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WP Engine vs Pagely vs Synthesis vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy WordPress Hosting

If you’re looking for a good WordPress hosting platform, and you’re just about done with cheap low-quality providers, then you’re in a good place. Today, we’re comparing five of the most popular and recognized managed WordPress hosting solutions out there: WP Engine vs Pagely vs Synthesis vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy.

There’s a lot of reasons why you should consider abandoning cheap shared hosting plans and invest in something that’s slightly higher tier. Chief of which, you get optimized servers that are fine-tuned to work with WordPress, there’s usually much more helpful customer support, improved security, and improved performance.

WP Engine vs Pagely vs Synthesis vs Flywheel

In this resource, we look into the ins and outs of those five managed hosting platforms, compare the features, prices, pros & cons, opinions shared by actual real users, and ultimately figure out which is the best all-around solution for your specific needs.

⚠️ Synthesis has been acquired by WP Engine. It has since been integrated with the main WP Engine service.

Here’s a short version of the comparison if you’re in a hurry:

WP Engine vs Pagely vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy
WP Engine Pagely Flywheel GoDaddy
* on the cheapest plan
WP Engine Pagely Flywheel GoDaddy
Price (monthly) $20.00, $40.00, $77.00 $199, $299, $499, $999, $1249, $2249 $13.00, $13.00, $77, $194 $5.94, $7.13, $9.51
Suitable for * ~ 25,000 visits monthly not disclosed ~ 5,000 visits monthly ~ 25,000 visits monthly
Disk space * 10GB 30GB 5GB 10GB
# websites allowed * 1 5 1 1
Support * 24/7 chat and ticket support 24/7 ticket support 24/7 online support, phone support 9am-7pm CDT 24/7 online support
Interested in shared hosting solutions?

Here’s another comparison: SiteGround vs Bluehost vs HostGator vs InMotion Hosting or check out Best GoDaddy Alternatives for WordPress Sites. Also, quite recently, we concluded what has turned out to be the biggest WordPress hosting survey done in the industry to date. See who got voted the #1 top-rated hosting solution.

WP Engine

WP Engine

PRICE

WP Engine offers various plans based on the number of WordPress installs you want to run and the volume of traffic those websites can handle: $20.00, $40.00, $77.00 (per month). There are also premium and enterprise plans negotiated individually.

MAIN FEATURES

(Startup plan)

  • 1 WordPress install.
  • Good for up to 25,000 visits / month.
  • Shared hosting environment (one machine shared with other customers).
  • Genesis framework for secure and SEO friendly foundation.
  • Access to 35+ StudioPress themes.
  • 10GB of storage.
  • 24/7 chat and ticket support.
  • Staging environments (create a copy of your website for testing).
  • Transferable installs (great for agencies creating sites for clients).

PROS

  • Good reputation on the market. According to the respondents in our recent hosting survey, WP Engine is among the highest-rated companies when it comes to their level of WordPress optimization – rated 4.7 / 5.
  • Great scalability – will work for fast growing sites (you can get started with basic WP Engine setup and then let it grow with you).
  • Those transferable installs are a great thing too, making WP Engine one of the top solutions for WordPress developers and agencies. Basically, you can set up a WP Engine install for free, and then transfer it to the client’s paid account.

CONS

  • CDN and SSL certificates paid additionally (included for free with higher-paid plans).
  • Can get expensive if you go over your traffic quota. The overage charges can come to even $1 per every 1000 visits.
  • WP Engine disallows some popular plugins, which is a minor inconvenience.

WHO IS IT BEST SUITED FOR?

  • Everyone who would prefer not have to deal with the under-the-hood workings of a hosting platform, and instead just rely on professionals to take care of that.
  • Developers/designers building WordPress sites for clients.
  • High-traffic sites that need reliability.

Pagely

Pagely

PRICE

Pagely offers six main pricing points, most of them quite expensive, unfortunately, but you do get a lot in return: $199, $299, $499, $999, $1249, $2249 (per month).

