Big news: Flywheel is joining WP Engine!

Big news: Flywheel is joining WP Engine!

Dusty Davidson's Layout avatar

Flywheel started in 2012 with a strong, singular mission: to empower the millions of designers, developers, and agencies worldwide that build sites on WordPress. We have hand-crafted Flywheel out of our own frustrations with the web design and development workflow, and are fueled by an unstoppable passion for solving the unique problems of creatives building sites for clients.

That story doesn’t end today; in fact, we’re doubling down on our commitment to building great products, improving the creative workflow, empowering agencies, and giving back to the communities we serve. I am incredibly excited to announce that Flywheel is joining the WP Engine family.

Rick, Tony, and myself back at Mr. Toads where we had the first idea of starting Flywheel.

Since our founding, we have admired WP Engine’s industry-leading levels of service, sophistication, resources, and experience, all backed by a vibrant company culture. Although we were competing in a similar space, it was truly remarkable how aligned our ambitions and approaches were from day one. From the moment we first talked to the WP Engine team, our conversations were inspiring and energizing, and were focused on how best to build the next generation of products and services for the creative industry. It quickly became obvious that, together, the two companies could collectively execute on our missions and dedicate ourselves to building solutions for freelancers, agencies, and so much more.

As we look into the next decade of web design and development, both WP Engine and Flywheel see virtually endless potential to continue to innovate, improve, and inspire. Our team is driven by the opportunity to put even more into our products than ever before. We will join WP Engine’s vision to become the most relied upon digital experience platform for WordPress and accelerate our ability to build software that helps creative businesses win online. Whether we’re devoting time to a tool for local development or a subscription service that helps agencies scale, we’re extremely excited to make it easier than ever for busy creatives to get back to doing their best work.

Together, we’ll be able to provide completely unparalleled support for the WordPress community. We are excited to make continued and expanded investments into core contributions, WordCamps, meetups, initiatives, and resources for the people who work at the very heart of what we do. 

We also know that Flywheel is a unique and special place to work. We’ve always believed that success begins with a company culture that inspires innovation. Over the last six years, we’ve been lucky enough to build a truly talented, focused, and imaginative team of more than 200 Flywheelers. When making the decision to embark on the next chapter of our journey, our commitment to our employees and the communities we live in were of equal importance. We were struck by WP Engine’s shared cultural values: their focus on customers, their love of long-term investments over short-term gains, their belief in empowering employees, and their dedication to giving back. As we move forward, we’ll continue to contribute everything we can to our local communities, in Omaha and beyond. 

Lastly, I want to thank our earliest advocates for taking a bet on our vision, and thank all of our customers along the way who have shaped our products and inspired our work. Rick, Tony, and I will remain completely committed (and laser-focused) to achieving these goals in the years to come. We are unbelievably excited about the future and truly can not imagine it without you! 

Dusty Davidson
CEO and Founder

Comments ( 18 )

  1. Keith Fix

    June 24, 2019

    Congrats to you and the whole Flywheel team! What you've built is so special. Excited for your next chapter!

  2. Kristen Blizzard

    June 24, 2019

    Crazy news! Big congrats, I can't wait to see what comes of this marriage.

  3. Maria Carter

    June 24, 2019

    This merger makes me really nervous for my clients and my web developing business. As a freelance developer and a Flywheel agency partner, I chose Flywheel over WP Engine when looking for a solution for reselling hosting because

    1. Your prices were more competitive for small local businesses, (who just can’t pay $50/month for hosting, no matter what I offer to them). With your agency plan of 10 sites, I can resell hosting for $25-30/month and actually make a profit. WP Engine’s starting plan is $35/month, and their 5-site bulk plan is the same monthly cost as 10 sites at Flywheel. You may not be raising prices now, but you almost certainly will eventually, and i worry it will price out those of us freelancers who resell hosting to individuals and small businesses.

    2. Your user interface is better and Local is fantastic. Please don’t change those things.

    3. Your support is real human Americans who understand Wordpress and designers and developers, and who have just been awesome every time I’ve contacted them. My limited experience with WP Engine’s support was impersonal and cold. They feel like a big company, and maybe they have a great company culture, but they’re customer service doesn’t have the “willing to go the extra mile for you” start-up feel that Flywheel has. I love that about you, and I don’t know if I believe that it’s possible to keep that feeling and be a huge company, too.

    I trusted you, and now I’ve convinced all my clients to trust you for hosting. All your PR about this is all about how you’ll be pushing the boundaries of technology and being an awesome place to work, and serving thousands of people. That’s great, I’m happy for you. While you’re doing that, please don’t forget about us freelancers, especially those of us who don’t live in big cities and don’t have rich clients. We need solutions for our businesses, too. I was so excited to find you. Please don’t change too much.

