Kinsta Hosting Review: Quick-Loading Managed WordPress Hosting

November 5, 2018
5 min read
Themeum review of Kinsta

Looking for the best spot to host your WordPress site? In our Kinsta review, we’ll put this popular managed WordPress host through the paces.

Speed matters, so we’ll first run a few performance tests on our site hosted at Kinsta. Then, we’ll single out some specific features of Kinsta and its dashboard that help you more effectively manage and maintain your WordPress site.

Let’s jump right in to our Kinsta review, starting with a quick introduction to what you get when you host with Kinsta.

What Do You Get When You Host With Kinsta?

Kinsta is a managed WordPress host powered by the premium tier of the Google Cloud Platform, which, in Google’s words, “uses Google’s global network with unparalleled quality of service”.

So you have two main things going on:

  • Rock-solid infrastructure – your site is hosted on the same infrastructure that powers Google’s own products, like YouTube and Google Search. Additionally, Kinsta puts a modern architecture stack on top to get the most from this infrastructure.
  • Value-added managed services – beyond the performance-focused infrastructure, you also get plenty of managed features to make your life easier, including automatic backups, easy staging, and more.

    We’ll cover these value-added features in a lot more depth later on in this review.

Kinsta Hosting Performance Test: Does It Load Fast?

None of the other features matter if your host doesn’t load fast. So before we get to all the value-added managed features, let’s start with an investigation of Kinsta’s performance.

As we mentioned above, Kinsta has built their architecture to make your site load fast. You get:

  • PHP 7+
  • NGINX
  • LXD containers
  • MariaDB

If those terms don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry! You can just look at the data to see the effect that they have.

We’ve set up a simple test site built with a free full-page template from our WP Page Builder plugin to give it the weight of a real website.

Let’s put it through some performance tests…

First, we ran it through Pingdom’s San Francisco test server, where it loaded in just 798 ms:

Review of Kinsta.

Next, we gave it a go from a different continent using Pingdom’s London test server, where Kinsta still sat around the 1 second mark with a load time of 1.09 s:

Kinsta Review

Pingdom only simulates a single visit, though. And your website is probably going to have more than one visitor at a time.

So what happens when you actually put Kinsta’s servers under load? To find out, we turned to Load Impact and simulated 50 simultaneous visitors browsing on our website over a 5 minute span:

Kinsta Review

As you can see in the graph above, our test site’s load times didn’t experience any spikes or slowdowns (green line) as the number of active visitors increased (blue line). Basically, this data shows that your site will load just as quickly for the fiftieth visitor as it does for the first visitor.

14 Reasons To Consider Kinsta Hosting (Beyond The Performance)

Ok, so Kinsta loads fast, which is probably the biggest factor in your consideration. But you also get a lot of value beyond just page load times.

Let’s go through some of the biggest benefits of hosting with Kinsta. These features will save you time when it comes to maintaining, managing, and updating your WordPress site.

1. Custom Hosting Dashboard

If you host with Kinsta, you can say goodbye to cPanel for good because Kinsta gives you its own easy-to-use hosting dashboard.

You’ll manage all aspects of your site from this dashboard, and it also lets you access detailed analytics.

We won’t cover the dashboard in too much depth in this section because you’ll see a lot more of it as we dig into other specific features.

2. Automatic Backups With 14 Day Storage

Backing up your site is essential. But when you’re busy, it’s easy to forget to stay on top of backups.

With Kinsta, you can benefit from the security of backups without any effort on your part thanks to Kinsta’s automatic backup feature.

Kinsta automatically backs up your site every day. And it then stores those backups for 14 days.

If needed, you can also run manual backups at any time. You get 5 manual backups at a time, with each manual backup also getting 14 days of storage.

For mission-critical sites (e.g. WooCommerce, membership sites, etc.), Kinsta also offers the option to back up your site every 6 hours or even every hour. These latter two options cost extra – $50 or $100 per month, respectively.

Finally, Kinsta also automatically takes a backup when you perform certain actions, like moving your site from staging to production.

And to restore from any of these backups, it’s as simple as clicking a button. You can either restore straight to your live server or to your staging site.

Kinsta Review

 

3. Easy Staging Sites

You’ve heard about staging sites a couple of times already, so let’s handle that next.

A staging site is basically a duplicate version of your site that’s stored in a safe, private sandbox. It lets you safely test out changes or updates to your site before applying those changes to the live version of your site.

Kinsta makes it easy to access the duplicate staging version of your site at any time:

Your staging environment gives you many of the same options as your live environment.

Once you’re happy with how everything works on staging, you can push your changes live with the click of a button:

Kinsta Review

As you learned above, Kinsta will automatically back up your live site whenever you do this so that you can easily undo the changes if needed.

4. Security Hardening, Plus A Hack Fix Guarantee

As a managed WordPress host, Kinsta puts in place a number of rules to help keep your WordPress site secure.

First, you get proactive security features like:

  • Hardware firewalls
  • DDoS detection
  • Uptime monitoring

Then, you also get specific rules for your WordPress dashboard, including:

  • Enforced strong WordPress passwords for all users
  • Automatic IP bans for more than 6 failed login attempts

And if anything makes it through those security measures, Kinsta offers a free hack fix guarantee. In their words, “If your site is hacked while hosted at Kinsta we’ll work with you for free to try and undo the damage.”

