Flywheel alternative: benefits of choosing Kinsta

Looking for a better Flywheel alternative for you or your clients? You’ve come to the right place! Whether you're an agency, designer, or developer; Kinsta is ready to help. From our speed obsessive architecture and developer-friendly tools, our platform offers a unique and powerful approach to managed WordPress hosting.

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Flywheel was acquired by WP Engine as of June 24, 2019. They were one of the first managed WordPress hosts to dive in and focus on streamlining a platform specifically for freelancers and agencies. They also have an excellent eye for design. However, over time Flywheel has seen increasing issues with support availability, lack of developer-friendly features, and performance. Their acquisition has also made some uneasy, not knowing how it will impact them in the long run.

Every day we encounter Flywheel clients coming to us because they need more power and control when it comes to managing their WordPress sites. Their lack of critical tools such as SSH and WP-CLI also put massive restrictions on developer’s workflows, productivity, and automation.

People ask us all the time how we're different from Flywheel, and that's the question we'll answer here. Below, we'll dive into how Kinsta is not your typical WordPress host and the benefits we offer.

Kinsta is built for performance and scalability

From day one Kinsta was built for performance and scaling so that your WordPress sites would stay online during traffic surges. Our hosting platform doesn't fall into any of the traditional hosting categories and is very different from conventional shared, VPS, or dedicated infrastructure. We were the first managed WordPress host to utilize Google Cloud Platform exclusively.

Kinsta utilizes LXD managed hosts and orchestrated LXC software containers for each site. What this means is that every WordPress site is housed in its own isolated container, which has all of the software resources required to run it (Linux, Nginx, PHP, MySQL). The resources are 100% private and are not shared with anyone else or even your own sites. We don’t offer shared hosting.

Your MySQL databases are hosted at localhost, not a remote server that's overloaded. This ensures that there is no latency between machines, which results in faster queries and quicker page load times.

Moving our website to Kinsta from Flywheel was the best decision we've made. From 5-star support to amazing performance (really blazing fast), I recommend Kinsta for anyone serious about growing their business.
Jonathan Martin
Jonathan Martin
Co-Owner, XPN World

Our auto-scaling infrastructure is ready to handle your sudden surges in traffic and load. Hardware resources are allocated to each site container automatically by our virtual machines on an as-needed basis. The result is a hosting configuration that is secure and private by design while simultaneously allowing server resources to scale up or down as needed based on the demands of the site.

Whether you're an agency with 500+ sites or a hot new startup whose about to go on Shark Tank, there's nothing our team hasn't dealt with in regards to scaling and performance. Our entire infrastructure was built and is continuously updated with this in mind.

Load time from Flywheel to Kinsta
My agency in the past first hosted our client's sites with WP Engine. We weren't happy with the speed our sites were getting as well as their proprietary infrastructure, so we moved to Flywheel. Though they claimed our client's sites were on Google Cloud, the performance wasn't showing that. Then we went to Kinsta. We instantly saw a dramatic improvement in site loading times and a huge decrease in downtime. Kinsta is the real deal!
Owen Bick
Owen Bick
Founder, Enact

Optimized for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads

Kinsta’s platform is also optimized for ecommerce sites which can be very demanding and generate a lot of cache-bypassing dynamic page loads. We help clients using WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads on a daily basis increase the speed of their online stores. A few examples include:

  • Fast server-level page caching in place with rules to ensure proper WooCommerce and EDD functionality.
  • By default, certain pages that should never be cached, such as cart, my-account, and checkout, are excluded from caching.
  • Users automatically bypass the cache when the “woocommerce_items_in_cart cookie” or “edd_items_in_cart” are detected to ensure a smooth and in-sync checkout process.
Optimized WooCommerce WordPress hosting

Kinsta is the fastest WordPress host you’ll find on the web! Review Signal publishes an annual review, where they do rigorous performance testing of the top hosts in the industry. Kinsta has scored “top tier” performance five years in a row.

