Kinsta Review: Premium WordPress Hosting Service

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Kinsta Review: Premium WordPress Hosting Service

Kinsta Review Featured

Product Name: Kinsta
Product Type: WordPress Hosting

Content: Kinsta Review and Tutorials
Price: Starts at $30/month

Functionality

Ease to use

Price

Price

What We Like About Kinsta?
  • Kinsta is blazing fast. Do you need super speed on your website? Kinsta’s got your back. With its robust cloud hosting features, your website opens at a fast speed. When you consider that most users want your website to open in less than 3 seconds, then Kinsta will provide that joyful user experience for your visitors.
  • It’s safe. For any business website, one of your worries is hacking of your website. Kinsta is not hack-proof, but you don’t lose much even if your site is hacked and you can get it up within a few hours or even minutes. Kinsta also creates a backup of your website every day which you can use if you want to.
  • It has a staging area. So you want to make changes on your website but you don’t know how it will come out? You can do that in the staging area without affecting user experience. If you like what you see after using the staging area, you can then push the changes to your live site.
  • check
    Kinsta helps to withstand traffic spikes. If one of your posts go viral, one worry you may have is that your website may crash. But not if you use Kinsta. Its container technology allows it to scale as your website traffic increases.
Kista logo
What We Don't Like?
  • Expensive. Well, you shouldn’t be surprised considering all those features. Kinsta is not for the beginner who is short of funds. In fact, some monthly plans on Kinsta are more expensive than yearly plans on some other hosts.
  • No provision for email hosting. You’ll have to use an external service for this.
  • Some plugins are banned. Plugins like WordPress popular posts and WordFence are banned due to security reasons.

Introduction

Hosting is one of the most important features of a website. And people rarely give it the attention it deserves. 

No matter how well-designed your website is, or how it is chocked full of great content, having an unreliable host is bad news.   

This is why picking a host for your website is one of the most important tasks you could undergo. Your decision needs to be taken with the awareness that this could shape the overall user experience of your website.

There are many hosting providers online today to serve the millions of websites online.

One of the most popular platforms for websites today is WordPress. Given that there’s no barrier to using WordPress for your websites and blogs, bear in mind that hackers are lurking around, looking for the slightest opportunity to hijack ruin your business. You need the right WordPress hosting solution if you want peace of mind.

That’s where Kinsta comes in. 

What is Kinsta?

Kinsta is one of the many WordPress hosts that has come into the industry with features that promise to solve the common challenges website owners face: downtime, high load time, and others.

It offers a cloud-based WordPress hosting solution for online businesses.

Kinsta is one of the most popular managed WordPress hosts today. WordPress, according to W3techs, is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) holding 58.55% of the market share.

Usually, managed hosting is more expensive than shared hosting. Do you have a booming WordPress site and you value high performance regardless of cost?

Kista logo

You’ll need to read this review to get to know more about Kinsta. But that is not the only reason. One other reason is that Kinsta offers your website arguably the best security that even other managed hosts may be unable to offer.

Kinsta is a new player in the managed WordPress hosting field. It was founded by a long time WordPress developer Mark Gevalda in 2013 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom.

Is Kinsta as good as advertised? 

What are the unique features you can expect from this WordPress host? What are the benefits it offers to your website or blog? Does it have some issues you need to be aware of?

These are some of the questions this post will answer as we’ll see in details what Kinsta offers website owners.

Hosting on Google Cloud

Kinsta uses the Google Cloud platform to host your website. It became the first managed WordPress host on Google Cloud when it took this step.

This is to ensure the improvement of user experience on your websites. And Kinsta is not the only company using Google’s Cloud services.

Google Cloud Platform Logo

Other notable companies using Google Cloud data center locations include Snapchat, HTC, Spotify, Coca-Cola, Best Buy, Philips, Sony Music, Ubisoft, etc.

Why cloud-based hosting is Important

What do you gain when your website is hosted in the cloud? When you consider that hosting in the cloud is usually more expensive than other options, you need to question how it justifies the extra cost.

The primary benefit of hosting on the cloud is that it allows rapid deployment of computing resources, high speed, high performance, and reliability. 

On VPS or a dedicated server, your website is on a single server. If anything happens (which usually does sooner or later) to the server, your website goes down until the situation is resolved. However, your website is quickly moved to another server if such a situation occurs on cloud hosting. This, your website is still up.

Pros of Kinsta

1. Uptime

Kinsta checks uptime performance of your website every minute. This means they check whether your website is up a total of 1,440 times in a single day.

It is remarkable and means that even if your website happens to be down, the situation can be resolved quickly. They also scan for malware and use their hardware firewalls with solid, software-based restrictions to prevent attacks.

And in situations when your website is down because it has been hacked, Kinsta’s team takes the necessary actions to make sure that your website is up in no time. All these without charging extra for the service.

Kinsta offers you one of the best uptime for any host you can use. This is a necessity for such a premium host. In fact, Kinsta is so confident of this that they guarantee you 99.9% uptime. This is something you want to see if you're using this host.

2. Speed

Many years ago, web pages were light. It was possible to have pages that were only 50kb in size or 100kb. Today, it’s easy to have pages that weigh 2mb or even 20mb due to many elements like images and videos.

That's quite a lot of stress for most of the traditional hosts you have today. You could have a page loading in 7 seconds or 10 or more. At a time when an increase in page load time could affect your conversions negatively, this is bad news.

But not with Kinsta as your host. Kinsta makes your website Run as fast as possible making it run faster than 90% of websites online no matter how heavy your website is.

WP Engine Scan Result

When Brian Jackson migrated his website from WPEngine to Kinsta, its load time decreased from 1.01s to 679ms.

Kinsta Scan result without CDN

There are many tools today you can use to test your page speed. These tools include Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix, KeyCDN, etc.

