Last Update | September 2021
Monthly Update - September 2021
|Hosting Plans||WordPress Hosting|
|Top Features||24/7 Native-Speaking Support In 5 Languages; 99.9% Guaranteed Uptime; Ease Of Use, Nearly Hands-Off Experience; Staging Environment To Test Your Website; Free Premium Migrations And Unlimited Basic Migrations; 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee; Automatic Database Optimization; Automatic Daily Backup And Manual Backup Points|
|Customer Support||Live Chat; Resource Center; Ticketing System|
During September, Kinsta:
- No updates
During August, Kinsta:
- Introduced a data center in Toronto (its second data center in Canada)
- Had several service disruptions, scheduled maintenance, and MyKinsta maintenance
Your favorite HostAdvice expert on duty! Well, we are all qualified, but at least let me hope I am the one you prefer. Either way, today, I will present my latest findings regarding Kinsta, a managed WordPress hosting provider.
Founded in 2013, Kinsta entered the market with a single thought – to alter the status quo. They promised to create the best WordPress hosting platform worldwide. But the question is, did they deliver?
Currently, Kinsta serves over 20,000 companies from 128 countries around the globe that switched to better, faster hosting. The only continent they haven’t reached yet is Antarctica. The company has 28 data centers, over 30,000 GB of daily traffic, and 99.9% guaranteed uptime.
Kinsta’s team is remote-first with local hubs. They are always looking for talents with the same values and enthusiasm regarding WordPress hosting. Furthermore, they are obsessed with fine-tuning their servers to deliver maximum speeds.
So, let us put them to the test. What does Kinsta provide in terms of features, support, and ease of use? Will I spot some aspects in which they need improvement? Let’s jump right into it!
Getting Started with Kinsta
Kinsta communicates its mission, vision, and goals as soon as you visit its site. You can instantly understand what it has to offer – Premium WordPress hosting for everyone. So, while the company is limited to WordPress, it can assist different companies with various needs.
Kinsta specifies which entities, in particular, it can assist in Solutions, the first tab of the Menu. The company offers support to Agencies, Enterprises, WooCommerce, Small Businesses, Membership Sites, Multisites, Education, LMS, and Nonprofits.
If you scroll a bit down, you will also find the features that form the basis of Kinsta’s service: fully managed solution, Cloudflare security, free migrations, ultimate speed, daily backups, and Google Cloud integration.
Now, you very well know that I am here for purchase. While I can try a free demo, I still want to get a paid plan. After all, there are some differences between the two, and I want to provide firsthand advice. So, I clicked on ‘View Plans’ to see what I can get.
Kinsta offers ten pre-established plans and custom solutions. More precisely, you can go for a Starter, Pro, Business 1, Business 2, Business 3, Business 4, Enterprise 1, Enterprise 2, Enterprise 3, or Enterprise 4 plan.
The latest, most expensive plan comes with 150 WordPress installations, 3,000,000 monthly visits, 250 GB disk space, free SSL, and CDN. However, if you need more, you can contact Kinsta’s sales team to get a higher plan or dedicated VMs.
Speaking of the plans, you can get a discount if you go for annual purchase. To be more specific, Kinsta charges you for ten months, while you get to use the services for a whole year.
I always go for the cheapest option. In this case, that’s the monthly option for the Starter plan. It offers 1 WordPress install, 25,000 visits, 10 GB disk space, Free SSL & CDN, all with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Up until this point, all was fast and straightforward, which I especially like.
Once I clicked on ‘Choose,’ I got to the following screen.
In Account Information, you need to enter your email, first name, last name, and password in the ‘Create account’ section.
On the right side, you can check the hosting plan or change it. As mentioned before, Kinsta offers two months for free in the yearly plans. And they remind you of it here. So, if you are sure of what plan you want to get, you might also use the promotion and commit to the longer term.
Next, once you click on ‘Continue,’ you will get to Payment. Here, you need to enter Billing Information and Card details.
Billing Information consists of Country, State, City, ZIP Code, Address. You also need to choose whether you are an Individual or a Company.
Then, in Card details, you need to enter the card holder’s name, card number, and expiration.
Once you enter all information, you can check the payment summary and ‘Finish up.’
Setting Things up at Kinsta
I’m in! Now, let’s see what do we have here. I got a warm welcome for sure. As soon as you enter MyKinsta, the platform reserved for Kinsta members, you will see the following screen.
At this point, you can create a fresh new WordPress site, request migration, or receive a site transfer from another Kinsta member. All three options are part of the Dashboard.
If you click on ‘Get Started’ within the ‘Create your first site’ section, Kinsta will transfer you to the following screen.
First, you need to choose whether to Install WordPress, start with an empty environment or clone an existing environment.
