8.0 Out Of 10
|Support||Help Desk, Chat, Email, Chat, Phone, Knowledge Base, Social Media|
|Best for||WordPress Management – Hands-off|
|Strengths||Rapid updates, backups, and monitoring|
|Promotion||Get a free Demo|
What is Kinsta Hosting?
Kinsta Hosting, a fast-growing independent hosting company was founded in 2013. Kinsta focuses exclusively on managed WordPress hosting, with reliable customer support and Google Cloud-driven performance.
Kinsta is a non-traditional web hosting company that offers only one service – managed WordPress Hosting on Cloud Servers.
They do not offer reseller hosting, email, or any other type. Kinsta integrates third-party tools such as DNS (from Amazon), SSL(from LetsEncrypt) and CDN (configured in KeyCDN’s network). Here is their pricing chart.
Kinsta’s Currently Available Plans & Pricing
Kinsta was established in 2013 in response to the growing demand for managed WordPress hosting services. (I’ll touch on this in the next section). Kinsta is a remote-first business that focuses on global service and provides support in 7 languages.
They offer a service via Google Cloud Platform and have a special focus on WordPress.
I have a long-standing client who uses WordPress Engine (Kinsta’s direct competitor) and has used the managed WordPress hosting products in the entire industry.
Background on Kinsta Hosting
You need to be familiar with four concepts in order to fully understand Kinsta’s products.
First, WordPress is one of the most used content management systems softwares on the Internet. It is used to manage websites. It runs on any hosting server with PHP, MySQL and Linux. It can also run on virtually any web host.
Second, refers to space on a server that can host web applications and provide data to browsers. It’s also where a website is located. There are many configurations for web hosting. The most common type of web hosting, where one server can run PHP, MySQL and Linux, is shared among multiple hosting accounts.
Third, WordPress hosting is web space that has been specifically set up to make WordPress software work better. The definition of “run faster” will vary depending on which hosting company you use. WordPress can technically run on any type of web hosting account. I have written about the differences in WordPress hosting.
Fourth, Cloud Hosting is a large network that allows customers to lease computing power and storage for their web applications from any data center in the network, rather than using space on one web server. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are the largest cloud networks.
These four background concepts will help me explain Kinsta’s unique place in the hosting world.
Kinsta managed WordPress hosting in the Google Cloud Platform. They lease computing power and storage from Google, set it up to run WordPress quickly and efficiently, and support each installation.
They offer a niche, but potentially very powerful platform. They don’t compete with many other providers because they mix and match these services.
How Kinsta Hosting Works
Kinsta functions in some ways just like any other web hosting company. Each month you sign up and then pay. Your WordPress website will run quickly and efficiently in return.
However, the setup behind the scenes is a little more complex.
First, technically, you will lease your hosting from Google. This means that unless Google goes down… , your site won’t go down. There is no “crashing” on a web server like you might experience with a normal one.
Kinsta’s cloud access is specifically configured for WordPress. This includes server-side caching and security rules. It also has staging environments. Your site will be faster than if it were running on a vanilla Linux server.
Third, Kinsta combines several third-party services such as DNS (connects your host to your domain), SSL (secures you connection), and CDN [content distribution network] to ensure that your website works together.
Signing up is easy because they only offer one product and there are no upsells.
All setups are managed from one account dashboard, where you can manage your WordPress installations.
Kinsta was something I had been thinking about for a client’s website and I decided to give them the chance with a small site I am looking to consolidate.
Based on my experience as a customer, here’s my Kinsta Hosting review. It includes pros and cons, ideal use cases, and alternative options.
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The benefits of Kinsta Hosting
Kinsta Hosting reviews are plentiful online. Most of them are user-generated reviews, based on personal experience and anecdotes. It’s all fine and dandy, but I prefer a different approach.
In all my hosting reviews, I have mentioned that there is no “best” web host . It all comes down to the right fit for your project, based on your budget, experience, and expertise. These are the benefits (and disadvantages) of Kinsta Hosting.
