Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting Tried and Tested – Is It Really All That Good?
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Are you looking for the fastest WordPress web host? Would you like someone to take care of keeping your WordPress website secure and backed up?
If so, Kinsta could be just the managed WordPress web host you’ve been looking for. But don’t sign up just yet!
In this review, we not only explain exactly the various features you get access to, we also reveal the loading times of our test WordPress websites hosted by Kinsta. On top of that, we also share how those loading times are affected when multiple visitors access the sites at the same time in our user simulation tests. To assess the quality of Kinsta further, we also publish the results from our downtime monitoring tests as well.
Unlike some other Kinsta reviews — and other web hosting reviews in general — unknown to Kinsta, we’ve independently paid for tests that put our Kinsta-hosted WordPress websites through their paces, using premium services such as Pingdom and Load Impact to gather meaningful data, and uncover the full story behind Kinsta’s marketing claims. If you’re not the type of person who’s easily swayed by fancy marketing and stylish company websites, then the data in this review will help you to make an informed decision on whether Kinsta are the best for your website.
So if you’re looking for the best WordPress hosting, or you’re just interested in finding out what premium web hosts such as Kinsta have to offer, this review is for you.
Let’s dive in…
About Kinsta WordPress Web Hosting
Since they were founded in 2013, Kinsta have been working to become the hosting provider of choice for WordPress users who are prepared to look beyond marketing campaigns and low prices to find a fast and secure home for their website.
That’s not to say the $30-per-month entry-level plan from Kinsta isn’t competitive compared with other premium managed WordPress hosts, it’s just that this isn’t low-cost budget hosting.
What you get for your money is managed WordPress hosting. This means Kinsta not only take care of some aspects of managing a WordPress website for you, but they also host your site in an environment that’s optimized for WordPress websites.
Thanks to this, tasks such as securing, caching and backing up your WordPress website are taken off your hands. Not only does this save you time, but it reduces the risk of something going wrong if you’re not familiar with the way WordPress works.
With Kinsta managed WordPress hosting, you can expect faster website loading times, as well as less downtime and fewer performance issues compared with generic web hosting.
Furthermore, as Kinsta only offer hosting for WordPress websites, all of their support staff are highly experienced at helping WordPress users, and are also experts at solving problems related to this software. Some of the support staff are even contributors to the WordPress software.
Although there are now many companies offering managed WordPress hosting, as we’ll explore in this review, Kinsta do have a few differences from the other hosts operating in this space.
What Do You Get with Kinsta?
If the idea of fast loading times, fewer website management tasks to take care of, and less downtime to worry about sounds appealing, then Kinsta could be the right web host for you. To see if that’s the case, let’s check out exactly what you get when you sign up with them.
Use of the Google Cloud Platform
The main thing that separates Kinsta from most other managed WordPress hosting providers is their use of the Google Cloud Platform. This means WordPress websites are hosted on the infrastructure created and maintained by Google, and used by companies such as Spotify, Snapchat, HTC, Best Buy, Philips and Coca-Cola, to name just a few.
Being a Google Cloud Platform partner allows Kinsta to host your website on a state-of-the-art infrastructure with the choice of 21 global server locations — and more on the way (Hong Kong and Switzerland are coming soon). The highly scalable hardware of the Google Cloud Platform ensures your website always has access to the resources it needs to deliver a smooth user experience for your visitors. For example, if your website goes viral, automatic scaling ensures your site will be able to handle any surges in traffic.
Automatic WordPress Website Backups
As mentioned, automatic daily WordPress website backups are part of the service at Kinsta. Automatic backups are kept for a minimum of 14 days on the entry-level plans, and longer on the higher plans. Restoring backups is easy, with the option of deploying them to your live site or the test environment.
As well as daily backups, you can upgrade to six-hour and hourly backups for an extra monthly fee. You can also manually create complete website backups at the touch of a button, as and when needed. You also have the option of downloading these backups for safekeeping.
WordPress Website Staging Service
All Kinsta hosting plans include access to a staging site where you can test out new plugins, website customizations and code edits, before pushing them to your live site in just one click.
Developers should also appreciate the ability to switch between different PHP versions, easy restarting of the PHP engine, and access to the New Relic PHP monitoring tool. There’s also a search-and-replace feature that’s accessible from the Kinsta dashboard for making changes to the contents of your WordPress website database.
Technical Details of Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting
This section of our Kinsta review should answer any questions you may have about the finer points and technical details of this service before we move on to the site speed, uptime, and performance test results:
- Website caching: Four types of caching in place, including server-level caching and an in-house WordPress caching plugin.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): 50 GB of KeyCDN usage per month on the entry-level Kinsta plan; more on the higher plans.
- PHP: Switch between PHP 5.6, 7, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4 at the touch of a button.
- HTTP/2.0: In use on the servers and the CDN.
- SSL: Get a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, or install your own.
- SFTP: Secure FTP access to your web space for uploading and editing files.
- Server file manager: No online file manager; just FTP access to the server space.
- Database access: phpMyAdmin is used to access the WordPress website database through a browser.
