2019 October 23rd
Whether you're a seasoned WordPress user or a complete beginner, a premium managed WordPress service is well worth looking at - if you're willing to pay for the smoothest possible WordPress experience.
That's exactly what Kinsta aims to provide.
Handling your site's day-to-day needs, and optimizing load speeds from behind the scenes, it is supposed to help you stay focused on creating content and managing other aspects of your business.
And with clients such as General Electric, Ricoh, and Ubisoft, it seems to be doing something right to suit even the biggest and most demanding of businesses.
But how well does it stack up against other managed WordPress hosts such as Flywheel or WP Engine? And does it really provide enough extra features to justify the prices it charges compared to cheaper hosting companies like Hostinger?
Let's have a look in this review.
Kinsta Uses Google Technology
If you've been searching for a WordPress host for a while, you've probably spent hours scanning the pages of different shared web hosting services.
With a budget hosting service, your site will share physical server resources with other customers of the hosting company, generally leading to slower load times and mediocre reliability.
Well, Kinsta is not a shared hosting provider.
Instead, it runs through Google Cloud, using the advanced, near-limitless resources of this online giant. The cloud technology on Kinsta hosting means that its WordPress sites are run simultaneously from many machines.
With cloud hosting, your site won't share resources and will, therefore, load faster. It also won't be reliant on one machine, making it less vulnerable to hardware failures. Another big cloud hosting bonus is scalability, as resources can be added instantly to cope with sudden spikes in visitor traffic.
So it's clear that Kinsta could be a great solution for businesses of all sizes - it certainly has the resources to fit even the biggest ones.
Customer Service With WordPress Expertise
Kinsta provides a fully managed WordPress service. The difference between standard and managed WordPress hosting is akin to the difference between using a rental car and hiring a limo.
Yes, they both get you to your destination, but do you really want to be the one worrying about directions, gas or speed limits?
Managed web hosts take care of the technical aspects of your site, such as security and speed optimization themselves. With Kinsta hosting, a managed service means a ton of additional WordPress and server features are included. And the best part about using Kinsta's managed WordPress service is its customer support.
Kinsta claims every member of its customer support team has a background in WordPress development. And, when I contacted them with in-depth questions about WordPress, that certainly seemed to be the case.
This support knowledge is the key differentiator between unmanaged WordPress hosts and Kinsta. With most hosts, customer representatives won't actually have used WordPress themselves and will have no idea how to help with difficult plugin or database problems. Sure, they will be able to direct you to an article in the knowledgebase, but often that's it.
With Kinsta, you get experts helping you all along the way.
My First Kinsta Impressions: Great Interfaces
When I opened my Kinsta account, the first thing that struck me was the quality and simplicity of the MyKinsta Analytics page. No matter what kind of site you run, having in-depth reader data to work with is vital to taking your WordPress game to the next level.
The MyKinsta page provides you with clear metrics regarding every aspect of your site. The Security page, for example, displays the top IPs visiting your site, while the Performance Monitoring section will graph response times and show you what error codes your readers are seeing.
By making these important statistics easily accessible, Kinsta has made itself a worthy choice for anyone who manages their WordPress site with a team of people. You can collectively view the impact on user experience whenever you make a change to your WordPress design.
Kinsta's solid UI extends beyond analytics though. The live chat option for Kinsta users and knowledge base areas of the site are also pleasant to navigate.
Furthermore, the default WordPress installation is free of bloatware plugins. It includes just two by default, along with a handful of WordPress themes, letting your site to load swiftly from the start.
Kinsta Managed WordPress Features
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Kinsta hosting packages, it's worth going over some of the features that help to separate Kinsta from unmanaged WordPress hosts.
- Free 'Let's Encrypt' SSL certificate: SSL certificates visibly show readers that their connection to your site is encrypted, making them vital for any professional website. It's good to see that they come standard with all Kinsta accounts.
- Daily backups and hack fixes: Kinsta will create a free backup of your site every day. And, if someone manages to gain unauthorized access to it, the Kinsta technical team will work with you to re-secure your site.
- WordPress staging: Normally, it takes a fair bit of work to create a WordPress test environment but Kinsta includes that functionality from the get-go. You should always use a staging environment to experiment with WordPress changes before making them live.
Kinsta Hosting Packages - Pricing
Because it is fully managed, Kinsta plans are significantly pricier than your typical shared hosting service. With costs ranging from $30 to $900 per month, Kinsta makes no secret of the fact that it's targeting clients willing to pay for hosting at a premium price point.
Although many unmanaged shared web hosting providers offer starter plans priced under $5/month, it makes more sense to compare Kinsta's prices to those of managed WordPress hosts.
Kinsta's starter plan offers a similar level of storage to the base plans of Flywheel and WP Engine which respectively cost $25/month and $35/month (including CDN). Kinsta's base $30/month rate is therefore fairly representative of what other hosts are charging in the managed WordPress space.
As a matter of fact, Kinsta itself is well aware of the competition. So, there are also extensive guides where the company comparing Kinsta vs. Flywheel and Kinsta vs. WPEngine in terms of pricing, performance, and ease of use.
Plans in More Detail
Kinsta offers a total of eight hosting plans.
However, as you'll note, the Business and Enterprise plans are split into six sub-tiers. So, in my Kinsta reviews, I concentrated on only four plans. Let's have a look to see how they compare.
Kinsta Starter Plan
The $30/month bottom-end Kinsta hosting plan includes 20,000 monthly page views, 50GB of CDN bandwidth and 5GB of SSD storage.