You can use the Google PageSpeed Insights to test the speed of your website. On the PageSpeed Insights page, enter your website URL in the form and click on the ‘Analyze’ button.

Google Pagespeed Insights Result

It will analyze your page and give you a PageSpeed score. The score ranges between 0 and 100 where 0 is the worst score and 100 is the best. Google also provides recommendations on what to do to improve your page speed.

Note that Google uses page speed as one of its ranking factors.

Another tool you can use is Pingdom. This is one of the most popular tools to check page speed of your website and it’s free. To check your page speed, enter the URL of your website, location of your test and click on the ‘Start test’ button.

Pingdom gives you options to pick out of 5 locations. The location you pick should be close to where your website is hosted.

Below is an example of summary result of a Pingdom test. This gives you details like performance grade, load time, page size, number of requests, faster than, and tested from.

You can also get more details on the performance insights of your website. This will give you scores on different aspects of your website performance. You can improve on aspects where you have low scores to improve your website speed.

Pingdom Performance Insights

Another popular tool you can use to test your website speed is the GTmetrix. One advantage GTmetrix has over Pingdom is that it supports HTTP/2. To perform a test on GTmetrix, enter your website URL and click on ‘Analyze’ button.

GTMetrix Website Speed Test

This is the basic version of the test tool which is free. If you have an account, you can specify the location of a place close to where your website is hosted as this makes your results more accurate. You can also choose the browser you're using for the test.

The result shows you details like PageSpeed score, YSlow score, fully loaded time, total page size, and the number of requests. 

GTmetrix Fully loaded speed test

3. Ease of use

Kinsta uses a dashboard that is different from your normal Cpanel. With the MyKinsta v2, Kinsta has made some changes to the dashboard to improve the ease of use. On the dashboard, you can view most of the details like your site, number of unique visits, bandwidth usage, data transfer, billing invoices, and you can see new content from the Kinsta blog.

Kinsta Dashboard

Kinsta is made fully responsive which means you can access your control panel on your smartphone.

Kinsta Mobile Dashboard

Another feature is that you can contact customer support from anywhere on the website with the chat button at the bottom right corner of your screen. If you have any issue with a page you're viewing currently, you can always ask questions even without leaving that page.

Kinsta Support Dashboard

Below dashboard on your control panel is ‘Sites.’ This is where you have the records of all the websites you're hosting on Kinsta.

You have details like name of your website, location, number of visitors, bandwidth usage, and disk usage. The last option is ‘Manage’ which allows you to get more details about your website and make changes when necessary.

Kinsta managed wordpress site

You can arrange your sites based on the details mentioned above and there's a search function if you have so many websites. If you want to add a new site, there's an ‘Add Site’ button at the top right corner and ‘Add Another Site’ button below your sites.

When you click on ‘Manage’ on a particular site, it leads to a sidebar that contains sections like Info, domains, backups, tools, plugins, and logs.

Kinsta wordpress site info

Info shows you details of your website like IP address, data center location, SFTP username and password, SSH connection details, database access details, and an option to delete a site.

In the info section, you can also select the staging environment at the top right corner.

Under domains, you can add your primary domain and additional domains.

Kinsta wordpress domain

You also have backups which Kinsta creates automatically every day. You can restore any of the previous backups, or restore to staging if you want to view or make changes in the staging environment.

Kinsta wordpress backup

You can also create a manual backup if you want to do that.

In the Tools section, you can clear your WordPress site’s cache, enable your SSL certificate, change between PHP engines, restart PHP and enable new relic monitoring.

Kinsta wordpress tools

In the Plugins section, you can view all the plugins you have installed on your website. You can also see the inactivated or activated ones and also those that have updates available.

Kinsta wordpress plugin list

Your log section makes it easy to detect debug. This section includes error.log, kinsta-cache-perf.log, and access.log files.

Kinsta wordpress logs

You can move your website from one host to another through the ‘Migrations’ tab. There are various ways you can migrate your website to Kinsta which are explained later in this review.

One way is to have support staff do it for you. For every plan, there is a provision for migration(s). You can start your migration on the migrations page.

Kinsta wordpress migration

Kinsta DNS allows you to use the premium DNS services with Amazon Route 53. This allows you to create nameservers for your domain. Kinsta supports A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, SPF, TXT, and SRV records.

Kinsta edit dns records

In the ‘Analytics’ section, you can view data like resource usage, performance monitoring, visitor analysis, response analysis, cache analysis, geo analysis, and security metrics.

Kinsta visitor analysis

Activity log shows you the actions that have been taken in your account for the last 8 weeks.

Kinsta activity log

MyKinsta v2 also comes in Spanish for those who might be interested.

Kinsta spanish version

4. Kinsta has a staging environment

With its staging environment, you can make changes to your website on a separate server without any change to your main website. On this staging platform, you can see how each change you make will affect your website before you implement it.

This also helps you to experiment as you can take normally risky moves without any risk to your website or user experience.

If you like the result of your changes, you can make it permanent on your website. If you don’t like it, you can discard it. We’ll talk about how to use the staging environment later in this post.

5. Uses LXD container technology

This technology allows accounts and each site to be isolated but also have automatic scalability. This means that no site share resources with another site. This is to improve the security of websites compared to hosts using shared, VPS, and dedicated servers.

In case of a hacking event or malicious attempt on your website, this also means that only the hacked website is affected.

In many cases in the past, hacking of a single website has affected many websites on the same server or host. With LXD, this can’t happen in Kinsta.

6. It has better capability for traffic spikes

In times when one of your posts go viral or you're running a promotion on your website, Kinsta gives it the capability to cope with the extra traffic without pulling your website down.

With the use of LXD technology, scaling CPUs, and PHP workers, they make sure that your website is running without a hitch even with a spike in traffic. They were able to do this for DARTDrones when they appeared on Shark Tank and got a huge spike in traffic.

