Kinsta is one of the best WordPress hosting services in term of performace. In this Kinsta review post, we will learn more about the hosting service to get your questions answered. Hopefully the post can help you make a better decision in case you plan to migrate to Kinsta in the near future.
A crucial thing to know about Kinsta. It is a cloud-based WordPress hosting service powered by Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Kinsta is built with speed in mind. All websites hosted on Kinsta have CDN active by default. The hosting service of Kinsta is integrated with Cloudflare for CDN and cache.
Kinsta adopts container technology on its service whereby each website runs in an isolated container containing the required applications such as web server, database server, and PHP.
Kinsta itself offers three service types:
- WordPress hosting
- Application hosting
- Database hosting
This post will focus on covering WordPress hosting.
A Brief Intro About Kinsta WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is the main hosting service offered by Kinsta. The fact is that it used to be the only hosting service offered by Kinsta before they launched application hosting and database hosting in the late 2022. Just like managed WordPress hosting offered by other companies, the managed WordPress hosting from Kinsta also offers dedicated resources to run your WordPress website.
Kinsta offers 10 managed WordPress hosting plans you can choose from. Each plan is pre-installed with WordPress. You don’t need to install WordPress yourself.
To manage your website, Kinsta offers a custom-built control panel. It doesn’t use a third-party control panel like traditional hosting services that mostly use cPanel.
As disclosed in the opening section. The hosting service offered by Kinsta uses Google’s GCP. It includes managed WordPress hosting. When creating a new WordPress website in Kinsta, you can select the nearest data center with your main audience base. There are 35 data center locations you can choose from as follows:
- Changhua County, Taiwan
- Hong Kong
- Tokyo, Japan
- Osaka, Japan
- Seoul, South Korea
- Mumbai, India
- Delhi, India
- Jurong West, Singapore
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Sydney, Australia
- Melbourne, Australia
- Warsaw, Poland
- Hamina, Finland
- Madrid, Spain
- St. Ghislain, Belgium
- London, United Kingdom
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Eemshaven, Netherlands
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Milan, Italy
- Paris, France
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Montréal, Canada
- Toronto, Canada
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Santiago, Chile
- Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA
- Ashburn, Virginia, USA
- Columbus, Ohio, USA
- Dallas, Texas, USA
- The Dalles, Oregon, USA
- Los Angeles, California, USA
- Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
- Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Kinsta doesn’t offer domain registration service. Meaning that you need to connect your domain manually. We have a separate article covering how to add your domain to Kinsta.
Kinsta offers features designed to make your website load faster. Let’s start this section by covering the control panel.
— Streamlined Control Panel (with Handy Tools)
Unlike traditional web hosting services, Kinsta doesn’t use cPanel or another third-party control panel for its service. Instead, they develop a custom control panel which you can use to manage your website. The control panel has a clean, streamlined interface.
Take a look at the following video to learn more the control panel:
There is a menu item labelled Tools on the control panel. Clicking the menu item, you will find some tools dedicated to controlling the Kinsta features. Here are the tools:
- Site cache: To clear cache on your website. You can set auto-clear cache during a certain period
- Restart PHP: To restart PHP
- WordPress debugging: To see warnings, errors, and notices on your website
- Search and replace: To replace values in database
- New Relic monitoring: To monitor you site performance and statistics using New Relic. You need a New Relic license key to use this tool
- Password protection: To add simple .htpasswd protection to your environment
- Force HTTPS: To redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS. Recommended for enhanced security
- Geolocation: To redirect traffic from a specific location
- ionCube Loader: To enable ionCube Loader functionality
- PHP engine: To switch between PHP versions
- Remove Set-Cookie headers: To enable or disable removing Set-Cookie headers from cached responses
- Site Preview: To test your site before migration without changing your DNS records or database
— Cache and CDN
Kinsta is a hosting service built with performance in mind (we will cover Kinsta performance later on in a dedicated section). To speed up your site performance, Kinsta comes with built-in caching and CDN features. The good thing is that no additional, time-consuming setup required to use these features.
The CDN and caching features of Kinsta are powered by Cloudflare. You can control them from the control panel.
To control the caching feature, you can click the Edge Caching menu on the control panel. From here, you can enable, disable, and clear the cache.
The caching feature itself works by saving your page/site cache to any of Cloudflare’s global data centers — which are around 275. When visitors load your website via their browser, cached responses will be delivered from the location closest to them. This practice is called edge caching.
CDN feature can be accessed by clicking the CDN menu on the control panel. From here, you can enable, disable, and clear CDN cache. If you want to exclude certain files from being stored to the CDN servers, you can also do it here.
The storage capacity of CDN itself is varied, depending on your Kinsta plan. You can monitor the usage of CDN from the Analytics menu on the control panel.
Since Kinsta already comes with both CDN and caching feature, you no longer need to install a performance plugin such as Flying Press and WP Rocket on your website.
— Staging Environment
Staging environment is a common feature on a premium hosting service. This feature allows you to test certain changes before you apply them to your live site. Kinsta offers two staging environment types:
Premium staging environment offers the equal resources as your live site, while Standard staging environment offers lower resources.
You can create a staging environment by clicking the arrow icon on the top bar, next to your site’s name.
Kinsta will generate a subdomain under the kinsta.cloud domain for a staging environment you create.
— Scheduled Backup
Another plugin type that you don’t need to install when you use Kinsta is backup plugin. That’s because Kinsta already offers a built-in backup feature. In Kinsta, your site is backed up each day. Each daily backup lasts for 14 days on the Kinsta server before being deleted.
In addition to daily backups, you can also set up hourly backups. However, it takes extra service fee. Want to backup your website manually instead? Kinsta also allows you to do so.
