Kinsta makes no reservations about the company's focus. The full name of the organization of Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting, and that pretty effectively signals most of the ups and downs of Kinsta as a hosting provider.
Unless you are very specifically seeking out a service that provides excellent tools and resources for managing a WordPress site then Kinsta is just not the place for you. You might as well stop reading now, because that is all Kinsta does. If, on the other hand, you are interested in seeking a robust, high quality WordPress hosting provider and don't expect to need much else, read on – Kinsta is probably the best host that strives to meet the needs of that niche market.
My Kinsta Review
I would say the majority of the web hosting companies I run into out there try to offer a wide variety of services and features. That makes sense; by casting a wide net web hosts hope to attract a broad base of clientele, thus maximizing their potential income. Kinsta does not follow that line of thinking.
If anything really sets Kinsta apart from the herd, it is their unwavering focus on doing one thing and doing it well. They exclusively provide managed WordPress hosting. Exclusively on Google Cloud. With the web server, database architecture, language versions, and so on, of their choosing, not yours. Basically, they give you the setup that they have determined works for the most people, and you are supposed to not worry about it.
When it comes down to it, there is a certain class of users who will hate that approach, and a certain class of users who genuinely want a provider that just works and doesn't require them to fiddle with version control systems and config files.
Which group you belong to will likely play a large part in determining how you react to Kinsta. Personally, as someone who just loves to tinker and customize my servers and hosting environments, I would go crazy using something like this. Nevertheless, I am in the minority; for most people Kinsta will “just work” and provide a level of intuitive convenience that is hard to match elsewhere.
Kinsta's Online Reputation
Kinsta is ridiculously well rated. Their reputation online and within the web hosting community is sterling. Check out this summary of ratings from popular web hosting ratings aggregate hostadvice.com:
Seeing such stellar marks on hostadvice inspired me to want to look deeper into the data behind those high scores. Keep in mind, hostadvice is a pretty well respected source that tends to have a broad range of opinions on any hosting service. Well, Kinsta has virtually no one star reviews.
Of course, Kinsta can maintain that level of high customer satisfaction by having such a narrow focus. The maxim “be the perfect managed Google Cloud WordPress host” is a lot easier to perfect than “make money doing everything ever,” the latter being the implicit mantra of most modern web hosting companies. Nevertheless, hats off to Kinsta for at the very least being good at what they do. I think this review I found online by Adam Lacey just about sums up the happy, breezy attitude customers seem to have towards Kinsta:
“Kinsta won't be the cheapest host but they're one of the best out there. I'm a new customer and the support has been fantastic so far and the performance is exactly as advertised. No false promises. If you're serious about your website and want a stress free hosting experience than Kinsta is for you.”
– Adam Lacey, Kinsta user from Austria
Types of Hosting Packages Offered
The ‘packages' offered by Kinsta are very straightforward: you pay more or less money to get more or less resources. Since Kinsta offers almost no choice in terms of operating systems, development environments, and so on, they're packages amount to little more than discounts for users who make larger orders. Their cheapest starter package is $30 per month for a meager 3G disk space (at least it is SSD storage, though). There is no doubt that you could get something cheaper, if all you are wanting to do is host a simple WordPress blog (we'll talk more about pricing soon!).
For those willing to pay more they offer pro and business plans which offer more of the same, basically. If you think of their product as web hosting then there is no doubt it's too pricey. However, if you think of their product as premium technical support for WordPress and site management, then it's not so bad. That 5-star support is not free.
Features and Tools Offered
Kinsta provides all of its users with exactly the same stack of technologies:
- Web Server: Nginx
- Database: MariaDB
- PHP Version: PHP7
- Cloud: Google Cloud
At first this struck me as a bad thing. Afterall, more choice means more power for users and developers, right? But it's really not so simple. Consider that offering a small set of consistent tools allows their support to be highly specialized. Furthermore, the Kinsta sysadmin team is empowered to heavily optimize against a single set of technologies, which is probably why Kinsta, a small company, competes in performance with considerably larger companies.
One big drawback of their limited PHP version offerings is that a lot of older WordPress plugins will basically be useless if you attempt to use them on a Kinsta WordPress install. This is less of a problem every day as more and more software is written in PHP7, but I have personally ran into issues where I needed to rely on old PHP versions to make my WordPress plugins work. If I had been on Kinsta, I simple would have been out of luck.
Other technical goodies include SSD storage, RAID, free backups, site migrations, Denial of Service protection, and uptime monitoring. Setting up new installs and features is made much easier using Kinsta's interfaces. Also, their user interface design is gorgeous and intuitive. It wasn't always this way; Kinsta recently implemented some major changes that greatly increased the ease of use of many of their services as seen in this video that reeks of corporate propaganda:
Current Pricing Options For Kinsta
Before I dive into pricing, I want to mention something pretty cool that Kinsta does. All open source projects receive a 15 percent discount on their hosting plans. Although I'm guessing that most of you reading this review are not looking to maintain a site for your open source project, I mention this discount because it's something positive that Kinsta does that I believe speaks to their character as a company. Anyway, moving on to the bottom line!
Here is an outline of Kinsta's four cheapest plans including basic features and system resources.
Kinsta's four cheapest plans are all pretty expensiveAs I mentioned elsewhere in this article, you can pay more and more to get additional resources but that's just about the only difference between the various “plans” offered on Kinsta. There's no way around it: Kinsta is expensive. Perhaps even overpriced. All I can offer in their defense is the meager fact that customers who do pay the extra for Kinsta seem very happy to have done so.
Oh, and I should mention: Kinsta offers a decent affiliate program. You get a 10% recurring submission, and referrals earn you between fifty and five hundred dollars depending on the size of the referral you land them!
The original Kinsta review here was written in 2018, before I actually started hosting there. Now I use Kinsta for my all highest-traffic websites. Their business plans are perfect for this. I also use their FREE SSL to save me a bit of money and hassle installing SSL myself.
On top of that, I also use their CDN option, which makes my sites lightning fast. In fact, I recently got a compliment from a VA doing some code work on my site regarding how fast my site was compared to the ones he usually works on.
Kinsta is legit. They are in a price range that will not be appealing to many new affiliate marketers, but as someone that relies on my sites for income, they really are the best solution.