Kinsta Review (2023)Worth Paying For This WordPress Hosting Expert?
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We awarded Kinsta our Best Hosting Provider For Support and our Best Hosting Provider for WordPress badge for 2023!
We’re constantly testing and reviewing different web hosts here at Tooltester, 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 WordPress hosting for our sister site EmailToolTester, and we find there’s a lot to love about their offering. And just like WP Engine, Kinsta also uses Google Cloud Platform to power its infrastructure.
The question is: how does it compare to other providers, and should you purchase their plans yourself? Check this in the video below.
Let me tell you in more detail what to expect from Kinsta.
Kinsta caters to a lot of different sites, ranging from $35 – $1,650 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.
|SSD storage||10 GB||20 GB||30 GB|
|Free CDN||50 GB||100 GB||200 GB|
|PHP workers per site||2||2||4|
|24/7 email support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free SSL and imported SSL||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Price||$35 a month||$70 a month||$115 a month|
* Prices reflect monthly prices. Get 2 months free with annual plans
Single-site hosting plans: Kinsta also offers the Business plans for single sites. If you just need hosting for one high-traffic website, this is an interesting option. Business 1 (Single-Site) costs $90 a month for example. You can save up to 25% compared to the multi-site plans.
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 team. 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 WordPress 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 (& paid add-ons to have backups every 1 or 6 hours)
Now for specific plans, the names are pretty much self-explanatory.
Monthly Kinsta WordPress hosting plans, yearly packages come out a bit cheaper but the full amount needs to be paid in advanced
They also offer Disk Space Upgrades: should you ever run out of webspace you don’t necessarily need to upgrade to a higher plan. For $20 per month, you get 20GB on top. You can stack as many of these $20 upgrades as you like.
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 or opt for a Disk Space Update. You’ll be able to have a maximum of 25,000 visitors a month and 10 GB of storage.
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. You’ll be able to have a maximum of 50,000 visitors a month and 20 GB of storage.
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. You’ll be able to have a maximum of 100,000 visitors a month and 30 GB of storage.
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.
If your website has a certain size, you can also negotiate a custom plan (which we did).
Kinsta Pros and Cons
Kinsta loading speed was impressive when we tested it. 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.
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).
It’s via chat only, but Kinsta support is some of the best I’ve received. You can even negotiate your contract via live chat.
Server features and locations
25+ 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.
Unlimited users and you can easily define permissions and roles, both at the company and site level.
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. A downside of the Kinsta backup system is that you can’t alter the time of the backup. This was a problem for us as Kinsta did our backup between 10-12am – a time during which we are actively working on our sites.
Fortunately, there is a solution to that problem. You can purchase an add-on (we use for one of our sites): backups every 6 hours for $20/month. There’s even an option for hourly backups as well for an additional $100/month.
Another huge advantage is that backups with Kinsta are extremely fast. It takes a lot longer for a backup to process at WP Engine in comparison.
Made for WordPress
That means the support team 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 has a WordPress plugin for you to automatically migrate a site into Kinsta. But all plans also come with some professional migrations that Kinsta’s team will do on your behalf; not many other providers offer this.
When to use Kinsta web hosting?
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 site 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 web hosting?
If you have a site that doesn’t depend on the best performance, there are more affordable web hosts out there, and there are definitely more affordable WordPress hosts. I’m thinking of portfolios, blogs or personal websites where you’re not constantly worried about delivering the best site speed to your visitors (or to Google for search engine optimization).
This may only be my personal experience, but overall, we’ve seen quite a few configuration issues when compared to other WP hosts like WP Engine or Siteground. Or to put it in the words of our developer: “Somehow the server configuration on WPEngine is more user-friendly to plugins and WordPress. It just works better. Less conflicts.”
One of the key features you want from your WordPress 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 to 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
- Backups ever 1 or 6 hours as a paid add-on
- 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).
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 install 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. Compared to WP Engine it’s also blazing fast. What takes mere seconds with Kinsta, takes up to 5 minutes with WP Engine. This is because Kinsta only creates an incremental backup – similar to Siteground.
This has one important disadvantage: when your core files are corrupted, you’ll face a major problem. However, we’ve never experienced that and are not intending to 🙂
Testing Kinsta’s managed WordPress hosting
Our independent tests ran for 12 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 compared to other hosting companies.
And as you see in the table below, Kinsta is the only web host to have consistently achieved perfect 100% uptime scores over the last three years. Very impressive!
To monitor uptime I use StatusCake, a tool that checks each website every 5 minutes.
Don’t forget 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, a Kinsta is a fast hosting solution. The 1.82 average in our latest web host speed tests easily clears the 3.00 seconds recommended by Google for best SEO results (read more about the importance of fast website loading times).
However, it’s certainly not the fastest web host that we’ve tested and as you can see in the table below, there are other providers that have consistently outperformed it for speed over the last three years:
|Page Load Time in Seconds|
Results in seconds
But while Kinsta is not the fastest, these speeds 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:
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…)
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
The usual suspects: Visa, MasterCard and American Express. You can also make wire transfers, but PayPal isn’t supported.
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.
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.
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.
We keep our content up to date
20 Jun 2023 - Kinsta also offers applications and databases (apart from WordPress sites)
15 Dec 2022 - Badge added
01 Jun 2022 – Single-site hosting plans available
11 May 2022 – Price increase
25 Jan 2022 – New app evaluation
14 Jan 2022 – Checked for accuracy and smaller updates
16 Sep 2021 – Performance update
18 Nov 2020 – Video added
29 Sep 2020 – First review
THE BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS REVIEW
This article has been written and researched following a precise methodology.Our methodology