Kinsta Review: Top in the Managed WordPress Hosting League?

Kinsta has been rated as one of the top 3 managed WordPress hosts over the last 5 years.

So I decided to take it for a test ride.

Here’s my review of Kinsta managed WordPress hosting after using it for 1 year.

BforBloggers used to fully load under 1 – 1.3 seconds every day, with zero downtime. At least in my cases, there were no downtimes at all for a year.

Let’s get into the review, and I’ll share my experience with their platform, their team, and everything you need to know.

Kinsta WordPress Hosting

Kinsta is one of the most popular managed WordPress hosting services. Compared to the competition, they are relatively new, since they started in 2013.

They provide high-performance servers using the Google Cloud platform. Kinsta’s infrastructure relies on Google cloud to quickly scale their client’s server resources.

To quickly scale server resources, you need the power of cloud computing. Ordinary servers can’t go from 10-100 without physical changes.

However, technology like Google Cloud can. It’s so much more flexible and reliable at the same time.

Kinsta handles everything between you, your business, and Google Cloud. You don’t have to worry, not even think about servers.

It’s a true managed WordPress hosting experience. Your servers are completely optimized by professionals.

You get the top-notch server-level caching optimized by Kinsta. There’s New Relic support and Kinsta CDN with DNS management to make your life easier. New Relic is a boon for developers.

The team behind Kinsta is very passionate. They constantly keep adding new features and work towards customer satisfaction. When it comes to software or hardware, everything has got to the best if it is to be used by Kinsta.

My favorite fact about Kinsta is their nature of business. They are bootstrapped businesses.

They have no influence on outside investors, which means decision-making is fast and stress-free.

Kinsta Features

Kinsta comes with a boatload of features.

Some of the key features are:

  • Nginx Isolated cloud servers with auto-scale.
  • Advanced super-caching system.
  • PHP 7.4, 8.0 with WP-CLI, Composer, and Git.
  • APM tool to identify PHP restriction and troubleshoot WordPress.
  • Free SSL & Free CDN powered by KeyCDN HTTP/2 network.
  • Free Amazon Route 53 premium DNS.
  • Daily automatic and real-time backup stored offsite.
  • SSH and SFTP access
  • One-click production to the staging environment.
  • Devkinta free tool for WordPress development.
  • Free website migration.
  • Quickly and easily scale up or down between PHP versions.

Why Isolated LXC (Linux Containers) Servers?

There’s a reason why shared hosting is cheap and that it’s called Shared hosting.

The servers allotted to you by shared hosting services literally share resources between all the websites hosted on each server. Each server can host hundreds of websites.

Your website shares the same server as that ugly spammy website when you are on a shared server.

And there’s evidence of other websites hosted on the same server affecting each other negatively. You share the same IP, which, when blacklisted by google for spamming by other websites on your server, can affect you.

If you have a business website, you need to make sure you have got a dedicated IP address or use an isolated server.

Technology such as Amazon ECS and Linux Containers (LXC), used by Kinsta, is used to create containers for isolated resources stored on virtual servers.

Every single website has its resources stored in isolation. This helps in higher security, less network interference, and enhances the overall performance.

This also means if one website on your server gets hacked, your resources will be safe. They won’t leak information to others.

Kinsta Cache

You don’t need a cache plugin with Kinsta. They have their own cache system.

There’s a Kinsta cache control module installed and activated on your website by default. Using this cache control, you can clear the cache and add custom URLs to purge whenever an update takes place on your website.

Their cache system is fast and very compatible. None of my 52 plugins had any errors caused by Kinsta’s cache. I also noticed very minimal CSS breakdown issues compared WPSuper Cache.

WP Rocket is fully compatible with Kinsta. When you install and activate WP Rocket, the page caching is automatically disabled.

So you have WP Rocket’s whole arsenal of speed optimization features along with super-fast caching by Kinsta.

Another interesting combination would be Kinsta cache + Perfmatters. Speed optimization plugin like Perfmatters can make your website load super fast with some minor tweaks.

I use it with WP Rocket here on BforBloggers along with Kinsta CDN with Cloudflare.

Kinsta DNS

Kinsta is one of the few web hosting services that provide premium DNS for free.

You get the Amazon Route 53 premium DNS management with every Kinsta subscription.

