Kinsta Managed Hosting Review 2019: All Ecommerce Sites on WordPress Should Check Out This Hosting

This Kinsta review covers everything you need to know. Its overall features and the corresponding performance levels, plus pricing. Stick with us to the end, and I’ll also let you in on its weaknesses.

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.

Kinsta Review: Overview

Quite simply, Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting solution built for sites dealing with high volume traffic.

kinsta hosting homepage

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 Review: Features

Kinsta's Overall Architecture

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.

kinsta interface

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.

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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)

Kinsta servers - locations

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.

And to sum it up, this is principally what you get with Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting:

  • 24/7 live chat support and ticketing.
  • Your site is assessed in intervals of five minutes to ensure it stays online.
  • Visitor analytics through the main account interface.
  • Free site migration after subscribing to the Pro plan and above. Start plan users, on the other hand, are charged $100 for migration.
  • Site staging with one-click publishing.
  • 17 different datacenter locations spread across the globe.
  • Free website restoration in case of a successful hacking attempt.
  • Network monitoring, DDOS scanning, GeoIP blocking, free SSL certificate, and many other security features.
  • Protecting from blocked WordPress plugins that affect site performance.
  • Manual WordPress plugin updates.
  • FTP access
  • KeyCDN, in-house WordPress caching, and server-level caching for increased site loading speeds.
  • HTTP2, which is considerably faster than the standard HTTP
  • The ability to shift between PHP 5.6, 7, 7.1, and 7.2

Kinsta Review: Free Migration

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.

Kinsta migration

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.

That said, 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.

Kinsta Hosting Account User Interface

Although Kinsta is a Managed WordPress Hosting service, you also get your own management privileges through its user account interface. But, as we’ve said already, don’t expect to find anything like the typical cPanel.

Instead, the developers at Kinsta have come up with their own specialized dashboard. That’s a risky move when you come to think of it, since many people are already in love with the cPanel’s overall functionality.

However, and rather interestingly, I find Kinsta’s dashboard to be much friendlier. The layout is super neat and straightforward enough for beginners to figure out the navigation process right off the bat.

From Kinsta’s account management interface, you should be able to access:

  • Your websites- This is the section where you control the site setup process, establish new FTP accounts, review previous site backups, introduce HTTPS, and much more.
  • Site migrations- You get to manage your site migrations and view all the past instances conducted on your account.
  • Analytics- This helps you track your site numbers.

kinsta analitycs

Fair enough. But how exactly do you install a site on Kinsta?

Well, you have two primary options after signing up. You could either migrate an existing website from another hosting service, or create a fresh new website.

If you want to add a new WordPress site, the process is quite straightforward. Just proceed to the Sites section of your dashboard, then choose “Add Site.” Kinsta will then ask you for some brief specifications before you click Add.

kinsta - add a new site

Very simple, I must say. And even better, you can add numerous sites to your account then manage them collectively from the Sites section.

In case of any issues, you can reach out to the support staff at any time of the day or night, thanks to their 24/7 live chat service. Or alternatively, use Kinsta’s online ticketing system.

Sadly, that’s all the support channels you get on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting. You cannot contact them via phone regardless of how urgent your matter is.

Another outstanding thing you’ll notice at this stage is that Kinsta does not offer free domains or domain registration. You have to purchase one from an external domain registration service. And while you worry about that, you can only use a temporary WordPress domain on Kinsta.

Kinsta Review: Performance

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.

Going by these results, it’s evident that Google Cloud Platform is one heck of an asset. And most importantly, Kinsta is indeed proving to be one of the best performing managed WordPress hosts.

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Kinsta Hosting Loading Speed Test

Server response looks fine. But how fast do different Kinsta-hosted websites load?

For a comprehensive assessment of Kinsta’s relative site loading performance, I tested the speeds of four different sites with varying themes. The loading process itself for all of them conducted from a single location in Vancouver Canada, despite the fact that the sites were held in separate data centers.

And here’s how it went:

intuit homepage

Intuit had a page size of 3.63MB. And that took 6.3 seconds to load fully- subsequently managing a PageSpeed score of 64%, and a corresponding YSlow score of 58%.

intuit - kinsta hosting performance

SkyRocketWP, however, was much faster, thanks to its much smaller page size of 947Kb. It managed to load in 4.5 seconds- with a PageSpeed score of 81%, and a corresponding YSlow score of 72%.

SkyRocketWP - kinsta hosting performance

WPBuffs performed even better because it managed to load 2.13MB in 4.3 seconds- consequently registering a PageSpeed score of 74%, with a corresponding YSlow score of 54%.

Kinsta Hosting Uptime Test

Even when your site is loading considerably fast, you need to remain online 24/7 to conduct business around-the-clock.

Well, Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting guarantees 99.9% uptime, which translates to not more than 8 hours of reduced performance in 12 months. Sounds good, but then again, that’s pretty much what everyone promises these days.

So, I decided to conduct my own uptime test on Pingdom, with 6 different sites hosted on Kinsta. And after 30 days, the average uptime rate for all of them combined was 99.998%.

In a nutshell, therefore, it seems you can trust Kinsta to keep stuff running smoothly on your website.

Kinsta Review: 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.

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kinsta cdn settings

Kinsta Review: Instant Backups

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.

Kinsta backups

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.

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Kinsta WooCommerce Ecommerce Hosting

By now, we’ve mentioned many Kinsta Hosting features that will substantially optimize your ecommerce WordPress website. And just in case you’re wondering, yes- Kinsta can comfortably support a WooCommerce online store. In fact, it offers specialized WooCommerce migrations to keep your store’s data intact.

