Kinsta Review – High Performance WordPress Hosting

kinsta wordpress hosting

Kinsta Review

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!

adespresso intuit mint ubisoft

They were also named the most reliable hosting company in 2016 by codeinwp.com.

Features

Unlimited Visitors

Yes that’s right folks, I said unlimited visitors! Yes they do cap your bandwidth but it is at a generous amount. This is far superior in my opinion over that of WP Engine, who starts charging you overage fees after you surpass your visitor limits. No host should ever charge based on visitor count. Kinsta offers unlimited visits and pageviews across all of their plans.

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. Kinsta uses Google Cloud Platform’s premium tier and offers all 12 data center locations, strategically placed to offer the lowest latency.

google cloud platform

Server Locations

  • 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)

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 7.1 (the latest and great revision to PHP. PHP 7 is just bloody fast. They also let you choose between PHP 5.6, 7, and 7.1 in their dashboard)
  • Object Caching (Redis & Memcached full page caching)
  • Memcached (Open source, high-performance, distributed memory object caching system)
  • 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.

Kinsta Dashboard

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.

kinsta main dashboard
Kinsta main dashboard

Here is a screenshot of the site management screen list. They also have a search filter in case you have a lot of sites.

wordpress dashboard manage sites
Site management

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.

wordpress site management
WordPress site information

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.

wordpress hosting analytics
WordPress hosting analytics

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.

kinsta tools
WordPress site tools

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.

wordpress site cache logs
WordPress error logs

Free SSL

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.

free ssl let's encrypt
Free SSL with Let’s Encrypt

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.

CDN

They don’t offer a CDN, as they aren’t in the CDN business. If you want serious speed along with Kinsta’s powerful servers, I highly recommend implementing KeyCDN. This will give you a combo that cannot be beat when it comes to performance and speed. KeyCDN has over 25 POPs, HTTP/2 support, Free SSL, HPACK compression, and much more!

keycdn

Customer Support

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.

Automated Backups

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.

wordpress hosting automatic backups
Kinsta automatic backups

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.

wordpress staging environment
Kinsta staging environment

Additional Features

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.

Pricing

Kinsta is aimed more towards medium-sized to larger businesses and enterprise customers. 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. The main differences in their plans are the number of WordPress sites allowed, storage space, and bandwidth. 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.

kinsta hosting plans
Business WordPress hosting plans

They also have Enterprise plans as well as custom plans if you need even more.

kinsta enterprise hosting plans
Enterprise WordPress hosting plans

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

wp engine brianleejackson

brianleejackson.com on Kinsta with MaxCDN Enabled

kinsta brianleejackson

I got a 47% increase in speed simply by moving to Kinsta’s servers. It is unbelievable.

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.

okaymarketing kinsta

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.

fast load times with Kinsta

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.

Conclusion

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.

Visit Kinsta

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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Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting
  • Speed
  • Customer Support
  • Features Included
  • Architecture
  • Price
4.9

Summary

If you are looking for a new managed WordPress hosting company, look no further! Kinsta will blow your mind when it comes to speed and their customer support is far above any company I have ever used.

30 thoughts on “Kinsta Review – High Performance WordPress Hosting

  1. Great review. Yes, I am sure that Kinsta is an amazing WordPress Hosting. Unfortunately, they removed their plans more cheap, so is not easy start an experience with they, at 287$ at month. I hope that in future, they can create other plans with low resource, for blog with low/medium traffic, at an affordable price.

      • Hi Brian,

        thank for the information. I tried WP Engine, but sincerely I was not so impressed. From about one year I am using Lightning Base, an amazing WordPress Managed Hosting. They use Apache 2.4 + Varnish Cache + SSD + CDN for free; it’s the Hosting fatest I’ve ever used. You can read the article regard the WordPress Performance Benchmarks, on the blog ReviewSignal; it show the terrific results of Lightning Base.

        • I was able to get under 350ms load times on WP Engine and it worked great while I was with them. But ya, not my first choice. I religiously follow ReviewSignal and have heard great things about Lightning Base. The one issue I have with them is some of their choices in architecture. I really wish they were Nginx based, not Apache. But awesome to see that they are using Varnish cache. I will definitely have to give them a try.

          • Actually, my best result with WordPress (www.webhostingmagazine.it) is 100ms; from Amsterdam location, where I have my datacenter with Lightning Base.

            Yes, I like Nginx me too, but sometimes it creates any problem of compatibily with rewrite url, sitemap and some plugins. Howeaver, I spoke with Chris Piepho, the owner of Lightning Base, and he is guy very smart and helpful. Perhaps in tue future, something their architecture could change: a new webserver, like Nginx or LiteSpeed (with cache enabled), a new fork of MySQL, like MariaDB, and other again.

