A question I’m asked often is “who is the best blog host?”. I use Flywheel for blog hosting, and I thought that I should write about it to tell you how much I love them. I have changed hosts a lot. Am I a host junkie? Hmm… I’m not sure but the grass was greener with other hosts, and I was never fully satisfied until now.
I’ve switched hosts a few times over the years of TBK being on WordPress. Here’s a brief history.
Hostgator – Big mistake. They were okay for the first year but as my blog reached the 100k in page views mark, they failed hard. I also found the customer service to be awful.
Bluehost – Bluehost was fine for the first few months, but it wasn’t long before I began running into issues. I had their pro plan, but it couldn’t handle my traffic (it wasn’t huge by any means 150-200k pageviews). Customer service was no help, I would email them about my “Error Connecting to Database” or whatever error it was that showed up often and they couldn’t help me. They wanted me to pay for more help! When I called them one rep said I outgrew the pro plan (at 150-200k pageviews?). It was frustrating. My blog was down often and I was told that my page was being throttled, which explained to me that I was losing out on a lot of pageviews.
Even with my bad experience with Bluehost, I still recommend them to beginner bloggers on a budget. If you don’t want to pay much on a monthly basis on your blog because:
a) You’re not making money on your blog.
b) You don’t have that many pageviews.
Simply keep an eye on your blog and as it grows, you may need to change hosts.
Wired Tree (now Liquidweb) – I was with Wired Tree for roughly two years, right up until the point they started switching people to Liquid web. The first half of my term with them was great. I loved them, my site was quicker and I didn’t have downtime… until I did. The one pro with Wired Tree was that whenever I sent an email for help, it wasn’t long until I had a response (a few minutes!) but that started getting longer and then I found that when I asked for something to be done, it wasn’t done correctly, or it wasn’t done at all. I was getting so frustrated and that’s when I started looking around. I contacted and spoke with many reps and owners of hosting platforms, and then I spoke to my ad network and decided to try Flywheel.
This post contains affiliate links.
Flywheel was first recommended to me by my blog designer. She let me know how awesome and fast they were and recommended them to speed up my site but I was with another company and (for that month) happy with them.
I knew it was time to switch when my ad network (AdThrive) recommended them to me as well!
I was apprehensive about the cost at first, especially with the Canadian dollar, but went ahead with the upgrade of service. I have never looked back. They took care of everything for me, they switched me, got my HTTPS working and answered all my annoying emails in the process (thanks guys!). They even jumped on a call and screen share to help me figure out how to set Gsuite (and Gmail) for my blog’s email to be hosted there. They didn’t have to do that, it is not in their job description! Flywheel is full of super awesome, helpful people!
The moment I switched to Flywheel by site speed improved by 3 seconds!
Yeah…mind freaking blown.
I haven’t looked back since. Even with the super sweet deal that AdThrive has going on with their publishers with WP Engine right now, I’m sticking put. I have been with Flywheel since December/January and when Stacie and I started Click Start Club I knew that Flywheel would be our hosts as well. I’ve recommended them to friends and blogging peers whenever I see the question pop up in Facebook groups. I can’t say enough good things!
Did my page views increase? Yes, and I’m sure it’s because my page loads super fast and they can get to the content quick enough to stay on. So thank you Flywheel!
I don’t know or understand tech. So when I reach out to support, I really need the hand holding and Flywheel takes care of me.
If you want to learn more about Flywheel or talk to them to see what they can do for you, click our affiliate link to be taken to their website.
My Experience Moving to Flywheel
One of the most stressful things a blogger can do is move hosts. I cringe even thinking about it. It’s so stressful because a lot can go wrong.
I’ve moved hosts more times than I can count. Usually the move is prompted by crappy service and lots of downtime.
Just this past week, I moved hosts again, but it wasn’t because the service was terrible. My site was up and doing ok. I wasn’t experiencing downtime. I wanted better support, a cheaper price and a host I could trust.
This post contains affiliate links.
