Managed WordPress Showdown – June 2019 – Flywheel vs. Kinsta vs. WP Engine

Wow, can’t believe it’s been 4 weeks since I started venturing down the path of
reviewing managed WordPress hosting.

Since this still a new post series, things are a bit all over the place, and I’m
still working out some kinks. Fortunately, this month is going to have a few
insightful points of interest now that I’ve been up and running for the last


I’m still running the same instances as I was last month. It doesn’t make sense
to tear down instances and rebuild them every month. That may be how you
approach VPS servers, but for WordPress sites, they tend to be set and forget.

I’m still running the least expensive plans, and there have been no changes to
my pricing. Unlike my current experience with MailChimp 😉

When I first started this series, the installs were all configured exactly the
same, with minimal plug-ins installed.

Since then, the instances have diverged in regard to their WordPress version.
More about that in a bit.

For each of the benchmarks, I am averaging the results of 3 different runs to
try to get more average result.

  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
Sites 1 1 1
Visits 25,000 25,000 20,000
Storage 5 GB 5 GB 10 GB
Bandwidth 50 GB 50 GB 50 GB
Backups Yes Yes Yes
Staging Yes Yes Yes
SSL Yes Yes Yes
CDN Yes Yes Yes
Location US – San Francisco Oregon (US West) North America
Price $25/month $30/month $35/month

You may remember me mentioning sales tax in regard to WPEngine last month. Seems
this month, Kinsta will be doing the same thing.


  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
Operating System Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
PHP Version 7.2.19 7.3.4 7.3.5
PHP Memory Limit 128 MB 256 MB 512 MB
PHP Max POST Size 300 MB 128 MB 100 MB
PHP Max Upload Size 300 MB 128 MB 50 MB
PHP Max Execution Time 1 minute 5 minutes 60 minutes
Database Server MySQL MariaDB MySQL
Database Version 5.7.14 10.3.14 5.7.25
WordPress version 5.2.2 5.2.2 5.2.1

Flywheel went from PHP version 7.2.18 to 7.2.19 and MySQL version 5.7.12 to
5.7.14 while WP Engine went from PHP version 7.3.4 to 7.3.5.

Both Flywheel and Kinsta automatically upgraded from WordPress 5.2.1 to 5.2.2.
WP Engine did not.

Best as I can tell, WP Engine doesn’t automatically update because they want to
encourage you to perform a backup before doing so.


  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
SELECT BENCHMARK(500000000, EXTRACT(YEAR FROM NOW())); 4.4100 sec 13.3133 sec 4.4400 sec
SELECT BENCHMARK(10000000,ENCODE('hello','goodbye')); 3.3400 sec 1.6000 sec 3.2900 sec
SELECT BENCHMARK(25000000,1+1*2); 0.6867 sec 0.9067 sec 0.6067 sec

Pretty consistent performance in comparison to last month.

Uptime and Response Time

Last month was a bit lacking because I had only just setup the uptime and
response time monitoring, so there wasn’t much data to report on.

To give a bit more context to the following metrics, I am using UptimeRobot on a
pro plan to monitor my WordPress instances. UptimeRobot is making requests from
Dallas, Texas at an interval of once every minute.

Here’s the data for the last 30 days:

  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
Uptime 99.99% 100.00% 100.00%
Maximum Response Time 2448 ms 386 ms 446 ms
Average Response Time 202.66 ms 255.06 ms 197.94 ms
Time Period 576 hr 21 min 674 hr 53 min 676 hrs 57 min

I dropped the minimum response time because it’s a pain to pick it out of the
chart. Maximum remained because those spikes are easier to identify.

The big thing to note here is that Flywheel did end up going down for a couple
of minutes on May 30th. I was able to confirm that my WordPress instance was in
fact returning a 504 error, not to be confused with some sort of connectivity
issue between UptimeRobot and my instance.

Network Speed

Network speed metrics are simply testing the download speed from the Google CDN
edge server nearest the server of the host.

  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
Test 1 32.06 MB/s 92.91 MB/s 104.18 MB/s
Test 2 37.41 MB/s 102.09 MB/s 96.30 MB/s
Test 3 37.63 MB/s 105.24 MB/s 120.89 MB/s
Average 35.70 MB/s 100.08 MB/s 107.12 MB/s

Also fairly consistent with last month, the exception being a bit more deviation
between each run on both Kinsta and WP Engine.


Amazing to me how consistent the results have been this second month, compared
to the first. That said, I still feel like WP Engine is the solid choice, albeit
a bit more expensive.

The lack of an automatic update is a bit concerning, but the lack is to help
ensure that absolutely nothing can go wrong without you knowing about it, that’s
a good thing.

The downtime from Flywheel, while brief, was definitely concerning.

I’m still learning the ropes here of WordPress hosting and benchmarking, so feel
free to drop any tips or advice on how to improve these posts in the comments

As always, I recommend doing your own research instead of taking these
benchmarks at face value. It’s good to weigh your needs and pick the host that’s
right for you and you own requirements.

If you did find this comparison helpful and plan to sign up for one of these
providers, please do so using one of my referral links (sorry, no promotions at
the moment):

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

If you found this article helpful, please consider buying me a coffee.