Kinsta Review: Managed WP Hosting for Bloggers & Big Brands
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Last Updated on January 28, 2020
When the owners of DARTdrones appeared on Shark Tank, their website was flooded with over 1 million visitors. Kinsta’s platform handled the stampede with no downtime. And DARTdrones scored a deal with Mark Cuban.
You don’t have to own a booming business to benefit from Kinsta. This high-performance host offers plans at a variety of price points.
Let’s find out first though if their performance is all it’s cracked up to be.
Kinsta was founded in 2013 by veteran WordPress developers who wanted to create “the best WordPress hosting platform in the world.”
Kinsta strives to offer reliable WordPress hosting build on “cutting-edge technology with a focus on speed, security, and stability.”
The company prides itself on its dependability, fast service, use of cutting-edge technology, and broad experience with the WordPress platform.
What is Managed Hosting?
Web hosts define “managed hosting” in different ways.
For Kinsta, managed hosting means that:
- Kinsta is responsible for keeping your website running. It provides 720 uptime monitoring checks per day. And it provides for easy scaling (as needed).
- You get top-notch support whenever you need it. And the support team will proactively identify and fix relevant issues for you.
- You can choose between a quick and straightforward install or get up and running with one of Kinsta’s pro solutions
- You get an easy-to-use, custom dashboard that provides you with everything you need in one place
- Kinsta takes care of daily back-ups, provides site migrations, and offers staging environments so that you’re not pushing changes straight to production
What are the Benefits of Managed Hosting?
Web hosting can be complicated, and the WordPress platform itself is complicated.
By opting for managed hosting, you’ll get assistance in everything related to your blog, leaving you with time for other things: writing, content creation, working with affiliates, and so on.
Getting the Speed and Performance You Need
A slow-loading website sinks your SEO, traffic, and sales.
Speed is of the essence on the internet — readers are impatient, and you want your blog to load as quickly as possible.
Kinsta bills itself as a premium web hosting service offering high-end performance. Let’s take a look at how the company does this and what it means for your blog.
Web Hosting Built for Speed
First, Kinsta keeps its hosting environments up-to-date with the latest versions of Ubuntu, PHP 7, NGINX, and MariaDB. This means that you’re always using the latest and greatest, as well as most secure technologies available for your blog.
Handling Traffic Surges
With a good host, traffic surges won’t crash your website.
Sometimes a website can get a sudden surge of traffic. This may result from a popular blog posting a link to your site, or a radio interview that you do, or a successful online ad campaign.
It’s not uncommon for your hosting plan to not be able to accommodate this surge, and your site may crash as a result.
Kinsta is built to handle traffic surges so that your site doesn’t go offline. In addition, Kinsta monitors site uptime with checks every 2 minutes to prevent downtime.
Optimized WordPress Performance
Furthermore, with former developers at the helm, Kinsta has implemented many different optimizations designed to improve the performance of your WordPress blog, including:
- Server-level caching to deliver content as quickly as possible to your readers (caching occurs when your content is saved to multiple locations, typically servers, and the one closest to your user responds to requests for your site).
- Free CDNs, improving your site loading speed. (A CDN — or content delivery network — is a global network of databases that store up-to-date copies of your website. When visitors click on your site URL, your website is “sent” to them from the database location that’s geographically closest to them.)
- Kinsta-developed caching plugin to allow you granular control over when your content is cached.
- New Relic Monitoring for performance and uptime — every site gets over 720 daily checks to make sure that everything is performing well and that issues are identified before they cause problems
- Multiple PHP workers, which essentially means that your site can handle more than one request at any given time
A Better User Experience
In short, all of these are designed to minimize the time between your user navigating to your website and the time it takes for them to see your content.
This not only can help grow your traffic but it can positively impact your SEO as well.
Looking to launch an e-commerce site with the WooCommerce plugin? E-commerce is resource intensive, so Kinsta offers features like caching static product pages and not caching shopping cart pages.
Hosting Options and Plans
Rather than offering different types of hosting (e.g., shared, VPS, or dedicated), Kinsta’s plans are tiered based on your expected level of usage.
All websites are hosted on the same core infrastructure, with the specific resource allocation varying based on the plan you choose.
