WP Engine Acquires Flywheel

In a move that caught some people by surprise, WP Engine has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Managed WordPress host, Flywheel.

While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Heather Brunner, WP Engine’s CEO confirmed to TechCrunch that the company needed to raise a small round of funding to finance the deal.

Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker, and Rick Knudtson founded Flywheel in 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2012, there were already a handful of players in the Managed WordPress Hosting space but Flywheel was able to carve out a niche by focusing on Designers and Agencies.

In 2016, Flywheel became one of the few hosting companies added to the WordPress.org recommended hosting page. However, their listing was removed a few months later without an explanation.

Also in 2016, Flywheel acquired Pressmatic, a local WordPress development application for OS X from Clay Griffiths and rebranded it to Local by Flywheel. Representatives from both companies have stated that there are no plans to merge WP Engine Devkit with Local by Flywheel.

According to a frequently asked questions document, nothing much is changing in the foreseeable future for Flywheel customers.

Business will continue as usual! There will be no immediate changes to the Flywheel platform, plans, or experience. We’ll be spending the coming weeks and months on strategic innovation and integration planning, and are super excited to figure out how we can leverage all of our collective strengths, products, and brand assets in the best possible way.

Acquisition FAQ

Flywheel has generated a loyal following of happy customers over the years and some of them took to Twitter to express their concerns regarding Monday’s announcement.

Seeing these types of responses from customers is a testament to the level of service Flywheel provides. Many of them explained why they chose to host their clients with Flywheel over WP Engine.

Both companies have vowed to keep customers in the loop of any potential changes to plans, services, or products. While each company will operate independently as things are sorted out, it will be interesting to see how the two companies are integrated over time and how customers respond.

If you’re a Flywheel customer, please let us know what you think about the acquisition in the comments below.

To learn more about the deal, check out the following links.

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9 Comments


  1. Having been a client of both WPEngine and Flywheel, I am a fan of both. The main reason I moved from WPEngine to Flywheel was cost.

    Having that choice in the market was a good thing. It was good to be able to contact Flywheel and say, “We’re with WPEngine but looking at alternatives, what can you offer?” Now if I try that there’ll be no motivation for them to find the best deal for me.

    Therefore, I am against this takeover as it removes that competition and choice. As Larry Cornett says – in your quoted tweets – sooner or later “…These acquisitions always end poorly for customers …”.

    Sooner or later, Flywheel and its plans will disappear into WPEngine and our choice will be gone. And even if that doesn’t happen, the pricing will be adjusted for WPEngine’s financial requirements, rather than that of a competitor’s. Again, choice and competition suffer.

    Yes, someone will see an opportunity and come to the market to fill the gap, but they have to develop reliability and credibility, which takes a long time.

    So, am definitely disappointed by this news.

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  2. I’ve been using Local by Flywheel for a while (that’s how I found them) and I hope now it will only get better for us (users), not otherwise! :)

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  3. I left WP Engine for Flywheel. Cost, ease of use, features. Everything is just better at Flywheel. After this announcement, I am looking for somewhere else to move my 11 sites. I’m currently testing the beta launch of Convesio hosting and liking it.

    I just don’t believe all of the great Flywheel design, content, and effort will still be there after WP Engine brings everything in.

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    1. Thanks, Gregg. Will check them out. Kinsta might be another option.

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    2. Lightning Base is my fav after trying many. They’re really great! Really affordable, awesome support, and great performance and features. More details at my link.

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      1. Mine has been wetopi, for 2 years.
        Migrating to new hosting providers it’s time-consuming … on the flip side I’ve always ended up discovering new providers with interesting services and infrastructure advances …

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  4. It caught me by surprise but after hearing the news and pondering it it made sense. IMO it’s a solid move by WPE and hopefully will bring more value to both platforms. I’ve hosted on both (not actively anymore) and use Local by Flywheel everyday and am confident that tool will only continue to grow better now with more backing. Final thought is I applaud the move.

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  5. Guess that’s how they are using that silverlake money! unfortunately it seams to be pretty common for companies to raise their prices after taking a large investment as shown by WPEngine lately and also flywheel now raising prices for new users. It’s sad that any independent hosting company that is any good will eventually get bought out by one of the big guys.

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  6. I am rather disappointed. They removed the $15 Tiny Plan for a $25 Starter Plan (same specs pretty much) at the beginning of May in participation to this acquisition. It also caught me by surprise..

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