Going for the first option, you will need to enter your domain name, the site’s name, location, WordPress site title, WordPress admin username, WordPress admin password, and WordPress admin email.
You can choose among 28 data centers, including almost all continents and geographical regions, when it comes to the location.
Furthermore, you can choose a language, select whether to install WooCommerce and Yoast SEO.
If you don’t install WordPress, you will need to enter your domain name, name of this site, and location. The same information is required in the third field, which clones an existing environment.
Now, back to the Dashboard. If you go for the second option, request migration, you have two options. Here, you can go for a basic migration which is free, or a premium migration.
Kinsta offers basic migration for free if your current host is A2 Hosting, Bluehost, Cloudways, DreamHost, Flywheel, GoDaddy, HostGator, Pagely, Pantheon, Savvii, SiteGround, tsoHost, WP Engine, WPX Hosting.
With my account, I also got one Premium Migration Credit to move one WordPress website to Kinsta. Using this option, a Kinsta technician takes over the work from your hands. You need to submit a migration request and review the migrated site once the job is done. Furthermore, Kinsta will ensure you know how to point your domain at Kinsta after confirming the successful migration.
The third option within the Dashboard is to receive a transfer from another Kinsta member. If you choose this, you’ll need to grant a third party your Kinsta company ID so that they can transfer your site.
I went for the first option in the Dashboard and created my site. After entering all the required information, I got to the following screen.
I honestly love their approach. As soon as you add your first domain, the Kinsta team provides you a checklist of all you need to do to get your website up and going fast, as part of the Knowledgebase.
To sum up, here are the six steps you need to perform:
- Test your site
- Point your domain to Kinsta
- Set up HTTPS
- Enable the Kinsta CDN
- Add redirects
- Run a speed test
Here, you can also check the notifications or add a new site.
As you can see, the information is loading at this time. However, once I waited a while, I got the following data.
It’s a comprehensive view of my domain name, data center location, site visits, bandwidth usage, disk usage, PHP version, and environment.
If you click on the site name, or in my case, ‘Testtesting,’ you will get to the following screen.
Before I get into details, I have to point out the importance of the environment.
You can choose between live and staging environments. If you make changes in the live setting, others can instantly spot the modifications. Fortunately, you can go for the second option. With the latter, you can perform testing and development without others seeing the changes on your live site.
Info is divided into Basic details, SFTP/SSH, Database access, Transfer site and Delete site. You can also Rename or Label your site in this section and generate a new SFTP or database password.
Next, you can check your primary domain and domains list in the Domains section.
Kinsta offers daily, hourly, manual, system generated, and external backups. You can also create a downloadable archive file containing your entire website.
Site cache, Restart PHP, WordPress debugging, Search and replace, New Relic monitoring, Password protection, Force HTTPS, Geolocation, ionCube Loader, and PHP engine are all part of Tools.
Here you can also modify the PHP engine. Even though the site recommends using PHP 7.4, you can also go for PHP 7.3 or PHP 8.0.
In Redirects, you can either add a rule or do a bulk import.
WP Plugins delivers a comprehensive view of all installed plugins: their status, version, and available updates. For instance, you can check whether you must use a plugin if it’s active or not.
Now, this is a unique option I stumbled upon, and I cannot say I didn’t like it. You can add IP deny if you are dealing with a bot, spammer, or hacker constantly hitting your site.
If you enable Kinsta CDN, you can further speed up your site. Better yet, you can save up on resources by using CDN already included in your plan.
Finally, you can Enable Kinsta APM as a tool that identifies the source of slow performance on your website.
This time, when I returned to the Dashboard, I got another screen.
Once you have registered a domain, Kinsta uses the Dashboard to communicate your sites, resource usage (visits, CDN usage, and disk usage), notifications, data transfer, and unique visits. If you scroll a bit down, you will also find the Resource Center, but I will cover that one later on.
Back to the Main Menu, you will find Kinsta DNS right under Migrations. Here, you can add your first domain to Kinsta DNS. Essentially, it’s a premium service that comes for free in each customer account. The DNS allows you to manage your zone records and use Amazon Route 53 for a faster domain name resolving experience.
Once I clicked on Add your first domain, I got the following message.
In Analytics, you can find Resources, CDN Usage, Dispersion, Performance, Response, Cache, Geo & IP. You can also filter this data for the past 24 hours, seven days, 30 days, or the current month.
The following section in the Menu is Company. Here, you can check your plan and add-ons. For instance, you can extend your plan’s disk space with a monthly add-on or upload your live environments’ backups to external providers. If you wish to cancel your hosting plan, you can also do so from this section.
Next, Invoices classify your payments as Paid and Upcoming. So, you can easily keep track of future expenses regarding your web hosting services.
