During the initial years of WordPress, it was hard to find a proper hosting solution for your sites. People were hosting WordPress on servers not optimized for WordPress at all. Maintenance and keeping things up to date was a headache. But the radical adoption of WordPress – which is 30% of the web now – has changed the grounds completely.
Finding a hosting solution for WordPress is no more an issue. In fact, every other hosting service now provides dedicated hosting services for WordPress called Managed WordPress Hosting. But which hosting company should you chose to host your site with remains a question with many possible answers?! That’s what we answer in this post.
In managed WordPress hosting, companies also provide services for maintenance, backup, and upgrades. It allows you to focus on the real part of your site like creating content or making sales, instead of worrying about if your WordPress site is still running. 💯
It’s been quite some time since I got introduced to this incredible managed WordPress hosting service – Kinsta. But before I dig deep let me tell you that I host many of my sites (more than 10) on Kinsta and things could not have been better – blazing fast performance, cutting-edge tech, and top-notch support. It has been so far an impressive managed WordPress hosting solution. Shortly, I’ll explain how and why.
I’m pretty excited to share my experience with you. In this extensive review, I will be sharing what Kinsta has to offer, also I will try to analyze the performance through some experiments and tests.
So, let’s get started!
🚀 About Kinsta
Kinsta was founded by Mark Gavalda – a WordPress developer and DevOps guy – back in December 2013. It’s been less than 5 years and it has already outperformed its competitors in terms of performance and quality service.
Talking about the vision they’ve to say:
Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting provider where we take care of all your needs regarding your website. We run our services on cutting edge technology and take support seriously.— Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting Solution
Kinsta is the first WordPress managed hosting service which exclusively utilizes Google Cloud Platform.
It comes with tons of advantages and sets apart Kinsta from its competitors:
- 💭 Google’s Cloud Hosting platform is one of the biggest in the world and runs over a dedicated private global fiber network.
- 🔐 Makes use of a mature security model built over 15 years of experience. The same model is used to secure apps like Gmail and other Google Apps.
- ⚡ Advanced networking models that optimize requests and top-notch caching services to deliver content at blazing fast speed.
- 🎒 Makes redundant backups in at least 2 regions to make sure your data is secured in case of any disaster.
- 💥 Dynamic Scalability to ensure a smooth user experience.
- 🚒 Google’s Compute Engine uses Container technology which ensures that a separate container is allocated to each hosted site. A container has its own dedicated resources like PHP, MySQL etc.
Another advantage of Google Cloud Platform is their continuous expansion throughout the world to reduce the latency. As of now, Google Cloud Platform has made its existence to 15 locations and all of them are available at Kinsta. ⚡
- 🇧🇪 Belgium
- 🇬🇧 London (UK)
- 🇺🇸 Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA (current)
- 🇹🇼 Changhua County (Taiwan)
- 🇦🇺 Sydney (Australia) – Available as of June 2017
- 🇺🇸 Oregon (United States)
- 🇩🇪 Frankfurt (Germany)
- 🇺🇸 South Carolina (United States)
- 🇧🇷 São Paulo (Brazil) – Available as of September 2017
- 🇺🇸 Northern Virginia (United States) – Available as of May 2017
- 🇸🇬 Singapore – Available as of May 2017
- 🇯🇵 Tokyo (Japan) – Available as of November 2016
- 🇮🇳 Mumbai (India) – Available as of October 2017
- 🇨🇦 Montreal (Canada) – Available as of January 2018
- 🇳🇱 Netherlands – Available as of January 2018
⚡ Getting Started With Kinsta
Kinsta doesn’t only power one of the best Managed WordPress Hosting solutions but also provides an amazing user experience. The well thought dashboard design of Kinsta makes it fun and easy to get started.
→ Step #1
Once you’ve purchased a plan which suits your requirements, login to your dashboard at Kinsta and navigate to the Sites section.
→ Step #2
Here, you can manage all of your sites. It contains the list of all the sites which you’ve created. Initially, this list is empty. Click on Add Site or Add Your First Site Now button to add a new site.
→ Step #3
A new screen will appear asking you to fill out the details like site name, server location (includes all 15 locations), and whether or not you want to install WordPress right away. Select the nearest server location or maybe the one that suits the location of your traffic.
If you want to install WordPress, select Add a brand new WordPress install option. It will ask you for WordPress site details, credentials, and options to install some plugins with the installation.
