In this Kinsta review, we’re going to take an in-depth look at:
- Why I switched from DreamHost to WPHostingSpot to Kinsta
- Kinsta’s features, support, speed, pricing, and more
- Who Kinsta is a good fit for & when you should host your WordPress site with them
I’ve been hosting this website on Kinsta for over a year, seen regular improvements, talked with support several times, and know my way around their custom dashboard.
Let’s get started:
Why I Switched From DreamHost To WPHostingSpot To Kinsta
No matter how popular your site is, you want your website to load quickly. Many different studies have confirmed that site speed affects bounce rates, conversion rates, and sales.
If you care about how your brand is perceived and how happy your visitors’ experience is, you don’t want a slow website.
I used to host this site (and many others) on DreamHost. I started with a shared hosting server and moved to a VPS server.
It worked fine, but it definitely wasn’t quick.
And as sites I had started to get more traffic, I wanted a better solution.
After doing a ton of research (probably too much), I came across an article from Brian Jackson on Woorkup.com that recommended WPHostingSpot.
It seemed like a solid WordPress hosting platform that had reasonable pricing and no long-term commitments.
They didn’t have a great website, but with a trusted recommendation, I gave it a shot.
The speed was an immediate improvement over DreamHost, but I quickly ran into issues…
Their DNS management system didn’t work so I had to submit a ticket to set up MX records (for email), CNAME, etc.
I like to test different services and that sometimes requires adjusting DNS records – having to submit a ticket and waiting was a pain, but I lived with it for a few months.
Finally, I switched to Kinsta in Feb 2018 (1 year ago) because my sites kept growing and they really had a ton of additional built-in features that make them an excellent value.
There are a ton of features included with a Kinsta hosting plan, so I probably won’t cover everything, but I’ll highlight some of my favorites and things you’ll most likely get value out of.
Kinsta built their own custom site management dashboard that lets you easily add new sites, manage users, adjust settings, see site stats, and bunch more.
The main screen looks like this:
At a glance, you can see visits from your top sites, overall visits, disk usage, CDN usage, number of sites installed, and recent invoice data on the top row.
Below that are graphs for data transfer and unique visits. Not pictured is a CDN usage graph and recent blog posts.
MyKinsta Sites Screen
Going down the menu on the left is the sites screen:
You can quickly see server location, visits, bandwidth usage, and disk usage for each WordPress install.
Clicking on a site will take you to its settings with a handful of submenus.
There is some sensitive information on the Info screen that shows SFTP/SSH and database login details. Secure, randomized passwords are automatically created for every install so brute force hacks are going to be extremely difficult.
The Domains screen lets you add and remove domain aliases, and also has a button to open your WordPress admin.
MyKinsta Backups & Staging
Backups are automatically created every day and stored for a minimum of 14 days (longer on higher plans), plus you can create manual backups at any time.
Backups might not sound that exciting, but they’re crucial when you need them.
What’s impressive is how fast and easy it is to backup and restore sites – to either your live or staging environment:
And they also automatically create system generated backups before you do any critical changes – this is amazing:
Easy access to common support requests on other WordPress hosting platforms saves a ton of time.
You can quickly add an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt for free, add HTTP -> HTTPS redirects, change PHP versions, update database entries, clear your cache, and more.
They also make it easy to add server-side redirects without needing to FTP or messing with server files:
Other site features include a list of WordPress plugins (and which ones need to be updated), IP blocking, one-click CDN setup, and server logs.
KinstaDNS uses Amazon Route 53 to manage DNS records.
There’s not a lot to mention here, but it’s easy to use and Amazon Route 53 is fast with server locations all over the world.
It might be nice if they automatically added records when you create a new site, as you have to do that manually right now.
I could see how that might not be ideal for some setups, but maybe they could ask when you create a new site if they should automatically create A and CNAME records for you.
Kinsta gives you access to a ton of analytics. You can view stats for all sites combined or individually, with 24-hour, 7-day, and 30-day lookback periods.
