Kinsta Review: Why I Moved All My Websites to Kinsta’s Hosting

By October 24, 2021Reviews

I’ve kind of been through the wringer with WordPress hosting platforms.

I started out with Bluehost, a WordPress builder and hosting company. My site was built on WordPress, Bluehost is built for WordPress; what could go wrong?

Well, my site got hacked. Twice. In two months.

That’s when I learned that managed hosting doesn’t always mean hosting managed well, and so I made the move to WP Engine, the OG managed hosting provider known for speed and reliability.

And man, the user interface sucked.

It was cluttered, hard to navigate, and honestly caused more headaches than it alleviated because there were more technical features than I needed.

Admittedly, they must’ve done some design refreshes since I last used it.

And so, when I ditched WP Engine in favor of Kinsta, that whole third time’s a charm cliche could not have been more true.

It’s significantly easier to use, they’ve resolved all of my hacking issues, and their support team is super helpful.

Boxes: checked.

So, in this Kinsta review, I’m going to show you just how powerful the platform is and explore the factors that really set the platform apart from its competitors, so you can avoid making the mistakes that I did.

Kinsta WordPress Hosting – An Overview

Kinsta is a premium managed WordPress hosting company. That means it isn’t a cheap solution, with plans starting at $30 a month and quickly getting into the hundreds as you add more sites and monthly visits.

But it lives up to the company’s claim of being a WordPress hosting solution for “sites that mean business.”

Here’s what comes with Kinsta straight out of the box:

Hosting Specialized for WordPress Sites

There is no shortage of managed hosting platforms touting the fastest loading time and claiming to be WordPress experts, but Kinsta walks the talk.

Everything in their tech stack is optimized for WordPress sites, using the likes of Ubuntu, Nginx, PHP 8.0, HTTP/2, MariaDB, and the Google Cloud Platform (more on that soon).

Translation: Fast WordPress sites.

Here’s a site speed test from one of my sites to show you just how fast sites on Kinsta load:

Kinsta even automatically takes care of certain aspects of WordPress site management, such as caching and backups (to be covered shortly).

So while you do have access to developer-friendly features such as a choice of PHP versions (PHP 8 as well as versions of PHP 7), you can also take a set and forget approach.

These guys are legit WordPress experts, right down to the support team.

Specialized Support by WordPress Experts

Kinsta takes customer support very seriously, which means they don’t hire rookies.

Heck, it seems like they don’t even hire intermediate-level WordPress techs.

Every member of the Kinsta support team is an expert developer with a ton of experience using Linux and WordPress, and most of them have experience building plugins or themes.

Here are just a couple of Kinsta’s core requirements for the Technical Support Engineer role, to give you an idea of how discerning they are:

This is one of the factors that really demonstrates Kinsta’s value.

There’s nothing worse than calling up support and getting someone on the other end of the line who knows less than you do.

Speaking of calling up support, though…

You can’t.

The one downside to Kinsta’s current support offering is that it’s available only via live messaging; no phone support.

Chat support is available 24/7, though, and in my experience, they respond within an hour. Depending on the level of complexity of the issue, they’ve had a solution to my problems anywhere between 30 minutes for simple cases to 2 hours for difficult cases.

In those difficult scenarios, they actually go into the code to help debug the issue.

You can see I’ve had multiple interactions with their support team.

And I would rate every single one of them with amazing service.

They also have a substantial and well-organized knowledge base, if you’re more of a ‘solve it yourself’ kind of person.

Lightning Fast Websites

One of the many jewels in Kinsta’s impressive crown is the fact that they use the Google Cloud Platform.

They were the first managed WordPress hosting service to do so exclusively, and though other providers are beginning to migrate, they’re still making the most sophisticated use of the platform used by megalith companies such as Spotify, Snapchat, and HTC.

It’s part of what makes Kinsta one of the fastest WordPress hosting solutions around.

The Google Cloud Platform is incredibly scalable, thanks to 28 global data center locations and powerful hardware infrastructure.

This scalability means that in the event of an unexpected surge of traffic to your site, Kinsta allows your website’s container to scale to as many CPUs as required to handle the surge.

Non-scalable hosting platforms would simply crash in such an instance.

Of course, you’d be charged an overage fee for exceeding your monthly traffic limitation, but in my opinion, that’s a far better scenario than a crashed site, and you can easily monitor resource usage from the Kinsta dashboard.

Bulletproof Security Network

Quick load times are one thing, but after my not-so-cool experience using Bluehost, keeping my site from getting hacked has been an absolute priority.

Kinsta nails it.

All websites on Kinsta are protected by Cloudflare’s firewall, but they go a few pegs beyond that:

  • Regular uptime monitoring (every 2 minutes), with money off your bill, if they don’t meet the 99.9% uptime/downtime stipulation in their SLA
  • DDoS attack detections (and seriously fast response)
  • Free SSL certificates via Cloudflare
  • Third-party SSL certificates (Let’s Encrypt) accepted for sites on HTTPS
  • Additional hardware firewalls
  • Fully encrypted SFTP and SSH connections (no FTP)
  • Malware detection
  • Two-factor authentication

If all of those acronyms went over your head (and fair enough), what this essentially means for you is that your site is super secure — I’ve not had my site hacked once since moving over to Kinsta’s hosting.

