Kinsta gives our best web hosting providers a run for their money. When it comes to speed, features and ease of use, it’s top-tier. That said, the high price point demands nothing less, and though Kinsta delivers on the promise the price tag sets out, it may not be in the cards for all users.
If it’s in the cards for you, though, Kinsta provides a wonderful experience. In this Kinsta review, we’re going to talk about what we liked and disliked after spending time with its Starter plan. Along the way, we’ll get into speed, features, security, privacy and more before giving our verdict.
It should come as no surprise that we’re fans of Kinsta here at Cloudwards.net. So much so, in fact, that it earned a high spot in our best web hosting for WordPress guide. That said, it isn’t the web host for everyone, especially if you have a tight budget or fancy working on a platform other than WordPress.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Intuitive dashboard
- Strong Load Impact performance
- Excellent feature set
- Malware removal
- Daily backups
- Free SSL/TLS certificate
- Free content delivery network
- Full solid-state drive storage
- Limited to WordPress
- Only cloud hosting offered
Alternatives for Kinsta
Kinsta has a lot of features, which is fitting considering how expensive it is. Rather than talking through all of them, we’re going to focus on the non-security features for this section. If that’s what you’re looking for, read the “security” section below.
Unlike inexpensive hosts, such as iPage (read our iPage review), Kinsta’s feature set is focused on performance. For example, your plan comes outfitted with full solid-state drive storage, which has much faster read and write speeds compared to traditional spinning hard drives. That said, SSD storage has become standard for most web hosts.
What isn’t standard is a free content delivery network. Kinsta gives you between 5GB and 1TB of transfer on KeyCDN, which is a content delivery network built for HTTP/2 and IPv6. If you’re curious about IPv6, read our IPv4 vs. IPv6 guide.
That said, the most impressive of Kinsta’s features is the support for multi-site networks. The more expensive plans include many WordPress installs, and Kinsta gives the owners of multi-site networks control over who manages what.
You can create and manage users, which is rarely seen from web hosts. DreamHost is another example that comes to mind (read our DreamHost review). If you’re running multiple WordPress websites, you can segment permissions to others on your team that are managing specific websites.
For development, Kinsta includes WordPress staging that can be turned on with the flick of a switch. Staging is a separate environment for your website where you can test changes before pushing them to the live website. Though not an uncommon feature, Kinsta’s easy to use implementation shines.
Lastly, Kinsta provides server-side caching along with an in-house caching plugin for WordPress. In practice, they help speed up your website by serving static assets from the cache rather than fetching them from the server.
Kinsta Features Overview
|Web Application Firewall|
|Live Chat Support|
Kinsta’s pricing is strange compared to services in our other reviews. Because it’s a WordPress-only host, there are multiple tiers for the same type of hosting. The Starter and Pro packages are standalone plans, while Business and Enterprise plans have multiple tiers within. The table above shows the lowest price possible for each plan.
It’s worth noting how Kinsta measures resource usage. Unlike plans at, say, InMotion Hosting, where monthly visitors are simply an estimate for the resources you’re allocated (read our InMotion Hosting review), monthly visits are how Kinsta measures your resource usage. Kinsta measures the number of unique IP addresses that connect to your website in a given month.
That’s an important distinction. Unlike with a lot of web hosts, you can be charged overage fees with Kinsta. If you exceed your monthly visits — which only counts unique IP addresses — you’ll be charged $1 per 1,000 visits. That said, it’s important to note that if you upgrade plans, the monthly visitor limit is applied immediately.
Now, let’s talk about the plan lineup. The easiest plans to digest are Starter and Pro. Starter is, well, great for starters. For a reasonable price, you’ll get a single WordPress install, 20,000 visits and 10GB of SSD storage. You get all the features of other plans, too, minus the number of PHP workers.
Kinsta Pro Plans
Pro plans bump you to two WordPress installs, 40,000 visits and 20GB of storage. Unsurprisingly, it’s twice the Starter plan for twice the price. Plus, you get a free migration with Pro plans, which are only available for free with Starter if you purchase a year.
Business and Enterprise plans have four tiers ranging from $100 to $1,500 per month. The plan you land on is going to depend on a few factors: the number of WordPress installs you need, your monthly traffic and the amount of storage space you need. If you need the specifics, we recommend consulting Kinsta’s website.
Plans are offered monthly and yearly, and unlike most web hosts, there aren’t any multi-year shenanigans (read our Bluehost review to see what that looks like). Instead of having different rates, the monthly price is the same no matter if you buy a month or a year. That said, purchasing a year awards you two months of service for free.