→ Step #4
It will take sometime before it sets up everything for you. Once done, it will appear in the list of your sites under the Sites section. Click on the Manage button in front of it to view the details.
🛠 Site management dashboard is beautifully designed and well organized. You can find almost every detail you need – IP Address, Path, SSH/SFTP credentials, Backups, Redirections, CDN etc, all at one place. More on this later.
⚓ It enables server cache for all of your sites by default, so you don’t have to configure plugins to enable the cache. It makes use of the latest version of PHP – v7.2 – which is incredibly fast. Also, Kinsta setup your site to sitename.kinsta.com, but you can easily set up a custom domain.
To add a custom domain, simply add a new domain in the Domains section, grab the IP Address from Info section, set the DNS records, and you’re done. In fact, there is a detailed guide by Kinsta on what DNS records are, and how you can set up one for your site. That’s it, your site is ready and you’re good to go! ✌
→ Step #5
Next, go to the Domains section from the sidebar and click on the Open WordPress Admin link. It will take you to the dashboard of your website. Get your credentials from the Info section of Kinsta, login to your site, and start creating your content without worrying about anything!
🎯 Migrating a Website to Kinsta
By default, Kinsta sets up your site on yoursitename.kinsta.com. As long as you’re on .kisnta.com you can’t implement certain features such as enabling SSL and Kinsta DNS. To check out those features and see how migration process goes, I decided to shift a site to Kinsta.
Meanwhile, I also did some speed tests to see how it goes in the performance aspect. Below is the test result before moving to Kinsta. On an average, it’s about 700 ms, with B performance grade.
Now, let’s quickly go through the migration procedure. Remember, Kinsta provides one free migration after that you’ve to pay for each migration.
→ Step #1
Click the Migration tab on the left sidebar. When it opens up, it says, You Have Free Migration (if you have any). Click on the Request Your Free Migration button to proceed.
→ Step #2
As the migration application starts, it gives you a brief intro to the process. Click Next to proceed further. It will ask you for your current hosting details and additional information regarding HTTPS connection, eCommerce site, and multisite. Fill out all the details and hit Next.
→ Step #3
The next step is to provide FTP, SFTP, or SSH connection details. If you don’t have one — just in my case but I had to provide backup — write in that section backup provided. Once all the information is added, hit Next.
→ Step #4
At this stage, provide any additional information that you want the Kinsta team to know. Set your preference for your Location, HTTPS connection, and hit Enter.
→ Step #5
Now you are going to review your application and finally submit the request. After reviewing, the team at Kinsta will get in touch to schedule a migration and set up everything for you. They usually take a couple of minutes to get in touch with you and review your application.
Talking about my experience, it was the best, I have ever had. The team got in touch within 10 minutes and scheduled the migration. They were able to set up everything in less than 5 hours. Everything went smoothly and things got set up perfectly.
After a successful migration to Kinsta, I again performed the speed tests. Now, I observed 38% increase in page load speed. Which is kinda pretty great! 💯
Kinsta provides a minimal, clean, and beautiful dashboard coupled with a rich user experience. There are tons of features packed into Kinsta which help enrich your experience. I’ll be explaining a few in detail below.
→ Managing Sites
Managing sites with Kinsta is way too easy. Log in to your dashboard and head to Sites section from the left sidebar, click the Manage button in front of any site and you’re good to go. In case if you host multiple websites, there’s also a search box on top to easily get the site you’re looking for.
Now, whenever you click on the Manage button, it opens up your site and a whole bunch of options. Here, you can perform almost every action in a few clicks. Below is the overview of the actions which you can perform right away. I’ll be explaining a few major ones in detail.
- ℹ Info: Info section contains all the details of your host. It shows
Location / Data Center, IPv4 Address, SFTP/SSH credentials, and Database Access credentials right in front.
- 👁 Domains: It allows you to manage domains of your site. It contains info like current domain name, all the domains added, the primary domain, and an option to add a new domain.
- 💼 Backups: From here you can manage all the backups including creating new backups, restoring directly, and staging them.
- ⚙ Tools: This section takes away tons of the manual effort which you usually encounter which hosting a site. It contains tools like Clear Cache, Enable SSL, PHP Engine, New Relic Monitoring, and PHP Restart. With these tools, you can get your job done within a few clicks. I’ll be discussing the Enable SSL part in detail.