Some of the main benefits of premium DNS are:

  • Faster access to your servers.
  • Higher protection from DDOS attacks.
  • Ease of use by accessing all the DNS records using the hosting dashboard.
  • Higher uptime

If you are already using a CDN such as StackPath or Cloudflare, you probably don’t need Kinsta DNS. But if you are not, I would highly recommend you enable it.

You don’t have to do it yourself, that’s one of the perks of being with a managed hosting service.

Contact Kinsta customer support via chat, and they’ll enable the DNS for you. It has a quick option to add Gmail MX records.

Once set up, you can edit all the domain records through the Kinsta dashboard. Keep in mind, this will mean you’ll have to use A record to use a third-party CDN. Or you can rely on free Kinsta CDN.

Kinsta CDN

A CDN or a content delivery network is essential to make your website accessible at a fast speed from all over the world.

With a CDN, your visitors are redirected to the closet server depending on their location and served a cached copy of your assets.

Which makes your websites pretty fast depending on the customization etc.

Kinsta has partnered with KeyCDN and they rely on its network. KeyCDN is a conventional Pull CDN.

This means the CDN will create a cached copy of your pages and assets on your server such as media will be served via a subdomain or random URL. This type of Pull CDN only optimizes the speed of your website.

On the other hand Proxy CDN like StackPath filter the traffic and provide security by acting as a layer between your visitors, the website, and the server.

I’d recommend using StackPath CDN along with Kinsta CDN.

Their server speed is pretty amazing. The TTFB (time to the first byte) and developmental experience is flawless on the Kinsta server when combined with their CDN and DNS.

Every day, the page speed remained consistent, throughout the year, and my blog loaded quickly even with custom plugins.

Kinsta Tools

To access the tools offered by Kinsta, login to your MyKinsta dashboard > Sites > Tools

You’ll find tools like:

  • PHP Engine – to quickly upgrade and rollback PHP versions.
  • ionCube Loader.
  • New Relic Monitoring.
  • Search & Replace – Neat tool for Database fixes and redirects.
  • Let’s Encrypt SSL enabler.
  • .htpasswd Password protection – for the developmental environment and staging sites.
  • Force HTTPS.
  • Site cache enabler.
  • WordPress debugging.
  • Restart PHP.

Backups

Daily backups are standard across all Kinsta plans. The backup for your files and database are created daily overnight.

Kinsta stores your backup in separate, offsite servers. So even when your website gets injected with malware or gets hacked, your backs ups are still safe.

You can create a real-time backup with one click when you are testing a new WordPress theme, fixing an error, debugging a plugin, etc.

When you need to restore your website, Kinsta offers a one-click restore feature.

If something goes wrong, you can always leave absolutely everything on the support team. They handle everything for you.

You won’t really need a backup plugin anymore. However, it’s always better to have a third-party cloud service store a backup for you.

There’s an option to enable external backups. If you turn it on, you can connect a third-party account such as Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage. Both of which are premium options.

You can also add an hourly backup add-on for an extra $50 to $100 per month per website.

Staging Environment

A staging environment is basically a clone of your website used for testing purposes. It’s super helpful for tweaking speed optimization settings and testing new themes/plugins.

Kinsta offers one-click production to staging mode. With one-click to push changes to the production site.

To create a staging environment, click on Sites in the left menu section and select the domain.

On the top right corner, you can switch between the Live and Staging environments.

By default, the staging environment will be password protected. You can disable or get the login details by going to the tools section.

We perform most of our customization tests on our staging domain. It’s safe and convenient.

MyKinsta Admin

Out of so many web hosting services I’ve tested so far, Kinsta has the perfect admin dashboard.

It’s beautiful, easy to understand and every single piece of information is easily accessible because of its neat navigation.

On the main dashboard, you can find the daily statics of the traffic on your website. This includes the data transfer, bandwidth, CDN usage, disk usage, notifications from Kinsta, and a list of all the sites hosted under your account.

Next comes the section of the site. Click on the Sites link in the admin sidebar and you’ll find a list of all domains hosted on your server.

Click on a domain and you’ll find all the basic details of your server and website database. Such as:

  • Number of PHP workers
  • Site IP address
  • SFTP/SSH details
  • Database access details to open PHPmyadmin

Quick Look at the Plugins

A separate section shows you all the active WordPress plugins currently installed on your website. Right from this screen, you can easily update these plugins.