That makes Kinsta’s lineup clean when it comes to pricing. For example, Starter is $30 per month or $300 per year. The transparency shouldn’t be understated, either. Kinsta may be expensive, but the packages feel well-rounded for their respective prices.
Plus, all purchases are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is, thankfully, clarified during checkout.
Ease of Use
Kinsta is so easy to use that we were up and running with our website in less time than it usually takes to get to check out. The control panel isn’t cPanel, but instead a proprietary design that emphasizes usability. Within five minutes, we had purchased a plan, set up our domain and installed the latest version of WordPress.
Though we normally cover checkout, Kinsta speaks for itself. There are no nonsense add-on boxes that you have to uncheck or terms that you have to reevaluate. You’ll see your monthly price, along with a deal to get two months free if you purchase yearly, and a checkout button.
The dashboard is equally as clean. After purchasing your hosting, you’ll need to head to the “sites” tab to set up your domain. While doing so, you can also install WordPress, along with essential plugins, such as Yoast SEO.
That integration with WordPress gives Kinsta a leg up on the competition. While not the only WordPress focused host out there — read our Pagely review for another — it excels over hosts that cast a wide net, such as HostGator (read our HostGator review). For example, once you add your website, you can view and manage WordPress plugins from the dashboard.
There are other small details that make the dashboard stand out, too. For instance, you can change your website from live to staging from the drop-down menu inside your website management. Plus, it’s simple to add IP addresses to a block list and setup redirects without ever opening the WordPress back-end.
It’s the balance of power and usability that makes Kinsta shine. Though not as accessible as Hostinger (read our Hostinger review), Kinsta has much more going on under the hood. Instead of appealing to newbies, Kinsta crafted a control panel that allows those who know what they’re doing to do it quickly.
There was never a question of where something was or how to change it. Rather, Kinsta’s dashboard promotes exploration and rewards you with integrations that are seldom seen with web hosts. The “oh, that’s cool” reaction popped up more than once.
Kinsta only offers one type of hosting: cloud hosting. Though it may not provide low-cost shared hosting or the configurability of dedicated hosting, cloud hosting is an emerging compromise that allows websites to get speed and security for a low price.
Cloud hosting is a way in which servers are configured. You’re still hosted on a single server, but that server is pulling computing resources from a network of underlying servers. Because the server is set up that way, your website gets higher scalability, redundancy and security. Your website is centralized, but the resources it uses aren’t.
That makes it difficult to hit a computing limit or crash a server from too many requests. If the cloud is massive enough, your server will always be able to call upon other servers in the network for more computing power.
In the case of Kinsta, the network is large enough. It’s powered by Google Cloud, which is virtually limitless when it comes to computing power. You’re not buying space on the cloud. Rather, Kinsta has developed a platform that allows you to expand your use of Google Cloud as your website needs.
Plus, there are 20 data centers around the world that you can choose to be hosted on. Each website you add can have its own data center, meaning if you’re putting up multiple versions of the same website, you can attach it to a data center close to the location you’re targeting.
What results is a flexible form of hosting that, despite its higher cost, delivers much more performance over a traditional shared package. Though firmly on the other side of the cheap web hosting fence, Kinsta delivers fast and reliable hosting at a relatively low cost.
Speed & Uptime
Because it’s powered by Google Cloud, it should come as no surprise that Kinsta performs well when it comes to speed. At the time of writing, it rivaled our champ A2 Hosting with ultra-fast load times and surprising consistency (read our A2 Hosting review).
We tested our blank WordPress installation using Pingdom Speed Test and Load Impact. Our testing was done with Kinsta’s Starter plan, but seeing as the only difference between plans are the monthly visitors and storage space, the performance represents all plans offered.
Our testing produced a 96 out of 100 from Pingdom Speed Test, which is impressive, enough so, in fact, that Kinsta earned a spot in our fastest web hosting guide. Digging into the details, which you can see in the chart below, there’s nothing out of place. The connect metric is longer than normal, but only by a small amount, and the wait time is low. There’s nothing to complain about.
Load Impact produced similarly impressive results. We sent 50 virtual users to the server over five minutes as stress test. In total, slightly over 9,000 requests were made, and Kinsta was able to process those requests at an average of 31 per second. Plus, we had nearly the same response time throughout the test, which is great.
There weren’t HTTP errors, either, suggesting there are plenty of resources for your website to use (if you want to see errors, read our GreenGeeks review). Given the structure of cloud hosting, that isn’t surprising, but it shows an upside of going with a more expensive platform.