Currently, Kinsta offers eight different plans, each of which varies based on the:
- Number of WordPress installs supported
- Maximum number of monthly visits allowed
- Amount of SSD (solid-state drive) storage
- CDN traffic supported
- Number of “white glove” migrations offered
Features and Benefits Included in All Plans
Regardless of which hosting plan you choose, you’ll receive WordPress hosting build on Google’s Cloud Platform.
You’ll also get Kinsta’s state-of-the-art platform.
In geek speak, that’s made up of these components that maximize site loading speeds and security:
- NGINX web servers
- LXD containers
- support for the latest versions of PHP
- and MariaDB databases
Emphasis on Security
The networks are highly secure, with both active and passive protocols that include firewalls, uptime monitoring, and more.
Free SSL Certificates
Need SSL certificates? Kinsta offers free certificates, as well as support for any certificates you might already own.
Video: Kinsta’s use of the Google Cloud Platform adds layers of security to their hosting.
Choose from 18 Google Cloud Datacenters
You choose which of eighteen regional data centers in which you want your website or blog hosted.
Doing so is easy. In the control panel, simply click “Add a new site.”
Then place your cursor in the “Location” field and a drop-down menu of datacenter locations will appear. Select the datacenter location you want.
What is Kinsta’s “Hack Guarantee”?
We’ve briefly mentioned some of the things Kinsta has done to keep your blog secure, but we also want to draw attention to the security guarantee the company offers.
Kinsta’s security guarantee states that, if your site is hacked while hosted at Kinsta, the company will work with you free of charge to try and undo any damage done to your site. More specifically, the company will:
- Inspect your site and do a deep scan of your files to identify and remove malware (including affected plugins and themes)
- Repair your WordPress core by installing a clean copy
- Change all your passwords (SFTP, SSH, database, and so on)
While there are steps that you have to take on your own (e.g., update plugins, themes, and possibly the WordPress core, changing your passwords, etc.), the Kinsta team will work with you to carry out these tasks.
Site Administration and Control Panels
Kinsta offers its users a custom control panel (instead of cPanel or Plesk) that’s feature rich and easy to use. You can preview the control panel by registering for a free account.
If you’re coming from a host that offers cPanel or Plesk, you’ll likely need some time to adjust to where things are, how things are done, etc. Nevertheless, the Kinsta panel has a shallow learning curve.
Starting a New WordPress Blog
With a Kinsta plan, starting a new WordPress blog requires the following steps:
- Log in to your Admin Dashboard.
- In your Admin Dashboard, you’ll see a navigation bar to the left. Click Sites, and once the page loads, click Add Another Site (this button is located in the middle of the page).
- Provide the following information about your new blog:
- Location where you want your blog hosted
- The name of your blog
- The domain name you want to be used for your blog
- The admin username, email, and password
- Your blog’s primary language
- Whether you want a multisite installation
- Whether you want WooCommerce or Yoast SEO installed as well
- When you’ve provided the requested information, click Add. Kinsta will work its magic, and after several moments, you’ll receive notification that your new blog is ready!
All plans come with a staging area for development and testing purposes.
The staging area is a clone of your production environment where you can make changes and test to see its impact. You’ll find out ahead of time if a change will break key functionality on your site, allowing you to fix things before go live.
Backups and Migrations
Kinsta has set up automatic daily backups, but you can set up manual backup points as well. By default, all backups are kept for 14 days.
Hourly Backups Are an Add-On
Priced for enterprise clients, Kinsta also now offers:
- Backups executed every 6 hours
- Hourly backups
Some Free Migrations Are Available
Currently, Kinsta offers an unlimited number of free migrations from WP Engine and Flywheel.
If you are interested in migrating from any other host, Kinsta offers free white glove migrations where the company’s engineers do the work for you.
This benefit is being provided to customers with any plan except the entry-level option (users with this plan may purchase migration services if desired).
Migrating an Existing WordPress to Kinsta
Most customers can take advantage of Kinsta’s migration services, but if your plan doesn’t include this service (or you prefer to do it on your own), here’s how to migrate an existing WordPress blog to Kinsta:
- Take a backup of your blog with your current host.
- Decide if you want to use a migration plugin (e.g. WordPress Duplication or Migrate Guru) or if you want to migrate manually.
