Looking for a Kinsta review from someone who actually hosts their site at Kinsta? Kinsta is performance-oriented managed WordPress hosting – and it’s also where we host this very site you’re looking at.
In this post, I’m going to dig into everything Kinsta. You’ll get a look at Kinsta’s features, real performance testing data, the Kinsta dashboard, support response times, and plenty more.
Best of all – we wrote this Kinsta review AFTER Kinsta made massive pricing and design changes in November 2017. So this review is all about the most recent version of Kinsta hosting.
If you’re especially interested in a particular aspect of Kinsta hosting, you can click below to jump straight to that section. Otherwise, I encourage you to read the entire review!
- The Kinsta feature list/technology stack
- Real performance test results for our test site
- The Kinsta onboarding process
- Kinsta support response times
- How much Kinsta costs with its new pricing
Kinsta includes a bunch of helpful managed WordPress hosting features that I’ll get to in a second. But first, I want to start with Kinsta’s technology stack.
Why? Because Kinsta’s technology is a big part of its performance.
Here’s what Kinsta runs on:
- Google Cloud Platform: Kinsta is powered by Google Cloud Platform, which is the same technology that Google uses to power its own products (when’s the last time Google went down?).
- PHP 7.X: PHP 7.X significantly outperforms the PHP 5.X that some hosts still run, especially when under heavy load.
- HTTP/2: HTTP/2 is faster than the HTTP/1 that many hosts still run. This site provides a nice visual comparison.
- NGINX: NGINX performs better than the Apache web server used by many hosts, especially under scale. In this test, Organic found NGINX to be found 4.2X faster, on average.
- MariaDB: MariaDB offers performance improvements over MySQL.
- Server-side caching: Kinsta’s server-side caching eliminates the need for a separate caching plugin.
- Easy CDN integration – Kinsta integrates easily with KeyCDN and even gives you a certain amount of free bandwidth (depending on your plan).
When you see the results of our performance tests in the next section, you’ll understand just how helpful this technology stack is.
Beyond the performance-oriented technology powering your site, you also get a number of other features to make your WordPress life easier:
- Easy staging – easily move between staging and live versions of your site.
- Automatic backups – Kinsta automatically backs up your site and stores 14-days of backups for you.
- WordPress-specific security – DDoS detection, hardware firewalls, and more.
- 24/7 support – get help via Intercom live chat whenever needed.
If you want your WordPress site to load fast, picking the right host is one of the best things that you can do.
So…how fast is Kinsta?
I’m going to approach testing Kinsta’s performance a little differently than most reviews. Rather than simply posting numbers for my test site by itself, I’m going to do a comparison so that you can see how much of an actual effect moving to Kinsta has.
- I’ll test my test site’s performance at my current personal host (SiteGround).
- Then, I’ll test that exact same site at Kinsta.
Done this way, you’ll know both:
- How fast Kinsta can be by itself
- Whether or not your site will actually load faster if you change to Kinsta hosting
Ok, so here’s the low-down on my test site. It has:
- Elementor installed
- A homepage that consists of a weighty Elementor template using Elementor Canvas (a blank theme template)
- SG Optimizer caching (for the SiteGround test) – because Kinsta has server-side caching, it wouldn’t be fair to test SiteGround without SiteGround’s caching solution.
Here’s how my test site at SiteGround fared in a Pingdom test:
My test site loaded in 1.32 seconds.
To be honest? That’s already pretty fast in comparison to many hosts – SiteGround is no slouch. So can Kinsta beat those tests? Let’s find out…
At Kinsta, the exact same site loaded in…0.643 seconds. Which means Kinsta was able to load my test site in about half the time it took SiteGround:
So yeah…Kinsta is pretty fast. But can it sustain those speeds under some load? To test that, I’ll put it through a Load Impact test with 50 concurrent users over 5 minutes (the most available in Load Impact’s free plan).