Now, in addition to what we’ve already covered, some of the primary features that WooCommerce store owners can capitalize on when they host their sites on Kinsta hosting include:

  • Auto-scaling of resources in your site’s container when the load and traffic increases.
  • Server-level caching to enhance website performance without comprising its overall functionality.
  • HTTP/s, SSH. SFTP, SSL, GEOIP blocking, full-time malware scans, and many other security provisions.
  • Regular automatic site backups to protect your critical ecommerce data.
  • Instant backup restoration.

Kinsta Review: Pricing

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:

  • Kinsta Starter Plan
    • $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.
  • Kinsta Pro Plan

    • $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.
  • Kinsta Business 1 Plan
    • $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.
  • Kinsta Business 2 Plan

    • $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.
  • Kinsta Business 3 Plan
    • $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.
  • Kinsta Business 4 Plan

    • $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.
  • Kinsta Enterprise 1 Plan
    • $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.
  • Kinsta Enterprise 2 Plan
    • $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.
  • Kinsta Enterprise 3 Plan
    • $1,200 per month for 120 WordPress installations, 2,000,000 monthly visits, 150GB of SSD storage, 1,000GB on the free CDN, five white glove migrations, 30 days of backup retention, 12 PHP workers per site, and everything from the previous plan.
    • Kinsta Enterprise 4 Plan
    • $1,500 per month for 150 WordPress installations, 3,000,000 monthly visits, 200GB of SSD storage, 1,000GB on the free CDN, five white glove migrations, 30 days of backup retention, 16 PHP workers per site, and everything from the previous plan.
  • Kinsta Enterprise 4 Plan

    • $1,500 per month for 150 WordPress installations, 3,000,000 monthly visits, 200GB of SSD storage, 1,000GB on the free CDN, five white glove migrations, 30 days of backup retention, 16 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.

kinsta pricing

Who Should Consider Using Kinsta Hosting?

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.

Best Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting Alternatives

SiteGround

SiteGround is a versatile hosting provider with a wide range of hosting solutions for different scales of users. The typical WordPress hosting service here is offered under SiteGround’s shared hosting, which turns out to be the principal difference between this option and Kinsta.

kinsta alternative: SiteGround

Kinsta, on the other hand, leverages LXD and LXC containers when it comes to WordPress hosting. In other words, it means your site gets its own dedicated server environment- which essentially helps you avoid scrambling for resources with other hosted websites.

However, Siteground beats Kinsta in domain registration since the latter will force you to seek the service from external providers.

WP Engine

Admittedly, WP Engine and Kinsta share many managed WordPress hosting features. And although both are formidable providers, there are a few notable differences.

kinsta alternative: WP Engine

If you take a look at their respective pricing schedules, for instance, you’ll notice that WP Engine is slightly more expensive with very limited allowance for sequential upgrade of your plan’s features.

Now, when it comes to performance, I admit that they are both incredibly reliable for all types of sites, including WordPress ecommerce stores. WP Engine and Kinsta boast of their wide range of features for optimizing server performance and website loading speed. But, I guess I’d personally go for Kinsta principally because of its Google Cloud asset.

Overall, Kinsta supports both small and mid-sized businesses while WP Engine leans towards small enterprises and startups.

Bluehost

If you’re thinking about a substantially cheaper alternative, you might want to check out Bluehost. The entry-level plan here supports one website with 50GB of storage space, for only $2.95 a month.

Kinsta Alternative: Bluehost

While Bluehost might not be among the fastest hosting providers, it can manage pretty decent site loading speeds. It fundamentally relies on its CPU throttling and SSD drives, plus free supplementary CDN from Cloudflare.

Compare that with Kinsta’s NGINX servers which come with PHP 7.3, plus its Google Cloud Platform network. Well, of course, Bluehost cannot match up to that level of performance, especially when you also consider Kinsta’s dedicated container environment along with its CDN network.

Is Kinsta a good web host?

All things considered, Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting service that offers an array of remarkable features, including 24/7 live chat, simple staging environments, full-time security monitoring, automatic site backups, Google Cloud Network, LXC containers, KeyCDN CDN, and much more.

Then from our tests, we’ve established that Kinsta is not only a fast hosting solution, but can also be trusted to live up to their end of the uptime bargain.

So, if you’re searching for a reliable well-provisioned managed WordPress hosting solution with a history of optimized site performance, you might want to consider Kinsta. In a nutshell, you can think of it as dedicated WordPress hosting at the cost of a shared hosting service.

Does Kinsta Hosting offer free domain?

Sadly, it does not. Kinsta only offers a temporary domain in the form of yoursite.kinsta.cloud when you’re creating a site. But, ultimately, you have to acquire a domain from an external domain registration service if you intend to have your site indexed by search engines.

Some of the recommended registration platforms include Name.com, Google Domains, NameCheap, and eNom.

Can I buy hosting from Kinsta without a domain name?

Yes, you can. Kinsta managed WordPress hosting allows you to create your own site and host it without a domain name. Instead, you’ll use a temporary domain with a structure like yoursite.kinsta.cloud.

In the end, however, you are required to buy your own unique domain from third-party registration services. And when you do, you can go ahead and assign it to your new site from MyKinsta dashboard.

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.

Kinsta Rating: 4.5 - Review by

Davis Porter

Davis Porter is a B2B and B2C ecommerce pundit who’s particularly obsessed with digital selling platforms, online marketing, hosting solutions, web design, cloud tech, plus customer relationship management software. When he’s not testing out various applications, you’ll probably find him building a website, or cheering Arsenal F.C. on.