Flywheel is a managed WordPress hosting company, so we go to great lengths to ensure that the quality of your hosting experience is always at its best. As such, there are a number of security and performance considerations that we must take into account in order to provide the absolute best service.
We also strongly believe that people shouldn’t have to “fiddle” with their site to get the best performance and security – it should just work. It’s our goal to help you achieve this.
To both of these ends, we place limitations on a handful of types of plugins. These are plugins that either duplicate functionality that Flywheel already provides, or are known to not work or cause major issues.
We take a backup of your site every night and allow you to easily restore, so you don’t actually need backup plugins. But more importantly: many backup plugins are incredibly resource-intensive. They may also store large backup files on your server, which can unnecessarily fill up your disk space, and they may fail completely based on our security settings.
If you’d like to keep your own backups, we recommend either downloading a backup from the Flywheel dashboard, or if you must, choosing a plugin which allows you to store backups offsite.
Flywheel handles caching at the server level, eliminating the need for caching plugins. Server-side caching is significantly more efficient and scalable than any plugin-based caching, as it doesn’t rely on PHP at all. This aside, caching plugins run the risk of interfering with the caching we already have in place. Common examples include W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, Batcache, and others.
Flywheel servers are configured specifically with WordPress security best practices, and we have server-level blocking and scanning of hackers and malware. We prevent brute force attacks, lock down core WordPress files, and take many other security measures for you.
Security plugins duplicate this, and in many cases significantly slow down sites by interfering with our caching, bloat the site’s database, and/or interfere with our native security software. Common examples include Wordfence, Better WP Security, and others.
exec()function, which we disable for security purposes. We don’t have any issue with image optimization plugins in general, though; in fact, we encourage them, as long as they compress existing image files and don’t create duplicates (since that could fill up your site’s disk space very quickly).
.htaccesswill not work on Flywheel, since
.htaccessis an Apache file and we run NGINX.
wp-config.phpfile will be unable to do so, although in most cases you can contact Flywheel support and we’ll be happy to work with you to put whatever you need in place.
The TimThumb image resizing script is embedded in lots of older themes and plugins built from about 2000–2014, but it is no longer supported or updated, so it’s a vulnerability. Besides, it tends to break things on Flywheel anyway. Stick with the image optimization plugins recommended above.
Along with TimThumb, Sucuri reports that outdated versions of Gravity Forms and RevSlider contribute to a high number of security incidents and vulnerabilities with WordPress sites. This is largely because these plugins are frequently embedded in themes and aren’t updated. As long as your theme is kept up-to-date and you are running the latest versions of these plugins, you shouldn’t have issues, but it’s worth double-checking.
Note that certain plugins run database queries to work, and these interfere with caching, which will slow down a site. These include (but are not limited to) Broken Link Checker (which also doesn’t play well with Staging/cloning) and some “related posts” plugins.
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