7. Uses Nginx

Nginx is one of the most popular open-source web servers online. Although it is less popular as Apache overall, it is far more popular among websites with high traffic.

This server powers websites like Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, etc. and Nginx powers 39.4% of the 10,000 most popular sites online.

nginx logo

Kinsta uses Nginx to provide a robust infrastructure for high-traffic websites that are hosted on its platform. It also offers a premium DNS service that makes your site faster and more secure. This helps your site withstand a DNS based DDOS attack.

8. There's CDN integration 

You have a size of free CDN available to you when you register with Kinsta. But sometimes, this could be insufficient if you’re operating a big website. That is why Kinsta has an integration with KeyCDN to provide more bandwidth.

You can choose any of their plans that correspond with the size of bandwidth you want for your website.

9. Choice of data center

To improve speed, Kinsta allows you to choose any of 15 data centers in the regional deployment mode in Google Cloud. Through this, you can pick a data center that is close to most of your audience to increase the speed of your website when they visit.

Currently, the 15 data centers you can choose includes:

  • Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA (US-central1)

  • The Dalles, Oregon, USA (US-west1)

  • Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA (US-east1)

  • Ashburn, Virginia, USA (US-east4)

  • St. Ghislain, Belgium (Europe-west1)

  • London, UK (Europe-west2)

  • Frankfurt, Germany (Europe-west3)

  • Netherlands (Europe-west4)

  • Changhua County, Taiwan (asia-east1)

  • Mumbai, India (Asia-south1)

  • Jurong West, Singapore (Asia-southeast1)

  • Tokyo, Japan (Asia-northeast1)

  • Sydney, Australia (Australia-southeast1)

  • São Paulo, Brazil (Southamerica-east1)

  • Montréal (Northamerica-northeast1)

10. Developer Options

If you want access to developer options, you have them on Kinsta. You can also add other users if someone else is the developer.

You have access to the SSH which is a secure way to access your Linux command line. The command line gives you more control than you can have with the graphical interface. Apart from SSH, you can use command line tools like Git and WP-CLI.

Kinsta also supports secure-SSH tunneling into databases stored in Google Cloud. This means developers can use clients like HeidiSQL and Sequel Pro on this platform.

You can use WP-CLI to update features of your website through the command line. For instance, you can perform operations like installing a new theme. This gives you many options to update your website.

Due to issues with original PHP code, you can now use the later versions PHP 7, PHP 7.1, PHP 7.2 or PHP 5.6. If you have a heavy site, you can use HHVM which was created by Facebook engineers to cope with that kind of load.

Php 7.2 logo

PHP 7.2 is the latest version. It helps to render websites faster than previous versions of PHP, in fact, almost twice as fast.

To provide more security for your website, you can use Github. When you get a freelance developer on your website, they don’t have to gain access to your server details as this is risky. You can give your developer access to your Github repository.

This means they can have access to your codes and work on it. They can also submit the edited code through pull requests on the Github system. To do this, you can create a repository on your Github account. You’re given a command line by Github.

Github create new repository

When you insert these command lines into your SSH command lines, it pulls your files into the Github repo page. Use a paid account to ensure the safety of your repo page.

11. Free Migration

Sometimes, you may have to pay to move your site from one host to another. Even in cases where you don’t have to pay the hosting provider, the provider expects you to migrate your website yourself. And due to the complexity of the task, you may have to pay a freelance WordPress expert to do that for you.

Kinsta free wordpress migration

However, Kinsta helps you with this. They offer at least one free site migration on any plan you choose. You just have to provide some important details about your website and the Kinsta staff will do it.

They can also assign a temporary domain to your website. This helps you to go to the website and check that everything is in order before you point your website’s DNS to Kinsta nameservers.

12. WooCommerce Hosting

Woocommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms on WordPress and online generally. And for ecommerce platforms, time is money. Increase in load time leads to a decrease in conversions.

Also, customers could abandon carts when your website is wasting too much time. Kinsta provides a platform for ecommerce websites that make their website fast and able to withstand traffic spikes.

woocommerce logo

At times when an ecommerce store offers a promo, or during Black Friday sales, or during seasonal celebrations, there is usually a spike in traffic. Kinsta helps these websites cope with such high traffic and still deliver high performance.

During a Cyber Monday, Kinsta hosted Swagway and delivered a high performance - resulted in a 90,000 unique visitors per day and 1,888 orders.

Common Downsides of Kinsta

i). No provision for domain name registration: If you’re just starting your website, you have to register your domain name with a third-party registrar as Kinsta doesn’t offer this service at this time.

ii). No provision for email hosting: Kinsta also doesn’t provide email hosting so you have to use another service.

iii). It is expensive: If you care about the price you pay for hosting, you may find Kinsta price a bit hefty as the monthly costs for some plans exceed the yearly costs of some hosts.

iv). Some plugins are not allowed: you can’t use some plugins on Kinsta. The hosting platform has a list of plugins that are not allowed like WordPress Popular Posts, WordFence, etc.

Although it needs to be noted that some of these plugins are banned due to security and other important factors. But if you’re moving you need to be aware of this so that you can make adequate provisions.

How to migrate to Kinsta

There are 3 ways to migrate your website to Kinsta. We’ll consider the processes below:

1. Through Customer support 

The first way and probably the easiest is to have Kinsta support staff migrate your website for you. With every plan comes a number of free migrations.

If you're within the limit of the number of free migrations, then they’ll migrate your website free of charge. Otherwise, you pay $100 for each website migration. If you want to do bulk migration, Kinsta claims it offers a discount for that.

If you want Kinsta support staff to migrate your site for you, you’ll have to submit important information about your website.

The first step you have to take is log in to your Kinsta account. Navigate to ‘Migrations’ on your dashboard and click. Then click on ‘Request Your First Migration’ button.

Kinsta free wordpress migration

The next page is the introduction page. It gives you the important information you need to know about your first migration. The important information the support team will request from you includes:

  • Details of your current host

  • Details of your site setup

  • Connection details

  • Optional HTTPS and data center setup

  • Payment information if additional migrations are requested

Kinsta wordpress migration request form

When you're through reading, click on ‘Next.’ On the next page, you’ll enter your current hostname, Cpanel username, and password. If you're migrating from WPEngine, enter your WPEngine username and password. Click on the ‘Next’ button.

Kinsta hosting details

Here, you’ll be asked for your domain name, whether your website is an ecommerce site if it uses HTTPS, and if it's a multisite installation. After indicating these, click on ‘Next.’

Kinsta site details

The next information you have to enter is about your connection settings. This includes your SFTP and SSH login information. If you don't know them, you can request for the information from your current host.

Kinsta connection settings

On the next page, you can choose whether to force HTTPS, indicate if there are special .htaccess or nginx rules you want to discuss. If you prefer a specific data center to host your website, you can select here.

If you have any special instructions for the support staff, you can enter it in the form provided. Click ‘Next’ to the next page.

Kinsta settings

After that, you get to the last page where you submit your migration request. If you’ve used up your free migrations, you have to enter your payment details before you can submit migration request.

Kinsta finalize migration

After submitting the request, a support staff will get in touch with you to plan your migration. You can check the status of your migration under the ‘Migrations’ on your dashboard.

Kinsta pending migration request

After the migration, you’ll be contacted. At this time, your website traffic is not yet going to the Kinsta servers. You have to confirm if the migrated website is working properly. If you're satisfied with its performance, then you can update your domain's DNS records to point at Kinsta.

2. How to migrate using WordPress duplicator plugin

The second method you can explore to move your website over is the use of the duplicator plugin.

The basic thing the duplicator does is generate two files:

A zip file that contains the archive of all site files and database.

An installer.php file that will restore the site using the archive.

Before you start to migrate your website, it is important to have a backup of your website. Although you're not yet moving the website itself, it's better to be safe than sorry. If your host doesn't provide backup, you can still go on with these processes.

The next step is to create a site on Kinsta. Navigate to the Kinsta dashboard and select sites. Click on ‘Add Site.’ This brings up a form to fill in your new site details.

Kinsta wordpress dashboard

You can select your data center, the name of your new site. Leave the custom domain as it is without selecting it. Choose ‘Don't install WordPress’ in the drop-down menu as this is what you’ll do later when you migrate your website.

Kinsta create site

The next step is to create an archive for your website. But to do that, you have to install the duplicator plugin on your website first. One thing you also need to do before creating your archive is to disable caching plugin as they can cause unnecessary issues during migrations.

To install duplicator, navigate to ‘plugins’ on your WordPress dashboard. Click on ‘Add New.’ Search for ‘duplicator’ and install ‘Duplicator - WordPress Migration Plugin.’

wordpress duplicator plugin

After activating the plugin, navigate to duplicator on your WordPress dashboard. Click on ‘Create New.’

create wordpress duplicator package

You're led through 3 stages to build your archive file. After that, the installer and the archive is generated. Download both files to your computer as you’ll need them for your set up.

Wordpress duplicator download

The next thing to do is to upload both packages to the new Kinsta site you created. This will be done through SFTP. Upload the files to the public/ directory. You should have only these two files after uploading your files. If there are other files apart from the archive and installer, delete them before you move on.

wordpress upload to server

After the upload, run your installer file through your temporary Kinsta URL. This is how you go about it: Let’s say your temporary URL is example.kinsta.com, you’ll have to visit http://example.kinsta.com/installer.php to run the installer file.

Wordpress duplicator deployment

Click on ‘Next’ to go to move on to the next step. Go to sites on Kinsta dashboard and click on the ‘Info’ tab. Here you'll find the Database Access details for your new site. Copy the database name, username, and password.

Kinsta Database Access

On the next page of your duplicator installation process, paste the details.

Wordpress duplicator installation of database

On the third step of the duplicator process, you see the URL, path, and title. If your current website uses https:// then make sure you use it in the temporary URL field too.

Wordpress Update data

On the last step of the process, click on ‘Site Login’ button to finish your set up.

Wordpress duplicator testing

After clicking ‘Site Login’, the browser leads you to a new page where you supply your username and password. Make sure that the URL of the site you're led to is that of your temporary site. If it has the address of your live website, it means you’ll have to change somethings in the migrated database manually.

Kinsta login dashboard

After your log in, you see a message telling you that your migration is successful.

Wordpress migrator successfully migrated box

To ensure security, make sure you move your duplicator archives and installer files from the public/ directory to private/ after moving your site to Kinsta. The safest option is to delete the files completely. The most important files to be moved or deleted includes:

  • installer-backup.php
  • installer.php
  • database.sql
  • installer-data.sql
  • *_archive.zip

After migrating your website, you can now test the example site to see its performance. If you’re satisfied with the performance, then you’ll have to use your live domain. To do this, add www and non-www version of your domain to the site you created in Kinsta. Then point the domain to the Kinsta IP in your local host’s file.

3. How to migrate using MySQL and FTP

The third way you can migrate your website is to do it yourself but without the plugin.

The first step is to log in to your Kinsta account. Navigate to Sites on the dashboard and click on ‘Add Site’ or ‘Add Another Site.'

Kinsta add new wordpress site

On the form that comes up, select your preferable data center. The next thing to fill in is the name of the site which will be a single word. In the next drop-down, select ‘Add a brand new WordPress install.’

You can select this option as you’ll later overwrite it with your live site. When you select this option, it shows more forms you need to fill. This includes the site title, admin username, admin email and the language.

