazing uptime. While SiteGround had a perfect score, Flywheel was also able to return an approximate uptime of 100%.
What if uptime suddenly stops being amazing? What happens to the customer then? Is there a guarantee of compensation if the quality of uptime goes down?
SiteGround has a 99.99% uptime guarantee in its service level agreement. This means that if uptime gets below 99.99% on an annual basis, customers are guaranteed a free month of hosting. Flywheel, on the other hand, offers a less impressive 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Neither uptime guarantees cover scheduled maintenance.
This was really close, but SiteGround won because of superior uptime and uptime guarantee. This does not mean Flywheel does not have great uptime - in fact, put up against any other, Flywheel will probably have won this section.
Before we look at our speed tests, we’ll have to look at things that contribute to the speed of a hosting service like the spread of data centers and the availability of CDN.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Content Delivery Networks cut the response time of hosts in half through the use of proxy servers that have cached versions of your site on them.
Flywheel offers CDN for free via a partnership with MaxCDN. This enables Flywheel to deliver amazing load and response time. SiteGround also has free CDN through Cloudflare. It doesn’t need any configurations and it’s available through one click on all SiteGround hosting plans.
The more widespread the data centers of a host, the easier it is for content to get to visitors. SiteGround has six data centers spread over three continents while Flywheel has five data centers in Europe, America, and Australia. Flywheel’s globalization feature allows users to choose where they would like to host their site.
To test the speed, we decided to check the Time to First Byte from different locations around the world. Here’s a look at one of our results.
Clearly, you won’t have any problems with speed with either host.
That’s not all we decided to test the validity of this speed results with Load Impact. We wanted to see if the speed we recorded could be maintained during high traffic.
Load Impact Test
We started by sending ten virtual users to our sites. The speed recorded didn’t dip, and then we continued to send users till we reached 100 users. Response time and page load speed didn’t suffer regardless.
Flywheel and SiteGround clearly have great speed, and you would probably not have to worry with speed when it comes to seeing up sites with them. But we must pick a winner, and the numbers speak for themselves. SiteGround has the best test score and therefore is the winner of our speed test.
Ease Of Use and Beginner Friendliness
The best hosts are easy to use and give no problems at all to customers. They also give a lot of freebies and generally make hosting a stress-free task. Let’s see just how easy to use these hosts are.
Creating An Account
Selecting a plan, setting up an account and paying was quite easy with both hosts. We only had to click through 4-5 pages of forms to get to the checkout, and shortly after paying we were directed to our workstation. We had no complaints with neither SiteGround nor Flywheel.
When it comes to user interfaces, we believe that you cannot go wrong with either cPanel or Plesk. While a few hosts have decided to create their own user interfaces, they rarely ever meet up to the standards set by cPanel. In many cases, this can prove to be really problematic. A good example of this is DreamHost’s proprietary user interface. If you’d like to know how well SiteGround stacks up to DreamHost, we have an article on that too.
SiteGround makes use of cPanel, and while it isn’t a version of cPanel that is as heavily customized Bluehost’s, it is still pretty decent. Additionally, since it is cPanel, it makes it really easy for people who want to move over to SiteGround to easily migrate their websites.
Flywheel, on the other hand, doesn’t offer access to cPanel. What they have in place is a proprietary interface that is, unlike many experiments we have seen with other hosts, actually easy to use and is very intuitive.
The interface from Flywheel was designed with the intent of limiting the barriers that stand between the end-user and WordPress, and it works perfectly. One great thing about the interface is that it makes it easy for you to backup your files. It has a tab for this purpose that lets you see all automatic backups.
Would we take Flywheel’s user interface over SiteGround’s? No, we wouldn’t. However, we wouldn’t be bothered too much if we had to use Flywheel’s interface. It is really that good.
Free Site Migration
In our opinion, all hosting companies should provide at least a single site transfer with all plans.
SiteGround shares our opinion, but not all the way. SiteGround’s middle tier and top tier plans come with at least a single site transfer while their cheapest plan doesn’t come with one. If you purchase SiteGround’s cheapest plan and would like to have a site transferred, you’ll have to pay extra. All WordPress hosting plans come with a single site transfer. Additional transfers attract a fee.
Flywheel, on the other hand, offers free and unlimited site migrations. To migrate your site, you only need to fill a secure migration request form, and your site will be transferred in about 4 working days at most. However, if you want your site transferred quickly (that is, in less than four working days), you’ll have to pay about $49.
It’s clear that Flywheel offers the better deal here.
