Kinsta Hosting Review: A Powerful Managed WordPress Host
Kinsta is a powerful managed WordPress host, and it’s becoming a leader in the industry when it comes to the best WordPress hosting for large businesses and professional developers. The company was founded by WordPress developer Mark Gavalda on December 1, 2013 and eventually recruited former Pagely executive Sean O’Brien to fill the position as Chief Operating Officer.
The team works all around the world. Its business of operations is headquartered in London, and a second office is located in Los Angeles. A few team members even reside in Budapest and Berlin.
What Makes Kinsta Stand Out as a Managed WordPress Host
Let’s talk about a few of the things that make Kinsta stand out as a managed WordPress host before we get into specifics. The first is the fact that the company’s infrastructure is powered by Google Cloud Platform. This allows them to offer cloud servers on an exclusive basis. We’ll get to why that’s beneficial in a bit.
The second point ties in with the first, and that’s this host’s ability to give businesses and professional web developers the speed and power their websites need. Too many web hosts try to bring in new customers by lowering their prices as much as possible, causing the quality of their services to decline as a result.
Kinsta is different. Their target audience is businesses and professional developers, so they’re not afraid of keeping their prices higher than the rest so they can focus on improving every aspect of their company.
Let’s get into what you have to look forward to as a customer of Kinsta.
Advantages of Hosting with Kinsta
Businesses and professional developers need a lot of powerful specs, tools and features to run their businesses properly. Businesses rely on site speed and optimization, and professional developers can’t offer that if the hosts they use can’t keep up with the times.
Let’s go over the many advantages of hosting with Kinsta, then we’ll go over a few disadvantages.
1. Powered by Google Cloud Platform
Kinsta is powered by Google Cloud Platform, which means its servers are running on a cloud-based infrastructure. This comes with a number of different benefits.
First, cloud servers are not limited by what the hardware they’re running on is capable of. This means if your site gets hit with a random spike in traffic, your cloud server will scale automatically to accommodate for it. Traditional servers need manual, physical upgrades to accommodate for higher amounts of traffic, and that can’t happen in real time.
This is also how Kinsta is able to offer an unlimited number of pageviews on each of its plans. Plans using traditional servers can only guarantee a certain amount, and you’ll need to upgrade to an entire new server when your site gets hit with a large amount of traffic on a consistent basis.
This also makes Kinsta a fantastic option for WooCommerce. The company earned a big win when it helped Swagway get its site ready for Cyber Monday following a huge marketing campaign that included appearances on shows like Good Morning America, Ellen, The Today Show, and LIVE with Kelly and Michael.
Kinsta was able to keep the site running through the weekend, even with the site receiving over 90,000 unique visitors a day, 4,098 orders over the weekend and 1,888 orders on Cyber Monday. This was before the company upgraded to Google Cloud, which performs much better than the company’s old infrastructure.
You can read more about why Kinsta switched to Google Cloud in a post written by the founder and CEO here.
2. 100% Uptime Reliability
We tested Kinsta with Design Bombs and are happy to report an uptime reliability rate of 100% even with Design Bombs receiving well over 120,000 unique visitors every month.
Uptime checks are conducted every minute on every plan at Kinsta, which adds up to 1,440 uptime checks a day. In fact, Kinsta’s Service Level Agreement guarantees an uptime reliability rate of 99.9% and promises to credit your account if they fail to correct error response codes within 30 minutes of them occurring.
Design Bombs has an average load time of 400 ms on Kinsta’s servers. The lowest time was 359 ms, and the highest time was 499 ms.
Kinsta uses state-of-the-art technology to achieve this. Its servers use Ubuntu 16.04 as of August 2016, which features Linux 4.4 kernel, Python 3, OpenSSH 7.2p2 and Apt 1.2. Other components of its infrastructure include Nginx, PHP 7, LXD containers, and MariaDB.
You can keep up with any new features Kinsta adds to its infrastructure on its Feature Updates page.
4. 24/7 Security
We’ve already mentioned how Kinsta performs uptime checks every minute, but it does more than that during this analysis of your server. These checks also help to ensure your site has DDoS protection in real time.
They also scan for malware continuously and keep threats at bay using hardware firewalls with tight, software-based restrictions. If your site does get hacked, you’ll receive a fix from Kinsta free of charge.
5. In-House Caching Plugin
Kinsta offers an in-house caching feature that can be accessed from the Kinsta dashboard if you’re a Google Cloud customer. This feature adds a Tools option to your dashboard, which you can use to access the Cache Management tool. This tool lets you perform a full page cache from the dashboard.
The plugin is enabled and configured on every site by default, but you can ask the team to fine tune it to suit your needs. For those of you who are not running on managed hosting providers, here is a great comparison of best caching plugins.
6. One-Click Staging Area
Every WordPress installation can have a staging area, which allows you to build your site in an offline, controlled environment and push it live with one click. Staging areas even have access to SFTP and MySQL.
7. Daily Backups
Kinsta creates daily backups of your site no matter which plan you choose. Backups are stored on an encrypted, off-site vault, and they allow you to roll back your site whenever you need to. You can even have backups created for staging areas.
Related Reading: 8 Best Backup WordPress Plugins Compared
8. Choose Your Own CDN & Data Center
Kinsta does not offer an in-house CDN solution, and they aren’t partnered with any CDN providers. They do, however, let you choose your own CDN.
They also let you choose your own data center for each individual site on your account thanks to the multi-regional deployment mode in Google Cloud. You can choose from one of three data centers:
- U.S. Central – Council Bluffs, Iowa
- Europe – St. Ghislain, Belgium
- Asia-Pacific – Changhua County, Taiwan
If you’re not sure which data center to pick, you can use CloudPing to ping data centers around the world with your browser and send the results to the support staff at Kinsta. They’ll use the information to help you decide which data center to choose.
