Kinsta Review

We’re constantly testing and reviewing different web hosts here at WebsiteTooltester, and we’ve deemed a couple of them good enough for us.

First, there’s WP Engine, which we use for this site. But we also rely on Kinsta for our sister site EmailToolTester, and we find there’s a lot to love about their WordPress managed hosting.

The question is: how does it compare to other providers, and should you purchase their plans yourself?

Let’s find out together.

Kinsta Prices

Kinsta caters to a lot of different sites, ranging from $30 – $1500 per month. That’s a very wide spectrum, but for this comparison, we’ll only focus on the first three key consumer plans, Starter, Pro and Business 1. After Business 1, it goes up to Business 4, and then Enterprise 1 – 4.

The key thing to note is that the prices displayed here are for monthly payments. You get 2 months free when you buy annually, which I think is a pretty good deal.

Starter Pro Business 1
WordPress Installs 1 2 5
Monthly visits 25,000 50,000 100,000
SSD storage 10 GB 20 GB 30 GB
Free CDN 50 GB 100 GB 200 GB
PHP workers per site 2 4 4
24/7 email support Yes Yes Yes
SSH Access Yes Yes Yes
Free SSL and imported SSL Yes Yes Yes
Staging area Yes Yes Yes
Unlimited users Yes Yes Yes
Multisite No Yes Yes
Premium migrations 1 2 3
Price $30 a month $60 a month $100 a month
More information www.kinsta.com

What can you expect from each Kinsta plan?

So obviously, the reason Kinsta has so many plans is that each of them is segmented based on the number of websites you can run, monthly visits, storage and CDN storage, which I don’t think many other providers usually limit.

Still, all of the plans include a number of features, such as the following:

  • Very good customer support. It’s only via chat, but their agents are top-notch, and they work 24/7.
  • WordPress-specific site architecture (read: better and faster)
  • Staging environment to test your website before publishing changes
  • Free premium migrations (concierge service). You get 1, 2 or 3 depending on your plan.
  • Unlimited basic migrations from other hosts via a WordPress plugin
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Automatic database optimization
  • Automatic daily backup and manual backup points

Now for specific plans, the names are pretty much self-explanatory.

kinsta pricing

STARTER: Good for a small WP-hosted business website or blog. Just remember that if you deal with heavy files, for instance as a photographer or videographer, you might need to upgrade to the next plan.

PRO: better suited to small – medium business websites. A big blog should probably go on that plan too, but Kinsta doesn’t actually recommend it for an online store.

BUSINESS 1: this is where things become serious in terms of monthly visitors and storage. It’s also got twice the amount of PHP workers per site as the previous plan, which is what Kinsta says helps multiple requests needed for ecommerce.

Then don’t forget that you have the Business plans 2, 3 and 4, with added numbers of monthly visitors and storage. Finally, Enterprise plans 1, 2, 3 and 4 also scale everything up in terms of numbers.

Kinsta Pros & Cons

 

Kinsta’s Pros:

  • Solid performance: Kinsta pages were the second fastest loading we’ve tested. It’s good for both your SEO and your user experience. The powerful CDN, free SSL and last-gen PHP also give them points here.
  • Uptime: nothing to complain about here, Kinsta runs virtually 100% of the time. If the rate drops below 99.9%, you get some money back. This is not bad at all, however, WP Engine guarantees 99.95% uptime in their service level agreement (SLA).
  • Support: it’s via chat only, but Kinsta support is some of the best I’ve received.
  • Server features and locations: 24 locations worldwide to choose from.
  • Ease of use: straightforward navigation and a pleasant user experience for those who need to spend a bit of time in their hosting provider dashboard.
  • Team management: unlimited users and you can easily define permissions and roles, both at the company and site level.
  • Site backups: you only get 14 days automatic backups on the lower plans. You’ll need to move up to the Business 3 plan to get 20 days. Manual backups and cloud backups are also available. Backups can be downloaded too.
  • Made for WordPress: that means the support knows what they’re talking about, the architecture is optimized for the CMS, and you get useful resources on plugins and other WordPress-specific tools.

Kinsta’s Cons:

  • WordPress only: you won’t be able to install any other CMS on a Kinsta server.
  • A lot of limits: no unlimited storage, CDN or monthly visits. If you go over, you’ll be charged extra.
  • Higher prices: Kinsta isn’t the cheapest hosting provider. You get what you pay for, but it’s not for everyone.

What is Kinsta used for?

WordPress-based professional websites will find a lot to love about Kinsta. You can keep your site (or sites) safe, online virtually all the time, and deliver decent speeds for your users. It’s great for SEO, and reliable enough to host a big ecommerce site.

However, if you see wildly fluctuating numbers of monthly visitors, I would maybe look elsewhere. You do get notifications before you go over any kind of limit, but you’ll still be charged for them (see the FAQ for more info on how it’s calculated).

When not to use Kinsta hosting?

If you have a  WordPress site that doesn’t depend on the best performance, there are more affordable hosts out there. I’m thinking maybe a portfolio, blog or personal website where you’re not constantly worried about delivering the best speed to your visitors (or to Google for search engine optimization).