This section only applies to SiteGround shared hosting plans because Flywheel only hosts WordPress based sites and as such doesn’t make use of site builders.
A free version of the Weebly website builder is available to all SiteGround’s customers. The Weebly site builder is one of the best web builders on the internet as it makes it easy for users to quickly set up their sites. However, this free version can only create six pages, and if you’d like to create more you’ll have to purchase the Weebly Pro version.
Apps Integration, one-click installation, and Marketplace
SiteGround’s shared hosting plans come with one-click installation for WordPress and other popular content management systems like Joomla and Drupal. Users also have access to a marketplace where they can purchase professional services, plug-ins, templates, and themes.
Flywheel offers only WordPress hosting so WordPress is already pre-installed. The company doesn’t offer any other hosting asides that, so if you plan on creating your own website or making use of Joomla, you should go with SiteGround.
Most hosting companies offer free domains with all hosting plans.
However, here is one place that SiteGround falls short. SiteGround does not offer free domains. However, you can purchase a domain at checkout seamlessly.
The same goes for Flywheel. However, you can also purchase a domain at checkout with Flywheel.
For beginners, a staging environment may just be the best thing ever to happen to them. The same can also be said for web developers who work with clients and would like to streamline their work environment. Basically, a staging environment makes the job of a web developer way easier than it would have been.
One place Flywheel excels is in the development of WordPress Development Workflows. The host makes it easy for you to build and test WordPress sites, and one of the ways this done is by providing staging sites for free.
All of Flywheel’s plans, except the appropriately named Starter plan (because it is the cheapest plan) come with free staging environments. Asides this, Flywheel has a great tool called Local which helps you host a WordPress site on your computer in an offline environment. This provides an offline version of your site that you can show to clients or check out your changes on.
Importantly, this tool is not only available to Flywheel customers. Even if you’ve never paid a dime to Flywheel, you can use this room to create a demo version of your WordPress site.
SiteGround also offers staging environments on all plans. However, these staging environments are only for WordPress and Joomla sites.
In a way, that is a lot more than Flywheel offers (since Flywheel only works for WordPress sites in any case), but it is still somewhat disappointing.
This was a tight call, but Flywheel takes this one in our opinion. The fact that Flywheel offers unlimited free site migration for all plans was what eventually sold us. They win this one.
Hosting can be really tricky because of the business model that many hosting companies run. Most times, to get the best prices, users are often forced to pay three years in advance.
Now, what happens when one pays three years in advance but then decides to cancel their plan? Is there a money-back guarantee that protects the customer?
Unlike other hosts, Flywheel doesn’t suck customers into long term contracts. Thus, you can pay your hosting bill monthly or pay a year in advance. If you pay monthly, you have a 72 hours window for cancelling your plan and getting a full refund, and if you pay annually, you have a thirty-day window.
SiteGround also has a thirty-day money-back guarantee for annual shared hosting/WordPress hosting plans and 15 days money-back guarantee for cloud hosting plans. Dedicated hosting service doesn’t come with money-back guarantees. Reseller packages are only covered by the guarantee if the entire reseller package is cancelled, not just individual accounts within the package.
Additionally, SiteGround, unlike Flywheel, doesn’t offer a full-fledged monthly plan. If you’d like to subscribe to the monthly plan, you’ll have to pay an additional one-time fee depending on the plan you’d like to subscribe to.
Of course, the money-back guarantee is subject to some terms and conditions. For example, only hosting fees are refundable. Money paid for services and domains are non-refundable.
Both hosts offer the same thirty-day money-back guarantee. However, Flywheel takes this one because they do not suck you into long contracts and you can pay either monthly or annually. It brings a lot of ease to payment - something that SiteGround dearly lacks
SiteGround vs. Flywheel for Customer Support Reliability
Hosting isn’t the easiest task in the world, but it is easier if you are working with a company with stellar customer support.
To test customer support, we decided to talk to the live reps of SiteGround and Flywheel. Our aim was to measure wait time (the period we had to wait for before we connected to support staff) and the value of the support that we were given. Was support helpful or not? Did we have to resolve our problems ourselves?
Customer Support Channels
Flywheel and SiteGround have roughly the same customer support channels. The two hosts make use of live chat support, phone support, and ticketing support. These channels are open 24/7
The Starter plan and Freelancer plan of Flywheel doesn’t come with phone support.
Customer Support Test
We’ve heard a lot of great things about SiteGround’s customer support, so we were eager to check if these were just as a result of hype or if they were true. For the most part, the hype is real.