By default, all backup files are stored to the Kinsta servers. You can setup external backup location if you want it (Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage). Furthermore, you can also download your backup files (WordPress files and database file) to your computer.
— User Manager
If you have a team to build a website, Kinsta makes it possible to collaborate with your team members on the Kinsta platform. You can invite them to join the project on the Kinsta platform. You can invite up to 10 team members. There are two user levels available:
Administrator will have a full access over your website (live and staging), while Developer can only access the staging site.
The built-in analytics feature of Kinsta allows you to monitor the resources usage on your website, as well as the visitors traffic. You can access this feature by clicking the Analytics menu on the control panel.
The key stats you can monitor are:
- CDN usage
- Average PHP and database response time
- PHP throughput
- Ajax usage
- Disk space
- Number of visits
As mentioned earlier above, Kinsta offers 10 managed WordPress hosting plans you can choose from according to your needs. Each plan offers different specs. But in general, here are the specs of the Kinsta hosting service:
|Google Cloud Platform
|8.0, 8.1, 8.2
|PHP memory limit
|Maximum upload file size
— PHP Configuration
The core of WordPress is written in PHP. So are themes and plugins. So, choosing a WordPress hosting that has WordPress-tailored PHP configuration will be a great step. The table below shows the detailed PHP configuration on the Kinsta hosting service.
|Maximum input variables
|Maximum input time
|Maximum file size
|Post maximum size
The discussion about site performance is a bit complex as it involves several aspects, not just the hosting. Page structure also plays a role in determining site performance.
In the context of WordPress, the overall performance of a site can be affected by the following aspects:
- Editor/page builder (which determines the page structure)
- Theme used
- Plugin installed
However, web hosting is the aspect that has the most vital role in determining the site performance.
In this test, we use an Elementor page consisting of 6 containers in which each section contains several widgets (there are 38 widgets on the page in total). Here are the page specifications:
- Total page size: 1.53MB
- Total request: 48
- Active theme: Hello by Elementor
- Active plugins: Elementor Free, Elementor Pro, ACF, Slim SEO
Here is the screenshot of the page:
- Kinsta Server location: Columbus (US East 5)
- CDN and cache enabled.
Note: Since we want to test the hosting performance, we don’t optimize the page at all.
— Testing Results on Google PageSpeed Insight
Important to note that web hosting doesn’t play a role in determining the Accessibility score and Best Practice score. Instead, these scores are determined by your page design. While for the SEO score, it is determined by the combination of hosting and page structure. Simply put, you can focus on the Performance score when it comes to hosting performance.
Here are the detailed metrics of the testing result:
— Testing Results on GTmetrix
— Uptime and Average Load Time
To test out the uptime and average load time of Kinsta, we used an online tool called StatusCake. We run the test for 30 days with the check rate of 5 minutes. Meaning that the tool tested the uptime status of Kinsta every 5 minute.
In addition to uptime, StatusCake also provided the average load time.
Here is the result of the test.
Kinsta offers 10 plans you can choose from according to your needs. These plans are grouped into three categories: regular, business, and enterprise. Each Kinsta plan already comes with free CDN, caching and backups so that you don’t need to install additional these plugin types.
Kinsta offers a two-month free trial. If you cancel your plan before two months, it will return your money.
— Kinsta Regular Plans
|Allowed WP Install
— Kinta Business Plans
|Allowed WP Install
— Kinsta Enterprise Plans
|Allowed WP Install
At a glance, the Kinsta pricing plans look pricier than SiteGround, Bluehost, and Flyhweel. But take look at the following features carefully:
These features are the most crucial ones when it comes to performance (as you can see on the testing results above). Also, you don’t need to pay extra service for regular backups.
If you calculate it correctly, using Kinsta can save you about $219 per year compared when you use a third-party CDN service, a paid caching plugin, and backup service. Here are the details:
|Caching – WP Rocket
|CDN – RocketCDN
|Free (powered by Cloudflare)
|Scheduled backup – UpdraftPlus
Kinsta Pros and Cons
The Performance score of 97 indicates that Kinsta is excellent when it comes to performance. If you further optimize the page, the score could be higher.
While Kinsta is extremely reliable when it comes to site performance, it has some drawbacks. Especially when it comes to file access as it offers no file manager feature. To access your WordPress files, you need to use an FTP client app such as FileZilla and Cyberduck. Alternatively, you can use DevKinsta.
Here are some pros and cons of Kinsta:
- Isolated resources
- Excellent performance
- Intuitive control panel
- Made for professionals
- Easy backup
- Second-to-none documentation
- No fixed contract
- No file manager feature
- No domain registration service
- No email hosting
- Doesn’t allow WordPress installation on sub-domain, unless you subscribe to a plan that support 2 WordPress installations or more
If you are looking for a reliable hosting for your WordPress website, Kinsta is one of the best options. Despite its high price, Kinsta is capable of delivering a high-performance website. Kinsta adopts Google Cloud Platform for its hosting service infrastructure in which the servers are spread around the globe. While for CDN and cache, it adopts the Cloudflare technology in which its servers are also spread in many countries.
Kinsta offers a custom-built, streamlined control panel to make it easy for you to manage your website and control the offered features. Working with a team is also seamless thanks to its collaboration feature. Kinsta is great for professional needs. With Kinsta, you can save money on the following plugin types:
- Performance/caching plugin
- Backup plugin
However, it’s important to note that Kinsta doesn’t offer file manager feature and email hosting — two features that are commonly available on traditional web hosting services. You need an FTP client to access your WordPress files. Kinsta also requires you to buy a domain name from a third-party provider as it offers no domain registration service.