There are 3 checkboxes that allow you to indicate whether you’re embarking on a multisite installation, or you’ll install WooCommerce or Yoast SEO. When you’re through filling the details, click on ‘Add.’

kinsta add a new wordpress site

After a period of time, the status of your new site will go ‘Live.’ When you notice this, click on ‘Manage’ to see the details of your new site.

kinsta manage wordpress

Log in to your old host on another tab to copy your FTP and PHPMyAdmin details from your Cpanel. If you can’t find it on the Cpanel, request for the information from the host.

The next step is to use an FTP client to download your site’s files to your computer. Since you’ve already performed a new WordPress install, the most important content you need is your /wp-content/ folder. If you have more folders apart from this outside the root, you can copy those too.

Go to your phpMyAdmin dashboard (or any MySQL editor of your choice) to export the database you downloaded. Click on ‘Export’ at the top tab.

export database

After that, you’re given two options in the ‘Export Method.’ You can pick the quick option if you’re exporting a small database and custom if it’s a large database. You can also select ‘Format’ from the drop-down. Select ‘SQL.’ Click on ‘Go.’

Database save SQL file

This brings you to a new page with options. Check the ‘Save output to a file’ box and fill in the details under it. You can set your file name template, the character set of the file and compression. You can either use the ‘zipped’ or the ‘gzipped’ option.

Gzip database export

Go to your Kinsta dashboard and click on ‘Sites.’ Click on ‘Info’ to view your site details. The important details you have to copy are IPv4 address, SFTP username, password, and port. On the server, you’ll need to select the connection type which is SFTP. Click on the ‘Connect’ button.

How to use sftp

Upload the /wp-content/ folder you downloaded earlier to overwrite the one in your folder.

Go to ‘Info’ on ‘Sites’ and navigate to the Database Access. Click on ‘Open MySQL’ button.

Wordpress phpmyadmin access

Click on ‘Import’ on phpMyAdmin. This leads you to the page where you can upload MySQL file you exported earlier to your computer. The maximum size of file allowed is 128MB. If your file is bigger than this, you’ll have to upload to the private directory. You can contact Kinsta support staff to import the database for you.

Import database to phpmyadmin

After uploading your files, open the wp-config.php which is in /www/sitename_xxx/public folder. Update the details highlighted below.

wordpress database info

Go to ‘Sites’ on your Kinsta dashboard. Click on ‘Manage’ and then ‘Domains.’ Open your example site which has sitename.kinsta.com as its domain name. Check if everything is in place as you have on your live site.

Kinsta temporary domain

If everything is okay as you want it, you can now add the www and non-www version of your domain. The final step is to set up your DNS settings to point at Kinsta.

How to add a domain to your web server on Kinsta

When you're done testing your example site that is usually a clone of your live site, you need to add domains of your live site as you’ll need this to finally move your website over to Kinsta. What are the steps to take?

Navigate to ‘Sites’ on your Kinsta dashboard and click on ‘Manage’ beside the website you created.

Kinsta manage domains

Click on ‘Domains.’ Here you have your primary domain. Enter your primary domain for your live site. This could be the www or the non-www version of your domain name. After that, click on ‘Add Domain’ under ‘Additional Domain.’

Kinsta adding of domain

This brings up a form where you can fill in your additional domain name. If you filled in a non-www domain in your primary domain, then you enter the www version of your domain here. Or vice versa. Then you click on ‘Add Domain.’

Kinsta add a domain

You can change the additional domain to your primary domain if it's the primary domain for your live site.

Kinsta Primary domain

How to setup your DNS services

For you to host your website on Kinsta, you’ll need to point your domain and DNS to Kinsta servers so that visitors can get access to your site.

To point your domain to Kinsta, there are two ways you can do it:

  • Point your domain to your assigned IP address (A record).

  • Point your domain to nameservers. You can use Kinsta’s premium DNS feature with Amazon Route 53 to achieve this.

To use the first method, go to ‘Domains’ section on your Kinsta and add your primary domain and additional domain. This would be the www and non-www versions of your website address.

Kinsta add domain name

Navigate to Info on your dashboard and copy your IPv4 address out.

Then you’ll log in to your domain registrar to point your domain’s A record to the IP address. There are many registrars with different methods to add A record. I’ll use Namecheap as an example here.

Log into your Namecheap account.

Name Cheap login

On your dashboard, click on the ‘manage’ button beside the particular domain you want to manage.

Name Cheap Manage domain

On the next page, select the ‘Advanced DNS’ tab and click on ‘Add New Record.’ Select ‘A record’ in the drop-down and input the IP address you copied earlier in the ‘value.’ Enter @ for the ‘Host’ and select automatic for ‘TTL.’ After that, click on ‘Save all changes’ below the records.

Name Cheap adding DNS record

It will take a few minutes for your A record to propagate and then you’ll have your domain pointed at Kinsta. If you’re using other registrars, you can check for instructions on the Kinsta website.

The second option is to point your domain to Kinsta with nameservers. It’s also called premium DNS. The Amazon Route 53 premium DNS is available free of charge for all Kinsta customers.

The first step is to add your domains to the ‘Domains’ section on your dashboard.

Kinsta add domain name

On your dashboard, click on Kinsta DNS. Click on the ‘Add A Domain’ button.

Kinsta Amazon DNS

Enter your domain and click on ‘Add Domain.’

Kinsta adding of domains

After this, nameservers will be created for your domain. The next step is to point your domain to the newly created nameservers from your domain registrar. Let’s take Namecheap as an example.

To change Namecheap nameservers to point to Kinsta, log into your account.

Name Cheap login

Click on ‘Manage’ next to your domain.

Name Cheap Manage domain

In the ‘Domain’ tab, select ‘Custom DNS’ from the options from the drop-down in the nameservers section.

Name Cheap custom DNS

Copy the 4 nameservers provided by Kinsta and past in the ‘Custom DNS’ section. Click on the green mark to save your changes. It may take some time for the nameservers to propagate and you’re done.