This feature is highly useful in conditions when you can’t access the WordPress admin of your website. Such as WP-admin 404 error. 

IP Deny

Bot traffic can quickly east up your designated traffic limit and cause server load issues. The same goes for certain crawlers that send spammy traffic.

To tackle this issue, Kinsta automatically filters and blocks all known bots. But these bots keep switching their IP making it difficult to take action in real-time.

If you are facing such issues and you know the bot IP that is spamming your server, you can block them manually using the IP Deny feature.

Logs Viewer

Whenever you need to troubleshoot your website, check the logs recorded by Kinsta.

You can switch between:

  1. Error.log
  2. Kinsta-cache-perf.log
  3. access.log

Take the help of Debug Mode.

Kinsta will help you find the errors on your server and WordPress database. This is really convenient because typically you would have to enable the debug mode via SFTP.

Free Migrations

With every Kinsta subscription, you get free WordPress migration.

Your website will be transferred from your old web host to Kinsta vis manual migration. Unlike some of the other managed WordPress hosting providers such as WP Engine and Cloudways. They use a migration plugin, but not Kinsta.

Migrations are performed by professionals to ensure your data is safely transferred from your previous hosting servers.

The whole process of migration is seamless. You signup for a new Kinsta account and request for migration by fill up the migration form.

Then depending on the configuration of your website, it would take about 24 to 48 hours for migration to finish.

In my case, it took Kinsta about 2 hours to complete the migration.

Once the migration is complete you’ll receive a test domain to ensure everything is exactly as you want it to be. Once you verify that the migration is successful, you can point your domain to Kinsta by changing your Nameservers.

To find your Nameservers, click on the Kinsta DNS link in the left menu panel.

Once you update your Nameservers, it would take about 24 hours before your site is loading through Kinsta servers.

You’ll then also be able to manage your DNS through the Kinsta dashboard.

Kinsta Analytics

It’s a convenient way to quickly check the traffic coming to your server. The traffic analytics by Kinsta is the raw traffic your servers are getting and not the website.

This data is different from what you see in Google Analytics.

Kinsta Analytics collects data such as:

  • Resources
  • CDN Usage
  • Dispersion
  • Performance
  • Response
  • Cache
  • Geo & IP

This where you can check your PHP worker limit and Average MySQL response time.

Much of this data won’t be of any use to most users. But those who need this kind of data will appreciate how handy it is inside the Kinsta dashboard.

Company Details

Under the Compay Details section, you can find the information about your c current plan, invoices, and other billing details.

Here you can change your payment methods, upgrade to a higher plan or cancel your account.

Other options include adding more disk space, managing external backup subscriptions and site labels.

User Roles

If you have a team, you can let them join your Kinsta hosting admin and limit their access through user role permissions.

The user access is divided into two parts:

  • Company access
  • Site access

Users with Company access will have full control over your Kinsta account. They make administrative changes such as change billing info.

Users with Site access will have access to particular domains you give them access to. Under site access, you can choose to give administrative or developer access to certain users.

Inviting users is simple, all you have to do is send them an invitation via email.

Restricted Plugins

In typical managed hosting fashion, to maintain the stability of the environment, Kinsta restricts certain WordPress plugins.

Few plugins that require constant server resources and run in the background are completely banned.

For instance, plugins like Broken Link Checker and Autoptimize are banned.

Backup plugins like BackUpBuddy are also not allowed. For offsite backups, you can still use services like Vaultpress.

Kinsta Plans and Pricing

Being a premium WordPress managed hosting service, Kinsta comes with premium pricing as well.

There are a total of 10 plans starting from $30 going up to $1500 per month.

Kinsta’s Starter plan is priced at $30 per month. In the Starter plan you get:

  • 1 WordPress installation
  • 10 GB disk space
  • 25,000 visits per month
  • Free migration for 1 website
  • SSL and CDN for free
  • Daily backups
  • 2 PHP Worker limit
  • Free staging
  • No site cloning
  • No multisite support

The Enterprise 4 plan is priced at $1500 per month. In this plan you’ll get:

  • 150 WordPress installations
  • 3 million visits per month
  • Free migration for 5 websites
  • Free CDN and SSL
  • 16 PHP Workers
  • 30-day backup retention
  • Site cloning

If your requirements surpass Kinsta’s plans, you can opt for dedicated virtual machines by contacting sales. Their customer onboarding is amazing so the whole pre-sales and after migration talks would be smooth.