MAIN FEATURES

(Vburst-1 plan)

  • 5 WordPress installs.
  • 30GB of storage.
  • 20GB of bandwidth / month.
  • Shared hosting environment (one machine shared with other customers).
  • PressCDN transfer included to up to 150GB / month.
  • PressTHUMB™ to keep your images optimized
  • PressARMOR™ for advanced network security
  • PressDNS included.
  • Servers powered by Amazon.
  • 24/7 ticket support (ticket + chat on higher plans).
  • Automatic backups.
  • Caching included.
  • PULSAR™ technology for high traffic WordPress sites.

PROS

  • Selected by some of the biggest brands out there: VISA, Disney, Time Inc., Ebay, Twitter, Booking.com, and more.
  • Reasonable overage charges.
  • Advanced developer features, built-in redundancy, and great scalability.

CONS

  • A bit more expensive. The cheapest plan is $199 / month ($119 / month if you pay annually).
  • There’s no phone support at all.

WHO IS IT BEST SUITED FOR?

  • Everyone who values reliability above all else.
  • People running more than one site.
  • Advanced website setups, requiring VPS servers, powerful CDNs, and top-tier machines (which Amazon very much has).
  • Developers working on larger projects.

Synthesis

⚠️ As of 06/27/2018, StudioPress was acquired by WP Engine.

PRICE

Synthesis offers nicely balanced pricing points that seem suitable for websites of different sizes: $47, $97, $147, $300 (per month), plus there are also custom hosting plans available for more complex installations.

MAIN FEATURES

(Standard plan – $47 / month)

  • Managed dedicated VPS.
  • 1 WordPress install.
  • 20GB of storage.
  • 10GB of backup storage.
  • 2TB of monthly bandwidth.
  • Up to 10,000 daily visitors.
  • Daily backups.
  • Malware scans, and free malware removal.
  • Caching included.
  • 24/7 help desk support.
  • Marketing tools included.

PROS

  • Really good security features, including daily malware scans, backups, and even content monitoring (for SEO, etc.).
  • Great marketing tools are part of every hosting plan with Synthesis. This includes things like site optimization tools, on-page SEO optimization tools, keyword research, social media research, and more.
  • Great server performance. The NGINX/PHP-FPM configurations help with that.

CONS

  • Site migration is $99 per site.
  • Only ticket support. No chat or phone.

WHO IS IT BEST SUITED FOR?

  • Website owners who don’t want to deal with hosting at all, and instead just want to focus on creating content.
  • Site owners who want to buy a range of tools + hosting for the price of just one thing. Setting the hosting itself aside, the marketing tools offered by Synthesis are really tempting.

Flywheel

Flywheel

PRICE

A popular choice with agencies, Flywheel offers a good range of plans, suitable for websites of literally any size: $13.00, $13.00, $77, $194 (per month), plus there are custom plans available for advanced installs.

MAIN FEATURES

(Tiny plan)

  • 1 WordPress install.
  • 5,000 monthly visits.
  • 20GB of bandwidth / month.
  • 24/7 online support.
  • Phone support 9am-7pm CDT.
  • Auto healing technology.
  • One-click staging.
  • Free demo sites (build them however you like and then transfer to your clients’ accounts).
  • Built-in caching.
  • Malware monitoring.
  • Automatic backups.
  • Free migrations.
  • No overage charges.

PROS

  • It’s the only managed hosting platform that’s recommended by WordPress.org, and it’s the highest rated of the pack, according to our recent hosting survey – 4.7 / 5.
  • Also the most affordable solution on this list if you just want to host one small WordPress site.
  • Highest rated WordPress optimization – 4.9 / 5, and highest rated WordPress-proficient support – also 4.9 / 5 (survey data).

CONS

  • Rather expensive additional server features (e.g. to get SSL and CDN you’ll need to pay $20 more each month).

WHO IS IT BEST SUITED FOR?