How to generate Let's Encrypt SSL certificate

If you have the security of your website visitors in mind, then you need to have your site running HTTPS. This encrypts your data and make it safer for your readers.

If you’re running an ecommerce site or a site that requires payment for your product, having an SSL encryption is vital as this makes sure customers’ payment information doesn't show in plain text. Another thing you have to note is that Google has said that HTTPS is now a ranking factor for search.

Having said that, Kinsta allows you to register for an SSL encryption free of charge through Let's Encrypt. Another thing is that they renew this certificate automatically every 90 days. So if you had no HTTPS before migrating to Kinsta, you can easily get it. How?

Login to your Kinsta dashboard. Click on ‘Sites’ at the sidebar. Click on ‘Manage’ beside the website you want to encrypt.

Kinsta SSL manage wordpress site

Click on ‘Tools.’ Navigate to ‘Enable HTTPS’ and click on ‘Modify.’ This gives you options in a drop-down where you can select ‘Add Let’s Encrypt Certificate.’

Kinsta adding lets encrypt certificate

This brings up more information about Let's Encrypt. Click on ‘Next’ where you can select the domains to be encrypted.

Generate Lets encrypt certificate with kinsta

You’ll have to choose the domain you want to provide certification for. It’s important that you select both www and non-www version of your domain.

Kinsta http domain credentials

After selecting your domains, click on the ‘Generate Certificate’ button. After a few seconds, the certificate is installed and your site is secured.

However, Let's Encrypt doesn't offer extended validation (EV) as this would require a personal check by a human being and incur costs. That would stop Let's Encrypt from being a free service.

If you're receiving payments on your website, you need the extended validation. This means you’ll have to get a paid SSL certification from services like Comodo, DigiCert, GeoTrust, etc. So if you have this paid SSL certification, how do you apply it to your domain on Kinsta?

The first thing to note is that when you're purchasing your certificate and you're asked for which type of web server, select Nginx as that is web server Kinsta uses.

Your SSL provider needs a CSR code to create or sign your certificate file. To generate a CSR code and RSA key, you have to go to https://www.ssl.com/online-csr-and-key-generator/ to complete a form.

In this form, you provide details like domain name, email address, organization, city, state, country, etc. Click on ‘Generate’ when you're through.

domain generated csr

This will generate the CSR and private key file. Save both files as this is what enables you to use your certificate.

CSR and private key

Upload your CSR file to your SSL provider. This will be used to regenerate your SSL certificate, a .cert file. After this, log in to your Kinsta dashboard. Navigate to ‘Sites’, then ‘Manage’, then ‘Tools.’

Kinsta installing SSL certificate

Click on ‘Modify’ under ‘Enable HTTPS’ and select ‘Add Custom HTTPS Certificate’ in the drop-down options. This brings you to the ‘Get Started’ page where you're given some information.

custom https credentials

On the next page, paste the content of your .key and .cert files and click on ‘Apply Certificate.’

SSL Certificate key

Your certificate is applied and your website is safe.

How to use staging environment

Staging environment on Kinsta allows you to test various things without any effect on your live website. You can test things like code, plugins, new WordPress versions, and other changes you may want to implement on your website.

If you like the look of these changes in your staging environment, you can transfer those changes to your live site.

How do you create a WordPress staging environment on Kinsta?

Go to your dashboard and click on ‘Sites.’ Click on the website you want to create a staging environment for. Select ‘Staging Environment’ from the drop-down menu at the top right. Click on the ‘Create A Staging Environment’ button.

Kinsta staging environment

In about 15 minutes, your staging environment would have been created. This staging area will have a URL in this structure: https://staging-sitename.kinsta.com. You’ll have a separate control panel for this staging area and be able to do most things you can do on your live site. You also have access to phpMyAdmin. There is an option to push to live.

Kinsta wordpress staging site

If you want to delete your staging area, click on ‘Delete Staging Environment’ on the dashboard. You'll be asked to indicate the staging environment you want to delete. Insert your sitename-staging to the form and click on ‘Delete This Environment.’

Kinsta delete wordpress staging site

You can also push staging environment to live. It is important that you do this with care and makes sure that everything is in place. Check that your changes are working as you want them to and implement this step when you have low traffic on your website.

Go to ‘Sites’ on your dashboard and select the site. Click on the drop-down at the top right to select the staging environment. In your staging environment, there is a ‘Push to live’ section. In the section, there is a ‘Push Staging To Live’ button. Click on this button.

Kinsta push staging to live site

This brings up a form where you enter the domain name of your live site. Then click on ‘Push To Live.’

Kinsta push environment live

Note that the time for pushing to live will depend on the size of your website.

Pushing staging to live

When pushing a staging environment to live, Kinsta automatically creates a backup of your live site. This means that if anything goes wrong, you can always revert to a former version of your website.

After pushing to live, clear your browser cache and Cloudflare cache if you use it. Then load your website to see if everything is in order.

Kinsta plans and pricing

As I’ve mentioned earlier, this host is not the cheapest you can find out there. Being cheap is not one of their unique selling points.

Initially, their cheapest plan used to cost $100 per month. But now, it has a new pricing structure. You can now register for a plan as low as $30 per month.

The main differentiators between the different plans are: 

  • Number of WordPress installs.

  • The number of visits you have per month.

  • SSD storage space.

  • Size of free CDN.

  • The number of free white glove migrations.