There’s a limit to CDN bandwidth on each plan. You can check your bandwidth limit through your MyKinsta dashboard.

If you spend beyond that limit, which is an unusual scenario, there is an overage charge. There is also an overage charge on more disk usage and traffic outrage.

Currently, Kinsta only accepts credit card payments.

You can choose to pay yearly or monthly. It would be wiser to choose a yearly plan because when paying annually, you’ll get 2 months free.

In case you don’t think Kinsta is the right choice for you, simply cancel your account for 30-days. You’ll get a full refund without any issues.

Kinsta Email

Most shared web hosting providers offer email support along with web hosting. Kinsta doesn’t.

Kinsta argues that their focus is on making WordPress hosting top-class. Email hosting is a hinder in their path.

This means you won’t be able to create mailboxes with your domain-branded email addresses. There isn’t any server to send and receive emails.

The recommended solution would be Gsuite. I use Gsuite to manage my work email addresses. It’s pretty convenient and reliable.

However, this doesn’t mean you won’t receive regular WordPress emails.

Transactional emails from your websites such as “Password Reset”, “login notifications”, “contact form submissions”, etc., would still get delivered to your emails through the Kinsta mail service. Which is something you won’t get with Cloudways.

Kinsta Support

After completing a customization configuration here at BforBloggers, we were constantly getting a rather slow server response time.

We did a little test and found out the TTFB was way over 300ms. Ideally, this should be under 100ms.

I reached out to contact support via chat and they quickly figured out the issue. Turns out, we were constantly hitting PHP Worker limits.

A server hitting its PHP worker limit regularly can cause 502/504 errors as well as site slowness.

Here’s a breakdown of the number of PHP workers you get on each Kinsta plan:

  • Starter/Pro: 2 workers
  • Business 1 and 2: 4 PHP workers
  • Business 3 and 4: 6 PHP workers
  • Enterprise 1: 8 PHP workers
  • Enterprise 2: 10 PHP workers
  • Enterprise 3: 12 PHP workers
  • Enterprise 4: 14 PHP workers.

You might want to skip the start and pro plan if you have a custom WordPress configuration. You will get far better performance and stability starting from the business plan.

For e-commerce stores, I’d recommend starting if with an enterprise plan. Membership websites with custom community plugins or software would be better at business 3 or above plans.

But the best part about Kinsta is every plan shares the same infrastructure and all the features remain constant across all plans.

Even if you choose the starter plan, you’ll get the same optimized server and security as enterprise plan users.

As far the support goes, Kinsta is one the finest.

Their support executive is real WordPress experts and knows what they are talking about. They don’t send you to a knowledge base to solve your problem on your own. Instead, they do it themselves.

That’s a true managed WordPress hosting right there. You don’t have to know anything about servers and performance. Kinsta will go the extra mile to ensure you are getting the most out of their platform.

Overall I rate Kinsta’s support as 10/10. The only WordPress hosting support that impressed me more is WPX hosting, my previous hosting service.

Compared to WPX, Kinsta support takes a little more time. WPX is also more efficient at solving complex tasks and errors.

I moved BforBloggers to Kinsta in march 2020. I migrated from WPX hosting.

WPX is phenomenal when it comes to server speed and support. There’s nothing like it, not even close.

Terry Kyle, the founder of WPX, is always heavy on customer satisfaction and server optimization whenever I get a chance to talk to him.

Kinsta Review: My Overall Experience

Kinsta is one of the best-managed WordPress hosting services. Everything is just perfect about their hosting platform.

The dashboard, the customer support, management, easy-of-use, and above all, their amazing server infrastructure.

If you are looking for a solid hosting service for WordPress, Kinsta is a perfect option. Professional bloggers who don’t want the hassle of managing their own servers would highly appreciate it.

And if you’re a business owner, you will be spending more time scaling your business. Rather than worrying about website errors and downtimes.

My experience with Kinsta was great and they definitely get a huge recommendation from BforBloggers.

Click here to Signup for Kinsta

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