9. Free Site Migrations
Kinsta offers at least one free site migration on each plan. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of migrating your site yourself or find the process overwhelming, you can ask the support staff at Kinsta to do it for you. They’ll even assign a temporary domain to your site so you can test drive it before pointing its DNS to Kinsta’s nameservers.
10. Expert Support
Kinsta offers 24/7 support through a live chat and ticket system. You can access the live chat feature from the Kinsta dashboard.
We’ve already mentioned a few of the things the Kinsta support staff is ready to handle for you, such as free site migrations and helping you decide which data center to pick, but those aren’t the only issues this team is ready to tackle.
The support staff at Kinsta knows more than just basic functions in regards to WordPress. They’re WordPress experts who have experience developing plugins and working with WordPress core files. They’ve worked in the WordPress industry on a freelance-basis and even at a corporate level. They even help out in the support forum at WordPress.org. They’re more than qualified to help you out if you run into a WordPress issue you aren’t able to solve.
11. Developer Features
Kinsta is a wonderful option for developers, whether you need a place to build your own site, a test server to test drive themes and plugins, or a place to build professional sites for clients. The Kinsta dashboard has a Companies feature that lets you organize your sites into separate dashboards. This lets you create a different dashboard for each client you work with.
You can add other users to individual companies so your clients have access to their own dashboards and no one else’s. Kinsta promises this feature will eventually allow you to dictate which permissions and restrictions each user has.
The staging area is obviously a great feature for developers, but you’ll also have access to SSH so you can use WP-CLI to perform updates and other functions from the command line. Developers who use clients like HeidiSQL and Sequel Pro will also be delighted to hear that Kinsta supports secure-SSH tunneling into databases stored in Google Cloud.
WordPress sites hosted with Kinsta can run on PHP 7, PHP 5.6 or HHVM, and you can switch between them with ease.
12. Month-to-Month Pricing
Some hosts advertise monthly prices but require you to pay for at least one full year upfront. Kinsta allows you to pay on a monthly basis, and the prices you see on their Plans page are the actual prices you’ll pay each month.
You will, however, receive a discount if you pay annually.
13. Honest Pricing & Advertising
Advertising monthly prices and actually offering them is just one of the ways Kinsta is honest about pricing, but they’re honest in a few different ways as well. For instance, some hosts advertise “unlimited bandwidth” when they really mean unlimited bandwidth at X performance until you reach that host’s in-house limit for bandwidth, at which point they’ll throttle the CPU that’s powering your server throughout the remainder of the month until your bandwidth limit resets.
Kinsta advertises how much bandwidth is available with each plan, and they won’t reduce your server’s performance if you go over. You’ll just have to pay overage fees, which they’re also honest and upfront about ($1/GB as of August 2016).
14. Smaller Company
Kinsta is still a young and growing web hosting company, but they’ve already implemented a number of different changes to ensure their services align with the needs of their target audience. They never would have known which changes to make without input from their customers, which they do listen to, so there’s a pretty good chance your input will have a big impact at Kinsta.
Disadvantages of Hosting with Kinsta
There are a few disadvantages of hosting with Kinsta, but none of them should come as a surprise to you if you have any experience with managed WordPress hosts.
Kinsta is a great choice if your business relies on WordPress, but it’s a poor choice for smaller websites, amateur web developers and bloggers. The prices may seem high at first glance even if you’re experienced with managed WordPress hosts, but you have to keep in mind that Kinsta focuses on offering quality and tailoring its services to the needs of businesses and professional developers.
2. No Domain Registrations
Kinsta does not register domains, but this is true for most managed WordPress hosts. You’ll need to register your domain with another service instead.
3. No Email Hosting
Kinsta doesn’t offer email hosting, either, which is another feature most managed WordPress hosts forego. You’ll need to host your email somewhere else. A positive point about this is that it lets Kinsta focus its server power on hosting your site rather than domains and emails.
4. Certain Plugins Not Allowed
We’ve talked about Kinsta’s caching and backup services. It doesn’t allow you to install any caching or backup plugin as a result, which may be a problem for those who are used to making and storing their own backups. However, keep in mind these services are implemented at the server level while the plugins that offer them implement them through PHP alone.
It also has a small list of additional plugins it doesn’t allow, which include EWWW Image Optimizer, WordPress Popular Posts, and WordFence.
Kinsta Hosting Plans
Kinsta offers eight different plans in two categories as well as a bonus custom option. The plans are based on how many sites you need, how much storage you need and how much bandwidth you need.
The cheapest plans are in the Business category. Here’s a breakdown of their features:
- $100-$400/month (as of August 2016)
- Up to 20 Sites
- 5-40GB of SSD Storage
- 50-400GB of Bandwidth
- 1-4 Free Site Migrations
Here are the features of the Enterprise plans:
- $600-$1,500/month (as of August 2016)
- 80-200GB of SSD Storage
- 600-1,500GB of Bandwidth
- 5 Free Site Migrations
Should You Host Your WordPress Site with Kinsta?
Kinsta is a fantastic host to choose if your business relies on WordPress. Whether you started with a small blog, ecommerce shop or web development company, you’ll reach a point where quality is considered more than price and budget are.
Kinsta is a host that focuses on offering quality for a very specific type of customer. It isn’t trying to compete on price with shared hosts or even other managed WordPress hosts. This is most definitely a host you need to consider taking a look at if your current host can’t meet your needs or if your entire business model revolves around the use of WordPress.
The best part is you can sign up for a free account and check out its dashboard at the very least. Kinsta will help you migrate your site when you’re ready.
Here’s a preview of the Kinsta dashboard: