Managed WordPress hosting is a somewhat new niche area in the hosting world. It's useful for people on the WordPress platform if you have limited knowledge or would rather leave the more technical tasks to the experts. I typically recommend managed hosting to those new to the whole hosting (and website) game, but ecommerce is a little different.
Since many ecommerce professionals have lots to do on a daily basis, the idea of worrying about hosting sounds silly. And that's what companies like Kinsta are trying to help out with. I want to complete a full Kinsta review, since the brand has done an amazing job with its managed WordPress hosting, and the extra performance, tools and assistance should potentially pay for itself when your customers start noticing the better experience.
Not only that, but Kinsta has recently revamped its entire interface–from the sales websites to the backend dashboard for users. Needless to say, it's an elegant makeover, with an extremely user-friendly layout and some innovative changes to make Kinsta more accessible to all ecommerce businesses.
One of those changes involves pricing (we'll outline that below, but there are now some plans that ecommerce startups and bloggers with smaller budgets can sink their teeth into).
So, keep reading to learn more about the Kinsta Hosting offerings, and take note of the unique features that might make your WooCommerce, or any type of WordPress site, run better.
Quite simply, Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting solution built for sites dealing with high volume traffic.
The company has been doing this since early 2014, when it stretched its hosting services to the public- barely months after setting up shop in December 2013. Its founder, Mark Gavalda, a programmer by day, has over the years spearheaded its growth to establish offices in Los Angeles (US), London (UK), and Budapest (Hungary).
All things considered, Kinsta’s single greatest move in the WordPress chess board was shifting to Google Cloud Platform. And you have to admit that it certainly came at a period when enterprise needs are increasingly expanding. We all want to optimize our sites’ performances to not only improve overall user experience, but also conform to SEO principles.
Now, hold it right there. Is Kinsta big enough to manage such a framework?
Well, Kinsta might not be one of the largest providers in the WordPress Space, but its Google Cloud strategy reportedly made it one of the highest performing. And it probably still is. But that’s something we’ll find out in a short while.
Going by its user base, however, it seems Kinsta might actually mean business. Quite a wide array of users have camped in its servers, including renowned brands like Ubisoft, General Electric, ASOS, Ricoh, Intuit, and many more.
Sound interesting, to say the least. But, is it really worth all this hype?
Let’s find out…
Kinsta’s architecture has been the talk of the town for quite a while now. And there’s a good reason for that.
To begin with, it seems that the service doesn’t believe in managing hosting accounts through the traditional cPanel we’re all used to by now. Instead, it took a rather risky leap by building its own special custom solution.
And going by user reviews and my own personal experience, I have to say that this one turned out the way Kinsta had hoped. The custom interface essentially optimizes the platform’s user-friendliness by, among other things, granting direct access to the most important hosting aspects.
Now that’s neat. But, nothing is seemingly more critical to Kinsta’s overall architecture than the powerful Google Cloud Platform.
Among the features this network introduces to the whole framework is LXD containers and automatic scaling. The containers are particularly outstanding here since Kinsta leverages them to isolate the hosted WordPress sites. Since each container comes with its own MySQL, PHP, Nginx, and a host of other elements, the sites basically don’t share resources.
And you know what? Google Cloud Platform, as you’ve possibly guessed by now, is not shy about spending on data centers. It runs an extensive network of servers, and no one could be happier about that than Kinsta.
The hosting solution has capitalized on the premier tier network to minimize individual latency, by hosting user sites in multiple data centers across 17 locations around the globe. They include:
- Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA (us-central1)
- Ghislain, Belgium (europe-west1)
- Changhua County, Taiwan (asia-east1)
- Sydney, Australia (australia-southeast1)
- The Dalles, Oregon, USA (us-west1)
- Ashburn, Virginia, USA (us-east4)
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA (us-east1)
- São Paulo, Brazil (southamerica-east1)
- London, UK (europe-west2)
- Frankfurt, Germany (europe-west3)
- Jurong West, Singapore (asia-southeast1)
- Tokyo, Japan (asia-northeast1)
- Mumbai, India (asia-south1)
- Montréal (northamerica-northeast1)
- Netherlands (europe-west4)
- Hamina, Finland (europe-north1)
- Los Angeles, California (us-west2)
Now, combine that additional back-end elements like free SSL, free DNS, MariaDB, HTTP/2, object caching, full-page caching, PHP 7.2, Ubuntu 16.04, plus Nginx, and you have yourself a considerably powerful architectural framework.
Moving your site from another platform to Kinsta will not cost you even a dime.
And guess what? You don’t even have to handle this process yourself. Just register an account, proceed straight to the Migrations tab, and fill out the form.
Then, of course, give your site’s tech team a day off. Kinsta’s developers will do all the heavy lifting for you, including coding the relevant elements to integrate your site with the new platform.
Well, to be fair, this is admittedly remarkable. But, on the other hand, we’ve seen it with very many managed hosting providers. I guess it’s a rather clever strategy to steal users from competitors.
The most notable thing here is the fact that Kinsta’s developers will keep your site alive as they perform the surgery. I didn’t experience any downtime during migration, and they went ahead to test everything before setting the site live on Kinsta.
There are many reasons why you’d consider moving to Kinsta. But, let’s be honest. The most important thing here is performance. It’s the one feature that fundamentally makes managed WordPress hosting worthwhile.
So, how does Kinsta perform on the track?
Now, we’ve done multiple performance tests before. But, I’ll admit that this one was particularly interesting because of the Google Cloud Platform factor. Would it be able to live up to its name?
For accurate results, I used Bitcatcha as the performance assessment tool. I prefer it because it isolates content from the server as the site loads. Consequently, you get precise results on the actual server response, regardless of the amount of content on the site.