Wait time was remarkably short, and throughout our testing period, we only had to wait a minute before connecting to support staff twice. That is really remarkable when you consider that a lot of other hosts have a wait time that averages at least five minutes.
SiteGround’s customer support has a unique human touch that we’ve rarely seen with other hosting companies. Once you connect with a live rep, you’ll see a profile tab that has their picture, their rating and how many clients they’ve answered.
Importantly, it wasn’t all mouth – the live reps were really knowledgeable and helped solve our problems quickly. Overall, it was a great experience.
With Flywheel, it was more of the same. Wait time rarely exceeded a minute or two, and while the customer support interface may not have the human touch of SiteGround, it proved to be just as effective. The live reps that we spoke to were cordial and answered our queries comprehensively.
When we fill a ticket, we generally wait for about 24 hours to get a response on the issue. But here is where Flywheel and SiteGround prove to be different. We got our tickets back within ten hours, and even when we asked for an issue to be resolved (we asked SiteGround for a site migration), the support team kept in touch with us and updated us on the progress of the project.
SiteGround and Flywheel have hundreds of articles that constitute an impressive Knowledgebase. While SiteGround’s knowledge is the more expansive of the two, we have to say that Flywheel’s knowledge base is the more sensibly arranged.
Each article in Flywheel’s knowledge base is arranged by topics and usually make for a great read.
Flywheel and SiteGround have managed to match each other closely since the beginning, and it is no different in this case. But we have to pick a winner, and with quick response time and a better customer support interface in general, SiteGround takes a slim win in this section.
Backups, site security, DDos protection and whether or not free SSLs are included with your plan are things you need to consider before purchasing a hosting package. We’ll compare the positions of Flywheel and SiteGround on these issues to see which host has the best deal.
Companies like Let’s Encrypt have made it easy to purchase free SSL certificates. However, not all hosting companies offer free SSL certificates.
SiteGround offers free SSL certificates on all hosting plans. With a SiteGround plan, you can issue as many free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates as you want. There’s a handy Let’s Encrypt tool on your cPanel Dashboard that you can install them through.
Flywheel also comes with a free SSL certificate with any hosting plan that you’re on.
The internet is a scary place and security breaches are more common than you’d expect. There are a lot of malware and mischievous characters who are always on the lookout for holes in your security infrastructure. If your security were to be breached and your files get misplaced, you’d be thankful for backups.
Flywheel runs nightly free automatic backups on all their hosting plans. These backups can be downloaded. The backups made by Flywheel are deleted permanently after thirty days. If you’d like access to a copy of your backup for a longer period, you have the choice of downloading it.
SiteGround has automatic free backups on all hosting plans except the StartUp plan. The backups are kept for 30 days, and the backup tool on the cPanel allows you to restore your old versions of your site easily.
In summary, Flywheel offers free automatic backups on all their hosting plans, while SiteGround offers it on all hosting plans except their cheapest plan – the StartUp plan.
SiteGround is one of the most security-conscious hosts we’ve reviewed. First, all SiteGround’s servers are set to use the latest PHP 7 version with the latest bug fixes. ModSecurity is also installed on shared servers as security rules are updated weekly. Additionally, all software that provides database services is kept up to date with the latest security patches.
The host also offers additional Bruteforce prevention system as they report that up to 2 million brute-force attempts are blocked on their servers every hour.
The SG Site Scanner is one of SiteGround’s most important line of defence and it’s a malware detection and early warning system that works almost like SiteLock. It is powered by Sucuri (one of the biggest internet security services) and scans all links accessible from the website homepage daily. That’s not all. The Site Scanner also checks blacklists to see if your site has been blacklisted by any authoritative site.
All this makes SiteGround one of the most secure hosting providers that we’ve ever reviewed.
|Anti-malware||SG Site scanner||Yes|
|Vulnerabilities scanner||SG Site scanner||Yes|
Flywheel starts security at the server level and claims that you do not even need additional security plug-ins because they bring performance issues of their own. If your site does get hacked, Flywheel will actually help you to clear out the virus at absolutely no extra charge.
Asides this, Flywheel also has 2-factor authentication system and their security infrastructure makes it very difficult for Bruteforce attempts to be successful. An intelligent IP blocking system blocks the IP of suspected Intruders across all sites on Flywheel in real-time. This means that potential threats are even eliminated before they get to you.
Updating the core of your WordPress site can be really stressful. But that’s not the only disadvantage of not having up to date apps – they make it easier for your site to be hacked. However, Flywheel takes that responsibility off your hands by updating your WordPress software for you so you don’t have to bother about it.
