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, I not only explain exactly the various features you get access to, but I also reveal the loading times of my test WordPress websites hosted by Kinsta. On top of that, I also share how those loading times are affected when multiple visitors access the sites at the same time in my load tests. To assess the quality of Kinsta further, I also publish the results from my 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 K6 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 is 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…
Table of Contents
- About Kinsta WordPress Web Hosting
- What Do You Get with Kinsta?
- Kinsta Account Management Dashboard
- Kinsta Web Hosting Performance
- Kinsta Hosting Pricing Details
- Final Thoughts
About Kinsta WordPress Web Hosting
Since its launch in 2013, Kinsta has been working hard to become the hosting provider of choice for WordPress users looking for fast loading times and secure infrastructure for their website.
The Kinsta plans aren’t cheap, though. However, with prices starting at $25 a month, the entry-level plan from Kinsta is priced in line with many other premium managed WordPress hosts.
For this price, Kinsta takes care of many of the aspects involved in managing a fast and secure WordPress website. It also hosts your site in an environment that’s optimized for WordPress websites, yet powered by the industry-leading Google Cloud Platform.
Because of this, tasks such as securing, caching and backing up your WordPress website are taken off your hands. You can also choose to host your website in one of 29 locations around the world to get you closer to your audience.
The plans also include access to the new and improved Kinsta CDN that’s powered by Cloudflare. Because of this, you can enjoy all of the performance and security benefits of the premium Cloudflare service at no extra cost. With a built-in firewall and DDoS protection, as well as a global network that spans 200 cities, Cloudflare integration is well worth having. Considering this service starts at $20 a month if you were to sign up via Cloudflare, it’s a great value addition to the Kinsta plans.
With Kinsta managed WordPress hosting, you can expect faster website loading times, as well as less downtime and fewer performance issues compared with even the best cheap shared hosting.
Furthermore, as Kinsta only provides hosting for WordPress websites, all of its support staff are highly experienced at helping WordPress users, while also being 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 see in this review, Kinsta does 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 Kinsta.
Automatic WordPress Website Backups
As mentioned, automatic daily WordPress website backups are part of the service at Kinsta. You can even choose to pay extra for six-hour or hourly backups.
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 to the test environment.
You can also manually create complete website backups at the touch of a button, as and when needed. Downloading your backups for safekeeping is an option, as is paying for the external backups add-on that can store your backup files on the Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage services for extra safety.
WordPress Website Staging Service
All Kinsta hosting plans include access to a staging site where you can test 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 quickly making changes to the contents of your WordPress website database.
DevKinsta Local WordPress Development Tool
Another useful feature of Kinsta is a tool that makes it very easy to install WordPress locally on your computer.
You can then work on your local installation of WordPress, with the DevKinsta tool giving you the ability to quickly and easily transfer content between your live Kinsta-hosted site and your local one.
Along with the staging tool, DevKinsta is a feature anyone who plans to build or edit their site themselves will appreciate.
Technical Details of Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting
As well as the above highlights from the Kinsta feature list, there are also some other details of this service that you may find interesting:
- 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 CDN usage per month on the entry-level Kinsta plan; more on the higher plans.
- PHP: Switch between PHP versions 7.4, 8.0 and 8.1 at the touch of a button.
- HTTP/2: 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 WordPress, plugins, and themes through the MyKinsta account dashboard, but no automatic software updates.
- Plugin restrictions: There’s a list of banned plugins, including some caching, security and optimization plugins that can negatively 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, it’ll fix it for free.
- Data center locations: 29 server locations to choose from, including options in Australia and South America, as well as multiple locations in the USA, Europe and Asia.
- IP Geolocation: Direct your visitors to specific parts of your website, or deny them access, based on their location.
- 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 MyKinsta 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.
Now that we’ve covered the most important aspects of Kinsta hosting, let’s take a quick look at what it’s like to be a Kinsta customer.
Kinsta Account Management Dashboard
When it comes to managing your account, Kinsta has created its own custom dashboard. The MyKinsta portal is very easy to navigate and allows you to perform tasks such as creating new WordPress websites, updating any plugins and themes 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. There’s also a panel that displays website visitor analytics.
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 doesn’t offer telephone support, you can submit a ticket or use the messenger to reach the help desk.
One thing I really like about the Kinsta support system is that if you aren’t responsive — maybe because you’ve been distracted by the contents of a different tab or you’re away from your computer — the session isn’t ended, and you don’t lose the conversation, as is the case with some hosts.
Instead, you can reply later on to revive the session. You can also go back through previous interactions, rather than having everything lost when you end a session. The Kinsta approach combines the best aspects of email and live chat support channels — instant two-way interactions, but also the ability to respond in your own time.
