I have been wanting to write this review for a while now about my amazing experience with Kinsta. Their managed WordPress hosting experience has been far above anything that I have experienced over the past few years. Not just from the speed aspect, but also from their top notch customer support. If you are looking for a high-performance WordPress host, these guys are the ones you want to choose. This is where I currently host woorkup. Read my full Kinsta review below.
Who is Kinsta?
Kinsta was founded by Mark Gavalda, a WP dev guy and programmer by trade. They have offices in London, Los Angeles, Budapest, and started offering hosting to the public in early 2014 (founded December 2013). They are no longer a newcomer when it comes to WordPress hosting, and they are already surpassing their competition when it comes to high-end performance. Check out their results in LoadStorm’s WordPress web hosting performance test.
Kevin writes: “Remarkably, some companies didn’t even struggle. Kinsta kept sub one second response times for 30 minutes and nearly a quarter million requests. Most companies had a spike or two causing a higher peak response time, but Kinsta and Pantheon didn’t (and Media Temple had a tiny one at 1.5 seconds). Simply amazing performance.” and for the individual company evaluation “[Kinsta is] A new-comer that jumped straight to the top of the performance tiers. Kinsta’s performance was amazing in the Load Storm 2000 logged in user test. They had the lowest peak response time and zero errors over a 30 minute test. They didn’t struggle with any tests whatsoever and showed zero downtime. Kinsta’s performance was top tier.”
Kinsta’s vast feature set is really what sets them apart from the other managed WordPress hosting companies out there. Kinsta is the kind of host you want if you go on Shark Tank. Some of Kinsta’s current clients include Mint.com, Drift, Ubisoft, AdStage, GE, Swagway, Intuit, and AdEspresso!
They were also named the most reliable hosting company in 2016 by codeinwp.com.
Hands Down Best Architecture
Kinsta is the first managed WordPress hosting company that is exclusively powered by the new powerful Google Cloud platform, which features automatic scaling, LXD containers, and of course one of the biggest networks on the planet. Because they use container technology, each WordPress site is completely isolated and doesn’t share resources. Each container has it’s own Nginx, PHP, MySQL, etc. This is how hosting should be done!
Kinsta also utilizes Google Cloud Platform’s premium tier network (not standard) and offers all 16 data center locations, strategically placed to offer the lowest latency.
- Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA (us-central1)
- St. Ghislain, Belgium (europe-west1)
- Changhua County, Taiwan (asia-east1)
- Sydney, Australia (australia-southeast1)
- The Dalles, Oregon, USA (us-west1)
- Ashburn, Virginia, USA (us-east4)
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA (us-east1)
- São Paulo, Brazil (southamerica-east1)
- London, UK (europe-west2)
- Frankfurt, Germany (europe-west3)
- Jurong West, Singapore (asia-southeast1)
- Tokyo, Japan (asia-northeast1)
- Mumbai, India (asia-south1)
- Montréal (northamerica-northeast1)
- Netherlands (europe-west4)
- Hamina, Finland (europe-north1)
Kinsta fully believes in the best architecture for hosting. Additional back-end architecture includes:
- Nginx ( an open source reverse proxy server for HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols, as well as a load balancer, HTTP cache, and a web server.
- Ubuntu 16.04 (Long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel, Python 3, OpenSSH 7.2p2 and Apt 1.2.)
- PHP 7.2 (the latest and great revision to PHP. PHP 7 is just bloody fast. In fact, it’s three times faster than PHP 5.6. They also let you choose between PHP 5.6, 7, 7.1, and 7.2 in their dashboard)
- Full-page caching (done at the server-level for optimal performance, no caching plugins needed)
- Object Caching (optional, when utilizing their premium Redis add-on)
- HTTP/2 (the latest and greatest protocol since HTTP/1.1. HTTP/2 features better multiplexing, parallelism, smaller headers, and more. It makes SSL faster.)
- MariaDB (An enhanced, drop-in replacement for MySQL)
- Free DNS via Amazon Route 53 and management of DNS records in Kinsta dashboard
- Free SSL with Let’s Encrypt integration
- Application performance monitoring by New Relic. 1440 daily uptime checks per website! I don’t know of any other host offering this.
Here are some snapshots of the Kinsta dashboard, which is beautiful by the way! They also have two-factor authentication and an activity log to ensure that nobody gets into your dashboard but you. And that you have a record of every change that happened on your account. Below is a screenshot of the main dashboard when you first log into your Kinsta account. You can quickly see your invoices, overall bandwidth usage, and visitors.
Here is a screenshot of the site management screen list. They also have a search filter in case you have a lot of sites.
Once you click into manage of your sites, you have quick and easy access to the site’s IP address, SFTP/SSH information, SSH connections, and database access. The “Open MySQL” button towards the button takes you directly to phpMyAdmin.
And here is a screenshot of the Analytics section, in which you can slice and data your data transfer (bandwidth), unique views, and page views. They have all sorts of information in here such as AJAX usage, to client IPs, cache response HITs, you name, they’ve got it. The analytics section can be very helpful when troubleshooting performance issues on your site.
You can easily purge your cache from the dashboard and change PHP engines (PHP 5.6, PHP 7, 7.1) with a single click. HHVM is also available free of charge on all plans. You can restart PHP and configure New Relic Monitoring.
The logs screen comes in very handy as well. This is something I use on a regular basis. It saves a lot of time having it accessible right within the dashboard, not having to FTP or SSH to check files on the server for errors. They let you see your cache log, access log, and error logs.
Kinsta offers free SSL certificates on every single plan they offer. They have an integration with Let’s Encrypt which allows for a one-click setup of SSL on your WordPress site. You can be up and running over HTTPS in a matter of seconds. Simply select it from the drop-down in the dashboard and your all set.
