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Kinsta Review: Blazing-Fast WordPress Managed Hosting

Last Updated on March 1st, 2024

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Have you ever experienced something new that made you realize the way you’ve always done things is…bad?

That’s the feeling I had when I signed into the MyKinsta dashboard for the first time. I’ve been hosting sites for ten years now, but during that whole time I’ve never used a host that didn’t rely on cPanel for its dashboard.

I always assumed that was normal. Sure, cPanel’s interface looks like it hasn’t been touched since the 90s, but it works…

Unfortunately for my reality, I now know that’s not normal. There are better ways of doing a hosting dashboard, and Kinsta is one of the hosting providers who recognize that…while also giving you some of the fastest page load times out there.

In today’s review, I will dig into Kinsta’s managed WordPress hosting. Since 2013, Kinsta has been providing high-performance managed WordPress hosting to businesses and enterprises. To bring even more value to customers, they recently launched application, database, and static site hosting, becoming one of the most reliable cloud platforms on the market. They’re not the cheapest host out there (though their prices are competitive with similar offerings), but if you’re looking for quality and service rather than latte-priced shared hosting, you should keep reading.

*Note, we originally posted our Kinsta review back in 2016. In 2023, we went through and updated all of the information, ran new performance tests, and covered new features.

Key Kinsta Features (for Humans)

  • Managed hosting. That means Kinsta manages and optimizes the software, monitors security, offers expert WordPress support, and provides many free and automated solutions.
  • Optimized for WordPress, applications, and databases. Obviously – it’s what they do!
  • Built on Google Cloud Platform’s premier tier network. Kinsta’s infrastructure is powered by the Google Cloud platform. What is amazing here is that they use Google’s top-performance machines. All Kinsta clients get hosted on C2 compute-optimized VMs, and they also started rolling out the Google Cloud’s latest C3D machines in all available regions.
  • Server-level caching. Kinsta’s seamless caching system eliminates the need for complex plugins. With bytecode, object, page, and CDN caching, load times are drastically reduced. The introduction of Edge Caching takes it a step further, ensuring lightning-fast content delivery and an unmatched cloud hosting experience.
  • Early Hints web standard. This feature helps improve page load times by giving the browser a chance to download certain resources in advance of or in parallel with others.
  • Enterprise-level integrated Cloudflare CDN. You get an integrated CDN service from Cloudflare at no extra cost. Kinsta’s CDN is HTTP/3-enabled with 260+ PoPs, with benefits like faster 0-RTT handshakes, better performance, and more. 
  • 35 different data centers. Choose from different data centers located all around the world. This is great for allowing you to locate the server where your primary audience is.
  • Free site migrations. All Kinsta plans come with free migration performed by its engineers. Moving a website to Kinsta usually doesn’t incur any downtime, and the host also helps you inspect your migrated site before it goes live. Additionally, Kinsta allows you to get unlimited basic migrations from any host of your choice. 
  • Easy staging areas + staging are included in each plan. Make changes to your site in a staging area and only push them live when you know they work. Or selectively push certain elements (database, files, etc) to see their impact without affecting other components. If you need more resources, Kinsta provides premium staging environments as an add-on. It allows you to add up to five additional environments.
  • Site cloning. In addition to staging, you can also quickly clone a site to speed up your development workflows.
  • Enterprise-level Cloudflare Security Features on All Plans: Kinsta offers enterprise-level Cloudflare security features across all of its plans. These comprise protection from any kind of vulnerabilities and DDoS attacks, a firewall to block malicious traffic, and content delivery optimization. With this tool, Kinsta promises to deliver a secure and high-performing environment for websites of all sizes and types.
  • Automatic daily backups. It’s super easy to restore to a backup – you just need to click a button. You’ll get daily backups included with your plan (backup retention varies per plan, but is at least 14 days). If you’re in need of an external backup, Kinsta also offers add-ons to backup your storage to Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage. 
  • 24/7 uptime monitoring. They seriously check your site every three minutes to monitor uptime – that’s awesome!
  • 24/7 Expert support. With Kinsta, you’re in good hands with actual WordPress experts providing top-notch support. Whether you reach out through tickets, Intercom, or explore their extensive knowledge base, rest assured that knowledgeable assistance is just a message away. They offer round-the-clock English support, as well as support in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish during specific hours.
  • Scalability. Never worry about going viral or other traffic spikes.
  • Free Cloudflare SSL. Kinsta has integrated Cloudflare integration, so you can have a free SSL certificate with wildcard support.
  • Premium DNS. You get access to premium DNS powered by Amazon Route 53. This offers better performance and reliability than using the free DNS from your host or domain registrar.
  • Kinsta API: You can easily automate workflows outside the MyKinsta dashboard. Whether it’s executing critical applicants or clearing the cache, the API lets you automate these tasks effortlessly.

Key Kinsta Specifications (for Robots)

I’ve told you before…I’m no dev – but if you’re interested, here are some of the specs Kinsta is running with:

  • PHP 8.0, 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3
  • NGINX, MariaDB
  • SSH, WP-CLI, Git
  • LXD-based container technology
  • ionCube loader and one-click cloning

Kinsta Review of Performance

All those fancy features don’t matter if they don’t translate into quick page load times. So before I give you a hands-on look at the custom Kinsta hosting dashboard, let’s run some WordPress hosting performance tests.

To create a meaningful test, I set up a site using a full landing page template from Elementor, our page builder of choice here at WPLift.

Because it’s a complete landing page design, this should represent of how an “average” WordPress site would perform.

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I didn’t add any of my own performance optimizations. However, Kinsta does add its own optimizations, like Edge Caching, CDN, or early hints web standard. 

Then, I used Pingdom Tools to test its performance…and the results were great.

The load time for my test site from the Washington DC server was a speedy 473 ms:

Re-running the test from the San Francisco server got an even more impressive load time of 486 ms

Beyond these objectively excellent front-end load times, another thing that I can say about Kinsta’s performance is that the back-end WordPress admin dashboard loads amazingly fast. I’ve never experienced such a speedy dashboard at any other WordPress host.

The Kinsta Hosting Dashboard

Here’s what I went all googly for in the introduction…the Kinsta dashboard:

MyKinsta dashboard was built from the ground up with flexibility and ease of use in mind. Many tools are available to use with just a click of a button + MyKinsta is available in 10 languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Swedish and Danish! You can run and manage all your web projects in one place, from applications, databases, and static sites to managed WordPress sites.

Adding a site to Kinsta

If you want to add your own site, rather than take advantage of free migrations, it’s easy to do. Just go to the Add Service area and click the WordPress site button. Then, you can choose whether to create a new WordPress install or clone an existing one.

You’ll also be able to configure some nitty-gritty details, like which of the 35+ available data centers you want to use:

Below that, you can enter your basic WordPress account credentials. Then, you can also choose from two very convenient options:

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Below that, you can enter your basic WordPress account credentials. Then, you can also choose from two very convenient options:

  1. Have Kinsta pre-configure WordPress multisite for you (which can take some time if you try to do it manually)
  2. Have Kinsta install WooCommerce for you, if you’re planning to launch an eCommerce store

And once you click Add WordPress site, you’re finished! After a short wait, while Kinsta sets up everything, you’ll be able to access your new WordPress site.

The MyKinsta dashboard is definitely a big advantage of using Kinsta. Usable, uncluttered. A huge upgrade from cPanel’s gaggle of icons.

Managing an existing site

The interface is just as slick when it comes to managing your site.

When you click to manage a specific site, the first thing you’ll see is all the relevant info.

You can get the SFTP details, manage databases, and configure SSH. Why STFP and not FTP? The reason is that Kinsta only supports SFTP connections to keep your data safe and encrypted.

You can then use the links on the left to move between different parts of that site’s dashboard.


The Backups tab houses all of your backups. It also lets you create a manual backup if needed. Plus, you can automatically back up your site to Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage with Kinsta’s external backups add-on.

By default, Kinsta will automatically back up your site every day. It also backs up your site before key actions, like pushing a staging site live. If you’re willing to pay, though, you can upgrade this automatic schedule to hourly.

And if you need to restore a backup, all you have to do is click the Restore to button. You can then restore your backup to either:

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  • Your staging site
  • Your live site

Kinsta stores both your automatic and manual backups for at least 14 days, which gives you plenty of time to catch issues.

If you want to download a backup to your local computer, Kinsta also gives you the option to create a downloadable backup once per week.