- ↩ Redirects: Allows you to add 302 and 301 redirects. Simply click on Add Redirect Rule button, add current URL, redirection URL, select redirection type, and you’re done.
- 🔰 Plugins: Lists all the plugins on your WordPress site with their status, version, and new updates.
- ⛑ CDN: Helps you add CDN to your site with just a few clicks – more on this later.
- 📊 Logs: Lists different type of logs related to your site – error, access, and cache logs.
→ SSL Certificate
With every plan at Kinsta, you get a free SSL certificate. Kinsta uses Let’s Encrypt to provide these. It’s integrated with Let’s Encrypt and provide one-click installation of certificates.
To install an SSL certificate, open the desired site from Sites panel, and go to the Tools section. Here, under Enable HTTPS section, click on Enable HTTPS > Generate A Free HTTPS Certificate to generate the certificate.
As I mentioned earlier Kinsta has partnered up with KeyCDN to provide the CDN service. Like SSL certificate, setting up CDN is just a single click away. Go to CDN section of your site and click on the Add Zone button, a pop-up will confirm the action, and Kinsta will take care of the rest. It may take up to 15 minutes before it configures up everything.
→ Kinsta Knowledgebase
Kinsta boasts a rock solid knowledge base with literally tons of extensive quality articles. Each and every article is crafted in a detailed manner where each step is explained completely with the help of screenshots. Apart from getting things done, these articles help you understand the things and add to your knowledge. Which is great! 🎯
For example, l opened up an article on ‘How to enable Kinsta CDN on WordPress site?’. It will start with a quick brief on perks of CDN, then bunch of related articles and then take you from setting up step by step to testing and troubleshooting. This is something you’re not easily going to find on every other knowledge base.
Kinsta takes backup of environment once a day. You can also manually create backups at any time. Up to 14 backups are saved consecutively in your account which you can either restore directly or restore to a staging environment and then finally go live.
To make sure things remain safe and you never lose your data, backups are stored redundantly and geographically at different locations. This way Kinsta manages to cope up with disastrous situations.
→ Activity Log
Kinsta maintains logs for each site as well as the activity logs of the entire account. It could be very handy while debugging, reversing the changes, or even blaming. Under each site’s log, you can find details of cache log, access log, and error logs.
🚧 Site Staging
Staging allows you to make the changes on your site and test them before you actually push them live. Like other features, creating staging site with Kinsta is also pretty straightforward. Follow the quick steps below to create a staging site.
→ Step #1
When you select a site from your dashboard, by default it is in Live Environment. You can switch between the live and staging environment through the drop down on the top left corner. Also, note that in the live mode, you’ll see a green live badge with each section.
→ Step #2
Once you’ve selected the Staging Environment, a new screen will appear, click on the Create A Staging Environment button to create a staging environment. It will take a couple of minutes before it gets ready.
Once it gets ready, you’ll be able to manage it like a simple website, you’ll have a temporary URL and every other stuff. In addition, you will now have a Push Staging To Live button in info section to go live with changes. Also, you will now have a Black Staging badge.
🎖 The Dashboard
Kinsta has got a clean and visually appealing dashboard backed by solid user experience design which makes accessing things easy. Below is the gif of the dashboard when you log in to your account. It lists all of your sites, resources usage, data transfer, unique visits, and invoices.
⚡ Hovering over the stats sections like data usage, or traffic provides further usage details. In the bottom of the dashboard, you’ll see links to the recent articles from the Kinsta blog. Which are awesome by the way, you rarely encounter such quality articles.
🎩 Dedicated Support Team
I find this review incomplete without giving a special mention to the support team. Kinsta has got so far the best support team that I have ever encountered. Each and every support team member is well-trained, skilled, and professional. You can reach out to them anytime, ask anything and you’ll get the answer.
I never got to wait for more than 1-2 minutes on an average to get a representative live. They’re literally available 24×7 to assist you. When they say, We take support seriously, they actually mean it.
🍭 Kinsta DNS
Kinsta provides free DNS service to its customers, while the number of domains which can utilize it depends upon your plan. It uses Amazon Route 53 to provide premium DNS service which results in performance enhancement and security improvements. Follow the detailed guide by Kinsta to get started.
Kinsta provides very detailed and in-depth visual analysis of your site’s data. It allows you to analyze your cache stack, traffic origin & regions, server performance, errors, and even redirects. It probably allows you to analyze your sites from every aspect and help you take appropriate steps.
