Content Marketing, Search Marketing, WordPress

WordPress Hosting Running Slow? Migrate to Flywheel

Although there’re tons of reasons that your WordPress installation is running slow (including poorly written plugins and themes), I believe the single biggest reason why people have problems is that of their hosting company. The additional need for social buttons and integrations compounds the issue – many of them load terribly slow as well.

People notice. Your audience notices. And they don’t convert. Having a page that takes longer than 2 seconds to load can exponentially increase the number of visitors that abandon your site… or worse… your shopping cart. For that reason, it’s essential that you work on improving your speed.

Flywheel Logo

For WordPress, we’ve migrated to Flywheel and have had incredible results. Our site is consistently up 99.9% or higher (and when it’s not, it’s typically us working on it). They have all of the necessary infrastructure and administrative tools to make managing your site – or all of your clients’ sites – much easier:

  • 1-Click Restore – Instant backup and restore with easy Snapshot Backups.
  • Agency Features – The ability to manage clients within the client’s account
  • Blueprints – Save a site’s theme and plugins as a custom configuration you can use for building out future projects.
  • Caching – Caching technology for massive scalability and speed.
  • CDN Ready – Blazingly fast load times for static content.
  • Cloning – The ability to clone a site easily.
  • Daily Backups – Automated, redundant systems to support your critical applications.
  • Firewall – Multiple, powerful firewalls between your data and outside threats.
  • Malware Scanning – Proactive detection and elimination of dangerous malware.
  • Support – fantastic technical support from US-based WordPress experts.
  • Free SSL – Enable SSL across all your sites.
  • Staging – The ability to clone and work within a staging area, then push live.

We’re migrating over 30 clients to Flywheel across no less than 50 WordPress installations. And Flywheel is a recommended host by WordPress!

The key reasons we migrated over to Flywheel include:

  • WordPress Support – I can’t tell you all the times that we ran into with hosts where they directly blamed WordPress with the caveat that it wasn’t supported (even though they often had a 1-click install). Permission issues, backup issues, security issues, performance issues… you name it, we ran into it and every host blamed WordPress.
  • Agency Support – it’s a huge advantage that the client owns the account but we’re added as authorized users, authorized support users, and authorized FTP users. If a client leaves us, they can stay on Flywheel and continue their success. No more holding clients hostage or having an uncomfortable migration period.
  • Affiliate Fees – Every time we sign up a client with Flywheel, we utilize Flywheel. We’re open and honest with our clients that we make a few bucks off of the engagement… and since we don’t charge for migrating them, they don’t mind at all.
  • Cloning – the ability to seamlessly clone a site is just fantastic. No longer do we have to host a staging environment elsewhere and then move it over to the host, Flywheel has them built right in. We’re able to show the client the progress, let them login and take it for a test drive, and push it live with a few clicks of a button.
  • Backups – Automated or 1-click backups and restoration has been fantastic. We had a client that was testing a third-party integration and every time the third-party said they were ready to go live, we’d go live and it failed. We were able to instantly restore the previous site in a matter of seconds until they got their infrastructure resolved for the demand.
  • Performance – rock solid caching and a great content delivery network have kept all of our clients performing well. Fast sites improve conversion metrics and even search engine ranking… it’s a critical component that we don’t have to worry about.
  • WordPress Security – robust hacking techniques can compromise older versions of WordPress or badly written themes and plugins. Flywheel monitors your versioning and ensures your site is not susceptible as we see other peoples’ clients continue to get hacked. Knock on wood, we’ve never had an issue. And we love that Flywheel will proactively upgrade versions if there’s a verified security risk.
  • StagingFlywheel has a robust staging capability they can enable on any one of your sites, enabling you to clone your site to a staging area, update the staged site, and pushing it back to live when you’re ready. It’s an incredible tool that’s a must for anyone looking to make significant updates to their site – like upgrading to a new theme.

Flywheel Local

If that’s not enough, Flywheel developed their own deployment application called Local. The application enables developers to:

  • Create a site locally with one click!
  • Make edits and show your client via a demo URL
  • Publish to Flywheel with just one more click (and it just works)

We’ve had the assistance of the Flywheel engineers on a number of issues already. We’ve had sites that were hacked and their team brought in security experts to identify the issue (typically a plugin) and correct it. We’ve had sites that have had performance issues that their team (and interface) have helped us troubleshoot and correct. We’ve had sites that took 10 seconds to load on other hosts that load in under 2 seconds on Flywheel.

And it’s not just our claims. We’ve shared our success with other agencies, and they’ve migrated all of their clients over to Flywheel. A unique option with WordPress is allowing your clients to purchase the plan and then add your team as authorized users. This allows you to request support on their behalf and manage user and SFTP access – all while the client owns the account. Provide your clients your affiliate code and Flywheel will even pay you.

The resulting performance improvements helped reduce bounce rates, extend time on page, and – because of the improvement in page speed – helped us to attain incredible search engine visibility. Oh… and yes, the links in this post are our affiliate links.

Update – This post was updated in February as we ran into problems with the hosting company we were working with becoming excruciatingly slow and then not being up front with us on difficulties they were having on their migrated infrastructure.

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20 Comments

  1. 1

    I’ve checked them out but my general problem with all these hosted WordPress shops is that you have to give up an element of control that’s unacceptable to me. Running a giant website requires me to have complete control over every aspect – including plugins and database access. Their pricing packages also don’t make sense in reality – $100/month for 250k pageviews and 100gb? What an arbitrary limit that I would hit in 2-3 weeks. I’m currently using Media Temple (and paying a lot for it) – and using every ‘optimization’ tool (cahcing, CDN, etc) available I can’t do load times better than 9-10 seconds. The point I’m trying to make is that there’s no silver bullet when it comes to getting WordPress to run fast. I’ve tried them all.