Kinsta specifications

criterion rating comments

Ease of Use

Registering is easy and quick. You can pay with your credit card. Kinsta has its own dashboard which is intuitive and well-designed.

In the unlikely event that you can’t understand something straight away, the articles they publish in their online resources are also a great help, and support has always been helpful and efficient with my questions.

Domain Names

Kinsta doesn’t offer domain name registration, so you won’t be able to register a domain name with them.

You’ll have to point an existing domain to their servers. I recommend taking advantage of their premium DNS services that can speed up your website.

Email Rating

Kinsta, as many other top-providers (e.g. WP Engine) doesn’t offer email accounts either. You can purchase Google Workspace or similar alternatives (e.g. at Namecheap) if you need email accounts.

Databases

You will be able to have 1 database per site, but there doesn’t seem to be any limitation in terms of space.

Applications

Kinsta are a WordPress managed solution. You won’t be able to install any other type of CMS on your site.

Webspace Limit

Each plan comes with its own storage limitations. For example, with the Starter plan you can have up to 10 GB, 20 GB with the Pro tier, 30 GB if you choose Business 1.

The maximum amount of space is 250 GB for the top tier Enterprise 4. Also note that space is shared between all your websites.

Monthy Data Transfer Limit

Kinsta packages come with strict visitors limitations. The Starter tier allows 25,000 visitors each month, the Pro plan is for a maximum of 50,000 visitors, Business 1 users will be allowed to get 100,000 visits each month and the top package Enterprise 4 will let you have 3 million visitors per month.

Be aware that, generally speaking, you’ll have higher visitor counts than what Google Analytics or similar tools report. That’s because Kinsta doesn’t filter out bots as well as Google.

FTP Accounts and Secure FTP

Kinsta doesn’t limit the SFTP accounts that you can have. SSH access is also allowed.

Server Location

Kinsta works with Google Cloud and they offer 24 different locations world-wide. Among others, you can host your site in the US (e.g. Iowa, Virginia, South Carolina, etc), Taiwan, Europe (e.g. Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, etc), Australia, Japan, Canada or Hong Kong.

Security Features

There are many steps that Kinsta takes to secure your site. First of all they allow you to run the latest versions of software (e.g. PHP and MySQL).

It’s also possible to enable features like two-factor authentication, GeoIP blocking and to limit the login attempts.

On top of that, they have daily backups and allow you to create your own backups. Your site will also be monitored to find and remove potential malware. Interestingly, there is also a list of plugins that are banned due to security reasons.

Server Speed

Based on our independent tests, Kinsta pages loaded within an average of 2.17 seconds.

It’s the second fastest provider we’ve tested.

Uptime

Virtually 100% in our tests. Even if drops below 99.9%, they guarantee credit on your bill payment.

Backups

Kinsta allows you to access its daily backups and keeps the last 14 to 30 depending on the plan.

You can also create your own backups manually, for instance before updating a plugin. You have 5 on your Kinsta account and download them as a ZIP file and save them on your computer too. It’s also possible to connect your backup feature with external services like Amazon AWS or Google Cloud Storage (at an extra cost).

CDN

Like other top-tier hosting providers Kinsta has a CDN you can use included in every plan.

Note that the amount of data going through the CDN is limited depending on your plan, but it’s still a very generous allowance.

Server Features

Kinsta supports the latest PHP versions (currently 7.3 and 7.4). There are also a bunch of features that Kinsta’s systems offer that may be useful for you: staging areas for WordPress, a built-in caching system, their own CDN, free SSL certificates and a built-in feature to search and replace your database.

Refunds and Guarantees

The Service Level Agreement guarantees that you will get 99.9% of uptime. If your downtime is greater than 0.1%, Kinsta will give you credit towards your hosting plan.

There is also a 30-day money-back-guarantee at Kinsta.

Assistance and Support

Their support is one of the best ones I’ve tried. Their customer care agents have always been useful and efficient and my problems were solved, but note that it’s via chat only.

They also have a lot of excellent online resources and tutorials that I really enjoyed reading.

Overall Rating

4.7/5

Kinsta is a strong contender for the best WordPress hosting solutions – if you need reliable uptime, speeds and features.

It’s at the pricier end of the spectrum, and you need to keep an eye on your visitor numbers. But for online businesses with regular traffic, you certainly get what you pay for.

Kinsta Backups

One of the key features you want from your site is the ability to save and restore it at any given point. The good news here is that Kinsta offers quite a lot of options:

  • Automatic backups for 14 days on the Starter – Business 2 plans
  • Automatic backups for 20 days on the Business 3 and 4 plans
  • Automatic backups for 30 days on all the other plans
  • Manual backups possible
  • You can download the manual backups
  • Cloud-backups with Google Cloud or Amazon S3 (roughly $2 a month for each site backup, plus $1GB for bandwidth).

Kinsta review backup

In my opinion, 14 days isn’t long enough to feel really safe about your site, but I’ll leave that up to you. On the flipside, you can also purchase and instal add-ons that save your site every hour, or 6 hours. I’d also like to note that backing up and restoring is super easy, thanks again to Kinsta’s excellent UX and great online resources.

