The Ferrari of managed WordPress Hosting
Detailed review of Kinsta
Kinsta wants to market itself as the premium WordPress host for SMB’s and large companies. They mainly want to distinguish themselves in terms of quality, performance, user-friendliness and support. Do they succeed?
VPS vs Cloud Hosting
If you are starting with a WordPress website, you may opt for standard shared hosting. No worries in terms of security and configuration, simple management and low costs. It’s a simple life. Hopefully, however, there will come a time when your website is so busy that it outgrows shared hosting. At that moment time has come to look at better options, such as a VPS or cloud hosting. With a VPS you are assigned (part of) a server on which you then install your website (s). So you have dedicated hardware for running your website. This has the advantage that you do not have to share this hardware with anyone else, but the downside of the coin is that you have a fixed cost, regardless of whether your website is viewed often or not often.
That is why recently more and more people are opting for Cloud Hosting. Unlike a VPS, your website actually runs on a gigantic infrastructure that can scale effortlessly. Some examples are AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. In many cases you only pay for your usage. If you only receive a few visitors per month, your monthly bill will be a lot lower then if you have a high traffic website. An ideal solution for websites that are highly dependent on their performance and that have to deal with fluctuations in visitor numbers.
However, you usually need technical knowledge to use cloud hosting. In some cases, however, you do not have that knowledge available and it is also not an option to hire someone to do this management for you. If this is the case Managed Hosting is an ideal solution. The management remains the responsibility of the provider, so that you do not have to worry about this. Kinsta offers Managed Cloud Hosting, which means that you use the power of the cloud (Google Cloud in this case) without the need for advanced technical knowledge. Creating an account and having WordPress installed automatically is sufficient in many cases.
Simplicity is key
When you visit the Kinsta website, it is immediately clear what they are aiming for: simplicity. Not only in terms of ease of use, but also in terms of pricing. With cloud hosting, the final price depends on a lot of things, but Kinsta simply sells it so you know what to expect.
Before we go into the functionalities of Kinsta and how they translate into practice, let’s first zoom in on the available packages. When you come from shared hosting, you will immediately notice that the prices are a bit higher than what you are used to. What you used to pay for half a year, you now pay per month. But if you have already encountered a few times that your website worked slowly or was unreachable (as a business you can’t afford any downtime because downtime means no earnings), then you’re probably happy to pay this price if it means that you avoid a lot of headaches.
The cheapest package starts at $ 30 per month. Rather than listing all the technical elements of the servers, Kinsta keeps it simple and they express it in the number of visits. This basically means you can receive about 20,000 visitors on your website for that price. If you do go over that, you pay an additional cost of 1 dollar per 1000 visitors. Your website will never be closed because you get too many visitors. So you don’t have to worry, even with large visitor peaks. You will have to pay a little more, but your website will remain easily accessible. With the cheapest package you get 10GB of storage, which is a combination of the web files and the size of your database. In other words, if you have 9GB of web files and media, you have 1GB left for your database. However, it is possible to purchase additional storage, but the prices for this are quite high. In practice, it is better to ‘offload’ your images to, for example, AWS S3, so that they do not count for your storage within Kinsta.
If you are getting more visitors every month, you can opt for the more expensive package of $60 per month with which you can get 40,000 visits. The storage space here is also expanded to 20GB. Moreover, it is also possible here to install 2 WordPress installations, while on the cheaper package you can only run 1 WordPress installation. This has no impact on the speed of your websites. All plans also include free SSL, CDN, backups, staging environments and more, so no plan has advantages over the other, like with some competitors.
In short, when it comes to pricing, Kinsta manages to keep it very simple by using the number of visits as a limit. The prices seem a bit high at first sight when you are used to the low prices of shared hosting (or a cheap VPS), but you will quickly have peace with that once you realize how much headache you save.
Once you’ve subscribed to Kinsta, it’s time to install your first website (s) on the platform. This can be done in a number of ways. If you don’t have a site yet, you can easily create a new site via the dashboard and automatically install WordPress (possibly in combination with WooCommerce for a webshop). A database is then immediately created to which the WordPress installation is linked.