On the top, you have filter options to filter by sites and select the time window. Here you will find multiple sections and a Resource tab which will be selected by default. It shows the total number of Visits, Bandwidth, and Top Requests. Visits and bandwidth sections show the usage stats per hours, you can see the stats by simply hovering over each hour section.
The other section of analytics provide the following information:
- ➗ Dispersion: Shows the percentage of devices used to access your site. Which is between Mobile & Desktop. You can also see the usage by hour by hovering over the graph.
- 🎭 Performance: Here, you can visualize Average PHP + MySQL Response Time, PHP Throughput, and AJAX Usage. At the bottom, it also lists the top usage stats.
- ⌛ Response: It shows you the breakdown of request responses. It includes 200(OK), 400(Bad Request), 500(Server Error), and 300(Redirects), divisions. This insight might be helpful in case if you’re up to any sort of changes or redirections.
- ⛽ Cache: It lists the percentage of requests being served through cached, bypassed, and missed.
- 📡 Geo & IP: Breakdowns the traffic with respect to region, country, IP, and cities. This could be helpful while targeting a specific region of users.
💰 Hosting Plans at Kinsta
Kinsta has got hosting plans for everyone. Hosting plans at Kinsta starts at $30 per month with one WordPress install and goes as high as $900 per month with 80 WordPress installs for enterprise-level businesses. You can choose to pay on a monthly or yearly basis. In case of yearly basis plan, you get free 2 months.
Plans at Kinsta are based on the number of visits which is a more flexible model. In each plan, you get free SSL certificate and CDN service. Kinsta has partnered up with KeyCDN to provide top-notch CDN service. Primarily the plans differ on the basis of the number of WordPress installs, visits, and disk space.
The Starter pack, however, doesn’t include site cloning, SSH access, and multisite support. Pro package also does not include the SSH access. Apart from these, as you go to the high tier plans, no. of free migrations and PHP workers also increase.
🙌 Final Thoughts & Analysis
Maedah and I (Ahmad Awais) have moved most of our WordPress sites to Kinsta and we couldn’t be happier. The traffic is at our all-time high, kinsta deals with the traffic spikes as well as the speed of our site has increased two and somewhere three folds. WPCouple, Ahmad Awais, Maedah Batool, and the upcoming Writy.io — all are hosted on Kinsta.com
🚀 One of the best things that happened after I migrated to Kinsta was my organic traffic and keyword rankings at Google increased. That was the prime factor of traffic increase. At one of my site, the traffic literally just doubled. So, happy with this Kinsta Effect. Take a look below.
👌 The good folks at Kinsta have spent the better part of the last two quarters of 2017 on redesigning their site from the ground up, and I must say that their efforts are noteworthy. The new design is pretty dope, clean, and user-friendly.
They have switched from bandwidth-based pricing model to visitor-based pricing model. I think it’s a good change because not all of the clients have the best understanding of bandwidth.
👉 Having a huge Google Cloud infrastructure at the backend is a big plus. It ensures reliability and smooth performance for its customers. It has been one of the major reason behind the success of Kinsta.
Talking about a case study, they said:
When an e-commerce customer was featured on a popular U.S. television program, its traffic spiked to over 1.2 million requests in a six-hour period. With Compute Engine’s autoscaling features and some smart caching, Kinsta was able to keep the website running throughout the spike and reduce page-loading times by 50%.— Kinsta Customers
If you’re serious about a rock solid managed WordPress hosting solution, then Kinsta definitely worth the shot. It worths every single penny and never makes you regret your decision. It comes with everything you could ever wish for.
🛡 Kinsta support is pretty great. The first thing I like about them is that they use Intercom (boy I love it) and then they hire awesome community members, actual developers to provide you with managed WordPress support.
Even on a Sunday night, I have never had to wait for more than a minute or two to get the first response. It's as easy as clicking the chat icon, typing your message, and getting a response. Not even a page reload.— Ahmad Awais
🦄 Moreover, Kinsta is one of our WPCouple Partners. Support from Kinsta has helped us create hundreds of free and open source software for the WordPress community. With their help, we’re able to produce projects create-guten-block and contribute back the to the WordPress community. If you read through their 2017 year in review you’ll know that Kinsta also supports many WordCamps in the community — which is a big deal for a bootstrapped company.
As always, I would love to hear about your experience with Kinsta (if any), or if you have anything else to share regarding their services. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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