Why Choose GridPane Over Flywheel?
Both Flywheel and ourselves here at GridPane are 100% focused on WordPress hosting services, but we each have fundamentally different business and pricing models. We occasionally get asked by prospective clients how we compare with each other and so we’ll seek to explain the key differences here, as fairly and accurately as possible.
If you’re looking to understand the differences between GridPane and Flywheel to decide who is the better choice for your business, you’re in the right place.
Flywheel is a managed WordPress hosting provider that charge a premium for their hosting services. They have plans available from $15/month for 1 regular low traffic site, and then the rest of their prices are the same as WP Engines – not surprising as Flywheel is now a “division” of WP Engine. They’re a part of one of the largest providers in the space, and they’ve been popular with both SME’s and WordPress pros. They primarily serve the lower to mid-end market of the managed WordPress hosting space.
GridPane gives you the power to create your own managed WordPress hosting service. Instead of renting strictly limited resources directly from a host, you can provision and manage your own enterprise-capable WordPress servers through our SaaS platform. We primarily serve WordPress agencies and developers.
GridPane has received a seed round of funding, including a strategic investment from Automattic. We’ve also retained 100% control of the business and its direction, and so we’re able to invest in the areas we know are important.
Flywheel rent a small slice of one of their Google Cloud Compute servers, which they themselves rent and install their own LEMP stack on. All plans come with strict restrictions on bandwidth, visits, and PHP workers. Their platform comes with a nice UI with many one-click options for managing your websites.
GridPane allows you to provision servers from providers such as DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, AWS, UpCloud, and essentially any quality VPS provider that you wish through our Custom VPS option (including Google Cloud Compute, Hetzner, and OVH). You choose and control your infrastructure, and you can use our software and control panel to manage your websites and servers.
Flywheel, like most managed hosts, base their pricing on arbitrary metrics and can result in overage charges if you go over these set limitations. By restricting “visits”, and server customization options such as PHP workers, many people are forced to upgrade to higher-tier plans. This is one of the main reasons many agencies are switching from Flywheel to GridPane.
GridPane’s pricing model is straightforward. We have 3 set plans that are designed to help you at different levels of your hosting venture’s journey. As you add more sites and servers to your account, the more you’ll benefit from the higher-tier plans. There are no preset server or site limitations on any plans, and there are no restrictions or arbitrary limits on pageviews or bandwidth. Your servers can handle what they can handle, and pricing is predictable.
Flywheel’s pricing starts at $15/month for 1 regular site on their “Tiny” plan and $115/month for 10 sites that can include multisite networks (although for an additional fee). They also offer a couple of things with their plans that we at GridPane don’t include. These are the option to use the Genesis Framework and any of the Studiopress child themes on your website, a CDN, and malware clean up. All of these are great features but with the money you’ll save using GridPane you will easily be able to afford to license Genesis, and BunnyCDN is both excellent and offers incredible value for money if you need a CDN. Cloudflare is of course free, but not as performant.
GridPane includes many features that Flywheel don’t include, such as OpenLiteSpeed, server customization options, hourly backups, offsite backup options, DNS integrations, multiple WAFs, and a WP Ultimo integration at no extra cost. Our Panel plan is $100, Developer Plus is $500, and we have agency and enterprise options available.
Also, with the backup options available to you, recovering from Malware should be quick and painless as you simply roll your sites back in time. The easiest & fastest way to recover from getting hacked is to restore from a clean backup, and this is likely what Flywheel will do for you.
We both have 24/7 support, and as we’re both dedicated to WordPress, we can both offer a much higher level of WordPress specific support than companies who are generalized and serve many different markets.
The main difference is that as a company we have no incentive to ask you to increase the size of your servers as that’s not how we make our money. Being completely independent from your infrastructure provider means we can advise you on how to fine-tune your server vs upgrading it. We allow you to customize your servers to meet your website’s requirements, and the average $10-$20 VPS can easily handle a TON of traffic.
Flywheels support is limited by the restrictions of the platform, so you if need more PHP workers, more “views”, or anything that doesn’t fit the mold, your only option is to upgrade your plan. GridPane doesn’t suffer from those restrictions.
Stack and Performance
Flywheel runs on a well-optimized Nginx stack built specifically for WordPress. They run on Google Cloud Computes excellent infrastructure and include a CDN. They also have a strictly regimented service that can quickly require you to scale up your plan if you’re hosting WooCommerce, learning management systems, or multisites etc. Getting the performance you need for these types of sites may cost serious $$$$.
GridPane is the only platform to offer multiple stack options. Our developer accounts give you have the ability to customize your server stack with either Nginx or OpenLiteSpeed, and MariaDB or Percona for MySQL 8. Our out-of-the-box defaults are ideal for most WordPress websites, but you can further customize them to meet your specific requirements as needed. Need to tweak your PHP workers for a WooCommerce or LMS website? No problem at all. On Flywheel there are no such options and you will likely have no choice other than to increase your resources by purchasing a higher plan.
As far as performance goes, let’s just say that we will happily put any of our server stack options up against ANY managed hosting company any day of the week, but both ourselves and Flywheel have been awarded “Top Tier” honors in the [highest] enterprise category by Review Signal.
Which Service Is Right For You?
If you only have one or two websites with relatively low traffic (and you expect it to stay at less than 25,000 total visits per month), Flywheel may be the better option for your business.
If you’re a WordPress agency or developer and you’re looking to grow your monthly revenue from your hosting offering, GridPane is purpose-built to serve your needs. Not only will you save a considerable amount of money each month, but you’ll also have a lot more flexibility and capability for hosting different types of websites, and the backing of our support team and knowledge base.
Are you looking to build a high-end hosting service and add a steady, predictable stream of recurring monthly revenue to your WordPress business? We’d love to assist you on that journey.
Smash Your Hosting Problems Once & For All
WordPress pro’s from all over the world are moving their most important, high-traffic websites to GridPane. Why not take us for a test drive? You can get started today for free!