Only Flywheel’s tiny plan ($15/month) was tested, and so we’ll be comparing that below with Kinsta’s starter plan ($30/month). Remember, one of the great things about Kinsta is that we use the same hardware and architecture across all of our plans.

It's important to note that Flywheel no longer offers this plan and has not participated in any of Review Signal's latest benchmark tests.

Web performance benchmarks (starter plans)

The tests were run on an identical WordPress dummy site with the exact same plugins unless one was needed for that particular provider's caching mechanism.

The LoadStorm test scaled from 500 to 2,000 users over 30 minutes with 10 minutes at the peak. This simulates users hitting the homepage, login page, and various pages and posts around the site.

Kinsta handled this test without any issues with only 3 errors and an average response time of 355 ms. Flywheel on the other hand struggled with the test. They had 77,140 errors and an average response time of 2,415 ms.

Kinsta Flywheel
Total Requests 294,176 249,249
Total Errors 3 77,140
Peak RPS 225.5 189.82
Average RPS 163.43 138.47
Peak Response Time (ms) 10,036 15,623
Average Response Time (ms) 355 2415
Peak Throughput (MB/s) 17.58 10.25
Average Throughput (MB/s) 11.88 6.56

The Load Impact test scaled from 1 to 1,000 users over 15 minutes. Error count capped at 5,000. This detects whether a website is caching the front page and determines how well the caching system is performing.

Kinsta handled this test without any issues with only 0 errors and a peak average load time of 0.41 seconds. Flywheel on the other hand struggled with the test. They had 467 errors and a peak averate load time of 7.25 seconds.

Kinsta Flywheel
Total Requests 337,031 111,199
Total Errors 0 467
Peak Average Load Time (seconds) 0.41 7.25
Peak Average Bandwidth (Mbps) 304 57.1
Peak Average Requests/Sec 694 137

It’s almost boring writing about Kinsta. 100% uptime. 0 Load Impact errors. 3 Load Storm errors. Another top tier performance that I’ve come to expect.

Kinsta also had a perfect run at the Enterprise tier. This is why people shell out top dollar for Enterprise level hosting. Kinsta had perfect 100% uptime on both monitors. They also had 0 errors on both load tests and the lowest peak response time on the Load Storm test. Top tier performance was rightly earned.

Kevin Ohashi
Kevin Ohashi
Founder, Review Signal

Kinsta is developer-friendly

Many of us at Kinsta are developers ourselves, that’s why from day one we’ve built our tools and dashboard with WordPress developers in mind. We provide the following features and accessibility to make your workflow more efficient, not all of which are available at Flywheel:

  • We don’t have restrictions in place on critical files. Flywheel locks down your wp-config.php file and doesn’t allow to make changes to it.
  • We allow you to use custom setups like Bedrock and Trellis, as well as starter themes such as Sage.
  • SSH access, Git, and WP-CLI on all plans from Starter to Enterprise. You can also add your SSH keys in the MyKinsta dashboard. These provide a more secure way of logging into a server and eliminate the need for a password.
  • We allow you to run a different version of PHP for each live site and staging site and switching between PHP engines takes just one-click. There is no need to reach out to our support team.
  • Access to phpMyAdmin to manage and run queries against your MySQL database. Flywheel provides a stripped down and limited version of this in their dashboard.
  • You can restore automatic backups to production as well as staging.
  • We leave post and page revisions enabled by default. While we recommend limiting or disabling these, we believe this should be your choice.
  • Loading your site over a reverse proxy is possible, and we have many clients who do so.
  • Faster search with the Elasticsearch add-on and faster database performance with the Redis add-on.
  • Five different types of backups to keep your data safe and up to date: automatic daily backups, optional hourly backups, manual backups, system generated backups, and downloadable backups.
Developer-friendly WordPress hosting

You might notice that we don't offer email hosting at Kinsta. Why not? Because this can cause all sorts of problems for you down the road. Blacklisted IPs, email deliverability issues, complicated email authentication configurations, and even a strain on server resources are a few that come to mind. If you want your business to succeed, you should utilize the best tools and services that are already available on the market. A few we typically recommend are G Suite, SendGrid, MailChimp, and MailGun.