Kinsta Web Hosting Performance
As mentioned earlier in this Kinsta review, one of the main reasons 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 fast managed WordPress hosting doesn’t guarantee impressive site speed.
Kinsta Loading Time Test Results
To help you to get a better idea of what sort of loading times you can expect from Kinsta, I tested the speed of a site built with a lightweight theme, 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
For the lightweight theme test, I used the popular and free Twenty Twenty One WordPress theme.
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 just over one-third of a second, the results showed that the test site using the lightweight Twenty Twenty One theme loaded very quickly. Compared with the results from our test of the entry-level Bluehost and HostGator shared hosting plans, Kinsta was 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, because of 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, I installed Avada on my WordPress test site and imported its Digital Agency website demo. 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 Digital Agency demo homepage loaded in 889 milliseconds because the file size was much larger than the Twenty Twenty One homepage, weighing in at a relatively heavy 4.17 MB, compared with the lightweight theme’s file size of 394 KB.
Because you may want to use a heavyweight theme such as Avada, but not import one of its feature-rich homepage layouts, I also tested the page loading times of a more basic blog post created using this theme.
Despite having a smaller file size of 1.51 MB, compared with the 4.17 MB of the Avada Digital Agency demo homepage, the average load time of the blog post wasn’t much faster, coming in at 756 seconds, compared with the 889 seconds of the homepage. However, it was still under one second, which is a respectable load time.
Overall, Kinsta was able to deliver respectable load times, even using an Avada showcase demo packed with resource-hungry features and widgets.
Kinsta Hosting Site Speed Tests Summary
Kinsta is definitely a fast web host. As you can see from the test results, your choice of theme will determine how fast your site actually loads — with the lightweight Twenty Twenty One theme loading much faster than the feature-rich Avada theme.
For the tests, the testing location in Pingdom that was closest to where the sites were hosted by Kinsta was chosen. These two locations were relatively close to each other, so visitors accessing your website from further away may experience slower page load times. However, as all of the Kinsta plans include CDN access, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
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, I also tested how well the websites performed under a load. For this test, the K6 (formerly Load Impact) service was used to simulate multiple users accessing one of the Kinsta-hosted WordPress websites at the same time.
Starting with just one user accessing the site, additional virtual users (represented by the gray line on the graph below) began accessing the site at regular intervals over a period of five minutes until there were 198 virtual users accessing the site simultaneously. The response times (not load times) of the website were recorded by the K6 service during this five-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 response times of the site (represented by the blue line) remained consistent, even when up to 198 virtual users were accessing the site at the same time. Similar results when the site with the heavyweight Avada theme was tested can be seen below:
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. Therefore, if you expect to have a busy website, you’ll probably need to invest in premium managed WordPress hosting from a company such as Kinsta.
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 has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, with money off your bill if the uptime drops below this level. However, during my tests, Pingdom recorded a very impressive uptime of 100% over a seven-day period [editor: we’ve also consistently seen this same superb 100% level of uptime for much much longer periods of time on various other sites].
So, although Kinsta doesn’t actually guarantee 100% uptime, we didn’t see any downtime in our tests at all (Kinsta is a really very reliable host – and in my opinion, they might just as well raise their uptime gurantee to nearer 99.99%). The same level of uptime just can’t be said of Bluehost, GoDaddy or SiteGround in similar tests we carried out previously, where these cheaper hosting plans all experienced several minutes or more of downtime each.
Let’s take a look at how much you have to pay to host your website with Kinsta.
Kinsta Hosting Pricing Details
Kinsta has the Starter and Pro plans, as well as four Business plans and four Enterprise plans. Here are the key details:
- Starter: From $25 a month for one WordPress install, 25,000 visits and 10 GB disk space.
- Pro: From $50 a month for two WordPress installs, 50,000 visits and 20 GB disk space.
- Business plans: Starting from $83 a month for five WordPress installs, 100,000 visits and 30 GB disk space.
- Enterprise plans: Starting from $500 a month for 60 WordPress installs, a million visits and 100 GB disk space.
The above prices are for those paying annually; paying monthly is slightly more expensive. There’s a 30-day full 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 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 hosts.
What about Overage Fees?
When it comes to overage fees, there are three main types: Visit overage fees are $1 per thousand visits, CDN overages are charged at $0.10 per GB, and disk space overage at $2 per GB. The charges are immediately applied to your account, and your website is kept online. However, in the case of what Kinsta terms extreme overages, it reserves 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 provides 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 is 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 comes highly recommended.
If you’re still not sure, thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee, you could always sign up and have your site migrated. 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?
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