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.
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. – Kevin, ReviewSignal
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 MariaDB, TripAdvisor, Drift, Mint.com, Ubisoft, AdStage, GE, Swagway, Intuit, and AdEspresso!
Below are some of the primary features that make Kinsta not just a great WordPress hosting provider, but one you can trust with your business.
Hands down best architecture
Kinsta was the first managed WordPress hosting company to be powered exclusively by the Google Cloud. Their team knows this platform better than anyone else in the industry.
Their infrastructure features the latest C2 compute-optimized VMs, LXD containers, and of course one of the biggest networks on the planet. Because they use container technology, there are no shared resources. Each WordPress site is completely isolated in a container and has its own Nginx, PHP, MySQL, etc.
This is awesome for performance and security. It allows for auto-scaling as the VMs can automatically assign CPU and memory as needed. Got a surge of traffic? No problem. Also, each database is also hosted locally, not remotely as some other hosts do.
Kinsta also utilizes Google Cloud Platform’s premium tier network (not standard) and to ensure low latency and TTFB. This also means SFTP will be blazing fast.
This is how hosting should be done!
24 data center locations
You can choose from the following 24 strategically placed data center locations to host your WordPress sites. And you can pick a different location for each individual site. This is especially important if you are work with international clients.
- 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)
- Los Angeles, California (us-west2)
- Hong Kong (asia-east2)
- Zürich, Switzerland (europe-west6)
- Osaka, Japan (asia-northeast2)
- Seoul, South Korea (asia-northeast3)
- Salt Lake City, Utah (us-west3)
- Las Vegas, Nevada (us-west4)
- Jakarta, Indonesia (asia-southeast2)
New data center locations are added every quarter.
Another great thing about Google Cloud Platform is that they have zero net carbon. Google matches 100% of the energy consumed by its global operations with renewable energy and maintains a commitment to carbon neutrality.
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 16.04.6+ (Long-term supported Linux 5.3 kernel and OpenSSH 7.47.0+)
- PHP 7.4 (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 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4 in their dashboard)
- 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.
- SSH, Git, and WP-CLI on all plans.
Automatic server-level cache
The great thing about Kinsta is that they have automatic full-page cache done at the server-level for optimal performance. You don’t have to worry about testing different WordPress caching plugins. This is all handled for you right out of the box.
Need to dive even deeper? You can enable object caching with their premium Redis add-on.
24/7 customer support from WordPress veterans
The Kinsta support team is available 24/7 365 days a year via the MyKinsta 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.
Support is done a little differently than others, as they only hire WordPress developers and Linux engineers. There are no level 1 or level 2 support reps. So yes, you can instantly connect with one of our engineers at any time and shouldn’t be bounced around (which is just a waste of everyone’s time).
You’ll discover for yourself that their support is way above par and refreshing if you are coming from another host! The entire team goes out of their way to answer your questions. I appreciate talking with people that really understand the need for fast websites and are knowledgeable when it comes to WordPress and their platform.
There is no need to worry about security when you are hosting with Kinsta. Here are a few ways they protect you:
- Your site is secured behind Google Cloud Platform’s firewall.
- Only secure SFTP/SSH connections are allowed.
- They utilize the latest software versions such as TLS 1.3 on all of their servers.
- Encryption at rest is used to store customer data.
X-Powered-Byheader is removed to hide your PHP version.
- They support authenticator-based 2FA, which is more secure than SMS.
No site is ever 100% safe. And that’s why Kinsta offers free malware fixes. That’s right, if your site is infected while at Kinsta, they will fix it for free.
And of course, you should still follow best security practices, such as keeping your plugins/themes up to date and using secure passwords.
Plugin vulnerability notifications
One of the scariest security concerns when it comes to WordPress is plugin vulnerabilities. It seems like every week a new popular plugin with hundreds of thousands of installs is pushing out a critical security patch.
The great thing about Kinsta is they will send you an email if a vulnerability is detected in a plugin you are running on your site. You can then either temporarily disable the plugin or update it to the latest version (where the issue has most likely been fixed by the developer).
They also offer all the same features you expect now from a quality managed WordPress host such as a one-click cloning feature multisite support. Got clients or developers? Kinsta has multi-user access permissions and roles to easily give devs, billing, etc., only what they need to see.