Tools, Redirects, IP Deny

The Tools tab houses a few useful tools. You can:

  • Clear your site cache (you can also do this from your WordPress dashboard too, of course).
  • Restart PHP.
  • Enable WordPress debugging (this saves you from having to do it in your wp-config.php file).
  • Run a search and replace on your database.
  • New Relic Monitoring and APM tools help you to identify detailed performance blocks. Here, we suggest you never use New Relic Monitoring & APM simultaneously. However, you can switch between both tools. To enable the New Relic Monitoring tool, you need to get the license key. Follow this guide to get the license key.
  • Add password protection using .htpasswd.
  • Force HTTPS on your site.
  • Change which version of PHP you’re using.
  • Enable ionCube Loader on your environment if your website code is obfuscated.
  • Remove Set-Cookie headers.
  • Enable Site Preview to test your site before migration without changing your DNS records or database.
  • Activate the Geolocation to identify where your site’s visitors are coming from, so you can redirect traffic from a specific location.
  • Enable edge-caching to give your site a speed boost of up to 50%.
  • Enable Early Hints web standard to improve page load times. 

The Redirects tab is another useful tool that lets you set up 301 or 302 redirects on your site. This is great for preventing 404 errors and helping with SEO if you ever have to change the URL of a piece of content:

Finally, the IP Deny tab is another helpful tool that gets its own tab. This one lets you blacklist certain IP addresses to protect your site from bots, spammers, or other malicious actors:

Setting up a staging site

Testing site changes on a live environment is a bad idea. But I think most WordPress site owners are guilty of it at some point (I know I am!). With Kinsta, you never have to fall prey to bad practices again. They offer a standard staging environment for free on all plans, which is ideal for testing or development purposes. And there’s also a premium staging add-on available, ideal for conducting resource-intensive site development and testing. 

Setting up a staging area is super simple. At any time, you can use the Change Environment drop-down in the top-right corner to switch between your live site and staging:

You’ll then get access to basically the same set of features that I showed you above…just for your staging environment.

When you browse to your site, you’ll see staging in the URL. That means nothing is happening live – it’s all contained in the testing environment. You can make as many changes as you want without any fear of breaking things.

Then, when you’re happy with your changes, just push a button to push the staging area to your live site. Kinsta will automatically back up your live site and then completely overwrite it with your staging site.

If you’re not happy, you can always revert back to the old version thanks to that automatic backup, which is a really convenient feature.

Viewing analytics

Another useful tool in the MyKinsta dashboard is the Analytics section. Here, you can view detailed usage statistics for all of your sites, including high-level metrics like visitors, as well as detailed metrics like average PHP + MySQL response time and PHP throughput.

Also, within MyKinsta, you can take advantage of the built-in performance monitoring tool that Kinsta has available for all customers. This free APM tool helps you identify any performance issues that might occur on your WordPress site so you can immediately take action. 

Kinsta APM captures timestamped data about your WordPress site’s MySQL database queries, PHP processes, external HTTP calls, and more. With this information at your fingertips, you can debug long API calls, slow database queries, non-optimized plugins and/or theme code, and slowest, average, and median transactions.

The best part? You don’t need to pay for any third-party services–Kinsta APM is available for free on all plans.

Sharing and restricting access

Finally, if you need to share your Kinsta hosting account with other users, Kinsta has some really neat tools to help you do that safely.

First, when you invite other users, you can choose different permissions levels and also choose between giving that user access to:

  • Every site in your account
  • Just a specific website

Then, you also get an in-dashboard Activity Log that lets you see every action taken by users with access to your Kinsta account.

This helps you monitor what’s happening and sniff out any funny business:

Great support when you need it

I was impressed with the support Kinsta offers. Notably, their support is available 24/7/365, ensuring assistance around the clock. Moreover, they provide multilingual support during select hours, catering to a diverse range of customers.

Kinsta also has a great knowledge base that can answer many questions. Plus, you can take advantage of their free resources, including:

DevKinsta: This tool lets you develop, design, and deploy WordPress sites from your local machine. It includes local email management and database tools that make it easy to develop plugins, themes, and custom sites. 

Kinsta Resouces: Take advantage of free resources to learn and enhance your website development skills. Explore detailed articles, videos, and helpful guides covering various topics. Stay updated with the latest trends and master popular frameworks and programming languages.

Kinsta Pricing

Ok, awesome dashboard, fast servers, great support…

What’s the catch? Well, Kinsta is a cloud platform with high-performance managed hosting. To get all those features, you shouldn’t expect budget-bin shared hosting prices.

Kinsta has added plans from $35 and $70 per month that make their hosting accessible for anyone who is serious with their WordPress site. Kinsta has changed its pricing model from bandwidth-based to visitor-based. Each plan includes free CDN with 260+ PoPs, SSL certificates with wildcard support, enterprise-level Cloudflare integration with premium features, APM tool, and free site migrations, among many others.

This is obviously more than budget-shared hosting, but it’s still quite competitive with similar hosts like WP Engine and Flywheel.