Kinsta’s plans are listed below with their features:

Starter plan: this plan goes for $30 per month. It comes with the following features:

  • 1 WordPress install
  • 20,000 monthly visits
  • 3GB SSD storage
  • 50 free CDN
  • No free white glove migration
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • 15 global locations
  • Automatic daily backups
  • Manual backup points
  • 14 days Backup retention
  • 24/7 support
  • Staging area
  • PHP 7 support
  • Free SSL certificates
  • 2 PHP workers per site
  • White-labeled cache plugin
Kinsta starter package

Pro plan: this is the next plan to Starter and it goes for $60 per month. Its features include:

  • Everything in Starter plan
  • 2 WordPress installs
  • 40,000 monthly visits
  • 6GB SSD storage
  • 100GB free CDN
  • 1 free white glove migration
  • Multisite support
  • Site cloning
Kinsta pro package

Business 1 plan: if you choose this plan, you’ll have to pay a price of $100 per month. It comes with the following features:

  • Everything in Pro plan
  • 3 WordPress installs
  • 100,000 monthly visits
  • 10GB SSD storage
  • 200GB free CDN
  • SSH access
Kinsta business 1 package

Business 2 plan: it goes for $200 per month and has the following features:

  • Everything in Business 1 plan
  • 10 WordPress installs
  • 250,000 monthly visits
  • 20GB SSD storage
  • 300GB free CDN
  • 2 free white glove migrations
  • 4 PHP workers per site
Kinsta Business 2 Package

Business 3 plan: you pay $300 per month if you decide to go with this plan. For that amount, you get:

  • Everything in Business 2 plan
  • 20 WordPress installs
  • 400,000 monthly visits
  • 30GB SSD storage
  • 500GB free CDN
  • 3 free white glove migrations
  • 20 days backup retention
Kinsta business 3 package

Business 4 plan: this plan goes for $400 per month. It consists of the following features:

  • 40 WordPress installs
  • 600,000 monthly visits
  • 40GB SSD storage
  • 500GB free CDN
  • 4 free white glove migrations
  • 6 PHP workers per site

Enterprise 1 plan: you can enjoy this plan at $600 per month. The features you enjoy includes:

  • Everything in Business 4
  • 60 WordPress installs
  • 1,000,000 monthly visits
  • 80GB SSD storage
  • 1,000GB free CDN
  • 5 free white glove migrations
  • 30 days backup retention
  • 8 PHP workers per site
Kinsta enterprise 1 package

Enterprise 2 plan: this goes for a price of $900 per month. It has the following features:

  • Everything in Enterprise 1
  • 80 WordPress installs
  • 1,500,000 visits
  • 120GB SSD storage
  • 10 PHP workers per site
Kinsta Enterprise 2 package

These are the plans available for anybody trying to host their website on Kinsta. If you have a website with much bigger traffic than these, you can contact Kinsta for a personalized service.

In some cases, it is possible to see your traffic increase as you improve your business or become more popular. It could increase so much that it exceeds the allowance for your plan. 

Kinsta keeps your site up when this happens but you’ll pay overage charges. You’ll pay $1 for every 1,000 visits that you exceed your plan’s maximum visitors count. If you use beyond the free CDN bandwidth provided for your account, you’ll pay $0.1/GB for the size extended beyond your plan.

If you continually exceed your plan’s limits, Kinsta will reach out to you to upgrade your plan.

Kinsta plan inclusions

Basically, you can choose a plan based on the number of monthly visits you have on your website. If you plan to migrate to Kinsta, you should use a service like Cloudflare so that you can screen bot visits out as you don't want to pay for this. 

The prices listed up there are for customers paying on a monthly basis. You can save on those plans by paying for an annual plan. For any of the plan above the annual cost is equivalent to a 10-month payment. You get to save the cost for 2 months if you pay for a whole year.

But if you’re just starting out on the platform, you may decide to pay monthly until you’re convinced of the offer you’re getting from the company.

Kinsta doesn’t offer free trials but they refund the unused portion of your payment if you cancel your subscription within the first month.

Customer support

Its customer support offers 24/7 service to customers. They offer support through email and chat. Their live chat tool, Intercom, is accessible from any part of the website. It also stores chat transcripts that you can make reference to later.

Even though you may not have too many problems with your website, no host is perfect. You will still encounter minor issues once in a while. Kinsta has made a provision for this eventuality. Its customer support staffs are WordPress experts and can solve most problems you have on your website in few minutes. 

They also have a great response time as they reply your message few minutes after you contact them in most cases.

Apart from this, the Kinsta website offers Knowledge Base that provides information about most important actions you want to take on the platform and questions you might have.

Kinsta vs Competitors 

How does Kinsta compare to its competitors?

1. Kinsta Vs. WPEngine

WPEngine is the most popular managed WordPress hosting platform but how does Kinsta compare to them in service?

WPEngine was founded in 2010 by Jason Cohen and is based in Texas in the United States.

Both offer built-in caching, free SSL certificate and support custom SSL certificate. Both offers staging environment where you can experiment with changes before applying them to your website.

WPEngine claims in its service level agreement that its service will be available at least 99.95% of the time.

Startup plan is $35 per month for 25,000 views and allows a single site installation. It offers 50GB bandwidth. For $115 per month, the Growth plan allows 5 site installations, 100,000 visits per month and 200GB bandwidth.

The Scale plan allows 15 site installations, 400,000 visits per month, and 400GB bandwidth. This plan costs $290 per month. All plans include 3 environments per site, CDN and SSL, free migrations, and free page performance.

WP Engine Package

If you want a custom service, you can contact WPEngine. They have similar pricing although Kinsta has more plans and options for their customers.

WPEngine doesn't offer free trial too but it offers a 60-day money back guarantee.

Onboarding on WPEngine is also a bit more difficult than Kinsta. In Kinsta, support staff can migrate your website for you and most features are easy to use, even for new customers.

WPEngine also uses cloud hosting servers which are fast, but still slower than Kinsta that uses container technology. This may be especially evident on heavy websites.

WPEngine doesn't provide access to SSH and provide limited options for developers.

They offer 24/7 support but not all support staff are WordPress professionals like Kinsta. Their website provides a knowledge base that answers common questions users ask through written content and video tutorials. You can also send an email to them or call.