            I am sure that they will choose the best architecture to give the best results at the customer, regard performance and security.

            Personally, the only flaw on Lightning Base, is the design/graphic; it isn’t not very modern, like on Kinsta or Flywheel, but I believe that can be improved in the future.

          • Hey guys I agree review signal is awesome. I agree review signal is awesome. So is Kinsta I host with them but I am also hosted with Pantheon (my favorite) & Pagely ( there PHP 7 VPS is a rocketship) I have accounts with Wp engine, web synthesis , PressLabs and many more. I honestly think that there’s very little I could ask for from Kinsta except for some sort of phone support and the ability to download back ups and Revert to a back up without having to contact support.

            My .2 cents

            Pantheon
            Pagely
            Kinsta
            PressLabs
            GetFlywheel
            WPEngine

            They’re all excellent hosting companies but if you want something that you can do a lot of work on without any chance of breaking the live site in addition have the type of resources to scale into the millions of unique visitors per month
            Without breaking a sweat or worrying about upping your RAM Pantheon is Enterprise level WordPress hosting.

          • Pantheon is about five or ten times more expensive than even the other premium hosts. Outrageously expensive. Fine wine pricing.

            You could add Pressidium to the list of hosts like Kinsta and Pantheon who really care about infrastructure (they are running redundant clusters on even their entry level hosting multiple site packages which at $200/month for 500,000 views is pretty competitive). They also have private redundant cloud enterprise options but pricing jumps accordingly. British based.

            Otherwise I agree with your list. I’m not keen to have my sites on Amazon fluid infrastructure so Pagely wouldn’t be on my list but apparently Pagely have made it work. I agree that WPE lost its focus on technology a long time ago. When they took VC money for marketing instead of investing it into better infrastructure (at a time when support was creaking to the maximum), they lost the part of our business they had.

            Matt Mullenweg seems to have succumbed to the same disease. Apparently 24% of the websites on the web is not enough for WordPress. Automattic are interested in flashy bells and whistles to attract new users, not improving the software for existing users. New users won’t any of our clients’ websites run faster or improve WordPress security or stability.

          • Thanks Thomas. Yes, Kinsta and Pantheon are my top favorites as well. Pantheon does have great sandbox feature. I actually use it a lot when writing articles/testing WordPress. Love their free developer account.

          • I have your strongly agree with you on that it strange not using Nginx just so someone can keep a HTaccessfile ?

            I Think varnish is fantastic but I don’t think anyone in their right mind would use Apache over and Nginx 1/8 the Ram use if you had to do it why not at least use lightspeed.

            Nginx is better server in every way and less you’re doing some very unique things. Even still can be overcome by Nginx

  2. Thanks Alec! Yes there are some other good premium hosts out there. Pantheon I think does have some good features, but I prefer Kinsta myself.

    I tested WP Engine again recently and I think they are headed in the right direction again. Getting rid of counting bots, pushing for PHP7, and appointing a new CMO. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    And ya, the whole Matt Mullenweg thing… I won’t comment on that lol :)

  3. Awesome! That’s strange. I’ve used Nginx for years and never had any issues on any sites with plugins.
    Ya I really hope Chris might consider switching up architecture down the road. Nginx + MariaDB + HTTP/2 + PHP7 or HHVM is a great combo. If he does I might give them another look.

  4. I think Pressidium is most likely an amazing company.
    I just have never utilize them. So I cannot give anyone a first-hand account and that’s why did not place them on the list.

    I am definitely going to give them a whirl.

    I have read enough that I definitely believe their high quality hosting company enough in fact to advise someone based in the United Kingdom that was having issues with hosting on Moz Q&A the other day. I put Pressidium on the list of companies to check out as they were having huge “Go Daddy” related hosting problems.

    Pagely went from being built on one of my favorite non-managed WordPress hosting companies FireHost now Armor to AWS I like you was not happy. To say the least, however what they were able to accomplish is amazing and I am not going to punish my clients because I’m a fan of FireHost.
    I was even going as far as to be one of the very last off of the enterprise FireHost infrastructure.

    I asked why did you not do this using FireHost?

    “The answer we we constructed a completely new architecture for the backend yes we definitely could’ve done it using FireHost but we would have put the price far out of reach for most customers.”

    Then I saw what they were capable of doing when it comes down to it AWS is a very reliable network and when optimized and managed correctly it can do amazing things. So I would recommend that you give Pagely chance. They are really an amazing Managed WordPress hosting company.

    AWS might not be my favorite thing with that said Pagely took a some of parts and made something amazing out of it.
    That’s what I really I care about.

