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Before I get into why we now exclusively use an recommend Flywheel to all of our clients for their hosting needs, I think it’s important to cover some basics…
- Hosting – where your site resides
- Domain(s) – the address of your website and where your URL resides. Your domain can be registered with a different host than your site. It’s not unusual to purchase a domain and keep it with one company over the years while you might move hosts depending on your site’s requirements, traffic, etc.
- Email –
as a business owner, you should host and own your own email @ your domain vs having a free email hosted by someone else (ie. Google / Gmail, Hotmail, etc).
Why we love Flywheel
For anyone starting a website or blog with WordPress, you will need hosting + a domain to get started. Over the past 10 years I’ve used various hosting companies for my clients and I, including GoDaddy, Hostgator, and Bluehost. But I can’t believe it took me this long to find Flywheel!!!
I, like most young internet entrepreneurs in the early stages of WordPress websites, started out with the cheapest solution I could find. At the time, that was a company called iPage, that offered me unlimited domains, websites and files hosted on one (shared) server for the paltry sum of $3.95 per month. I know that when starting out, money is tight and it’s hard to beat purchasing 3 years of hosting with Hostgator for less then $150. What I, like many of my clients and colleagues, din’t realize was that the low cost of most of the cheap hosting companies’ products comes at a huge cost in other areas, and an even greater liability and potential for disaster.
You may not think you need managed hosting until it comes time to need it.
Once I started getting a bit bigger and had a little more experience, I outgrew iPage and began hosting with Bluehost. It had been highly recommended by several other colleagues and I got a $50 commission for every client site I referred to boot. What a deal! Great customer service. Faster load times. All kinds of extra services and products. No issue with the server. Life with Bluehost was great for about a year…until the perfect storm hit. Bluehost got bigger and more popular. They sold to a huge hosting conglomorate and the once amazing customer service got worse and worse. They started spamming my clients offering them services that I offered, for dirt cheap because they were doing hack jobs that were being outsourced to India. Hold times to reach support was often at least an hour, and super unhelpful when you did reach someone. Then, not only my site, but my entire hosting account got hacked.
I turned to Bluehost, and not only were they not at all helpful, they essentially held my entire hosting account content HOSTAGE for almost two weeks, which included over 10 websites, and over 30 email accounts across 13 domains! I couldn’t log in to access my backups. I couldn’t log in to do anything. On top of that, Bluehost wanted to charge me an additional $450 to remove the malware/virus and then another $100 to retrieve the latest backup! I hired a WordPress developer and hosting pro to look at the “corrupt” files they sent me and he reinstalled all clean copies of WordPress. We reuploaded them and then got a new “scan” from Bluehost…it was pretty obvous that they were esentially lying and telling me my files were corrupt in an effort to extort more money from what they assume are mostly non-tech savvy customers. I was thankfully one of the lucky ones who knows their way around a hosting database and could restore my sites and emails – but not without a signifigant cost in time, productivity, money, and not to mention the stress and frustration.
Learn from my mistake: BACKUP YOUR SITES OFTEN, and WORK WITH A HOSTING COMPANY YOU CAN TRUST!!!
Since my Bluehost debacle, I had a few years of trial and error, and trying to find my web hosting “home”. I tried HostGator, LiquidWeb, Deluxe Hosting, and looked into a ton of Managed Hosting providers trying to find the right combination of features, support and cost. Most hosting companies have gone the “kitchen sink” route and will try to upsell you on many things including security & backups if you need them. The consistent feeling I had was a sense of fear and insecurity knowing that hundreds of other people were on my same server and I was setting myself up for a disaster again, and knowing that the tech support was getting increasingly poor with all of these other solutions, I got serious about finding a company I could not only host with, but bring on as a strategic partner in my business – not to mention recommend with full faith to my clients!!
Then after doing some research on competitors in my field, I came across Flywheel. Although they are designed for web designers & agencies, ANY ONE can use them! I am in love. It’s an all-in-one managed WordPress hosting provider, meaning THEY take care of all the nitty-gritty WordPress website maintenance things you don’t want to. Instead of these other companies upselling you, these guys include it in the cost. See what I mean below
- Blazing Speed – I’m amazed how quickly my website loads now that I’ve switched. With the other hosting providers my sites were loading between 10-15 seconds, now mine loads within 3.
- Security – Instead of paying another service, Flywheel includes daily hacker-free security in the cost. They also will clean malware for FREE.
- Backups – You guys. Flywheel include NIGHTLY backups in with this price!!! Hallelujah! No more losing your websites or blogs ever again! Most companies will charge you to retrieve a backup. They include it and it’s right on your dashboard with an easy way to restore it!
- FREE Blog/Site Migrations – Let’s say you have your WordPress website or blog hosted elsewhere at the moment. No worries, once you sign on with these guys they’ll migrate it over to them and get it up & running FOR FREE. Most companies would charge you over $100 to do this!
- Incredible Support from WordPress Experts – Have an issue within WordPress? Have questions about your hosting? Email support and get a response back from someone on their team quickly.
- FREE SSL – Most hosting companies will charge upwards of $75/yr for this. SSL is what let’s consumers know your site is safe to browse & that their info is being encrypted. You can tell by seeing the https:// & green padlock icon
- Built-in Site Stats – You can see how many visitors you’re getting monthly, how much data you are using & more
- A Beautifully Designed User Interface – As a designer, this is what impressed me the most. Most hosting dashbaords / control panels are ridiculously confusing and overwhelming to navigate – Flywheel is not only simple, it’s actually enjoyable to work in! They make managing your website/blog SO EASY.
THINGS DESIGNERS & DEVELOPERS WILL LOVE ABOUT IT:
- Staging Site – Instead of downloading a maintenance plugin, you can now work on a site behind the scenes without worrying about it being live while you’re making changes. You can test the updates before making it live!
- Free Demo Sites – Want to build a site for a client but they don’t have hosting yet? No worries. You can build a demo site and when you’re ready to make it live for your client, you can send it to them & have them pay for hosting for it to go live!
- Collaborations with Separate Logins – As a designer you can set up hosting, create the website, then add your client as the owner so they can do payments. Then you’ll have access to their site as long as they allow you to.
- White-Label Hosting – Want to offer managed WordPress hosting to your clients? Soon you’ll be able to set your own prices & bill directly through Flywheel.
THE ONLY ISSUES WITH FLYWHEEL:
Unlike other big companies, Flywheel has chosen to stick to what they do amazingly well, and that is super great WordPress web hosting. however, if you are used to having all of your hosting, domains, and email in one place, this can be something to consider and get used to when making the switch. The two things to keep in mind that I think are important when considering Flywheel are:
1. Flywheel does not do domains.
This means you cannot purchase domains through them like most other hosting companies. If you don’t own a domain, you can purchase one with Namecheap and point it over to Flywheel super easily! If you currently have a domain from the following providers, please click the links to see how to get it pointed to Flywheel:
2. Flywheel does not do email.
However, you will definitely want to have domain emails @ your domain, and so for that, we suggest using Google Apps for business / G Suite, or whatever Google decides to call it tomorrow 🙂 you can send and receive emails as @yourdomain.com from any computer / phone / tablet / location. With G Suite, you will have a bunch of other amazing Google tools and apps for your business that we also use and love!
If you’re still nervous about doing this on your own, I can either put you on my hosting or set it up for you. Send me a message to get started.