Here’s how Kinsta did:
Over 50 virtual users, the load time on my test site only jumped over 400ms twice. And even with 50 active users at the end of the test, Kinsta was still able to serve up my test site in 372ms.
Basically, that means your site will load just as quickly for the 50th user as it does for the 1st user, which is important if your site gets high traffic.
Because Kinsta focuses exclusively on WordPress, the Kinsta team was able to build a WordPress-focused onboarding process that makes it mind-bogglingly easy to launch a new WordPress site.
Here’s how simple it is…
You sign into your Kinsta dashboard and see this big button. You click it…
- Choose your data center from the big list. Kinsta has 13 global data centers, including one in India.
- Name your site (this is for your internal Kinsta dashboard)
- Choose Add a brand new WordPress install
- Enter basic details for your WordPress installation
- Choose some special goodies like whether or not to activate WordPress Multisite or install WooCommerce/Yoast SEO
- Click ADD
And that’s it! You now have a working WordPress install:
A Tour Of The Rest Of The Kinsta Dashboard
Are you the world’s only fan of cPanel?
If so, you’re going to be disappointed because Kinsta has built a custom dashboard that:
- Is actually user friendly
- Looks great
- Lets you manage all aspects of your site
Jokes aside – Kinsta’s dashboard is a major step up from cPanel.
In the main dashboard, you can get a quick look at stats for all of the sites on your account:
If you click the Manage button next to one of your sites, you’ll be able to manage all details for that site. And you can also quickly switch between Live and Staging environments, which is helpful if you need to do any development:
For an example of what those sidebar menu links let you do, here’s what the Backups interface looks like:
Notice how you get one click restores to both the live version of your site and the staging version? That’s helpful!
And here’s a look at some of the Tools that Kinsta gives you:
Other things that you can do in your Kinsta dashboard include:
- Manage DNS records
- View more detailed analytics for your sites
- Add two-factor authentication
- View an activity log for your Kinsta account to make sure there’s no funny business going on
If you’re like me, your goal is to never have to talk to your host’s support team.
And when it does, it’s nice to be able to quickly get in contact with support (because hosting problems are stressful!)
So how does Kinsta handle support? As I mentioned, you get 24/7 live chat support via Intercom, which is always available inside your Kinsta dashboard:
Intercom is great in comparison to traditional live chat because you never need to worry about accidentally closing the live chat window. That is, the Intercom window is always there, even if you move to a different page inside your dashboard.
As for response times, here’s a message I sent at 4:11 pm. Less than a minute later, I already had a response:
Keep in mind that I live in Vietnam – so 4:11 pm for me would actually be ~4:11 am if you live in North America.
Be aware, though- Kinsta purposefully does not offer phone support. You can read their reasoning here.
For the longest time, Kinsta’s pricing made it inaccessible to most casual WordPress users.
That’s no longer the case.
As of November 2017, Kinsta now has plans starting at just $30 per month (previously, the cheapest plan was $100 per month).
Here’s a look at Kinsta’s new pricing structure:
In the past, Kinsta plans did not have monthly visitor limits. It’s a bit of a bummer that the new plans do – but the new plans do make Kinsta much more accessible. Additionally, the new prices are still competitive with the rest of the managed WordPress hosting industry.
Should You Choose Kinsta Hosting?
Well…given that we host this site at Kinsta, you can probably guess where this recommendation is going…
Here’s why we like Kinsta:
- It’s fast. You saw the data.
- The dashboard is awesome. Kinsta’s dashboard blows cPanel out of the water and is the best of any managed WordPress hosting provider that I’ve personally tried.
- Managed WordPress hosting features. That means you get help with backups, staging, etc.
- Fast support response times. Being able to get under one minute response times at the equivalent of 4:11 am is nice to have.
While the visitor limits on the new plans might be a bit disappointing for high-traffic sites, they also come with a significant reduction in price.
All in all, if you’ve moved beyond cheap shared WordPress hosting, you should definitely give Kinsta a look.