WPEngine has an Automated Migration plugin which makes your migration easy once you provide your WPEngine SFTP credentials to the plugin.

WPEngine Site Migration

Since they both provide similar services, there are many features common to both platforms. One thing though is that you may get a better deal with WPEngine if your website has a low traffic.

However, if your website has heavy traffic and you're in a business where it's easy to experience traffic spikes due to different factors, then Kinsta would provide better reliability. 

2. Kinsta Vs. Flywheel

Flywheel is a managed WordPress host that is officially endorsed by WordPress.org. What makes Flywheel get this endorsement? Is it fully deserved?

Flywheel is a bit older than Kinsta as it was founded in 2012 by Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker, and Rick Knudtson. They’re based in Omaha, Nebraska, United States.

kinsta vs flywheel

Flywheel also offer staging for your website. They also offer free site migrations, automatic daily backups, CDN integration, built-in caching, and SSL support.

Flywheel offers an uptime of 99.9% which is similar to Kinsta. There's no SSH support on this platform.

Flywheel’s cheapest plan is the Tiny plan which goes for $14 per month. This is less than half of Kinsta’s lowest price per month. It needs to be said though that it is low on features. For this price, you get a single WordPress install, 5,000 monthly visits, 5GB disk space, and 250GB bandwidth.

For the personal plan which goes for $28 per month, you have one WordPress install, 25,000 monthly visits, 10GB disk space, 500GB bandwidth, and a free staging site. This is similar to the lowest plans on both Kinsta and WPEngine.

flywheel package

For the professional plan, you have one WordPress install, 100,000 monthly visits, 20GB disk space, 1TB bandwidth, free staging area, and free multisite. All three plans offer free site migration and there is no overage charges.

For the bulk plans, the Freelance plan goes for $92 per month. This allows you to have 10 WordPress installs, 150,000 monthly visits, 40GB disk space, and 4TB bandwidth. The Agency plan goes for $229 per month.

You can have 30 WordPress installs, 600,000 monthly visits, 120GB disk space, and 8TB bandwidth. If you want millions of visits and over 30 WordPress installs, you can contact Flywheel for a custom plan.

flywheel bulk package

Flywheel has no free trial but it offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

Flywheel has WordPress experts that ensure that your website is running the latest version of WordPress and update your website on your behalf if it's not.

Flywheel offers a collaboration function. This allows you to give access to a developer who wants to work on your website. And when they're through, you can revoke the access. Although Kinsta also offer this function through the Github repository, it’s not as straightforward.

flywheel dashboard

Flywheel offers email accounts, which is absent in Kinsta. This platform is marketed as a platform for designers and creative agencies.

One feature that enhances designers is that you can design a website in your account and transfer the website and its billing to another user (your client). This is an advantage for designers.

Flywheel doesn't offer a 24/7 customer support which can be a real disadvantage if you have a problem that needs to be solved urgently. To reach customer support, you’ll have to contact them through email but there's no live chat.

You can also call their support on Mondays  through Friday between 9am and 5pm CST. Although Flywheel claims it offers 24/7 support for emergencies, it doesn't state how you can get that type of support.

3. Kinsta Vs. Cloudways

Cloudways was founded in 2009 by Uzair Gadit, Pere Hospital, Aaqib Gadit. Their headquarters is in Malta in Europe. It offers a cloud hosting solution like Kinsta.

Cloudways wordpress hosting

Cloudways allow you to choose your preferred cloud provider and then configure your server on it. The providers on the platform includes Google Cloud platform, Amazon Web service, Digital Ocean, etc. This can make Cloudways more difficult to use than Kinsta as few people have this know how.

You can set up your server to create backups daily, every 2 days, every 3 days, or every week. You can also create backup manually. Cloudways also allow you to have email services. Cloudways offer at least 99.9% uptime.

Cloudways offer low prices for their plans. It has a plan for $10 per month which offers 1GB RAM, 1 core processor, 25GB storage and 1TB bandwidth. Its $22 per month plan provides 2GB RAM, 1 core processor, 50GB storage, and 2TB bandwidth.

The $42 per month plan offers 4GB RAM, 2 core processor, 80GB storage, and 4TB bandwidth. Its $80 per month plan provides access to 8GB RAM, 4 core processor, 160GB storage, and 5TB bandwidth. It also offer hourly plans.

cloudways packages

This is clearly a platform that targets small businesses. For all its plans, it offers unlimited apps, free SSL certificates, and CloudwaysBot alerts. It also offers free migration for the first website you migrate.

This platform offers a 30-day free trial when you can use the service without submitting your payment information. There is no limit on the number of install you can make when you use your Cloudways account.

This platform also offers hosting solutions to other content management systems apart from WordPress like Magento, Joomla, Drupal, and Moodle. Cloudways is more difficult to use than Kinsta due to the complexity involved.

Cloudways offers 24/7 customer support through live chat, phone call, or email. You can also go through its knowledge base to get common information about the service.

Conclusion

Whatever point of comparison you use, Kinsta is one of the best-managed WordPress hosts you can find online. If you’re just starting out, a shared hosting may be enough for you.

But when you start getting high traffic and this traffic leads to money for your business, you may need to take reliability much more important than saving money on your hosts.

If you have a website with heavy traffic, or you operate an ecommerce store, Kinsta gives you the security you need to protect your website against hacking. Your website is also robust to withstand any spike in traffic.

In cases where your site crashing could cost thousands of dollars, then you can prevent these by paying hundreds of dollars for Kinsta’s hosting. 

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Hafiz Muhammad Ali
Hafiz Muhammad Ali
Hafiz Muhammad Ali is Founder of Omnicore Group, Serial Entrepreneur, 5x, Author, Digital Marketing Leadership and Career Coach. He is well attuned and passionate about books and investing in education. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn and on Google+ for tweets and rants about latest news, tips and advice.