And of course, you can still use your own custom SSL certificates, which is especially important for those of you who need higher-end certs. Custom certificate keys can also be uploaded from right within the dashboard. No reaching out to support is necessary.
As of November 2017, Kinsta now offers a CDN integration with my favorite CDN provider, KeyCDN! If you want serious speed along with Kinsta’s powerful servers, you can easily enable this from the dashboard. This will give you a combo that cannot be beaten when it comes to performance and speed. KeyCDN has over 30 POPs, HTTP/2 support, Free SSL, HPACK compression, and much more!
They also include a generous amount of free CDN bandwidth on all their plans.
Their customer support is way above par! Mark and their team always go way out of their way to answer questions and they really want your site to be as fast as possible. I appreciate teams that really understand the need for fast websites and are knowledgeable when it comes to WordPress and their platform. When I was migrating away from WP Engine I had to explain to their support representative how to remove my custom CNAME in MaxCDN. Why am I having to explain to WP Engine how to do their job? You won’t ever get that with Kinsta.
Their support team is available 24×7 from within the Kinsta dashboard. So even if you break your site during the middle of the night, there is someone ready to help you. They also have more experience with scaling and performance issues than any other host on the market.
They have an automated backup system in place which keeps up to 14 backups at once. By default it backs up once per day. You can manually create a backup if needed, and you can easily restore your site from a backup at any time from right within the Kinsta dashboard. Whenever you restore a backup a new backup is generated which will reflect the state of your website just before you restored it. This is handy if you’d like to undo the restore.
One-Click Staging Environment
Kinsta has a one-click staging environment which allows you to instantly create a development site and test plugins, WordPress updates, code, etc. I use the staging feature all the time. Never touch your live site again when you don’t have to. You can even restore staging back to live and even backups to staging! Pretty much any scenario you can think of is possible.
They also offer all the same features you expect now from a good managed WordPress host such as a one-click cloning feature, WP-CLI, multisite support and Git Support.
Kinsta includes premium hosting plans for everyone! They are popular among larger businesses and enterprise customers, however, they also have entry-tier plans at $30/month for those of you just starting out. Remember, this is high-end performance hosting. They aren’t trying to compete with WP Engine or Flywheel. I would consider them a notch above the rest.
Oh, and did I mention they have a 30-day no questions asked money-back guarantee? That’s right. You can try Kinsta risk-free for 30 days.
The main differences in their plans are the number of WordPress sites allowed, storage space, and visitors. You also get more PHP workers with every higher plan. PHP workers execute the code on your site, and additional ones allow for multiple requests to execute simultaneously.
Pro plans and above support multisite, and Business 1 plans and above have SSH access along with popular developer tools such as WP-CLI. They also have Enterprise plans as well as custom plans if you need even more.
Kinsta verses WP Engine
Even though I don’t consider Kinsta and WP Engine in the same league I thought it would useful to show you the speed differences. I used to host all of my websites at WP Engine. I am very OCD when it comes to speed and am always trying to find ways to speed them up.
Here are my tests results after migrating away from WP Engine. I ran speed tests multiple times to prevent data skewing due to prefetching and 1st time DNS queries. With WP Engine I also got very long 1st time requests, sometimes up to the 3-second mark! This issue has never happened on Kinsta. Both are being served from the same data center location.
brianleejackson.com on WP Engine with MaxCDN Enabled
brianleejackson.com on Kinsta with MaxCDN Enabled
okaymarketing.com on Kinsta
Unfortunately I didn’t grab a screenshot of my okaymarketing.com site on WP Engine before migrating but check out the final result! A whopping 647ms load time. I couldn’t be happier.
woorkup.com on Kinsta
Here is a recent speed test of woorkup.com running on Kinsta. As you can see, this sites loads in under 600 ms! That is blazing fast. Kinsta has server-level caching which means I don’t have to waste time messing with stupid caching plugins. Once you go this route, you’ll never want to go back.
What Other People Are Saying
Yes it sounds like I’m just raving about Kinsta but don’t just take my word for it! Check out the feedback they are getting on Twitter.
— Neuralab (@Neuralab) July 22, 2017
migrated a site onto @kinsta that got over 1mil pageviews yesterday with around ~1500 active users all day. performed incredibly well 👍
— Ben Word (@retlehs) October 27, 2017
Couldn't be happier with hosting my websites through @kinsta. I feel like their support team never sleep! Amazing service.
— Matthew Howells-Barby (@matthewbarby) July 3, 2017
— Martin Caparrotta (@MartinCap) April 16, 2017
— Kevin McAloon (@kevinpmcaloon) February 27, 2017
— Tom Adams (@TomAdams) January 20, 2015
I switched to @KinstaHosting from HostGator/MaxCDN and my website is now 2-4X faster. Good stuff, recommended!
— Rick Ramos (@ricktramos) December 2, 2014
— Lucian Florian (@fldtrace) December 30, 2014
Actual current issue, my site running on @KinstaHosting is too fast.
— Josh Pollock (@Josh412) November 18, 2014
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my migration to Kinsta. I think WP Engine has lost their focus when it comes down to those of us who really care about speed. I hope this Kinsta review gives you something to think about. I recommend giving them a try, you won’t be disappointed. And being backed by the Google Cloud Platform ensures you have some huge architecture behind your sites. They even offer free migrations to ensure the move is as seamless as possible. And don’t forget about their 30-day money-back guarantee.
As always feel free to leave your comments below.
Full Disclosure: Since writing this Kinsta review I have now taken a position at Kinsta because I fully stand behind their product and services.
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