Basic transactional emails, such as password resets and ecommerce purchase emails will work fine at Kinsta, but not bulk email sending or hosted email. We focus on what we do best and that is providing high-performance hosting and world-class support. Don't worry, we have plenty of excellent guides to get your email up and going!

Like Kinsta, Flywheel doesn’t provide email hosting but allows for a limited number of transactional emails. The big difference here is the number of emails we both allow:

  • Kinsta’s Starter and Pro plans allow up to 150 transactional emails per day or (4,500/month) while Flywheel’s Tiny plan only allows up to 2,000 a month. Their Personal plan does however allow up to 5,000/month.
  • Kinsta’s Business plans allows up to 1,000 transactional emails per day (30,000/month) while Flywheel’s Professional plan only allows up to 15,000/month.
  • Kinsta’s Enterprise plans allow up to 3,000 transactional emails per day (90,000/month) while Flywheel’s larger plans are custom built.

Again, if you're worried about crossing these limits, we always recommend using one of the third-party transaction email providers or email marketing software tools we mentioned above.

Feature comparison overview

Here is a quick overview of some of the key differences between Kinsta and Flywheel.

Plans start at $30/month
Plans start at $15/month
Money-Back Guarantee
30 days on all plans
Monthly plans limited to 72 hours
Plan Tiers
10 (not including custom)
3 (not including custom)
Premium 24/7 Support
All plans
All plans
Core Infrastructure (GCP)
Same across all plans
Same across all plans
Global Data Centers
25 locations
5 locations
Continent Locations
PHP Versions
PHP 7.3, 7.4, 8.0
PHP 7.2, 7.3
Container Technology
100% resource isolation on all plans
Premium DNS
Amazon Route 53
Performance Analytics
All plans
Multisite Support
Pro plan and higher
Freelance plan and higher
All plans
Uptime Monitoring
All plans
Additional Backups + Frequency Add-on
Redis Add-on
New Relic APM Support
Elasticsearch Add-on

You can save more on your monthly hosting bill at Kinsta. We give annual plans two free months while Flywheel only gives one month. Kinsta also has huge discounts for nonprofits and open source projects. You can get a 15% recurring discount or 15% off in addition to the two months free if paying annually. Flywheel does offer discounts but doesn’t make this information available to the public.

Free migrations

For a limited time Kinsta is excited to offer unlimited free migrations to all Flywheel hosting customers wanting to make the move to Kinsta. This offer is valid through May 31, 2021.

Unless you’re a developer with time to burn, it’s much safer to let our team take care of everything for you. It doesn't matter if you have one WordPress site or 50! Moving your site usually won’t incur any downtime and we’ll help you inspect your migrated site prior to going live.

Free WordPress migrations
The support team has been fantastic for helping our migration and setup. As we're not technical, we don't have too much time to spend learning how to do these types of things. Luckily the Kinsta support team walked us through every step of our site migration and rebranding.
Lucy Blevins
Lucy Blevins
Ph.D. and Author,

Expert Support

Our support team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including evenings and weekends. We treat every website as mission-critical, whether you're a blogger or Fortune 500 company. Our average ticket response time in Q3 2019 was 1 minute and 19 seconds!

Kinsta also does support a little different than everyone else. We don't have level 1 or level 2 support reps. Our entire support team is made up of WordPress developers and Linux hosting engineers many of whom have managed their own servers, created themes and plugins, and contributed back to core. This ensures you’ll receive expert advice from someone who actively uses and develops with WordPress. Every Kinsta client gets to chat with the same team members that support our large enterprise and Fortune 500 companies. In fact, we hire less than 1% of applicants who apply. You won’t find better support anywhere else!

