Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting company that is built upon the Google Cloud platform. Shortly after they launched five years ago they established themselves in the competitive WordPress hosting market as a major player.
They did this by offering a user-friendly interface, effective security, and good support. Their hosting plans start from $30 per month and come with many great features such as free website migrations, daily backups, and website staging.
In this article I would like to take a closer look at Kinsta and show you what the company has to offer.
Who are Kinsta?
Mark Gavalda launched Kinsta in December 2013.
Rather than going down the traditional route of offering cPanel through shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers, Mark opted to build Kinsta upon Google’s Cloud Platform.
Cloud hosting allows hosting companies to scale the needs of their customers more easily, deliver a faster user-experience, and handle traffic spikes better. Kinsta utilises 16 data centres across the world and offers all customers a global content delivery network through their partner KeyCDN.
When Brian joined the company there were only 8 staff, but he advised me recently that Kinsta now have 40 full time staff across their offices in Los Angeles, London, and Budapest.
What Does Kinsta Offer?
Managed WordPress services are generally more expensive than non-managed hosting solutions. That is why companies such as Kinsta include many additional services and features as part of their plans such as daily backups and an integrated content delivery network service to boost the delivery of website pages.
Kinsta also offers extra features such as website staging. This is a fantastic feature that allows you to make major changes to your WordPress website and test them before deploying them to your live website.
The Kinsta platform uses Nginx, PHP 7, LXD containers and MariaDB, to ensure that all websites on their platform load quickly. Security is a major focus too.
In addition to SSL support and uptime monitoring to let you know if your website is down, they offer DDoS attack detection, malware scanning, and hardware firewalls.
Daily website backups are available if anything goes wrong and they have a hack guarantee in which they promise to fix your website if your website is hacked.
When you are logged into your Kinsta account, you can create a new conversation by clicking on the message icon at the bottom right-hand side of the page.
The Kinsta team boast a 100% solve rate for customer problems and have WordPress experts on standby 24/7.
When you click on the support icon you will see a list of all previous support tickets. A new support ticket can be created easily and when you start a new conversation you are advised that most support tickets are replied to within just a few minutes.
Kinsta offers free website migrations too. When you move a website over to Kinsta they set it up in a test area first so that you can make sure everything is working before you change over your domain’s DNS (Domain Name Servers).
Migrations can be requested directly through the Kinsta user-interface. You just have to provide them with your website’s existing hosting connection information so that they can handle the migration.
Please note that the entry level plan at $30 per month does not include free website migration, whilst more expensive plans have a defined number of website migrations allowed in the account.
A number of other features can be added to your hosting account. These features are primarily targeted towards larger businesses. Cloudflare Railgun, Elasticsearch, and Redis, cost $100 per website per month. Nginx reverse proxy costs $50 per website per month.
Daily backups are provided with all Kinsta hosting plans. The downside to this is that most of their hosting plans only store backups for 14 days. Their $300 monthly plan increases the backup duration to 20 days and their $600 plan extends this to 30 days.
If you want backups every six hours, it will cost you an additional $50 per month per month. If you want hourly backups, it will cost you an additional $100 per month per website.
In my opinion, their premium backup plans are expensive so you may want to consider a cheaper alternative such as VaultPress if you need real-time backups.
The key thing to remember about Kinsta, and all managed WordPress hosting services, is that every feature and service is designed with WordPress users in mind.
The Kinsta User Interface
Kinsta call their customer control panel “MyKinsta”.
MyKinsta is a custom built user-interface that they have designed from the ground up. It has a cleaner look than cPanel and places all the main menu on the left-hand side of the page.
The dashboard gives you a general overview of your websites, resource usage, your latest invoices, bandwidth, and visits.
All of your websites can be managed via the sites section below. This is where you will find important website settings to configure your website.
When you add a new website you can select to not install WordPress, install a new WordPress installation, or clone an existing environment from your account.
The info tab shows information such as your website’s path, IP address, and SFTP/FTP login information. I chose not to install WordPress when I added my test website, however a database username and password was already set up for me.
The domains tab is useful as it links to your website URL and WordPress admin area (assuming you haven’t changed its location).
In the backup tab you can manage your website backups.
Backups are processed automatically every day but can be processed manually if necessary. If you have any problems with your website, you can restore a backup to a staging environment or to your live website. Alternatively, you can choose to download a backup of your website.
There are a number of useful tools in the sites section. This includes an option to clear your website’s cache, enable HTTPS, select which version of PHP is being used, and search and replace.
The sites area also lets you add URL redirects, deny IP addresses, and view access logs, caching logs, and error logs. Your content delivery network can be configured here too.
A plugin page is available which shows which plugins are active on your website. It shows you which WordPress plugins are active and what version is installed, however this page is solely to provide you information about what is installed. If you want to manage your WordPress plugins, you still need to login to your website’s WordPress admin area.
Website hosting statistics are rarely a replacement for a more feature rich service such as Google Analytics, however Kinsta does show useful information such as visits, bandwidth, requests, response times, caching, top countries and regions, and more.
Other options in MyKinsta include Kinsta DNS, billing, a settings area that allows you to add two-factor login authentication, and an activity log that shows who has logged in.
You will also see a link to the Kinsta knowledge base. I recommend referring to the articles there if you are unsure of anything before opening a support ticket.
All in all, the MyKinsta control panel is easy to use and navigate, though I would like to see the control panel improved in some ways.
There is an option to view installed plugins, but no option to manage them. Nor is there an option to manage WordPress themes. Likewise, there is no file management system available.
I would also love to see an uptime monitoring area that shows graphs of my website’s uptime and downtime.
Of course, with a managed WordPress hosting service such as Kinsta, the control panel is purposely limited. Certain features are restricted for security reasons, other features are removed to gear the control panel more for beginners.