On my recent site speed audit, Once Coupled found that I had high server response times on my speed tests. I was paying almost $400 USD a month for hosting on a dedicated server with Liquid Web. I should have a super-fast site for that price. They recommended I check out other hosts that used server side caching and recommended Flywheel.
So I emailed them for a quote.
They quoted me $275/month with FREE off-site backups – something Liquid Web did not provide. Liquid Web was charging me extra for back-ups and storing them on my server which ate up space.
Side note- When I moved to the dedicated server in January with Liquid Web, I did not realize that back-ups were an extra fee. My bad for not investigating that sooner.
Why I Picked Flywheel
Besides the glowing recommendations and better price, there was a few other reasons why I decided to move to Flyheel.
I liked that they only host WordPress sites. I wanted a host familiar with WordPress so they can help me troubleshoot any issues that come up.
I love their hosting dashboard. It is SOOOOO much simpler than my Liquid Web dashboard where I was terrified to touch anything. It’s clean, easy to navigate and I don’t feel overwhelmed when I log in.
It’s also super simple to add collaborators to your hosting account. With Liquid Web, I had to give out my passwords to various parts of my site like the cpanel, FTP and root. I was confused how to even log in to any of them!
Free backups! And they store them off-site, so they don’t take up space.
Flywheel also offers a free SSL certificate. I was paying $50/year for my SSL with Liquid Web and had to hire someone to set it up for me.
I was also sick of getting emails from my cpanel with various server issues that I couldn’t understand what to do. I’d have to email Liquid Web almost weekly to delete this node or that node and to figure out why backups were failing. I hated not being able to understand what was going on and didn’t feel confident that my server was optimized for my site. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t…I really don’t know.
I didn’t feel confident with Liquid Web’s support anymore after they told a friend of mine who was hosted with them that she should block her own site’s IP address. It was an error that they corrected in further emails, but the fact that it was even an option scares the heck out of me. Back in January when I had the viral Pinterest post, they recommended I block Pinterest bots from crawling my site…. bad idea! I want the traffic! Hello!
I also like that I have an account manager at Flywheel who I can email along with their tech support. She has been wonderful to work with so far.
The Migration to Flywheel
I took weeks debating about migrating because of how stressed I was about moving. I had a phone call with Jessica at Flywheel first to discuss the specifics of how it worked. I felt more comfortable after getting my questions answered.
When I was ready to move, I filled out their migration form. They said it could take a couple of weeks because my site was so large. In the end, from start to finish, it was only 3 days.
I had a quick call with Kelsey, my account manager, right before I moved. She explained the process to me in detail and told me she’d be there for me through the whole thing. I needed some hands holding and was grateful!
On Monday, I filled out the migration form.
Tuesday morning, I got an email that they had migrated over my site. They gave me a login to a test site so I could view how my site would be on their servers and make sure it was set up correctly. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to go into my computer and edit settings to see the site like on previous hosts. I could easily view my site, including my WordPress dashboard, on my computer and phone. All looked good!
On Wednesday, I was ready to move the DNS and get the SSL set up. Once I changed the DNS, I went down for 49 minutes. To be honest, I was a mess during the downtime because I thought something wasn’t done correctly. I always worry and went to the worst case scenario. Thankfully, it didn’t last long and I was good to go! WP Site Care helped me set up the DNS and do the SSL too. I’ve been with them for 4 years and they rock.
Thursday morning, I was going through old posts and noticed my images weren’t showing up on desktop. I emailed Support and they fixed it quickly. The old images were still on the http so they changed them to show up over https. Simple fix!
I hope this is the LAST migration I’ll ever have to make. I’m confident with my hosting choice and have no regrets moving. I’m just happy the process itself is done and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I’m curious to see what my site speed audit will say at the end of the month. I’m hoping that high server response time warning goes away. My site seems a lot faster to me now.
If you are looking for a new host, give Flywheel a try. A crappy host can and will ruin your blog along with making your stress levels sky high!