Kinsta is truly fantastic. A web host par excellence. I've been working with web hosts for more than a decade, and it's truly difficult to find one that is friendly to developers, prioritizes performance AND allows you the flexibility to build a complex website. Yet what stands out more than anything else is their support team. It's not often that support staff knows way more than I do about making WordPress and BuddyPress work well. And they are accessible in real time, creatively work to solve problems, and even notice things unrelated to the specific issue I ask about that could be improved. I smile every time I work with them. And smiling is hard to do when a server is melting down. Knowing Kinsta has my back makes even the worst server issues tolerable!
Vanessa Harris
Vanessa Harris
Product Manager, Google

Kinsta also monitors your sites' uptime every minute which means that our slowest response time is 5 minutes to any downtime that may occur. Our staff is alerted instantly and quite often we start resolving the issue before you even contact us. And yes, this includes evenings and weekends!

Wondering why we don't offer phone support? We have found that keeping support solely online allows us to better help you troubleshoot your website in a speedy and more efficient manner, as our engineers are able to focus all of their energy on solving your support concerns with the fewest number of distractions and interruptions possible. This, in turn, means that your support requests are ultimately resolved faster. We believe it wouldn’t be possible to provide the same effective assistance over the phone.

Moving to Kinsta was crucial to our online presence. The performance and the outstanding support team (who seems to solve any issue in a matter of minutes) is the reason why every aspect of our online presence has improved; customer satisfaction, income, site maintenance and various SEO measures all improved solely by moving to Kinsta.
Araz Rawshani, MD, PhD
Araz Rawshani
MD, PhD, ECG Learning

Kinsta has a global presence

Kinsta was the first managed WordPress host in the industry to utilize Google Cloud Platform exclusively. It's no surprise that our competitors, such as Flywheel, have now adopted the same infrastructure. However, as with any new platform, their team is bound to encounter bumps in the road. Kinsta has already ironed out all of the kinks, making our platform, combined with Google Cloud, the most stable and optimized WordPress solution on the market!

Kinsta rolls out new Google Cloud Platform locations the moment they are available. We are proud to offer 25 data centers around the globe, extending across five continents. All locations are available across all plans (with no extra or hidden charges), starting from as low as $30/mo! Flywheel only lets you choose from 5 locations. With Kinsta you can also choose a different data center of each of your sites. Current locations:

  1. Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA (us-central1)
  2. St. Ghislain, Belgium (europe-west1)
  3. Changhua County, Taiwan (asia-east1)
  4. Sydney, Australia (australia-southeast1)
  5. The Dalles, Oregon, USA (us-west1)
  6. Salt Lake City, USA (us-west3)
  7. Ashburn, Virginia, USA (us-east4)
  8. Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA (us-east1)
  9. São Paulo, Brazil (southamerica-east1)
  10. London, UK (europe-west2)
  11. Frankfurt, Germany (europe-west3)
  12. Jurong West, Singapore (asia-southeast1)
  13. Tokyo, Japan (asia-northeast1)
  1. Mumbai, India (asia-south1)
  2. Montréal, Canada (northamerica-northeast1)
  3. Eemshaven, Netherlands (europe-west4)
  4. Hamina, Finland (europe-north1)
  5. Los Angeles, California (us-west2)
  6. Hong Kong (asia-east2)
  7. Zürich, Switzerland (europe-west6)
  8. Osaka, Japan (asia-northeast2)
  9. Seoul, South Korea (asia-northeast3)
  10. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (us-west4)
  11. Jakarta, Indonesia (asia-southeast2)
  12. Warsaw, Poland (europe-central2)

Everything at Kinsta is interconnected over the highly reliable Google Cloud Platform premium tier network. This is designed to minimize distance and hops, resulting in faster and more secure global transport of your data. Beware, some hosting providers might opt for Google’s “standard tier” network service without telling you to cut costs, but we believe in only utilizing the best here at Kinsta.

Choosing a data center near you and your visitors will result in faster SFTP download and upload speeds, making file transfers quick and painless. You're back-end WordPress dashboard will also feel more snappy and responsive, especially when uploading files to the media library.