Those of you who have managed websites for years and are used to a control panel such as cPanel will notice that many useful features and advanced settings are missing. For example, there are no email options and there aren’t any options for cron jobs, hotlink protection, or error pages, either.
I believe that, for the most part, website owners will not have any problem with these features being missing as the Kinsta support team can handle advanced tasks for you. If you have been hosting websites using a control panel such as cPanel or Plesk, please remember that Kinsta, and other managed WordPress hosting services, do not give you as many options.
Indeed, that is kind of the point of managed WordPress hosting services like Kinsta. They take over most maintenance tasks so that you have more time to focus on creating content for your website.
Kinsta Hosting Plans
Each Kinsta hosting plan comes with automatic daily backups, free SSL certificates, and website staging. You can also choose to host your website in one of 16 global locations.
A defined amout of SSD storage and CDN bandwidth is allocated to you in each plan, however your plan is also limited by the number of WordPress installations you have and the number of unique visits your website receives.
Their entry level starter plan costs $30 per month and is suitable for one WordPress website that receives less than 20,000 visits per month. The 3GB of storage and 50GB of bandwidth that is provided should be sufficient for most small websites.
The starter plan at $30 per month, and the pro plan at $60 per month, have some limitations. The starter plan does not come with a free website migration, whilst the pro plan only provides one. Neither of these plans provide you with SSH access and the starter plan does not include website cloning or support for WordPress multisite.
If you go over your plan’s visit limit, you will be charged $1 for every 1,000 visits. CDN overage is charged at $0.10 per GB.
There are some managed WordPress hosting companies, such as FlyWheel, that do not charge for going over your limits. Kinsta’s overage charges seem fair and they are transparent about them, but be aware of what costs you could incur if you receive a spike in traffic from a social media website such as Reddit or Twitter.
My main criticism of Kinsta’s pricing policy is that their minimum rentention period for backups is only 14 days. I would like to see this extended to 30 days for all plans.
It should be no surpise that a managed WordPress hosting service such as Kinsta charges more than a non-managed website hosting solution. You get many additional features and services included in your package such as daily backups, an integrated content delivery network, website staging, and experienced WordPress technical support whenever you want it.
If you compare the price of Kinsta’s hosting plans to other managed WordPress hosting services, they are certainly competitive from a pricing point of view.
Kinsta is built upon the Google Cloud Platform.
When you add a new website to your Kinsta account you can select from one of 16 global locations. This allows you to host your website in a location that is closer to your target audience.
The locations available are:
- Belgium (BE)
- Frankfurt (DE)
- Hamina (FI)
- Iowa (US Central)
- London (UK)
- Montréal (America Northeast 1)
- Mumbai (IN)
- Netherlands (Europe West 4)
- Northern Virginia (US East 4)
- Oregon (US West)
- São Paulo (BR)
- Singapore (SG)
- South Carolina (US East 1)
- Sydney (AU)
- Taiwan (TW)
- Tokyo (JP)
Kinsta also offer a defined amount of CDN bandwidth from their partner KeyCDN. This allows you to store static copy of your websites in over 30 locations from around the world. Images and videos can be hosted by KeyCDN too.
Clearly, Kinsta cares about website performance, so I wanted to put their service to the test and see how quick Kinsta and the Google Cloud Platform really are.
As noted above, every Kinsta hosting plan comes with an option to integrate a content delivery network, however since KeyCDN are a third-party content delivery network, the tests below were performed without a CDN being active. If we had chosen to test speeds with KeyCDN active, we would be to some extent testing the speed of static HTML files stored on KeyCDN’s global network, and not the performance of Kinsta on the Google Cloud Platform.
For the purpose of this test:
- I installed a fresh copy of WordPress
- Activated the Twenty Seventeen WordPress theme
- Installed Elementor
- Activated a full page template from Elementor on the home page
No other WordPress plugins were installed, however this should be enough to help us see the performance of a website hosted on Kinsta.
I was quite impressed with how Kinsta performed on speed benchmarking services. As noted above, no other WordPress plugins were installed so the overall weight of the page will be lower that many live websites, however no caching plugin was activated and no content delivery network was being used.
Google PageSpeed Insights did not show a PageSpeed score for me, but gave an optimisation score of 81/100 for desktops and 79/100 for mobiles.
GTmetrix gave a performance score of A (92%) and YSlow score of B (82%). It said the 47 requests and 2MB of page file on the page took 1.2 seconds to load.
Pingdom gave a performance grade of A (92%). Whilst the reported page size and total page requests were similar, it showed a faster loading time of 796 milliseconds.
The above performance reports are more impressive when you consider the page template that was being tested was an unoptimised page with no caching and no images being scaled down in size.
A closer look at the page shows that around 80% of the page size comes from images. That’s a lot of weight to add to a page.
The breakdown that GTmetrix and Pingdom provide shows that the response time to Kinsta’s server was around 200 milliseconds. That is impressive and illustrative of how quick Kinsta and the Google Cloud Platform are.
If a WordPress caching plugin was activated and Kinsta’s included content delivery network was utilised, I have no doubt that the performance of my test website would have been drastically quicker.
Kinsta quickly established themselves in the market as a professional company that provides reliable and secure WordPress hosting together with technical WordPress support.
They offer many great features to WordPress users such as daily backups, website staging, website cloning, and fast performance with the help of KeyCDN’s global content delivery network.
Their MyKinsta control panel is simple to use, though as someone who has always taken a more hands-on approach to website management, I would like to see better WordPress theme and plugin support in the control panel. A file manager would be very useful too.
If you would like to know more about Kinsta, please visit their official website and get in touch with them with any questions you have.
Thanks for reading.
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