Managed WordPress Showdown - July 2019 - Flywheel vs. Kinsta vs. WP Engine

Josh Sherman
6 min read
Hosting / Domains WordPress

So when I published last month’s post, later that same day it was announced that Flywheel was being acquired by WP Engine.

There’s no timeline on if/when Flywheel would be fully consumed by the WP Engine brand, so they will continue to be featured on this list. If nothing else, they still clock in as one of the more affordable providers, and many folks absolutely swear by their customer service.

As always, the following benchmarks were run multiple times and averaged to get the results you see here.


  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

At this time, both Kinsta and WP Engine are charging sales tax, at least for customers in the state of Texas. I suspect with the recent Flywheel acquisition by WP Engine, that they will follow suit in the future.


  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
Operating System Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
Server Software Flywheel/5.1.0 nginx/1.15.12 Apache
PHP Version 7.2.19 7.3.4 7.3.5
PHP Server API FPM/FastCGI FPM/FastCGI Apache 2 Handler
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 5.7.26
WordPress version 5.2.2 5.2.2 5.2.2

WP Engine saw a small revision bump for MySQL and for the most part, everything was pretty consistent with last month’s information.

Worth noting, when I logged in, Kinsta was 100% up to date, Wordpress version, plug-ins as well as the installed themes.

WP Engine and Flywheel on the other hand both had out of date themes and plug-ins. I upgraded everything, and as per usual, WP Engine reminded me that I should back up my instance before running upgrade.

Even though WP Engine makes me do everything manually, I still think it’s pretty great to get those nudges to properly backup my site before running any destructive actions.


  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
SELECT BENCHMARK(500000000, EXTRACT(YEAR FROM NOW())); 4.4600 sec 12.5367 sec 4.8367 sec
SELECT BENCHMARK(10000000,ENCODE('hello','goodbye')); 3.3767 sec 1.7633 sec 3.3700 sec
SELECT BENCHMARK(25000000,1+1*2); 0.6967 sec 1.1533 sec 0.7467 sec

Fairly consistent with previous month’s results.

Uptime and Response Time

This month not only saw a small bit of occasional downtime from Flywheel, but also a pretty big chunk of downtime from WP Engine.

Incidentally, the WP Engine downtime happened around the time I was working on this post, and my instance was timing out, and eventually started to serve up 502 errors. The downtime was close to an hour (around 50 minutes).

I did speak with WP Engine’s support (which were quite friendly and helpful) and they advised that apparently their server was struggling and eventually the web server had restarted itself.

By the time I was online with their live chat, things did end up recovering on their own. Seemed like it was probably a bit of a noisy neighbor problem.

The metrics are for the last 30 days, and I dropped the time period since it didn’t seem very important as it is only the uptime since the last outage, and not a true representation of how long the monitoring took place.

  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
Uptime 99.96% 100.00% 99.89%
Maximum Response Time 656 ms 341 ms 436 ms
Average Response Time 209.34 ms 245.74 ms 203.35 ms

These results are straight out of my UptimeRobot account, and you can follow along at home by checking out my dedicated status page for the services.

Network Speed

While always somewhat anecdotal, the following benchmarks test the download speed to the instance from the nearest Google CDN edge server.

  Flywheel Kinsta WP Engine
Test 1 37.11 MB/s 97.39 MB/s 49.04 MB/s
Test 2 49.23 MB/s 101.92 MB/s 92.54 MB/s
Test 3 37.63 MB/s 96.25 MB/s 105.29 MB/s
Average 41.32 MB/s 98.52 MB/s 82.29 MB/s

Fairly consistent with the exception of WP Engine offering up even more variance in the speed of responses between runs.


Thus far I’ve been a pretty big fan of WP Engine, even with a slightly higher price point. With that, Kinsta, while clocking in a bit slower, has been way more consistent in it’s results and the only provider thus far that hasn’t experienced any expected downtime over the last few months.

As always, you should couple these results with your own research and benchmarks and pick a hosting company that lines up best with what you’re looking for in a host.

If you happened to find this comparison helping in your own research to find a host, and you are planning to sign up, please do so using one of my referral links:

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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.

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