  • Non-developers who want to launch their own WordPress blog or site.
  • Freelancers, designers, developers, anyone building sites for other people.
  • Great for just getting started with managed WordPress hosting on a small site.
  • Great if you value reliability (Flywheel earned near-perfect reliability rank in our hosting survey – 4.8 / 5).

GoDaddy

godaddy

PRICE

GoDaddy has a whole range of very affordable managed hosting plans, based on the number of sites you want to have running at the same time and the volume of traffic you expect: $5.94, $7.13, $9.51 (per month).

MAIN FEATURES

(Basic plan)

  • 1 WordPress install.
  • 25,000 monthly visits.
  • 30GB SSD storage.
  • Free domain with annual plan.
  • Free daily backups & 1-click restore.
  • One-click migration tool.
  • Free (1) Microsoft Office 365 email.
  • 24/7 online support.
  • Staging environment.
  • Malware scan and removal.

PROS

  • GoDaddy is by far the most affordable solution on this list.
  • Sticking with the topic of pricing, there are often great discounts available.
  • Good performance and loading times.

CONS

  • No plans for larger network installs – of 5+ sites.
  • SSL certificates available only for plan “Ultimate” and higher.

WHO IS IT BEST SUITED FOR?

  • First-time website owners who just want to have a site launched at minimal cost, but still want to be able to use a quality host.
  • Great if you’re on a very tight budget.

You may also be interested in:

WP Engine vs Pagely vs Synthesis vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy – who’s the winner?

So who’s the winner here? Or, more importantly, who to avoid? Frankly, at this level of WordPress hosting quality, there are no scams, no flat-out poor services or anything like that. The whole lineup … WP Engine vs Pagely vs Synthesis vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy … they are all quite exceptional when it comes to what they offer.

At the end of the day, it’s all about your specific needs in a couple of areas:

  • How many sites you want to run.
  • How much traffic you expect.
  • How many additional tools you need.

Reliability? All the companies featured here deliver in that department. Performance? That too. Although you will naturally get different results from each … depending on where your audience is, what kind of content makes up for the majority of your site, and probably a dozen other factors (here’s another post of ours on fastest WordPress hosing).

 Here’s our cut-out-‘n-keep comparison table again – WP Engine vs Pagely vs Synthesis vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy :
WP Engine vs Pagely vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy
WP Engine Pagely Flywheel GoDaddy
* on the cheapest plan
WP Engine Pagely Flywheel GoDaddy
Price (monthly) $20.00, $40.00, $77.00 $199, $299, $499, $999, $1249, $2249 $13.00, $13.00, $77, $194 $5.94, $7.13, $9.51
Suitable for * ~ 25,000 visits monthly not disclosed ~ 5,000 visits monthly ~ 25,000 visits monthly
Disk space * 10GB 30GB 5GB 10GB
# websites allowed * 1 5 1 1
Support * 24/7 chat and ticket support 24/7 ticket support 24/7 online support, phone support 9am-7pm CDT 24/7 online support

Finally, setting all the numbers aside, let me give you my own honest opinion on which company I’d choose if I were you.

A short while ago, we concluded our WordPress hosting survey. It revealed a lot of interesting pieces of insight regarding three of our players here. Just by looking at those numbers – and what’s behind them: opinions of actual users/customers – the companies we can wholeheartedly recommend are Flywheel and WP Engine.

Some quick stats on both:

Flywheel vs WP Engine survey data
OVERALL SUPPORT WP OPTIMIZATION RELIABILITY
Flywheel 4.7 / 5 4.8 / 5 4.9 / 5 4.8 / 5
WP Engine 4.2 / 5 4.3 / 5 4.7 / 5 4.5 / 5

But you know … those are just numbers, so what do you think? Do you have any experiences with the companies presented here? Feel free to share in the comments, and let us know who wins the WP Engine vs Pagely vs Synthesis vs Flywheel vs GoDaddy battle on your side of the screen.

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

Yay! 🎉 You made it to the end of the article!
Karol K

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