In Payment methods, you can add a new card or payment method or delete an existing one. You can also check and modify your Billing Details or add a new label in the Site Labels section.
After Company, there is the User Management section. Here, you can add new users or change existing permissions. Also, you can specify for each user whether to have access to the whole company or only specific sites.
For instance, as I am the company owner, I have access to all sites. However, I can always choose to transfer the ownership to someone else.
In the Activity Log, you can track all your past activities on MyKinsta. You can also filter the data by actions (Kinsta DNS, Site actions, Migrations, Billing, Kinsta admin actions, User management, Notifications) by sites or users. But, as you can spot, I haven’t done much yet. So, there’s no need for it.
At last, there’s the Knowledge Base, but I will cover it in the support section.
Performance, Speed, and Uptime
Kinsta grants its users, including me, the highest levels of performance, speed, and security because it’s signed up to Google Cloud’s Premium Tier. Furthermore, Kinsta users can choose from 28 Google Cloud server locations worldwide. Selecting a server geographically close to your WordPress site audience helps keeps latency low and load times snappy.
Better yet, Kinsta combines Google Cloud with a lean LEMP web stack, including Nginx and server-side caching. In turn, if you properly optimize your WordPress site, it will load in under a second, which is not that often in other hosting providers. So, you won’t even need a page caching plugin.
As mentioned before, Kinsta is determined to fine-tuning its servers to deliver the best possible speeds. Their speed-obsessed architecture covers technologies like Nginx, PHP 7, LXD software containers, and MariaDB. Still, the most important one is the KeyCDN, a fantastic HTTP/2, and IPv6-enabled content delivery network.
The Kinsta CDN is an excellent feature to speed up your site. However, Kinsta only serves wp-content and wp-includes folders and files under 100 MB with Legacy CDN, while the limit for Cloudflare CDN is 5 GB.
Here, I would also like to mention Site cache or Restart PHP. Site cache makes your site load faster by storing site data, while restarting your PHP engine may clear out some issues that lead to site speed problems or connectivity troubles.
You can also find Memcached, Redis, and Elasticsearch, tools that speed up WooCommerce stores and large WordPress sites in Kinsta’s more advanced performance solutions.
I cannot complain when it comes to the uptime either. The company offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, meaning if numbers drop below this limit, you will get some money back. But rest assured, as Kinsta runs virtually 100% of the time, or at least that’s how it was for me during the testing period.
Level of Support at Kinsta
Kinsta offers world-class support 24/7/365. According to their site, they have approximately 2,500 support conversations per week, which is quite a lot if you ask me.
The part I like the most regarding their customer support is that they want to be locals. More precisely, the provider hires a remote support team that covers all time zones, with native-speaking support available in five languages.
As you can see, you can go to resources or get help now, the latter referring to the live chat feature. One thing to keep in mind is that the live chat is limited to clients only. Luckily, I am one. So, I got to use it.
Now, if you aren’t logged in to MyKinsta, you can once again get the needed help. In this case, you can go for email support, use their knowledge base or social media platforms.
At this point, you can select either of the three categories and submit a ticket. Here’s how it looks.
If you click on the live chat option in the bottom right corner while you’re not logged in to MyKinsta, you will see the following message. Essentially, the team will redirect you to email.
Kinsta also offers a comprehensive Resource Center where you can find the guidance of all you might ever need related to their site and services. The Resource Center consists of Knowledge Base, Learn WordPress, Feature Updates, Blog, Newsletter, Free Ebooks, Free Webinars, Podcast, and Cheat Sheets.
Still, I will log into my account to better understand how the Kinsta team assists their customers.
According to Kinsta’s refund policy, you can benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee and no long-term contracts on all plans, except for the dedicated add-ons.
Better yet, you can opt to use any of their add-ons during this initial 30 day period. They will refund the add-ons along with the base plan. However, there are several exceptions at this point, such as:
- Customers with dedicated instances
- Returning customers (eligible for a partial refund of unused fees)
- One-time fees, such as paid migrations or a malware removal fee
- Overage fees during the initial 30 day period
I am eligible for a refund. So, let’s check whether Kinsta will grant me my money back.
You will receive a warm welcome as soon as you click on the live chat feature within MyKinsta. The team estimates their usual reply time to a few minutes. Let’s see if that one’s true.
I clicked on send us a message, which led me to the following question. At this point, I was a bit indecisive about whether to go for the second or third option. However, I believe billing and invoice better address my problem.
I got it right. In a matter of seconds, I got another subquestion. Kinsta immediately asked me whether I would like to cancel my plan or I have another billing issue. Sure, I went for the first option.