Cloud Hosting Benefits
Kinsta makes use of the Google Cloud Platform to get all the benefits of cloud hosting, without the disadvantages.
Hosting accounts can do many things for your business. However, the main purpose of a hosting server to serve your website files when someone requests them is its core function. However is the implied adverb to serve those files rapidly.
Speed is more important than ever in this age of multi-device connections and global audiences. There are many variables that affect website speed. However, it is primarily the responsibility of your hosting server to get the files to the browser as fast and efficiently as possible.
Kinsta uses the same servers as YouTube.com and Google.com. Kinsta is fast as long as the servers are properly configured.
Your WordPress website will also be ready for use with server-side cache. There are still many issues that could slow down your website, but these likely won’t be Kinstas fault.
Here is my first test of my Kinsta website.
Kinsta is not responsible for slow loading sites. It could be something you do.
Kinsta can also provide data centers all over the globe with the Google Cloud Platform. There are more than 23 available at the time they write this, ranging from Iowa to Southeast Asia and all points in between.
Their CDN is also connected to a KeyCDN global network, which allows website visitors around the globe to access website assets.
It is expensive and difficult to set up data centers anywhere in the world. Google’s infrastructure gives you an edge that traditional hosting companies can’t match.
Do you remember the last time Google crashed? It does happen. It’s rare. It happens rarely, but it is newsworthy. Kinsta means that your site will not go down unless Google goes offline.
Kinsta’s main strengths are reliability and consistency. They can also take Google Cloud and make it available to their customers.
Yes, you can visit Google and sign-up for cloud hosting. Actually, there is a non-WordPress website running there right now. It takes patience and the ability to manage a database-driven CMS that integrates file storage. It is not an easy one-click WordPress installation. Google doesn’t provide any support or configuration assistance. This is still a significant advantage for Kinsta.
Configuration, Focus, and Usability
Kinsta created their Dashboard entirely from scratch. Signing up is easy and simple. Although there are some issues that I will address, overall their setup and usability are amazing.
The focus on WordPress and simplicity of the plan structure make it easy to onboard (i.e. go from a new signup into an active customer). The design is simple, clean, and well-designed.
Although there was jargon and technical information, the setup isn’t as overwhelming or daunting as other managed WordPress hosting companies.
Useful and user-friendly add-on tools
Kinsta doesn’t have all the tools traditional hosts offer, but they bundle many essential tools to run a fast and effective website. They also bundle them seamlessly into their dashboard, which is a departure from other managed WordPress hosting providers.
DNS is the map of instructions that links your domain to your hosting where your website lives.
Kinsta offers Premium DNS for all plan levels. This makes it much easier to set up your website. Many managed hosting companies, and even website builders, leave DNS to customers. This leaves many customers fumbling with MX records, CNAMEs, and TXT records.
Amazon supplies Kinsta’s DNS. It is reliable and integrated directly into their Dashboard.
Content distribution networks (CDNs) allow you to reduce the load on your main server by spreading media files around the globe. This allows your website to load quicker and takes up less space on your server.
This option is not available to all hosting companies, but Kinsta integrates the feature directly into their Dashboard.
An SSL enables your website to provide an encrypted connection between it and your visitor’s web browser. It is an integral part of every website. It’s also something Kinsta offers directly via LetsEncrypt in their dashboard. Although it’s not the best SSL or the name-brand SSL, it does the job.
Kinsta offers website migration services for its platform. Moving an existing WordPress website from one shared hosting account into another can be confusing. However, moving your website to a managed cloud platform could cause a lot of problems.
This is a free service, which would normally cost hundreds of dollars with a WordPress Consultant.
Developer & Agency Tools
Kinsta offers a variety of tools for developers and agencies that don’t sound too technical or dull until you actually need them.