- Email service: No email service on any of the Kinsta plans; G Suite is the recommended option.
- WordPress website management: Ability to update plugins through the My Kinsta account dashboard, but no automatic plugin or WordPress core software updates.
- Plugin restrictions: There’s a list of banned plugins, including some caching, security, and optimization plugins that can affect website performance.
- Security measures: Lots of measures are in place to keep your site secure, including GeoIP blocking, DDoS scanning, proactively stopping malicious code entering the network, self-healing PHP, GCP firewall, plus more.
- Post-hack clean up services: If your site is hacked while hosted by Kinsta, they’ll fix it for free.
- Data center locations: 21 server locations to choose from, including options in Australia and South America, as well as multiple locations in the USA, Europe and Asia.
- Staging sites: All plans include access to a staging site with one-click deployment to the live site.
- WordPress website migration: Available for free on all hosting plans.
- Visitor analytics: View data on your website traffic through the My Kinsta dashboard.
- Uptime checks: The status of your site is checked every five minutes to allow the support team to respond to any instances of downtime that are detected.
- Support channels: A 24/7 live chat channel and ticketing system, but no telephone support.
You can find more information on the features page of the Kinsta website.
Kinsta Account Management Dashboard
When it comes to managing your account, Kinsta have created their own custom dashboard. The My Kinsta portal is very easy to navigate, and allows you to perform tasks such as creating new WordPress websites, updating any plugins you’ve installed on your site and managing backups.
You can view resource usage stats to see how much of your plan allocation you’ve consumed, and also view website visitor analytics through the dashboard.
Once you’ve signed up with Kinsta, you can log in to the custom control panel and create a WordPress website. The process is very straightforward, and in just a few clicks you’ll have a brand new WordPress installation set up and ready to go.
If you’re hosting multiple sites with Kinsta through one account, those sites can be managed through the same dashboard.
Once you’ve logged in to your Kinsta account dashboard, you can also contact the support staff via the live 24/7 chat service. Although Kinsta don’t offer telephone support, you can submit a ticket or use the messenger to reach the help desk.
Kinsta Web Hosting Performance
As mentioned earlier in this Kinsta review, one of the main reason to choose premium managed WordPress hosting is the faster website loading times you can expect. However, with so many web hosting companies now offering WordPress-optimized services, simply choosing a plan marketed as managed WordPress hosting doesn’t guarantee impressive site speed.
To help you to decide whether Kinsta deliver the levels of performance you’re looking for, we’ve carried out some tests. These showed how fast a WordPress website loaded, how much downtime occurred over a set period, and how well multiple simultaneous visitors were handled.
Kinsta Loading Time Test Results
To help you to get a better idea of what sort of loading times you can expect from Kinsta, we tested the speed of a site with a lightweight theme installed, as well as a site using a feature-rich multipurpose theme. The loading times were recorded at 30-minute intervals over a seven-day period, using the Pingdom monitoring service.
Kinsta Seven-Day Speed Test Results with a Lightweight Theme
At the time of writing, Twenty Seventeen was included as the default theme with new WordPress installations. It’s a no-frills lightweight option that offers enough to get you started with a basic blog. To give you an idea of what sort of loading times you might experience using this theme or a similar option, here are the results recorded by Pingdom over seven days:
With the page loading in less than one-third of a second, the results showed that the test site using the lightweight Twenty Seventeen theme loaded very quickly. Compared with the results from our test of the entry-level Bluehost and HostGator shared hosting plans, Kinsta were much faster (although also more expensive).
However, in case you plan to use a more feature-rich WordPress theme, let’s see how Kinsta performs with a more heavyweight option.
Kinsta Seven-Day Speed Test Results with a Multipurpose Theme
Avada is one of the most popular WordPress themes available today. Not only can this theme be used to create almost any type of website, but it also comes packed with features. However, due to the high levels of functionality offered by this type of theme, websites using Avada and other similar multipurpose themes tend to have larger file sizes that result in slower loading times — especially with low-cost entry-level shared hosting.
To find out how capable the Kinsta premium managed WordPress hosting service was at handling multipurpose themes, we installed Avada on our WordPress test site and imported one of its prebuilt website demos. As before, the load times were recorded every 30 minutes for seven days, but this time, as the Avada theme was being used, the file size of the page being tested was much larger.
The Avada Agency demo homepage loaded in 1.25 seconds as the file size was much larger than the Twenty Seventeen homepage, weighing in at a massive 5.14 MB, compared with the lightweight theme’s file size of 265 KB.
As your website homepage may not include all of the features of the Avada Agency demo, such as a multimedia slider, a portfolio gallery, animations, and large image files, we also tested the page loading times of a more basic blog post created using this theme.
Despite having a smaller file size of 2.11 MB, compared with the 5.14 MB of the Avada Agency demo homepage, the loading time strangely wasn’t any faster, coming in at 1.56 seconds, compared with the 1.25 seconds of the homepage.
Either way, Kinsta were able to deliver respectable loading times, even using an Avada showcase demo packed with resource-hungry features and widgets. For context, you can see how much longer the same theme took to load using the managed WordPress hosting service from Envato in our review.