And, if all of this somehow isn’t enough and my site does become compromised, Kinsta offers a hack fix guarantee, meaning they’ll jump in and fix it for me for free.

Daily Backups

Included with every Kinsta plan, even the $30 one, is a daily backup of each of your sites.

Kinsta keeps the backups for two weeks, longer on the more expensive plans.

If daily automatic backups aren’t enough for you, though, you can upgrade to 6-hourly and even hourly backups for an additional charge, and you always have the option to create a manual backup with just a single click.

WordPress Website Staging

Included with every Kinsta plan is access to the WordPress staging environment, where you test out new code edits, WordPress plugins, and other changes to your website before you go live with them.

This is super helpful for CRO and UX folks who are regularly making changes and want to do so in an error-free environment.

Once you’re content with the changes you’ve made in the staging area, it only takes a click (and a quick authentication check) to push your staging site to live.

Free Site Migration and Quick Setup

Migrating my site from WP Engine to Kinsta hosting was simple.

You can opt to migrate from your old web host manually if you want to, but all Kinsta plans come with at least one free ‘Premium’ migration, so I just let them take care of the whole thing for me.

No troubles there; one day, my site was hosted on WP Engine, the next, it was up on Kinsta.

Installing a new site on Kinsta is just as easy, and only takes a few minutes to set up within MyKinsta.

Straightforward and Easy To Navigate Interface

I mentioned at the top of this Kinsta review that one of the two major problems I was looking to solve in finding a new managed WordPress host was finding a platform with a clean, easy-to-use interface.

In getting set up with Kinsta, then, I was nothing short of impressed.

Kinsta offers a purpose-built dashboard called MyKinsta, and as with everything they do, it’s specifically designed for WordPress.

Here’s what you’ll see when you first open up the MyKinsta dashboard:

As you can see, the dashboard gives you an overview of important details such as CDN (content delivery network) usage, current website visits for the month and available bandwidth, and the total amount of disk space you’ve used.

Pretty much all of the important functionality (DNS management, advanced analytics, optimization tools) is only a click or two away; no excessive menu-digging going on here.

In my opinion, it’s a whole lot more user-friendly than cPanel, the standard control panel you’ll find in most other WordPress hosting providers.

But it’s not all about aesthetics.

MyKinsta includes several WordPress-specific features not found in cPanel, as well as several one-click tools such as PHP restarts and cache clearing.

What Sets Kinsta Apart From Other Hosting Providers?

1. Infrastructure

The short of it is this:

Kinsta is a high-performance managed WordPress hosting company.

Now, that comes with a slightly higher price tag than other solutions.

But you get what you pay for, and in the case of Kinsta, one of the things you’re paying for is the Google Cloud Platform, offering:

  • Access to 28 (and counting) global data center locations
  • Scalable CPU and RAM usage to handle large traffic spikes
  • The fastest network in the world

2. Support

Kinsta’s support team is unparalleled.

This alone should be enough to convince you to host with Kinsta, considering nearly 44% of users rate support as the number one factor in choosing a hosting platform (twice as important as price and three times as important as speed).

There are three reasons for Kinsta’s success in the support department:

  1. Kinsta only hires techs with extensive experience using WordPress and Linux
  2. Support is available 24/7, and response times are very low
  3. They guarantee a 100% solve rate; your support ticket is not resolved until the problem is

3. Interface

Kinsta’s user interface is best-in-class.

Compared to WP Engine, the dashboard and control panel in Kinsta is miles cleaner, and the whole platform is easier to navigate, meaning I can find the features I need when I need them.

The analytics section is equally easy to operate, and Kinsta doesn’t go overboard with the amount of information per page, so things don’t get overwhelming, and you can easily drill down on reports.

4. Security

Kinsta makes a couple of promises on security, which really demonstrate the priority they put on this aspect of website hosting:

  1. 99.9% uptime
  2. Hack-fix guarantee

They don’t just make empty promises, though. There are a number of protocols Kinsta puts into play to maintain website security and uptime:

  • Uptime checks every 2 minutes
  • Free daily backups (upgrades to 6-hourly and hourly backups available)
  • Scalable hosting to prevent website crashes during traffic spikes

In practice, I haven’t had to worry about uptime at all.

None of my sites have been hacked while on Kinsta, but considering my experience with their support team, I’m confident this would be resolved fairly quickly if it did happen.

5. Kinsta’s Platform Is Constantly Improving

I’ve been using Kinsta for all of my WordPress site hosting for X amount of time and have been witness to several upgrades and new feature rollouts during that time.

For example, they now offer hosting services for ecommerce websites built on the WooCommerce platform.