Next, the chatbot asks whether you would like to talk to someone to help you resolve your issue. However, if you have already made a decision, they provide a straightforward solution. This is one example of perfect customer support. They act upon your request instead of promoting the product or forcing you in a particular direction.
After I requested to cancel my plan, I got a link where I can do so. Furthermore, Kinsta ‘reminded’ me of the refund policy, stating that they will refund the full amount back onto my original payment method.
I covered this part earlier, but just to remind you – the “Cancel Plan” option is within the Company section on the left-hand side of the MyKinsta dashboard.
First things first, Kinsta explains the process.
Next, you can review your final bill details.
The final step is to enter your password, and cancel the plan.
After the cancellation, Kinsta asks why, which is yet another indicator of good customer care. Way to go, team!
Security and Backups
Once again, there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to Kinsta’s security features. The provider takes many steps to secure your sites, such as allowing you to run the latest versions of software, PHP, and MySQL. You can further enable features like two-factor authentication, GeoIP blocking, or limit the login attempts.
Kinsta offers you free one-click SSL certification activation and hardware firewalls. The automatic updates of security patches include free hack fixes, blocking code injection and DDoS attacks, daily malware/spyware scanning.
The round-the-clock monitoring tool Kinsta APM (Application Performance Monitoring) can identify the source of slow performance on your website. It will track and analyze slow transactions, database queries, external requests, and WordPress plugins and hooks. In turn, the Kinsta staff will receive the alert immediately and take instant measures to resolve it.
You can also use the WordPress debugging tool to see warnings, errors, and notices on your website. Kinsta also offers New Relic as a PHP monitoring tool you can use to get detailed performance statistics on your website or Force HTTPS that redirect all visitors so that they visit your site through HTTPS. In turn, it greatly enhances security and search engines like this, so it also helps your SEO.
However, Kinsta strongly advises against using Kinsta APM and New Relic monitoring at the same time. Instead, you can switch between them.
Last but certainly not least, Kinsta offers four name servers to set up DNS pointing, each with a different website suffix. So, if one is down, you can rely on the rest, say .net or .org, to keep your site up. Pretty impressive, I must admit!
Now, as mentioned, Kinsta offers daily, hourly, manual, and external backups. The company automatically backs up your site every day and stores each backup for 14 days. At this point, you can restore to a staging or a live environment.
If you want to create a staging environment with the selected backup, your live environment will not be affected in any way.
If you go for the second option, the provider will overwrite your current live environment with the selected backup.
Kinsta also offers you more frequent backups at a price. More precisely, you can go for 6-hour backups or hourly backups. The 6-hour backups are available for 24 hours, providing four additional restore points over the last day. In turn, this option is perfect for websites that change frequently.
Hourly backups are created every hour and available for 24 hours, with 24 additional restore points over the last day. So, this is the perfect choice for eCommerce sites, membership sites, and ones that are continually changing.
Kinsta offers you the option for up to five manual backups, each of which is stored for 14 days.
Furthermore, the company automatically creates backups before specific actions, once again storing them for 14 days.
You can also go for external backups, such as Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage.
At last, you can create a downloadable archive file containing your entire website once per week. It will be available for you to download for 24 hours.
Specific Features of Kinsta
Kinsta is a superior managed WordPress hosting provider. here’s what makes it unique, thus better than its competitors:
- 24/7 Native-Speaking Support In 5 Languages
- 99.9% Guaranteed Uptime
- 262% Client Base Growth In 2018
- 97% Support Satisfaction Rating
- Speed-Oriented, WordPress-specific Site Architecture
- Ease Of Use, Nearly Hands-Off Experience
- Scalable And Flexible Solutions
- Staging Environment To Test Your Website
- Free Premium Migrations And Unlimited Basic Migrations
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- Automatic Database Optimization
- Automatic Daily Backup And Manual Backup Points
As it’s a specialized WordPress service, it offers superior features for its users. It provides a custom cPanel with all options you might need regarding your WordPress site. The Dashboard is straightforward to use. It comes with colossal flexibility and customization options. Still, some find it weird as it differs from the standard form we are all used to.
Furthermore, Kinsta serves as an all-in-one solution for users with high traffic sites and severe security concerns. As a user, you can benefit from lots of speed and security-enhancing features, along with many freebies, such as migrations, SSL, and CDN. Their knowledgeable customer support team is also available 24/7/365 to assist you in all quests. Better yet, Kinsta uses the Google cloud platform; thus, it’s recommended by Google.
On the other side, Kinsta doesn’t offer any other type of hosting. Sure, you can scale up or down, but you cannot change the service if you need to do so. Also, there are lots of specifications within the plans, such as limited storage capacity.
Now, even though Kinsta provides huge value for its prices, some users still find it a bit expensive. In other words, other providers offer plans at more affordable prices.