And for the test subject, I first thought of using a newly registered site. But, you know what’s better? Proceeding with an already established site, loaded with tons of content.
So, how about picking one of Kinsta’s chief clients? Intuit seems fine, don’t you think?
Well, here’s what I got.
So, let’s face it. These are some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen in mainland US by a web host. The East returned 19 milliseconds, while the West registered an astonishingly fast response time of 7 milliseconds.
Unfortunately, the speeds dip when we cross over to other areas. But only slightly, considering the slowest speed of 304ms recorded in Bangalore is still remarkably fast. Not the best we’ve seen, however.
The overall result? Well, Kinsta managed an overall grade of A+. Basically, the highest attainable score on Bitcatcha.
Evidently, Google Cloud Platform is one heck of a platform. And most importantly, Kinsta is indeed one of the best performing managed WordPress hosts.
Choose Your Own CDN
Speaking of performance, you’ll agree that content delivery networks have become the primary resource when it comes to optimizing page loading speeds.
And, thankfully, the possible choices are many. There’s a wide variety of CDN services optimized for WordPress users, each offering a unique set of functionalities.
But, here’s the kicker. Your options are not that diverse when the site is hosted by a managed WordPress provider. They commonly limit the types and number of CDN solutions allowed on their platforms.
WP Engine, for instance, is quite restrictive and continues to ban many CDN solutions along with reportedly risky plugins.
Fair enough, but hang on a minute and think this through. Protecting users from vulnerable third-party solutions is a laudable initiative. However, there are many legitimately harmless plugins that you might also not be able to leverage.
To avoid such conflicts, Kinsta takes a different approach. Quite simply, the service is very much willing to proceed with your current CDN. You’re allowed to use any CDN of your choice.
In addition to that, Kinsta has partnered with KeyCDN to provide integrated CDN service.
Providing regular site backup, by now, has become a standard feature among managed WordPress hosting services. So, of course, we don’t expect to see this in the list of a platform’s unique features.
But, get this. Kinsta, somehow, has managed to make backups special. It turns out that in addition to daily automatic backups, the service supports on-demand backup with no server overhead.
Plus, instead of backing up your site elements separately (e.g settings, files, database, etc), Kinsta picks up and uploads the entire system as one single unit. Then it goes ahead to store not five or six, but 14 instances of backup copies.
And to top it off, restoring each instance can be done in one click. It really is that simple.
So far, Kinsta is seemingly popular among enterprises and large businesses, thanks to its high-end performance hosting. This type of users, therefore, form the bulk of its customer base.
But, thankfully, Kinsta doesn’t ignore the rest of the market. It comes in 8 different subscription packages, optimized for the whole business spectrum- small, mid-sized and large businesses.
Sadly, there’s nothing free here. The entry-level package will cost you $30 per month. But, at least you get a 30-day money back guarantee period. If you don’t like what you get, you can request for a refund.
Now, apart from the price, the primary differences between the packages are the number of visitors and WordPress sites allowed, plus the amount of storage space allocated. A larger package also qualifies you for more PHP workers, which basically handle numerous requests simultaneously.
Here are the plans from Kinsta:
- Starter – $30 per month for one WordPress installation, 20,000 monthly visits, 3GB of SSD storage, 50GB on the free CDN, no white glove migrations, 14 days of backup retention, and two PHP workers per site.
- Pro – $60 per month for two WordPress installations, 40,000 monthly visits, 6GB of SSD storage, 100GB on the free CDN, one white glove migration, 14 days of backup retention, two PHP workers per site, multisite support, site cloning, and a white-labeled cache plugin.
- Business 1 – $100 per month for three WordPress installations, 100,000 monthly visits, 10GB of SSD storage, 200GB on the free CDN, everything from the previous plan, and SSH access.
- Business 2 – $200 per month for 10 WordPress installations, 250,000 monthly visits, 20GB of SSD storage, 300GB on the free CDN, two white glove migrations, four PHP workers per site, and everything from the previous plan.
- Business 3 – $300 per month for 20 WordPress installations, 400,000 monthly visits, 30GB of SSD storage, 500GB on the free CDN, three white glove migrations, 20 days of backup retention, four PHP workers per site, and everything from the previous plan.
- Business 4 – $400 per month for 40 WordPress installations, 600,000 monthly visits, 40GB of SSD storage, 500GB on the free CDN, four white glove migrations, 20 days of backup retention, six PHP workers per site, and everything from the previous plan.
- Enterprise 1 – $600 per month for 60 WordPress installations, 1,000,000 monthly visits, 80GB of SSD storage, 1,000GB on the free CDN, five white glove migrations, 30 days of backup retention, eight PHP workers per site, and everything from the previous plan.
- Enterprise 2 – $900 per month for 80 WordPress installations, 1,500,000 monthly visits, 120GB of SSD storage, 1,000GB on the free CDN, five white glove migrations, 30 days of backup retention, 10 PHP workers per site, and everything from the previous plan.
Well, Kinsta’s pricing is quite flexible. And it provides two months free if you choose to pay cumulatively for 10 months. Unfortunately, even with that offer applying across the board, this service is not cheap at all. But, at least it gives good value for money.
Who Should Consider Using Kinsta?
To sum it up, Kinsta is remarkably fast, supports third-party CDNs, and provides regular automatic backups, one-click staging area, in-house caching plugin, expert support, full-time security, plus 100% uptime reliability.
Unfortunately, Kinsta not the cheapest option around, it does not support domain registrations and email hosting, plus it’s not open to caching and backup plugins.
If you can overlook these downsides, Kinsta is seemingly a solid host for all types of businesses on WordPress. It’s your call.