If you already have an existing website, there are also two options to transfer it. You can do it yourself, by creating a site and database and then transferring the files via SFTP and phpMyAdmin or you can call on Kinsta’s support for the first time. You will receive a ‘token’ with which you can perform a migration, regardless of where your website is installed. Kinsta support can therefore fully take care of the migration of your website.
If you want to create a new website later that is based on an existing website, you can easily create a new site that is a duplicate of an existing site. Actions that would typically take you a lot of time, but here’s how Kinsta can save you (a lot of) time.
Kinsta offers many useful tools per site. These tools ensure that you no longer need specific plugins for certain actions, which in turn is beneficial for the performance and security of your website. This concerns, for example, simple things, such as performing a ‘search and replace’ in the database, automatic forwarding to an HTTPS version of the website or adding .htpasswd authentication.
However, it doesn’t stop there, because there are a lot of clever and powerful functionalities hidden in the platform. For example the possibility to set up a ‘staging environment’. With this you can create a clone of your existing website with a single click, where you can test things out before you apply them on your “real” website. Anyone who has a lot of experience with WordPress will undoubtedly know that an update of a plugin can cause your entire website to stop working properly. That is why it is always better to first make a clone of your site, then perform the update and – if everything works well – also ‘push’ the changes to your live site (the ‘production site’). Via the Kinsta dashboard you can easily create a staging version of your website, so you can test everything without worry. The adjustments you make here have no effect on the live version.
In your staging environment, you can test things without any worries, because changes are not implemented on the live site.
Another useful tool is ‘redirects’, for example. While you used to have to do such things via Cloudflare Page Rules or via a Redirection plugin, you can now simply do this in the Kinsta dashboard. Furthermore, logs are also very easy to consult and you can activate the Kinsta CDN with a simple click of a button. Your website files are then spread over different servers, so that a visitor can request the files via a server in his or her vicinity. This is especially useful if you have a website that is frequently visited internationally. For example, a visitor from America does not have to connect to a server located in Belgium. In combination with Kinsta’s built-in caching, this provides a big performance boost for your website. And faster loading times mean higher rankings in the search engines.
You can therefore perform many actions with Kinsta without having to install a WordPress plugin for it. It remains an important best practice to have as few WordPress plugins as possible running on your website. For this reason some plugins have been ‘banned’ by Kinsta. For example, if you want to activate a plugin that automatically scales images, Kinsta will automatically deactivate it. Such plugins put too much strain on the server.
The tools ensure that you have to install fewer WordPress plugins.
Every action you want to perform on the Kinsta platform is a piece of cake thanks to the beautiful and intuitive design of the Kinsta dashboard. Cloud hosting is usually quite an intimidating topic, but thanks to Kinsta’s thoughtful dashboard, it’s actually easier than managing a shared hosting package. Things such as statistics are clearly displayed on the dashboard and you can easily click through to request more data. In addition, you can also arrange DNS management for your domain directly through Kinsta. Kinsta uses Amazon Route 53 for this. However, it is not possible to buy domain names directly through Kinsta, so you will have to buy the domain name elsewhere and then adjust the nameservers to point them to Kinsta. We suggest Namecheap, CLICK HERE FOR AWESOME PROMO’S ON DOMAIN NAMES AND MORE
Kinsta wants to prove itself as a reliable partner and support obviously plays an important role in this. In case of a problem, you want to get hold of someone from support as soon as possible to solve it. On MyKinsta this can easily be done via the Intercom chat. Of course we also tested this out, and within 5 minutes we got hold of an employee who wanted to help us immediately. No endless forms that are processed within 48 hours, no automatic chatbot that asks you all kinds of questions, but just a real person who is ready to help you as soon as possible. We threw some difficult questions at him and he solved everything, so the support staff is well aware of all the features and problems.
- Great performance
- Handy tools (like staging)
- Fast and helpful support
- Great and simple design
- Some WordPress plugins are banned