    • Morgan Smith

      June 25, 2019

      Hey Maria, thank you so much for voicing your concerns – we are definitely listening. This is all about combining the strength of our two companies to create a better-than-ever customer experience, and we'll be working hard to continue earning yours (and your clients') trust!

  4. Shayne

    June 24, 2019

    I'm begging you, say it ain't so.

  5. Mathew Planalp

    June 24, 2019

    Congratulations Dusty!

  6. Gareth

    June 24, 2019

    I sure hope they merge their affiliate program with yours and the not the other way around. The WP Engine affiliate program is horrible to use.

    • Rob Dunham

      July 14, 2019

      I chose Flywheel because you weren't WP Engine. Their service and support don't compare and sites on their platform always underperform. Now you've joined the enemy.

      I chose to partner with you to build me business and my brand. I trusted you and convinced my customers to trust you. Now I have to move them and try to save face in the process. I don't remember seeing and polls in my email. Did you even consult your userbase before making this decision. I don't think I know a single person in the industry that would have thought this was a good idea. I hope you enjoy their company culture. What a let down.

  7. Matthew Sheeks

    June 24, 2019

    WP Engine should address how they plan on improving hosting plans for current Flywheel customers. I saw little mention of what WP Engine has to offer to Flywheel customers in their official post; any tangible benefits we might see by the move.

    This is what I mean by tangible benefits: Plan Size, Performance, Features, and Customer Service.

    Divide that by cost and you have what we all care about.

    I'm not a touchy feely sort of person, but as a Flywheel customer, this move only evokes negative emotions. And that is not a knock on WP Engine. I respect their company and products, and listen to their podcast on Webmaster radio. But I also fail to see how they can possibly improve on Flywheel.

    Personally (and I believe I will speak for the majority of Flywheel customers), I’m keeping my fingers crossed that WP Engine changes Flywheel as little as possible.

    AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE!

    Here’s another thing to consider - my current plan on Flywheel would be 2x the cost on WP Engine’s advertized plans. 2X THE COST! So you have to wonder if the disparity between the two will start to close.

    If and when Flywheel plan pricing gets rolled into WP Engine’s pricing, you’d have to wonder how they’re planning to deliver 2x in value.

  8. Jeff Safire

    June 24, 2019

    So glad today is April 1st. Jk. WPEngine does have a lot of good traits, resources, and performance. Four years ago, I built a database-intensive WordPress site that ran slow on several Web hosts I tried. Then, I ran into some people from WPEngine at a WordCamp in San Francisco. I went home and switched that site to WPEngine, and was quite happy to see a noticeable performance increase. I stayed there for about a year. During that time, I continued building out that site even further, with more functionality. It began to slow down again. So, at the next SF WordCamp, I ran into Rick and a few others from Flywheel at their "booth." All, super nice people and good ideas about increasing performance. Since they already offered to migrate the site for me and I could mess with it for a couple weeks without signing up, I gave it a shot. Instantly, a huge increase in performance without changing anything on my end. I was convinced. I've stuck with Flywheel since, and have brought more new sites along. I really can't say enough about Flywheel and especially their incredibly helpful Support team. They've often gone beyond their hosting duties to help me out.

    Customers rarely like to see a company merge or be acquired, but I have confidence you guys will do the right thing, and we can all continue to have happy hosting from WPEngine+Flywheel.

    Cheers!

  9. Kerry

    June 24, 2019

    Not amazed or amused. I'll be saying "so long" when my plan is up for renewal.

    • Morgan Smith

      June 25, 2019

      Hey Kerry, we’d love the chance to continue to earn your business! We’re pretty excited to combine our strengths and create a better-than-ever customer experience.

      • Rob Dunham

        July 14, 2019

        How is that possible? What strengths do you believe WP Engine has? Many Flywheelers are former WP Engine users for a reason. Their hosting sucks.

  10. Rian

    June 25, 2019

    I build a lot of wordpress websites for clients. These days when clients come to me they are often on WPEngine. My preference is between the two is definitely Flywheel, and have a lot of client websites now on Flywheel. However, when WPEngine bought StudioPress last year I thought that was an interesting additional benefit to using WPEngine, particularly because I was starting to get back to using Genesis. So does this mean the Flywheel may offer the perks related to StudioPress now too? As long as WPEngine doesn't start to mess with the good stuff that Flywheel is doing, I think this could be pretty good news for people like me.