    • 2

      You can control every aspect with them, Jonathan. Our site has a ton of customizations and plugins to get it to do everything we’d like. I believe the pricing is pretty good for the average corporate blog… the average person doesn’t know how to configure CDNs and caching so this is definitely under that cost. BTW: We use Mediatemple as well… with a CDN and Cloudflare and it’s simply not performing as well as we’d like.

      • 3

        Are you hosting the WordPress site on Media Temple’s grid server or a dedicated virtual server? I had a simple site hosted with (mt) for 2 years on the grid and load times were just horrible, ridiculously slow and the admin area was just a grueling pain in the arse. Did I mention the whole experience was absolutely horrible?

        I did everything possible under the sun to optimize my site except purchase a grid container and nothing worked. Optimized it with minify, WP Super Cache, etc. I even tried using CloudFlare on another wp hosted site but the load times are ridiculous. 20 seconds to load the home page?

        I decided to move my site to Hostgator and the speed increase tripled overnight. I do still miss the (mt) control panel which is incredible but the speed of my site trumps a nice looking interface.

        Now I am shopping for a new web host again but this time I will need to install multisite with the ability to host 10 micro sites within it. I have been looking at (mt) dedicated virtual, WP Engine and Page.ly. Media Temple seems to be a much better deal and I was already burned by them on the grid, but I wonder if their dedicated virtual will give me the speed boost I need and the ease of use that comes with their control panels.

        • 4

          MT is only a “deal” if you want a machine without any specific support for WordPress. If you want to do security yourself, speed yourself, scalability yourself, a CDN yourself (and pay for it).

          And then there’s high-availability. Both because of software and hardware issues, a one-server installation can’t be as highly-available as a cluster.

          In our view, trying to save $20/mo but having to do all that stuff yourself isn’t a good use of time or money. It’s easier for us because we amortize the cost of all that over all our customers; it’s just too much to be sensible for a single site to do if you’re not TechCrunch.

    • 6

      Hi Joanathan, I understand where you’re coming from, but you haven’t tried it all yet if you haven’t tried us. 🙂

      Those limits are a guide — we don’t turn off your site or anything if you hit them, it just means it costs us more and it will cost you more too. We can talk about it.

      We’ve had lots of people unable to optimize past a certain point, but then see improvements with us. Because: http://wpengine.com/our-infrastructure .

      Also, we *do* give you control over plugins, custom code, and database access, so don’t assume that we’ll lock you out!

      Instead, why not give us a chance… move a copy of your blog, then send me an email (jason at wpengine) and let’s see what we can do.

    • 7

      9-10 seconds is unacceptable. Personally i found switching from Thesis to the Woo framework made my site significantly slower. I was loading at 3 seconds and now its way slower.

      I’ve found VPS  is far better than shared hosting and moved several sites to MT which is a gimmick and hassle in my opinion as well as far too expensive

      You can get VPS with cPanel for usd$35 a month and cheaper for yearly packages. Cheaper again for VPS with Plesk

    • 8

      9-10 seconds is unacceptable. Personally i found switching from Thesis to the Woo framework made my site significantly slower. I was loading at 3 seconds and now its way slower.

      I’ve found VPS  is far better than shared hosting and moved several sites to MT which is a gimmick and hassle in my opinion as well as far too expensive

      You can get VPS with cPanel for usd$35 a month and cheaper for yearly packages. Cheaper again for VPS with Plesk

      • 9

        Hi Brad… If you don’t mind me asking .. where did you get “VPS with cPanel for usd$35 a month”

        Is that at MT? You say you moved several sites there but what is their gimmick? Are you happy with them?

        I’m a bit confused by your comments.

  2. 10

    Anonymous, I think you’ll find these folks are quite a bit different. First, you have SFTP access so you can make the changes you need to on the plugin side. Since you have full file access, you can do whatever you’d like with the database. I, too, am on MediaTemple and I’m utilizing caching and CDN… but you and I are a rare breed. If someone doesn’t understand how to optimize for page speed, WP Engine is a perfect solution since they worry about the performance so you don’t need to. The volume of pageviews and bandwidth far outweighs what the average corporate blogger requires. If you were to hire a professional to optimize your site and configure a CDN, it would cost much, much more.

  3. 11
  4. 17

    I suspect that anything involving Jason Cohen will be solid gold. I never had a need for his CodeCollaborator, being a single-person team, LOL. But, I’ve been following him and studying his philosophy for over two years.

    When he first wrote about WP Engine, I was intrigued. Of course, he retweets it from time to time and that’s how I popped in today.

    Ironically, I’m probably not ready for WP Engine, yet, so I will be loooking into CloudFlare.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  5. 18

    I suspect that anything involving Jason Cohen will be solid gold. I never had a need for his CodeCollaborator, being a single-person team, LOL. But, I’ve been following him and studying his philosophy for over two years.

    When he first wrote about WP Engine, I was intrigued. Of course, he retweets it from time to time and that’s how I popped in today.

    Ironically, I’m probably not ready for WP Engine, yet, so I will be loooking into CloudFlare.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  6. 19

    As a follow up to this conversation – I ended up switching hosting for Anglotopia.net to Wpengine and my site is running a lot faster. I’m keeping the MT server for some other sites where load time isn’t an issue but for now Anglotopia is where it needs to be.

  7. 20

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