They are well-implemented with basic features like user management and staging so developers can easily build sites for clients and then hand them over to the client without any hiccups and no maverick approval process.
They also have SSH access and WP-CLI.
The best part for me is that they don’t lock customers into a particular WordPress configuration and they’ll support non-traditional setups such as reverse proxy configurations.
Being a SEO consultant is crucial for large clients who need WordPress for their blogs, but not for their main website. This makes it easier to sell big content marketing campaigns because the developer time can be outsourced by Kinsta.
Support for Customers
Customer support stories can be either really bad or really good. It’s the “one-star vs. 5-star” problem. As I have stated in many of my hosting reviews I look at customer support as a cost, profit, or investment center.
They seem to have made customer support an investment by integrating their knowledge into their Dashboard rather than storing it somewhere.
If you’re a customer, that’s a great thing. They don’t want to make a quick buck or push you away. They are instead trying to build goodwill and increase word-of-mouth. Kinsta’s “thing” is customer service, as it allows them to run their entire product.
Kinsta Hosting: The Cons and Disadvantages
Kinsta is like any other web host. Kinsta complaints are plentiful online. These complaints, like the pros, are only relevant to your goals and priorities. Here are some cons I discovered while using Kinsta Hosting.
Kinsta is costly.
It doesn’t matter how you measure it: WordPress installs, visits allowed and storage allocated. Indirect competitor pricing or indirect competitor pricing. Kinsta will be competitive, but still expensive.
WPEngine is the closest competitor. Kinsta has more intermediate plans… but WP Engine’s pricing structure can be a little cheaper than Kinsta.
InMotion hosting and siteGround are competitors that offer similar products at a lower price (though they don’t have Google’s Cloud). Liquid Web offers the same service for managed WooCommerce sites.
WPMU Dev and other indirect competitors offer cloud hosting bundled with their plugin subscription, which is attractive for agencies/developers.
Two things are pushing back against this disadvantage.
Kinsta is transparent about its pricing. Kinsta does not offer any add-ons or exclude features, like WP Engine. You won’t find any apples to oranges comparisons with InMotion, WebsiteGround or Liquid.
Two, expensive is relative to value. A few hundred dollars might not be worth it depending on how much your website generates. If you can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars due to a technical issue or downtime, then the wrong measure is “expensive”.
Hosting is an expense for businesses. Hosting is a business expense. Every dollar you save will go straight to your bottom line. Kinsta’s pricing is going to be a disadvantage if you’re not sure about certain features or need other website services (see below for feature bundles).
Caps with Feature
Kinsta’s caps are quite low, especially when compared to other cloud competitors. They must pass on all the hosting costs because they work with leased infrastructure.
You’ll be able to see how fast your website’s traffic, storage and bandwidth requirements can increase if you have experience with a fast-growing website. Kinsta will never require you to take your website down. However, you might have to worry about these needs impacting your bottom line.
One client built a side-project on his website (hosted on WPEngine and similar caps as Kinsta). This side-project was a huge success.
The project generated indirect revenue through backlinks, brand awareness and other means. It tripled his monthly hosting expenses because it exceeded every visitor limit…and then spammers and bots arrived. He is on an enterprise plan that has the same amount of “real” traffic as should be on a basic plan.
That’s a great problem. It has made decisions that he would not have to make if he was using a Kinsta competitor with a Managed VPS or Managed WordPress Hosting product such as InMotion hosting or siteGround.
Kinsta actually caps some features at lower levels than one might expect from their marketing. Consider WooCommerce or membership sites, for example. They recommend PHP Workers who can handle excessive queries. Here is a description of how they work. They are used to help the user roles and the shopping cart while the server cache loads all the pages.
Kinsta offers only 2 PHP workers for their Starter or Pro plans. This is not recommended for eCommerce sites. InMotion’s cheapest managed WordPress plans have a limit for 4 PHP Workers.