Testing Kinsta’s hosting

Uptime tests

Our independent tests ran for 3 months, and as you can see below, it was a 100% success rate. Based on information and comments we’ve gathered online, this is a good indicator of how stable Kinsta is.

kinsta uptime

And remember that if the rate drops below the 99.9%, the Kinsta user agreement guarantees you’ll be refunded some of your hosting charges.

Is Kinsta fast?

Yes, one of the fastest providers we’ve tested. The 2.17 average easily clears the 3.00 seconds recommended by Google for best SEO results.

Provider Gtmetrix Pingdom Google Speed Average
SiteGround 2.00 0.82 3.48 2.10
Kinsta
1.82 0.80 3.88 2.17
WP Engine 2.36 0.9 3.22 2.17
A2 Hosting 2.68 0.90 3.30 2.29
GreenGeeks (2 months) 2.66 0.82 3.48 2.32
Dreamhost 2.5 1.48 3.08 2.35
Cloudways (2 months) 2.52 0.66 3.92 2.37
GoDaddy 3.32 0.99 3.20 2.50
HostGator 2.96 1.64 4.32 2.97
Bluehost 3.04 3.76 2.84 3.21
iPage 3.90 1.60 5.20 3.57
Hostinger 2.64 1.98 6.28 3.63
InMotion 3.10 1.38 6.66 3.71

Results in seconds, an average of 5 reounds of test with each tool (e.g. GT Metrix, Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights).

It’s not perfect of course (the actual Google PageSpeed Insights results were higher), but this should be more than enough to not frustrate your visitors.

Kinsta & WordPress

Kinsta is purpose-built to host WordPress sites, and it shows in part thanks to:

  • Free WordPress hacking fix: an interesting security feature, where you get priority in case something goes terribly wrong. You can put your site in maintenance mode via Kinsta, and they’ll run their malware removal service for free.
  • Free premium migrations: they are done by their team of WordPress experts. It’s not unlimited, but a nice freebie if you’re just moving your sites to Kinsta for the first time.
  • Server-level caching: full page caching combined with a free CDN and their own Kinsta cache plugin. All of it automates caching based on certain activities, such as publishing a new post.
  • WooCommerce optimization: for WordPress online stores, the caching is designed differently, for instance by not caching shopping cart pages, which helps with the checkout process.

Kinsta & Developer Features

For developers, you’ll be happy to hear that Kinsta also includes staging, integration with WP-CLI, Composer and Git, and one-click cloning.

The staging environments is particularly well-designed, as you can see from the screenshot below:

kinsta review staging

Each environment works by creating a one-click copy of your site, but common sense applies when pushing the changes back to the live version (create a backup, double-check wp-config.php, etc…)

kinsta review push staging live

Final Kinsta Review Comments

Now let’s wrap it all up and gather our thoughts about Kinsta here.

The main takeaway for me is that Kinsta is reliable, fast, and good for business WordPress sites. That includes online stores too. Developers will love all the technical options and, and business owners will enjoy the ease of use and safety features.

But it’s certainly not for everyone. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, you could look at:

  • SiteGround: for unlimited traffic and bandwidth. It’s more affordable and runs at blazing speeds. The only downside (or advantage maybe) is that they aren’t as WordPress-focused as Kinsta.
  • WP Engine: probably Kinsta’s closest competitors. They’re extremely similar in terms of pricing and features, but you get a few WordPress extras like free themes, phone support in higher plans and a guaranteed uptime of 99.95% (vs 99.90% at Kinsta).
  • DreamHost: one of the most affordable web hosts, with surprisingly good performance for US users. They cut corners on support times and advanced features, but worth looking at nonetheless.

> Try Kinsta risk-free for 30 days

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Pay for Kinsta?

The usual suspects: Visa, MasterCard and American Express. You can also make wire transfers, but PayPal isn’t supported.

How Does Kinsta Calculate User Visits?

The number of monthly visits is the sum of IP addresses seen within a 24-hour period as recorded in the Nginx logs. A few things to note:

  • A human lands on your site: +1 visit
  • They browse a new page: +0 (still the same visit)
  • They land on your site from a different browser: +0 (still the same IP)
  • The land on your site from a different device: +1 (different IP address)

There may also be bots counted as visitors, which is why your Google Analytics or Cloudflare Analytics might show slightly different numbers. This is all explained thoroughly in their excellent resource here.

How Much Will I Be Charged For Going Over My Limits?

Firstly, you get notifications when you’re at 80% and 100% of your limits. Then it’s roughly:

  • $1 per extra 1000 visits
  • $2 per extra 2 GB of disk space
  • $0.1 of extra GB per content delivered via CDN

Extreme overages, as Kinsta calls them, will cost you a lot more. The way all these stats are calculated are a bit complicated, but once again, expertly explained on their knowledge base.

Can I Cancel My Plan?

Yes. You’ll need to open a ticket with their team, and go through a few steps from your dashboard. Note that all your data will be deleted and cannot be recovered (but you can of course perform a manual backup before you go nuclear on your site). Once that’s done, your final bill will be calculated.

 

Review updates

29 Sep 2020 – First review

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