Some of my favorite things to monitor are the Performance, Response, and Cache sections.
In Performance, you can see average PHP + MySQL response times, PHP Throughput, PHP Worker Limit, and AJAX usage:
The Response Code Breakdown and Response stats, along with the 500 Error and 400 Error graphs can easily alert you to any ongoing issues:
And the Cache tab gives you a nice comparison of Hit, Bypass, Miss & Expired server requests:
There is a lot more that isn’t pictured on each of these pages that show you actual files affect and other graphs that help display the data in useful ways.
They have an excellent knowledge base article on how to use analytics to troubleshoot issues. I don’t see any other WordPress hosts providing these kinds of resources.
All of these analytics help to pinpoint areas that you could improve for a faster site.
Myself and many others have seen huge performance increases after switching to Kinsta.
A highlight of their infrastructure that helps keep things quick:
- PHP 7, Nginx, MariaDB, HTTP/2 on isolated sites and servers that scale up and down automatically
- Google Cloud Premium Network (with 18 server locations)
- KinstaCDN powered by KeyCDN (free bandwidth included in every plan)
- KinstaDNS powered by Amazon Route 53 premium DNS
- Server-level caching (and nothing to configure)
- Automated backups (this means no slow plugins)
Many other managed WordPress hosting companies charge extra for a CDN or different server locations, so it’s nice they include everything on all plans.
Which leads nicely into pricing…
Because they don’t limit features by price, the difference in pricing mostly comes down to how many visitors you get and how many websites you need.
Kinsta’s pricing starts at $30/month for 1 WordPress site up to 20,000 visits/month, 5GB SSD storage, and 50GB CDN transfer.
I have found the need to go up a tier will come down to monthly visits or number of WordPress installs.
You shouldn’t be limited by SSD storage or CDN usage, especially if compress images using a plugin like ShortPixel.
Here’s a sample of my dashboard partway through the month:
Some other features that scale up with the pricing tiers are the number of PHP workers per site, free site migrations, and days of backup storage (minimum is 14 days).
Kinsta doesn’t offer coupons or discounts, but when you pay for the year up front, you get 2 months free – and you can easily upgrade and downgrade your account as needed.
If you go over your plan’s visit limit, they keep your site running and simply charge $1 per 1,000 visits and $0.10 / GB for the CDN if you have it active.
They also offer other upgrades you can pay for separately such as:
- More frequent backups
- Every 6 hours ($50/month per site)
- Every hour ($100/month per site)
- Cloudflare Railgun ($100/month per site)
- Elasticsearch ($100/month per site)
- Nginx Reverse Proxy ($50/month per site)
- Additional PHP Workers
When I first started hosting with Kinsta, I had to reach out to support to ask them to add server-side HTTP -> HTTPS redirects once I got a site initially set up.
This wasn’t ideal, but the good news is that their support is really quick and knows what they’re doing so it usually only took a couple minutes.
The screenshot on the right took less than 5 minutes total.
And even better news, Kinsta is regularly coming out with new updates to their dashboard and service.
Now that same process in 2019 is a simple click:
You can access the support chat from any screen in your dashboard.
Their entire support team is extremely knowledgable about WordPress and the Kinsta platform. Many of them have contributed to WordPress core, created plugins, and have sites of their own.
Is Kinsta A Good Fit For You?
I’m sure they would love it if I just said it’s a great fit for everyone, but that’s not quite the case.
Not everyone can afford a single site for $30/month, but if you can, you definitely should.
For someone just starting out, that price may seem high, but the reliability, speed, features, and support easily make it worth it.
If you don’t want to mess with caching plugins or set up a third-party CDN to speed up your site (or don’t know how), simply use Kinsta to make things easy.
If you run an e-commerce site with WooCommerce, definitely use them as they are experts in making those sites fast (they’re a bit more tricky to configure than a blog).
If speed and quick server updates are important to you, Kinsta is on the cutting edge.
If you run any sort of business from your website, now is the time to sign up!