If you need more advanced features, they also support things like Bedrock/Trellis and GeoIP, as well as add-ons for reverse proxy, Redis, Elasticsearch, and Cloudflare Railgun.
You will love their custom MyKinsta dashboard, it’s beautiful. It makes WordPress site management and hosting fun again. You can do almost anything in it. Everything from a quick search and replace in the database, adding server-level 301 redirects, blocking an IP address, and issuing free SSL certs. If you are coming from cPanel, get ready to be blown away!
Below I’ll walk you through some of the different areas of the MyKinsta dashboard. If you want to try it out for free, they do have a demo/sandbox where you can give it a spin with dummy data. It’s an awesome way to see how their control panel works or preview it for a client. 🤗 Click here, and then click on “Try demo.”
They have authenticator-based 2FA, which is more secure than SMS. This means you can use Google Authenticator or a password manager like 1Password. They also have an activity log to ensure that nobody gets into your dashboard but you. 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.
Latest PHP versions
Kinsta always supports the latest and greatest versions of PHP. Currently, we offer PHP 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4. There is no waiting six months or a year for these important server software updates, and you can change it with a single click in the MyKinsta dashboard.
That’s the great thing about Kinsta’s CEO. He has a developer/sysadmin background and is obsessed with performance.
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.
By design, Let’s Encrypt certificates expire every 90 days. But no need to worry about this at Kinsta. There is a bot that goes through behind the scenes and automatically renews your SSL certificates. You can see this in the activity log (as seen below).
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 34 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.
Automated WordPress site backups
Kinsta actually offers 7 different types of WordPress backups! This means you never have to worry about losing your data. Here are their back types:
- Automatic daily backups: These are kept for a minimum of 14 days and longer on larger plans.
- 2 hourly backup add-ons: You can add hourly backups or backups every 6 hours. This is great ecommerce sites that have a lot of transaction data.
- Manual backups: You can create up to 5 manual backups at any time. You can treat these as restore points. Perfect for right before you run your plugin updates each week. If anything goes wrong simply one-click restore your site back to that point in time.
- Environment backups: Kinsta automatically creates backups before specific actions. For example, when you are using the search-replace tool, pushing a staging environment to live, restoring a backup, etc.
- Automatic external backup add-ons: Automatically back up your site to Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage. For those of you who require offsite backup, this is an easy way to save time.
- Downloadable backup: Create a downloadable archive file containing your entire website (files and SQL database file).
And that’s not all Kinsta does when it comes to keeping your data safe.
Besides automatic backups, they also create and store disk snapshots of every machine in its infrastructure for a period of time. If anything were to ever happen to your MyKinsta backups, they can still help you restore your site.
One-click staging environment
Kinsta has a one-click staging environment that 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.
By default caching is disabled on staging environments for development purposes. However, they have an easy toggle to enable caching on staging if you need to more closely replicate your live site.
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. They also have Enterprise plans as well as custom plans if you need even more.
Speed tests – Kinsta versus 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
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.
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.
Free WordPress migrations
When you first sign up for Kinsta, you will get issued a temporary URL
sitename.kinsta.cloud which you can use to test your site before you go live or change the DNS.
Kinsta also offers free white-glove migrations. So there is no need to worry about losing data or downtime. These are handled by their dedicated migration team which manages hundreds if not thousands of migrations each and every month. Let’s just say, they are really good at what they do.
Backup and migration plugins don’t always catch everything. And migrating WordPress manually can quickly become a pain if, for example, the hosting provider has slow FTP. Suddenly your stuck waiting for hours for your files to download, just so you can re-upload them at the new host.
In fact, through June 30, 2020, Kinsta is offering unlimited free WordPress site migrations from the following hosts:
- WP Engine
- A2 Hosting
- WPX Hosting
You can easily start your site migration immediately after signing up. Click on “Migrations” on the left-hand side in the MyKinsta dashboard. Then click on the type of migration you want to initiate. It will have you fill out a short form with additional information.
After submitting the migration form, one of the Kinsta team members will get in touch with you to schedule the migration (a time that works best for you). Your pending migrations will then show up under “Migrations” in which you can check the status anytime. You will also be continuously updated on the status by their team.
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.
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my migration to Kinsta. I think WP Engine has lost its 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: I used to work at Kinsta, but don’t anymore. I do have a vested interest in the company, but also fully stand behind their product and services. It’s where I host this website and all of my other projects.