    Pantheon.
    I completely understand Why you would feel that way however Pantheon does offer lower price plans. You can have a site for $24, $100 and $400 if you want.

    Now once you enter the enterprise/elite area and you are an agency with a substantial amount of sites the price makes a lot of sites enterprise gives you unlimited sites, Elite gives you the support.

    Just look at Berkeley they allow their students to spin up up a site anytime they want at no cost because when you have that many people making websites it makes sense.

    (I realize their pain tuition) I know it doesn’t appear like it but if you have to deal with a large number of websites the math on the Pantheon Enterprise / Elite makes a lot of sense.

    Sorry for the long post just wanted to make sure you know I have nothing against Pressidium in fact I just signed up for an account with them right now for hitting the button.

    Respectfully,
    Tom

  5. I’m not quite sure about Kinsta yet. I’m a new customer and the site IS super fast, which is great, but the few times I’ve needed customer service they have seriously lagged. Right now I’m in a customer service chat. The rep took 25 minutes between his responses to me. Yes: I was sitting looking at the chat window for 25 minutes with no reply. For $100 a month. Objectively, that is inadequate customer service.

    • Hey Joel, thanks for your comment. Yes they may be smaller and so support is slightly slower. But in my experience, the support is much higher quality. Have you ever tried chatting with a WP Engine tech? I know more than they do, which is not a good sign. The guys over at Kinsta definitely all know how WordPress performance and server side architecture works.

      • Exactly there’s no point in talking to Chat support on WP engine. They have no clue what they’re talking about. I’ve asked them to do a search and replace given them the domain and let’s just say they had no idea what I was talking about.

    • Hi Joel,

      It’s Tom from Kinsta. Sorry that it took us 25 for minutes to respond to your request. We run support 24×7 via Intercom.io which looks like a live chat solution but it isn’t, it is our ticket system. We usually respond to tickets within a few minutes but sometimes it takes more. We are always looking for ways we can improve our service/support. If there is anything I can help you with please let me know I’m happy to help!

        • I think the support speed for Kinsta amazing. There always very fast to reply. Yes WP engine does give you telephone support and chat but the level of WordPress knowledge is not equal. So I would rather wait 20 minutes for the right response then 40 minutes getting bumped around by WPE on the phone or chat whatever before they can help me. I believe currently the fastest high-level WP support support is at approximately $2000 a month Pantheon Enterprise but they won’t touch your code. because they have 24/7 phone support. Kinsta is extremely quick and high-level support. So is Pagely VPS and enterprise. Theoretically flywheel has phone support but no support on the weekends I would stick with Kinsta if you get into a technical problem that is at all sophisticated you want to be with host like Kinsta, PressLabs, Pagely or Pantheon. Like Brian says below unfortunately WP engine just doesn’t do what it used to do. They hire out base level support for most customers if you get into their enterprise tears were talking about a lot more money and then you can get better support. But Kinsta is an extremely capable hosting company which is in my opinion very good price.

  6. It seems the pricing structure has changed quite dramatically from what is quoted in this article. I’m in Australia, so perhaps I’m seeing different pricing options, but for me, all plans have far less storage and bandwidth and wp installs for your money. Here you say that $287/m buys 10 WP Installs, 80GB storage and 3TB Bandwidth (also, unlimited free migrations), where as I can see pricing options that are: $300/m – 15 WordPress sites, only 30 GB storage, only 200 GB bandwidth (with a $1/GB overuse charge?!) and only 3 free migrations (Who knows how much additional migrations cost too?)… Your breakdown makes it seem extremely competitive to the other hosting options, where in actual fact, Kinsta seem to have throttled their plans massively.

    • Hey Sam. Thanks for the comment. I have a task to update the post above, just haven’t had time yet. Sorry about that. Kinsta has since moved to Google Cloud platform, so their pricing is indeed different. They are pretty great though. I wouldn’t even compare them to WP Engine or someone like that because their technology is years ahead and they go above and beyond to help you.

  7. Something about most of their Docs being geared towards Windows, their support recommendations being geared towards Windows and their slow support responses is giving me less than a warm and fuzzy feeling about them. Started with a $100/mo to set up before full migration and check them out. We would eventually move to their highest plan as it’s needed but this is a bummer. Also I swear in their sales info it said CDN was included. It is not.

    • He Pack! Thanks for the comment.

      I have had nothing but great support from them. Probably 10 minute response times on everything. I think their Docs are a lot better now. Everything they are running is Nginx so not sure why you are getting a Windows impression? For a CDN I use KeyCDN + Kinsta which is a powerful combination.

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