Again, many of these limitations are not due to Kinsta (they are open about this), but rather from their product structure…which can be the next disadvantage.
Size & Company Structure
Kinsta is my type of company in many ways. They are founded-owned and operated by the founders. They are rapidly growing despite being completely self-funded and were left with no capital. They are product-focused and have a thoughtful, smart marketing strategy.
They place a strong emphasis on customer service and direct contact. They are global-first, remote-first, and diverse. They are very generous with their money.
The hosting industry is structured in the way it is because of a reason. Kinsta is moving in the exact opposite direction to the rest of the industry.
The web hosting business is built on high customer retention and depreciation. It is similar to the physical real-estate industry in many ways. Nearly all hosting companies are moving away from pure-play hosting and to being a hosting “platform” that offers many amenities.
Kinsta leases their infrastructure from Google. This is a completely different business model. They need to have low overhead costs (e.g, remote-first is mandatory), low acquisition costs (i.e. their inbound marketing strategy), and high pricing. They are dependent on Google being competitive and in the Cloud hosting business.
Kinsta is the WeWork for the hosting industry, in a good way. Kinsta avoided many of the WeWork’s errors. However, the core business model, which sub-lease servers and adds value through convenience, accessibility, support, and support, is tricky.
WP engine made it using investor money to gain market share and large amenities, while also building a hybrid data center. Others have failed, or been acquired by Nexcess and FlyWheel.
Kinsta is currently committed to long-term organic growth. If you’re looking for a host with 5+ years of experience, I suggest taking a look at the industry before making a commitment.
Feature Bundles & Add-Ons
Direct and indirect competitors are shifting to a hosting platform model that includes bundled themes and plugins. Kinsta’s indirect and direct competitors all bundle some type of WordPress feature with their managed WordPress hosting products.
- WP engine bundles StudioPress templates & products.
- Liquid HTML bundles IThemes plugins and themes.
- InMotion hosting bundles jetPack and BoldGrid web builder.
- WPMUDev bundles premium WPMUDev plugins.
- SiteGround bundles customized amenities such as developer toolkits and email.
- Pressable bundles JetPack , and WP101 Training.
Kinsta’s disadvantage is that they are truly focused on WordPress and hosting. They aren’t trying to compete for amenities or bonuses. They do what they say.
This is a great strength. However, it can be a problem for some customers.
Kinsta Hosting Ideal Use Cases
There is no “best” host, just like there are houses and appliances. There are better and worse hosts for different customers, with different needs. These are some of the best uses for Kinsta.
Ecommerce and Membership Sites: Growing Ecommerce
A WordPress-based eCommerce site or membership site can be growing and create technical challenges and resource strains. Kinsta’s support and architecture are made for both kinds of websites, especially at higher pricing levels.
Kinsta is an affordable, solid and straightforward option for eCommerce/membership websites. You can also pay a premium to have everything “just work” without any troubleshooting. See Kinsta’s plans.
Developer or Agency with Premium Clients
Kinsta is an excellent option for agencies or developers who build premium websites with ongoing maintenance budgets.
Kinsta offers the social proof, technical specifications, pricing and management tools to ensure brand clients, while also sticking to their budget expectations. See Kinsta’s plans.
Premium Support & All-in-One Needs
Kinsta is the perfect solution for DIY customers with high-margin websites that require premium support and/or all in one hosting. Kinsta’s monthly cost is high but not when you consider the costs to hire a WordPress developer for an hour to resolve intermediate issues (e.g. installing a new SSL Certificate or repointing subdomain). See Kinsta’s plans.
Kinsta Hosting Review: Next Steps
Kinsta Hosting is a great option in the world of WordPress hosting. Kinsta Hosting offers a simple, reliable, and solid product in a highly competitive market. Kinsta is a great choice if you are looking for a managed host with a good price and enjoy the benefits of the cloud.
View Kinsta’s current plans & pricing
You can also visit my WordPress Hosting page if you’re looking for more options.