One key drawback, compared to other plans, is that the Starter plan only supports a single WordPress installation and doesn't let you create a multisite.
Of course, with only 5GB storage space, there wouldn't be much room for multiple sites. Essentially, the Starter package is only suitable for small personal blogs and business sites that don't attract a ton of traffic.
Kinsta Pro Plan
I recommend the Pro package if you have a relatively small amount of content to share through your site, but anticipate it will receive a substantial amount of traffic.
Priced at $60/month, it includes 40,000 monthly visits, 10GB of SSD storage and 100GB of CDN bandwidth.
That should be enough to support popular personal blogs or medium-sized business sites. The Pro plan is the cheapest package to include site cloning, making it ideal if you need to build more than one WordPress site from the same template.
Kinsta Business Plans
Starting at $100/month, the Business level plans have enough resources to support sites that need to deal with high volumes of monthly traffic.
With the 'Business 1' plan, you'll get 15GB of SSD storage, 100,000 page views, and 200GB monthly CDN bandwidth.
You can also install five instances of WordPress, allowing you to take advantage of that extra storage capacity.
Kinsta Enterprise Plans
The enterprise plans are designed for only the most demanding websites. At $600/month, the Enterprise 1 package can deal with a million monthly views and includes 1TB bandwidth plus 120GB SSD storage.
It comes with all the benefits of the business package alongside an elongated backup retention period of 30 days.
The Enterprise 1 plan also gives you ten, rather than two, PHP workers; A PHP worker being that which executes your site's WordPress code. Having extra workers will allow your site to respond to sudden traffic spikes with much more reliability.
The table below will let you, at a glance, see how the different Kinsta packages stack up against one another.
|Basic||Starter||Pro||Business 1||Enterprise 1|
|SSD or HDD storage||SSD||SSD||SSD||SSD|
|Email accounts||Not included||Not included||Not included||Not included|
|Money back guarantee||30 day||30 day||30 day||30 day|
|Customer support||24/7 live chat and email||24/7 live chat and email||24/7 live chat and email||24/7 live chat and email|
|Back-up retention||14 days||14 days||14 days||30 days|
|Choice of server location||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
There are four key things to take away from this table:
The first is to note that Kinsta doesn't offer any unlimited storage plans. Though it's worth knowing that there's no such thing as unlimited plans. You will always have the ceiling for your traffic (otherwise giants like Amazon would just go with some cheap SSD unlimited hosting plan for $2.99!). However, I expected to see storage capacities beyond 120GB.
Also, Kinsta does not provide customer support over the phone. Whether or not that matters to you will largely come down to personal preference. Many site owners prefer to tackle difficult hosting problems via live chat because it makes it easy to send screenshots and snippets of code. Kinsta is of the same mind and has focused its energy on building a fully-featured live chat system instead of a call center.
Kinsta doesn't include email accounts with any hosting package. Instead, it recommends you use Google's email system which you can connect to your WordPress domain. Admittedly, for most users, G Suite will provide a better experience than your run-of-the-mill web hosting email client. But, still, for any type of Enterprise hosting, an email system should really be included.
Finally, it's worth paying attention to the number of WordPress installs each plan includes even if you only want to run a single website. That's because every time you install a new instance of WordPress, you can choose for it to be added to a different Google Cloud data center (there are 18 of them worldwide). In short, the more expensive enterprise and business packages will be better for international websites.
Kinsta Money Saving Tips
You can reduce your monthly costs by signing up to a year-long contract with Kinsta. If you do, no matter which package you choose, you'll get two months of free service. Essentially that means your average monthly cost will drop by a sixth, so the effective price of the starter plan would be $25/month and the top-end Enterprise 2 package would cost $750/month.
Also, every Kinsta plan includes overage charges. So, when choosing to avoid packages that won't give you enough room to deal with the number of monthly visitors you expect to receive. You'll be charged $1 per 1,000 views above your monthly limit and $0.1 per additional GB of downloaded data. Kinsta will give you plenty of warning when you are coming up to your cut off, but you should still choose a package that won't result in extra costs.
Performance Is As Good As You'd Expect
Obviously, given that Kinsta markets itself as a premium hosting company, I was expecting lightning-fast connection speeds. And, when I tested the load times of my Kinsta hosted site, I wasn't disappointed:
Those are some stellar numbers. Really, you couldn't ask for better worldwide response times. The average web user will be satisfied with any page that loads in under than 200ms, and the longest time I found was less than half that.
No doubt the Google Cloud architecture and CDN technology Kinsta uses helped my site's performance. Remember, CDN stands for content delivery network and helps your site to load faster for readers abroad by caching it at multiple data centers.
My experience matches that of other users on Kinsta's testimonial page who claim to have received up to 80% reductions in load times after switching to Kinsta. Of course, you should always take marketing material with a pinch of salt, but my test suggests that such speed increases may well be achievable through Kinsta's services.
Kinsta Review - Final Thoughts
Having finished my Kinsta review, it's evident that the platform provides a top-end service. It was a little disappointing to see a lack of email service or phone support, and slightly limiting storage options.
However, given Kinsta's lightning-fast performance, knowledgeable WordPress assistance, and solid site analytics, you can see why Kinsta is considered a premium and sought-after service.
If you're still on the fence, why not take advantage of Kinsta's 30-day money back guarantee, which applies to all plans, to decide if it's the right service for you?
Kinsta offers a state-of-the-art hosting platform and a ton of features you won't find included with cheaper, unmanaged, WordPress hosts.
Have you already tried Kinsta hosting? If you have any Kinsta reviews of your own, please share them with everyone in the comments below!