Admittedly, they only do that because they offer only managed WordPress hosting (SiteGround also does it on their managed WordPress plans), but it’s a neat thing to do.
While SiteGround is secure enough, the fact that Flywheel offers backup security and restore on all plans with no extra charges means that they take this one for us.
SiteGround vs. Flywheel: Plans and Pricing
Flywheel doesn’t offer shared hosting. If that is the sort of plan you’re looking for, the best plan for you would certainly be the SiteGround Starter plan.
However, the great thing about SiteGround is that their shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting plans are at the same price. The only difference is that the capacity of the plans on offer are a bit different.
SiteGround and Flywheel have three tiers of WordPress hosting plans, so they should be fairly easy to compare. Flywheel has the Freelance, Starter and Agency plans while SiteGround has GrowBig, GoGeek, and StartUp plans.
Basic Plan Comparison
Flywheel’s Basic plan is the Tiny plan and it comes with one WordPress install, 5GB storage disk, 20 GB of bandwidth, and has capacity for 5,000 monthly visits. However, if you want an additional WordPress site to be added to your plan, you can pay a $20 one time fee. The plan is billed at $13 per month.
Is that a lot? Yes, but Flywheel is one of the easiest to use managed WordPress hosting platforms, so they may believe that this price is fair, and in some respects, they might be right. After all, Flywheel wasn’t developed with the average blogger in mind, instead, it was created for web developers who have clients that they create sites for. The important question, though, is if SiteGround offers a better deal.
The StartUp plan by SiteGround comes with one website, 10GB of disk space, and has a capacity for 10,000 visits per month. The plan costs $3.45 per month and $11.45 per month on renewal.
SiteGround’s plan, even when you consider the renewal fee, is quoted cheaper than Flywheel’s plan. However, it is possible to think that Flywheel’s plan still packs more value because of the handy option of adding more websites to your plan with only $20. That thinking may prove to be wrong because of the fact that the GrowBig plan, which is the next plan that SiteGround offers, comes with unlimited websites and costs just about 2$ more than the Starter plan. It appears that the Starter plan is the one with the better value for money here.
|SiteGround StartUp||Flywheel Tiny|
Medium Tier Plan Comparison
SiteGround’s medium-tier plan is the GrowBig plan and it comes with unlimited websites, 20GB of space, and a capacity of 25,000 monthly visitors. The plan costs $5.95 per month and costs $19.95 upon renewal. With unlimited websites, this plan packs a lot of punch, and at a discount of $5.95 over the first three years, this plan represents amazing value. Make no mistake, this is a great deal.
Flywheel’s medium-tier plan is the Starter plan and it comes with a capacity for a 50.000 monthly visits, and a 10GB of space. The plan costs just about $25 and comes with 1 site.
|SiteFround GrowBig||Flywheel Starter|
Top Tier Plan Comparison
SiteGround’s most expensive plan is the GoGeek plan and it comes with unlimited websites, 30GB of web space and a 100,000 monthly visits. The plan costs $11.95 per month and costs $34.95
With unlimited websites, this plan is worth what it costs. However, a maximum monthly visits count of 100,000 is disappointing. Additionally, with a renewal fee of $34.95 per month, this plan should be coming with more than 30GB of space.
The Freelancer plan is a plan designed for next-level business. It comes with up to 10 sites, a capacity for about 100.000 monthly visits and 20GB of space. The plan costs $96 per month. This is really expensive, and if your needs can be taken care of by the GoGeek plan, I would advise that you go for it.
Flywheel has a customised plan structure that comes with more than thirty WordPress sites. Customers can decide the monthly visits, storage, and custom bandwidth.
|SiteGround GoGeek||Flywheel Freelancer|
|Websites||Unlimited||Up to 10|
Bluehost has a unique and feature-rich, yet easy and intuitive admin pannel. They keep clutter to a minimum, and user interface is clean and consistent.
SiteGround vs. Flywheel: Major Differences
The first difference between the two companies is that Flywheel offers in WordPress hosting while SiteGround offers a whole range of different hosting services.
- Flywheel offers free nightly backups on all plans, SiteGround doesn’t.
- Flywheel has unlimited free site transfers while SiteGround offers only a single site transfer.
- SiteGround makes use of cPanel while Flywheel makes use of a proprietary system.
- Flywheel is much more expensive than SiteGround
SiteGround beats Flywheel in the three most important aspects of hosting for us: pricing, customer support and performance. While Flywheel is a remarkable option, SiteGround is cheaper and has marginally better customer care service.