Kinsta Hosting Site Speed Tests Summary
Kinsta are definitely fast web hosts. As you can see from the test results, your choice of theme will determine how fast your site actually loads — with the lightweight Twenty Seventeen theme loading much faster than the feature-rich Avada theme.
If you plan to use a theme that’s a bit more exciting than Twenty Seventeen, but you also aren’t going to use the action-packed demos of the Avada theme without making any adjustments, you’ll probably experience loading times somewhere in between the two results that were recorded. After all, the Avada demos are designed to showcase the capabilities of this theme, rather than represent something that most people will use as-is.
For the tests, the Kinsta data center in Oregon was chosen, along with the nearest Pingdom server location, which was in San Jose. These two locations are relatively close to each other, so visitors accessing your website from further away may experience longer page load times.
Apart from the caching used by Kinsta, nothing else was done to optimize the test sites. Therefore, you may be able to improve the speed of your WordPress website with image and database optimization, compressing theme files, and carrying out other tasks to deliver faster loading times.
Load Impact Performance Testing
As well as monitoring the page load times over a seven-day period, we also tested how well the website performed under a load. For this test, the Load Impact service was used to simulate multiple users accessing the Kinsta-hosted WordPress website at the same time.
Starting with just one user accessing the site, additional virtual users (represented by the blue line on the graph below) began accessing the site at regular intervals over a period of ten minutes until there were 250 virtual users accessing the site simultaneously. The load times of the website were recorded by the service during this ten-minute testing period to see what impact the increasing number of simultaneous visitors had on the performance of the site.
The graph above shows that the load times of the site (represented by the green line) remained consistent, even when 250 virtual users were accessing the site at the same time. You can view the results of this test for yourself on the Load Impact website.
If you take a look at the Load Impact Performance Testing section of our Bluehost, GoDaddy and HostGator comparison, you’ll see that the low-cost shared plans from these three hosts all suffered from performance issues before 50 virtual users were accessing the site simultaneously.
Kinsta Uptime Test Results
Another reason to choose premium managed WordPress hosting over cheaper and lower performance options is a reduction in periods when your website is down or unavailable. Some of the best value entry-level shared hosts offer 99.9% levels of uptime, and, while this looks great on paper, over a year that works out to be over eight hours of downtime.
Kinsta also have a 99.9% uptime guarantee, with money off your bill if the uptime drops below this level. However, during our tests, Pingdom recorded an impressive uptime of 100% over a seven-day period.
So, although Kinsta don’t guarantee 100% uptime, we didn’t experience any downtime during our test period. The same couldn’t be said of Bluehost, GoDaddy, or SiteGround in similar tests we carried out previously, where these cheaper hosting plans experienced several minutes of downtime each.
That covers our testing of the Kinsta managed WordPress hosting service. Now, let’s take a look at how much you have to pay to host your website with Kinsta.
Kinsta Hosting Pricing Details
Kinsta have the Starter and Pro plans, as well as four Business plans and two Enterprise plans. Here are their key details:
- Starter: $30 per month for one WordPress install, 25,000 visits, and 10 GB disk space.
- Pro: $60 per month for two WordPress installs, 50,000 visits, and 20 GB disk space.
- Business plans: Starting from $100 per month for three WordPress installs, 100,000 visits, and 30 GB disk space.
- Enterprise plans: Starting from $600 per month for 60 WordPress installs, 1,000,000 visits, and 100 GB disk space.
Paying annually gets you two months free, and all plans include a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, as well as CDN access. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans, so you can try Kinsta without financial risk.
Each plan has access to the same infrastructure, powered by the Google Cloud Platform. This means upgrading just increases the number of WordPress installations allowed, and the visits and storage allowances, rather than improving website performance, as is the case with some other web hosts.
What about Overage Fees?
When it comes to overage fees, there are two main types. Visit overage fees are $1 per 1,000 visits, while CDN overages are charged at $0.10 per GB. The charges are immediately applied to your account, and your website is kept online. However, in the case of what Kinsta term extreme overages, they reserve the right to temporarily limit access to your website until the issue has been resolved.
You can view the full details on the Kinsta plans page.
As you can see, Kinsta offer fast managed WordPress hosting with impressive levels of uptime and the ability to handle multiple visitors at the same time.
You also get access to some genuinely worthwhile features, such as automatic website backups, security monitoring and an easy-to-use staging environment. The support staff are helpful and very responsive via the 24/7 live chat service.
Although the Kinsta pricing is in line with other managed WordPress hosting providers, it’s not cheap compared with entry-level shared hosting. However, in all areas, Kinsta is a massive step up from low-cost web hosting.
So, if you’re looking for a faster and more reliable host for your WordPress website, or if you want to launch your new site on managed WordPress hosting, Kinsta come highly recommended.
If you’re still not sure, thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee, you could always sign up and migrate your site to the staging environment. You can then see for yourself how quickly your site loads, with the option of getting a refund if you’re not happy with the results.
Used/using Kinsta WordPress hosting? Thoughts?