  11. Donald Smith

    June 25, 2019

    A fee years ago I moved all my client sites over to Flywheel from various other hosts, including WPEngine. I have been very happy with Flywheel until this announcement. I have been a part of several buyouts first hand and have witnessed numerous others and it never works out well for the consumer. They are always pitched like they are but they never are. The only ones that will benefit from the sale of Flywheel to WPEngine are those selling it. Me and my clients will not benefit from this at all. I feel like Flywheel has sold out. And this makes me sad. Flywheel was unique. Regardless of how this is spun by either company this is not something I am pleased about at all. I hope I am wrong but I will be watching closely.

  12. scott

    June 26, 2019

    Are you going to be honoring the pricing agreements for agency plans moving forward? I think you should give your customers this information now and not later. We, the monthly paying customers, deserve to have this information now so we can make the best decision for US and not YOUR sale.

    • Morgan Smith

      June 27, 2019

      Hey Scott – we have no plans for a price change at this time! We'll keep you in the loop over the next several months about our innovation plans.

      • scott

        June 27, 2019

        Let me reword - Is it a possibility that the pricing agreement and schedule that we signed could change so that pricing could go up? Yes, I understand there is "no plans for this change". Is it possible that the price could go up on your current paying customers?

        • Arthur

          June 27, 2019

          They're not going to answer that. Haven't you already noticed all of Morgan's input is nothing more than canned responses?

        • Arthur

          June 27, 2019

          They sold out to WPE.
          WPE is going public.
          Public companies have responsibilities to their shareholders.
          You're getting nothing but canned replies to your questions.
          I'll let you decide if the 'new' pricing isn't already on a whiteboard along with the spin to justify it.

          • scott

            June 28, 2019

            I just cancelled my account 5 minutes ago.

            It is unfortunate for the FW team. It was such a great thing they had going.

            Instead of creating party posts and taking confetti photos, they should have figured out how to handle customer questions, billing details and more as part of the sale.

  13. Arthur

    June 27, 2019

    I was saddened to hear about the sell-out. Morgan's canned and evasive responses serve as a warning. Nothing good will come from this except for a select few. I ended up at Flywheel because of WPE. As soon as WPE goes public their focus will shift from customer satisfaction to investor satisfaction. I'm happy the Flywheel execs will soon be able to stuff some more exotics into their garages. I'll be leaving to find another 'flywheel-type' host for my site.

  14. Richard Kelsey

    June 30, 2019

    Pricing already went up shortly before this was announced.

    • scott

      June 30, 2019

      It will be going up again, even if you have a contract for pricing with them. They confirmed it already.

  15. Ana

    June 30, 2019

    Like most who have voiced their concerns, I will be moving my business elsewhere. I've been using Flywheel for clients sites and was just about to double down on relling hosting because I was utterly convinced that a 'small' and boutique business like flywheel would be the perfect fit for other boutique businesses, but looks like I'm switching to Namecheap, who hosts my personal sites and I've yet to have any issues with them. If there's any 'big' company I'd go with, it's them and not WP Engine.

  16. Rocky

    June 30, 2019

    I share the same concerns with other agency's here. We just moved over a bunch of our clients from various hosts over to Flywheel. We are also using the Whitelabel program for billing and additional services. It's fantastic and is a big part of our growth plans. I really hope WPE doesn't mess this up for the small agencies who had to "sell" our clients on why they should make the move. If reseller pricing becomes unprofitable, it's going to be a big problem for us.

    We have used WPE in the past and it's not a good experience. Really bummed about this news.

    • William

      July 1, 2019

      I feel the same - dismayed and concerned. Left WP Engine for Flywheel. Now I'm back with WP Engine? 100% not what I signed up for.

    • scott

      July 5, 2019

      Flywheel is shady. They sold out. They could have put their customers first by agreeing to honor Agency pricing with the sale, but they chose not to.

      • Richard Lynn

        July 11, 2019

        Flywheel isn't really being shady at all here, and price has never been what distinguishes their offerings. It's pretty normal to see a company clam up for a few months post-acquisition. Flywheel has always been very open and straightforward over the past 2-3 years I've been a customer. Rick even bothered to answer my feedback/criticism personally after I cancelled my bulk plan a year ago.

        We all know that Flywheel hasn't innovated much in the past couple years, and they've painted themselves into a corner by moving to Google Cloud. Most managed hosts are on AWS or GC now, so it doesn't matter what brand you buy or who delivers the support... It's public cloud hosting with a fancy UI. That's it.

  17. Justine

    July 14, 2019

    Noooooooo! I left WP Engine for Flywheel! Please do not change how you run Flywheel - you are the best of the best just the way you are!

  18. Drew’

    July 14, 2019

    Kinsta, here I come!

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