5. Server-Level Caching (With Easy Dashboard Controls)

With Kinsta, you’ll no longer need a caching plugin because Kinsta implements caching at the server level.

Specifically, Kinsta implements four types of caching for you:

  • Page cache – this is what most people think of when you say “WordPress caching”.
  • Bytecode cache
  • Object cache
  • CDN cache

While Kinsta does eliminate the need for a caching plugin, it still lets you control your cache from your WordPress dashboard via the new Kinsta Cache option in your dashboard menu.

From this interface, you can:

  • Clear your cache
  • Enter specific URLs to automatically purge whenever you update part of your site

 

6. Free And Easy SSL Certificate Via Let’s Encrypt

In today’s age, an SSL certificate and HTTPS are essential for all WordPress sites, not just sites processing payment information.

Using HTTPS:

  • Makes your site more secure.
  • Boosts trust with your visitors.
  • Helps you rank higher in Google.

Getting those benefits is simple with Kinsta because you can easily install a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt via your Kinsta dashboard:

If you aren’t currently using HTTPS, you might also want to check out our article on fixing the mixed content warning after moving to HTTPS.

7. Free, Built-in CDN Via KeyCDN

A CDN, short for content delivery network, speeds up your site’s page load times around the world (learn more about why you should use a CDN).

Usually, a CDN is a separate service that you’d need to pay for. However, Kinsta has partnered with KeyCDN to give you free access to KeyCDN’s premium CDN service (the exact amount of free bandwidth depends on your plan).

Beyond that, you can also create new CDN zones right from your Kinsta dashboard, rather than needing to use an external interface:

 

8. Tons Of Helpful Analytics

To help you understand what’s happening at your site, Kinsta gives you access to a detailed Analytics tab in your Kinsta dashboard that includes tons of analytics for:

  • Basic usage, including top requests by bytes and views
  • CDN usage
  • Mobile vs desktop traffic
  • PHP throughput
  • Response codes, including a list of all your pages that generate 404 errors
  • Cache hits vs bypasses
  • Geo and IP-based data

 

9. Free Premium DNS Via Amazon Route 53

Many people don’t think about it, but your site’s DNS (domain name servers) has a very real effect on your site’s page load times. The free DNS service that most domain registrars provide is slow, while premium DNS services are often much faster.

As with CDNs, Kinsta gives you access to the benefits of premium DNS without requiring you to pay thanks to built-in premium DNS via Amazon Route 53.

You’ll also be able to manage and add DNS records right from your Kinsta dashboard:

 

10. 24/7 Live Chat Support

If you run into an issue where you need help, Kinsta offers 24/7 live chat support via the in-dashboard Intercom widget. The nice thing about the Intercom widget vs traditional live chat implementations is that:

  • You can still browse around your dashboard without losing your chat. That means you can dig into a dashboard area without trying to play hide and seek with your live chat window.
  • Your chat logs are stored by default. If you ever need to pull up one of your old chats in the future, you can do it right from the same widget.

With that being said, Kinsta does not offer phone support. This is intentional – you can read their reasoning here.

11. 17 Different Data Centers To Choose From

Because Kinsta is powered by the Google Cloud Platform, you get access to significantly more data centers than your average WordPress host.

Currently, Kinsta lets you choose from 17 different data centers:

  • Belgium (BE)
  • Frankfurt (DE)
  • Hamina (FI)
  • Iowa (US Central)
  • London (UK)
  • Los Angeles (US West 2)
  • 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)

Additionally, you can choose a different data center on a site-by-site basis, unlike many hosts that require you to choose a single data center for your entire account.

12. Easy Redirects Via The Kinsta Dashboard

Kinsta does not use the Apache Web Server that many shared WordPress hosts use, which means that you won’t configure your site’s redirects using Apache’s .htaccess file.

Instead, Kinsta gives you a simple in-dashboard tool to create and manage both 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary) redirects:

You can also bulk import or export redirects, which is really helpful if you need to redirect a number of pages.

If you’re familiar with redirects on NGINX, you can also add your redirect rules using NGINX’s rewrite rules.

13. Easy Team Management Features

If you’re a solo webmaster, these won’t really do much for you. But if you’re part of a team, Kinsta includes team features that let you:

  • Control which features specific users have access to.
  • Give users access to all sites on your account or just specific sites.

Beyond that, you also get an activity log that lets you track all of your users’ actions inside the Kinsta hosting dashboard.

14. Two-Factor Authentication For Your Kinsta Account

If someone were to get access to your hosting administrator account, they’d pretty much have the keys to the castle as far as all of your sites are concerned.

To keep your Kinsta hosting account secure, Kinsta lets you enable two-factor authentication:

Kinsta Pricing: How Much Will It Cost?

Thanks to an update to their pricing structure, Kinsta is now accessible for WordPress webmasters of all sizes with plans starting at just $30 per month:

You can also get two months free if you opt for annual billing.

Get Started With Kinsta Today

If you’re interested in hosting your WordPress site with Kinsta, click here to head to Kinsta and sign up. For a limited time, Kinsta is offering unlimited free migrations from WP Engine, Studiopress or Flywheel. And if you host elsewhere, most Kinsta plans include a limited number of migrations from any host.