Turbocharging your content delivery

Kinsta cares about the performance of your site, not just from our data center, but at every point around the globe. That’s why we partnered up with KeyCDN, a premium HTTP/2 and IPv6-enabled content delivery network (CDN), and include free bandwidth across all of our plans.

KeyCDN’s content delivery architecture was built from the ground up with a focus on high-performance and designed for high throughput and low latency. When enabled, your content will be delivered and cached from their 34 POPs around the globe, this includes all regions: America, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia!

Flywheel currently uses Fastly, which is a solid and reputable CDN provider.

Our CDN also automatically helps protect against bad bots as well as checks all the boxes when it comes to industry standards such as GZIP and HPACK compression.

Turbocharging content delivery

Best affiliate program in the industry

Kinsta has become one of the fastest growing managed WordPress hosts thanks in part to the many happy customers helping to spread the word. Whether you're an agency, freelancer, or blogger, Kinsta is proud to offer true profit sharing with one of the highest paying affiliate programs in the hosting industry.

You earn $50 to $500 after every signup based on the type of plan you refer. On top of that, you get a 10% monthly recurring commission for the lifetime of the customer you referred, enabling you to build passive income.

We never settle for anything less than perfection at Kinsta. That's why we built our WordPress hosting affiliate dashboard from the ground up, meaning you don't have to mess with another confusing and cluttered 3rd-party platform. This allows our developers to easily build in new features as needed to help you earn even more.

Flywheel also has an affiliate program in which you can earn up to $500 per referral source, as well as secondary commissions. However, they don't offer any way to build passive income. If you're an affiliate marketer, you know this is where the real money is!

WordPress hosting affiliate program

MyKinsta - A dashboard that’s better than the competition

We weren't satisfied with any of the existing control panel solutions on the market. So we decided to build our own from the ground up specifically for WordPress website management.

Flywheel also built their dashboard from scratch, and to be fair; it's a lot better than other hosts offering cPanel. However, we've taken our dashboard one step further giving you more control over every aspect of your WordPress sites. If you're a WordPress developer, you'll especially like some of the features we've got!

MyKinsta Dashboard

In addition to everyday features which can be found in both our dashboard and at Flywheel, here are a few features unique to MyKinsta:

  • Easily toggle between different versions of PHP with a single click. No need to reach out to our support team.
  • Use our search and replace tool to make bulk updates on your site - for example, change HTTP URLs to HTTPS or update old shortcodes.
  • Detailed analytics including bandwidth and visitor data, cache HIT and MISS ratio, CDN usage and insights, and performance analysis data.
  • New Relic integration for those that need to dive further into performance issues on their site.
  • Not only can you easily push staging to live but you can also restore backups directly to staging.
  • Add your SSH keys in the MyKinsta dashboard. These provide a more secure way of logging into a server and eliminate the need for a password.
  • Ability to restart PHP as needed. Comes in handy if you're troubleshooting a problem.
  • Quick access to phpMyAdmin and a simple button to change your database password.
  • Easily block IP addresses from hitting your site with our IP Deny tool.
  • Premium Amazon Route 53 DNS is included with all plans. Manage your DNS records right within the MyKinsta dashboard.
  • MyKinsta is available in 10 languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Swedish, and Danish!

Many MyKinsta features have come directly from our client’s feedback. We actively listen to all requests, and if something can help make everyone’s lives easier and more productive, you can count on us looking into it.

Want to learn more about MyKinsta? Check out our full-featured free demo here!

Join others making the switch to Kinsta

Kinsta will never stop innovating and providing clients with the latest and greatest technology. If you don’t believe us, check out our feature updates. We push out new integrations, tools, and features at a rate faster than anyone in the industry!

We stand behind our service and want you to be happy with your hosting. We are proud to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and no long-term contracts. Try out Kinsta risk-free for 30 days!

Ready to get started?

Join today and launch your free migration. Let us handle the nitty-gritty stuff, and we’ll let you know when your site’s ready to go.