Is Kinsta worth it? If you’re hosting a hobby blog about knitting sweaters for cats…then no, Kinsta isn’t worth it. Stick with cheap shared hosting and keep your costs down.

But if you’re running a business or a profit-focused website, and you want good service, an easy-to-use dashboard, and great performance…then yeah, you should strongly consider Kinsta as they would focus on helping you scale your business. You probably know the value of paying for quality.

P.S. Kinsta is also suitable for everyone who wants to host and manage all their web projects in one place, as they offer WordPress hosting, Application Hosting, Database Hosting, and Static Site Hosting.

Application hosting and Database hosting solutions

Kinsta is a long way from being just a WordPress hosting provider. Today, the company offers a full suite of hosting services that include application hosting and database hosting. Here’s my take on each of these services:

Application Hosting

Kinsta’s application hosting service is your one-stop-shop for all your Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) needs. And if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate leaving tasks like infrastructure setup and server management in the hands of their expert team while you focus on the fun stuff – creating, testing, and growing your applications.

Hosting an application on Kinsta is a fairly easy process. You can hook up to your GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket repositories and choose to deploy your application via any of their 25 data centers worldwide. And the best part? Your processes will run separately, providing an instant speed boost and allowing for smoother scaling.

Kinsta’s Application Hosting supports popular frameworks and libraries like Python, Node.js, Ruby, Java, Scala, PHP, and Go. And if you want to use your own Dockerfile in the repository, no problem! Kinsta lets you use any language/framework without limiting you to those supported by its existing Buildpacks.

Curious to see how this plays out, I decided to host a Node.js application on Kinsta. Here’s what I did:

1. I started by creating a new repository from the Kinsta – Hello World – Node.js template, which you can easily do by clicking on “Use this template” and creating a fresh repository.

2. Next, I went to MyKinsta and used the newly created repository to add an application. Kinsta automatically detects the required command during the first deployment, so you can leave the Start command blank for the time being.

3. During the deployment process, Kinsta itself installs dependencies mentioned in your package.json file. So, all I had to do was wait for the build to finish, and a Hello World page loaded at my application’s URL.

4. Kinsta automatically sets the PORT environment variable, so there was no need for me to define it myself or hard-code it into the application. I used process.env.PORT in my code when referring to the server port.

5. Kinsta automatically creates a web process with npm start as the Start command when you deploy an application. So, I made sure to use this command to run my server. If I wanted to use a different command, I would need to modify the web process in MyKinsta.

Overall, I found the process of hosting my Node.js application was straightforward, and Kinsta took care of all the infrastructure setup and server management, allowing me to focus on my application. 

Kinsta currently offers a free trial with a $20 credit for application hosting. Although you need to enter your credit card details to get started, soon this won’t be required. 

Database Hosting

Kinsta also offers database hosting, which I found fairly easy to set up and use. With just a few clicks, I was able to choose the database type, deployment location, and preferred resources. Adding a database within MyKinsta was a breeze and only took a few minutes.

One thing that really impressed me was that Kinsta uses containerized databases with no shared resources, providing better performance and security. Additionally, if you connect your application and database internally, Kinsta won’t charge you for internal traffic (since the requests remain within the same network).

Kinsta currently supports:

  • MariaDB
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Redis

Adding a database was a simple process. I simply clicked the Add service button on the top right side of the Applications page and selected Add database from the dropdown. From there, I was able to customize the database name, display name, type, username, password, data center location, and size.

Based on my experience, Kinsta is a reliable and efficient cloud solution for hosting databases. From small startups to large enterprises, all kinds of businesses can use it for a wide range of applications and use cases.

Free Static Site Hosting

This free service allows you to host up to 100 static sites on one account. You can deploy sites that are composed of non-dynamic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. You are able to use SSGs and handle the build process free of charge and can deploy sites from your GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket repository.

Kinsta’s Static Site Hosting provides a fast and secure infrastructure to deploy sites to the edge on Cloudflare’s global network with 260+ locations. The service supports custom domains, SSL certificates that are automatically issued, one concurrent build per site, 1 GB build image per site, 600 build minutes per month, and 100 GB bandwidth per site. 

Kinsta Review: Final Thoughts

Going back to my cPanel home will be tough, but I know it’s the right decision for my current projects. But if you mean business, I was impressed with the WordPress, Database, and Application hosting products Kinsta has put together.

The dashboard is well-designed and easy to get around, they offer plentiful support at every corner, and the page load times are incredible. Overall, Kinsta is an excellent hosting provider for WooCommerce and for business websites that are looking to scale their growth to the next level.

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A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.