Kinsta also listens very closely to customer feedback. Many of the features inside MyKinsta are developments resulting directly from this feedback, and Kinsta regularly monitors support logs and conversations to identify opportunities for further development.

Kinsta Pricing

Kinsta offers several web hosting plans, divided into four categories:

  1. Starter
  2. Pro
  3. Business
  4. Enterprise

The Starter plan is ideal for small, single-site operators, costing $30 per month (fairly affordable).

The plans move up in price as you add more sites, monthly traffic, SSD storage, CDN usage, PHP workers, and the number of days that your website backups are kept for.

All Kinsta plans include:

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free CDN
  • A choice of 28 Google Cloud Platform data centers
  • Unparalleled support
  • Daily site backups
  • Regular uptime checks
  • WordPress staging environment
  • Unlimited free basic migrations
  • At least one Premium website migration
  • PHP 8.0 support
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Performance-monitoring tool

Alternatives to Kinsta

To be fair, Kinsta is not the only managed WordPress hosting company that does a good job (though in my experience, it does the best job).

So, in the pursuit of fairness, let’s discuss a few of Kinsta’s cons, and see how it fares against its competitors.

Kinsta Hosting Review – The Negatives

Pricing

First and foremost, Kinsta is not cheap.

Comparing single-site plans, Kinsta’s $30 plan comes in at nearly twice the price of Dreamhost ($16.95), and is several times more expensive than Bluehost ($2.95) and Siteground ($5.99).

However, single-site pricing is on par with Kinsta’s closest competitor, WP Engine, at $25 per month.

  • Siteground ($14.99)
  • WP Engine ($241.67)
  • Bluehost ($5.45)
  • Liquid Web ($149.50)

When we move up to 30+ sites, however, the pricing disparity becomes more apparent, with Kinsta’s $400 a month plan coming up against:

No email hosting

Compared to pretty much all of its competitors, this is one area where Kinsta is lacking.

This is all part of Kinsta’s dedication to WordPress-specific applications, but it does mean you need to pay for an additional service.

Kinsta recommends using Google Workspace (previously G Suite) for email hosting, which is what I do, so I’d back this recommendation.

No phone support

Kinsta’s support team is excellent; I won’t shy away from saying that again.

But one area where it does fall short is that support is only available via chat, and there is no phone or video support offered.

This might be a deal-breaker for some, but I’ve found in practice that their chat-based support network is more than sufficient to help me resolve any bugs.

And to be honest, I prefer asynchronous communication as it means I can throw an issue at them, and let them look into it while I move onto other tasks, rather than having to wait on hold or book a call.

Several Limitations

The last item on the cons side of the checklist is the fact that Kinsta places a lot of limitations on each plan.

Aspects such as storage capacity, monthly visits, and CDN usage are all capped, and though they are all scalable, if you go over your limit, naturally, overcharges are charged.

As you move up the pricing schedule, these limits increase in total, but in some areas, they decrease per site.

For example, on the Business 1 plan, you get 100,000 monthly visits across five sites. This equates to 20,000 per site, which is actually fewer than you’d get on the Starter plan.

Kinsta vs. WP Engine And Other Alternatives

Kinsta

Dreamhost

Siteground

Cloudways

WP Engine

Bluehost

Pricing (for one site)

$30

$16.95

$5.99

$10

$25

$2.95

Traffic allowed (for one site)

25,000

100,000

10,000

1 TB bandwidth

25,000

Unmetered

Disk space (for one site)

10 GB

30 GB

10 GB

25 GB

10 GB

50 GB

CDN (for one site)

50 GB

Limitation unspecified, unlimited on $24.95 plan

Free

$1 per 25 GB

Limitation unspecified

Free

Server Locations

Google Cloud Platform data centers

Ashburn, Virginia

Irvine, California

Iowa, USA

London, UK

Eemshaven, Netherlands

Frankfurt, DE

Sydney, AU

Singapore, Singapore

Digital Ocean (alternatives available on other plans)

New York City, United States

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

San Francisco, United States

Singapore

London, United Kingdom

Frankfurt, Germany

Toronto, Canada

Bangalore, India

Google Cloud Platform and AWS data centers available

Provo, Utah, USA

Uptime (per Themeisle test)

100%

99.98%

100%

100%

100%

99.98%

Load time (per Themeisle est)

1.96s

1.45s

2.21s

1.24s

1.48s

1.28s

Kinsta Hosting Review – Final Verdict

On the whole, I think it’s pretty clear that Kinsta is a very powerful managed hosting solution, and it’s certainly a good fit for those who take website security, support, and uptime seriously.

Let’s recap on what makes Kinsta one of the best WordPress hosting services around:

  1. Efficient use of the Google Cloud Platform
  2. Unparalleled support team with specialist-level expertise
  3. Easy-to-use, clutter-free user interface
  4. Incredibly secure network with daily backups and regular uptime monitoring
  5. Advanced developer tools such as PHP version selection

Sound like you?

Get started with Kinsta.