Honestly, none of our results are surprising. You’re paying for ultra-fast hosting with Kinsta, and our testing shows that Google Cloud delivers.
As for uptime, your website will be monitored around the clock. There’s a Service Level Agreement that Kinsta has in place to provide your website with 99.9 percent uptime. The uptime guarantee gives Kinsta 30 minutes to react to emergencies, and for each hour your website is down, Kinsta will give back 5 percent of your monthly service fee.
That’s not likely to come up, though. Given that Kinsta provides a free CDN and is built on Google Cloud, the likelihood of your website experiencing downtime based on server issues is slim.
Kinsta has an impressive feature set, and though they’re not flashy, they’ll help you ensure your site is fast and consistent. The security features are excellent, too, with Kinsta patching all the essential vulnerabilities in a website’s infrastructure.
That starts with automatic daily backups, which can be browsed, downloaded and restored from your account dashboard with a single click. Though Kinsta only holds the backups for 14 to 30 days depending on your plan, the ability to download your backups means you can have them for virtually forever.
If you’re going that route, make sure to have a solid online backup service to store your website copies. We recommend Backblaze (read our Backblaze review).
That said, you can also make manual backup points if you’re trying changes on your website. The number of manual backups that you can create depends on your plan, but you shouldn’t have to create them. Kinsta offers six-hour and hourly backups for an extra fee, which is ideal for websites that frequently change.
Also included with your plan is a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. Though a low-level certificate, it will allow you to open an encrypted connection between your visitor and the server. If you need a beefier SSL/TLS certificate, which is important for, say, an e-commerce outlet, Kinsta allows you to easily import one in your dashboard.
Kinsta doesn’t have malware removal or scanning, or, at least, not in the way that Arvixe offers it (read our Arvixe review). Rather than advertising a scanning tool, such as SiteLock, Kinsta secures its infrastructure with distributed denial-of-service attack detection, hardware firewalls and uptime monitoring behind the scenes.
That’s not just smoke and mirrors. Kinsta has a security guarantee in place that’ll help you clean your site if it becomes compromised. The team will repair or reinstall the WordPress core, reset all database and FTP passwords and identify where the malware is coming from. That malicious code will be removed, too, cleaning your website.
Kinsta will keep your databases and content intact, but you’ll be responsible for reinstalling plugins and themes. That’s a service that can often run hundreds of dollars per website, and the fact that Kinsta includes it for free shows a clear confidence in its infrastructure.
That said, you’ll have to get your website to Kinsta first. As part of the migration process, Kinsta will scan your website to see if it has malware. If it does, you’ll need to pay a $100 cleaning fee before it can be hosted on Kinsta’s servers.
Like all web hosts, Kinsta collects your personal information and server logs at checkout. That information isn’t handled by third parties unless required by law, though. As far as selling your information, Kinsta doesn’t post anything, with only a few specific third parties being able to access your information under strict circumstances.
Overall, you have little to worry about from Kinsta, or even Google Cloud, for that matter. That said, other companies may have hungrier policies. It’s hard to fault Kinsta for that, though, considering the modular nature of web hosting and how many services can be involved in the process.
Kinsta has excellent support if you know what you’re doing. The direct nature of support reps is helpful in the messy and often confusing world of web hosting, as long as you can translate what they’re saying. Newbies beware, though, because Kinsta isn’t there to hold your hand.
That isn’t to say support is bad. Kinsta isn’t focused on beginner websites and, as such, the support isn’t, either. When we reached out over live chat, the rep was knowledgeable and helpful, pointing us toward some reading in the knowledgebase while also answering our question.
The knowledgebase can help beginners get off the ground. In addition to multiple troubleshooting guides and tutorials, Kinsta includes a glossary that defines common terms in the web hosting world, such as PHP and DNS.
Plus, the posts are detailed. Take, for example, the guide on pointing nameservers. Kinsta shows how to generate nameserver addresses in your account dashboard and apply them to popular domain registrars, such as GoDaddy (read our GoDaddy review).
Outside of that, there’s email support, but no phone support. Kinsta explains that the online messaging system often works better, and in this case, we agree. When we used the messaging system, we were able to resolve issues in minutes, and a log of the conversation was automatically sent to our email address.
Kinsta is pricy, but it has the chops to compete with the best of the best. With excellent speed, world-class security and prompt support, it’s the perfect choice for established or budding WordPress websites. That said, it’s a niche web host, so it might not be the pick for you if you’re looking to build on a different platform or get in at a lower price point.
What do you think of Kinsta? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.