Things You Should Know About Flywheel Hosting

I have been using Flywheel hosting (disclosure: affiliate link 🙂 ) for going on three years now. Overall, I’m satisfied with the speed and uptime of the hosting, but there are a few things I don’t think are made clear before you sign up with them.

As a WordPress Managed Hosting Platform, ie a host that is specifically tailored to WordPress (and won’t host any other types of sites), they have built some features around WP that I can only assume are to keep tighter control on their end. This takes much of what you can do in WordPress out of your hands and places it into their own custom control panel.

For example…

Updating WordPress

While plugin and theme updates still work as usual via WP Admin, to update WordPress itself, you have to go into Flywheel’s control panel. This isn’t that big of a deal, and comes with the bonus of them making a backup before upgrading your version of WP, but unlike doing it in WordPress, which often takes seconds, you will see this screen for “up to five minutes.”

flywheel wp update screenshot
Updates take longer with Flywheel. Not a deal breaker, but my time is valuable and anything that extends a 5 second process into 5 minutes isn’t helping that.


You can’t manually edit wp-config.php at all. You don’t have permissions. It can’t be done.

The only options you have really are to set WP_DEBUG via their control panel, which looks like this:

wp debug setting in flywheel control panel
This process sometimes requires a refresh to see if it worked.

This also takes longer than simply updating wp-config.php and saving the file, sometimes it takes 30 seconds or so, and sometimes you have to refresh the screen as it gets hung up on the loading screen shown above.

Any other changes you want to make to wp-config.php are simply not possible, and asking support to make a change will typically get you a generic, “Due to security and our hosting platform, no, we can’t do that.” type of message.

Limited Database Functionality

PHPMyAdmin is not installed, or if it is, it’s highly customized and lacking the vast majority of features. Here’s what accessing your database looks like with FlyWheel:

Stripped down database access with Flywheel hosting.

You can still search your database (this is easier than with basic PHPMyAdmin actually), run raw SQL and import and export databases. Max import size is 2GB which is great (many hosts, by contrast, offer only 2MB uploads by default.)

You can drop tables, view them and edit entries and easily sort things, which are nice. But you can’t adjust keys, repair a database, or do anything else really.

In Summation

There are other peeves I have about the site, but won’t mention here as I think they’re more personal than the above, and there are a ton of great things about Flywheel (automatic backups every day or two, free SSL that’s super easy to install, and an absolutely easy SFTP system.) I’m not here to discourage anyone from signing up with them, just wanted to share these differences many of us WordPress developers will have come used to relying on and have to consider when switching.

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