If you’re doing this manually, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to migrate your site in the Kinsta knowledge base.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Kinsta boasts of its “proactive support team,” which helps you with things like monitoring your site for issues and detecting malicious attacks.
For simple questions or DIY research, you can consult Kinsta’s robust knowledgebase.
The company also offers a “Learn WordPress” series that you may find useful.
In addition to WordPress-related topics, you’ll find quality articles about content marketing and the like.
Unfortunately, the company doesn’t provide any other types of learning media, such as YouTube videos and tutorials.
If, however, you have any questions, comments, or concerns and would like to speak to someone in person, you can contact Kinsta 24/7 via email, contact form, Live Chat, or support ticket (the latter two options are the quickest ways for customers to get support).
You’ll get assistance from the “same team that backs [its] Fortune 500 clients.”
Benefits of Support Via Chat Tool
Kinsta does not offer phone support. They provide good reasons on their website for emphasizing the chat help function.
These reasons include:
- You can attach screenshots of the problem you are seeing, which helps the support team respond quickly
- The chat records enable tech support team members to see any previous action on an issue, so you don’t have to explain a situation over again.
Pricing, Refunds, and Money-Back Guarantees
You can choose to pay on a month-to-month basis, or you can opt to pay upfront for an extended contract. Yearly contracts come with a discount equivalent to two months of free service.
All of Kinsta’s plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
If you decide to cancel after the initial 30-day period when you would get a full refund, you’ll receive a prorated refund.
Alternatives to Kinsta
When it comes to managed WordPress hosting, there are several options you should be aware of in case Kinsta isn’t quite right for you.
While Flywheel, Kinsta, and WP Engine are all managed WordPress hosts, their audiences vary slightly.
For those who are looking to get started with managed WordPress hosting and have a stringent budget, you’ll find Flywheel to be a good choice. The company’s packages at the entry level are pretty good, though they are missing some crucial items (e.g., a CDN). Nevertheless, they can be a place to start.
WP Engine, on the other hand, is a very high-end host with the prices to match. There’s a lot that you get, even with the entry-level package, but the rates are higher.
Kinsta, on the other hand, straddles the line between Flywheel and WP Engine. Kinsta offers budget-friendly entry-level options (though, again, some features are missing, like free migrations) and enterprise-grade plans for those with resource-intensive, highly-trafficked websites.
If you’re open to non-WordPress specific hosts and are on a tight budget, consider SiteGround, which is a great all-around host that offers all-inclusive shared hosting packages appropriate for rookie bloggers (and more).
Finally, you might want to consider Liquid Web — they company offers fully managed web hosting plans, complete with a WordPress-specific option that you can choose. The company doesn’t cater exclusively to WordPress users, but its commitment to quality and service means that it is an option you should certainly consider.
Comparison Table: Kinsta vs. SiteGround vs. WP Engine
These three popular hosts all offer managed WordPress hosting, 24/7 customer service, free SSL certificates, and a free CDN.
Here’s a quick look at how their entry-level plans differ.
|WordPress plans only?||✔||✘||✔|
|Storage:||5 GB||10 GB||10 GB|
*Note: Visits/mo is the approximate number of visits that the plan supports. Going over this allotted amount of traffic may require that you upgrade to the next plan level.
Here are some common QAs on Kinsta. Have a different question? List it in the comments below and we’ll answer it.
Where is Kinsta located?
Kinsta has offices in Los Angeles, London, and Budapest. As mentioned above, they use Google’s 18 datacenters which are located in the U.S. and various countries. In addition, they use CDNs which add dozens of additional datacenter locations across the globe.
Does Kinsta provide their own customer support?
Yes, Kinsta has their own in-house support team to address your sales and technical questions.
Will Kinsta help me with technical issues on my website?
Kinsta can provide some recommendations but they are a web host. They do not provide developer services. But if you go to the Kinsta website you’ll find a “Partners” page listing businesses that can help you with SEO, WordPress development, plugins, performance optimization, and maintenance tasks.
Kinsta is a full-featured, managed WordPress hosting provider that includes features catering to those just getting started with blogging as well as experienced developers who know what they want but need others to take care of the infrastructure-related tasks of running a blog.
Contributing editor: Sherrie Gossett