Cloudways and Kinsta are both popular and constantly brought up in Facebook Groups, but which one’s right for you?
Cloudways has more flexibility than Kinsta. You can choose your cloud host (DigitalOcean, Vultr High Frequency, etc). You can also choose a specific server size, data center, and you have more control over server settings. I use Vultr HF on Cloudways and you can check my GTmetrix results. Not only are they cheaper than Kinsta (starting at $10/mo), they’re arguably faster. Support used to be just okay but has gotten better over the years. The major cons are no file manager, no free email hosting, and scaling up gets expensive since you’re paying about 2x what it costs on Vultr or DigitalOcean’s website. They were also rated #1 in multiple Facebook polls.
Kinsta is good if you’re willing to pay more for top-notch support, or you have a high traffic website with lots of simultaneous visitors. If you’re going on Shark Tank, you call Kinsta. Blogs like Matthew Woodward are hosted on Kinsta (even though he claims WPX is the fastest). So while Cloudways Vultr HF is likely the fastest/cheapest option and is great for small to mid-traffic sites, Kinsta is a better option for high traffic websites that need a close partner to scale.
|Resource Limits||CPU Limits||PHP Workers|
|Migrations||1 Free Then $25/Site||Free From Most Hosts|
|Promo Code||30% Off 3 Months||None|
1. Speed – Cloudways vs. Kinsta Tests
I tested Kinsta’s $30/mo Starter plan versus a $10/mo 1GB DigitalOcean + $13/mo Vultr HF server on Cloudways. I installed WordPress with the same Astra Starters site (with the same plugins). Then I measured key metrics like TTFB + load times using various speed testing tools.
In the Pingdom test, Cloudways Vultr High Frequency (cwvltrhfserver.com) had an average load time of 326ms while Kinsta (knstaserver.com) averaged 628ms – a difference of 302ms. Each site had 336 individual Pingdom tests done (over a 7 day period at 30 minute check intervals). I also performed tests in Google Search Console and the WP Hosting Performance Check plugin.
When you put all the speed tests together, here’s what you get:
People who migrated to Cloudways (click thumbnails to enlarge):
People who migrated to Kinsta:
Cloudways gives you a choice between 5 cloud hosting providers while Kinsta uses Google Cloud C2. Both have server-level caching. For CDNs, CloudwaysCDN is $1/25GB which uses StackPath, while Kinsta uses Cloudflare (free). Cloudways has a Breeze plugin, but it doesn’t have great reviews and I would use WP Rocket instead with these WP Rocket settings.
|Server||DigitalOcean + DigitalOcean Premium, Vultr + Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud||Google Cloud C2|
|Caching||Varnish, Redis, Memcached||Bytecode, Object, Page, CDN|
|CDN||StackPath ($1/25GB)||Cloudflare (Free)|
|Cache Plugin||Breeze||MU Plugin|
|Premium DNS||DNS Made Easy (Paid)||Amazon Route 53 (Free)|
2. Simultaneous Visits – Kinsta Can Handle More
I haven’t done an official test on Cloudways vs. Kinsta for simultaneous visitors.
But many high traffic bloggers like Matthew Woodward use Kinsta. Kinsta also prides themselves in this. They posted multiple screenshots on Twitter showing how client websites were able to handle hundreds or sometimes thousands of simultaneous visitors. I haven’t seen much of this on Cloudways, so just by the sheer proof on Twitter, I have to say that Kinsta wins.
3. Resource Limits – Cloudways CPU vs. Kinsta PHP Worker Limits
Both Cloudways and Kinsta have resource limits.
On Cloudways, you can view CPU usage in your dashboard (this doesn’t appear to be a huge problem like on SiteGround and other hosts). It’s straightforward: the more you optimize your website, avoid resource-intensive plugins, and have lower visitors, the lower your CPU will be.
Kinsta has PHP worker limits and count visits which is one of the main reasons people leave Kinsta. Each Kinsta plan only comes with a certain amount of PHP workers and monthly visits (shown on their plans page). As Kinsta says, PHP workers “determine how many simultaneous uncached requests your site can handle at any given time.” This is especially important for WooCommerce sites. Redis can help, but costs money on Kinsta while it’s free on Cloudways.
4. Support – It’s Better At Kinsta
Support is where Kinsta excels.
This is the main reason you’re paying more. This is best reflected if you dig through their TrustPilot reviews. They respond fast, are US-based, and go above and beyond to help you.
Cloudways support used to be terrible, but it’s much better now. Recently, most people are happy. However for others, it can be hit or miss. I recommend reaching out to Muhammed Moeez (Cloudways community manager) if you have questions since he’s always been great.
5. Dashboard – Both Use A Custom, User-Friendly Dashboard
Kinsta uses the MyKinsta dashboard and Cloudways also uses a custom dashboard.
6. Email Hosting – Neither Cloudways Or Kinsta Have It
Cloudways recommends their free Gmail SMTP addon or if you need mailboxes for your domain, you can buy a $1/month per month through Rackspace. Kinsta recommends using Google Workspace. Keeping your web/email hosting separate is actually a good thing since your server resources and storage should be fully dedicated to hosting your website, not email.
7. Banned Plugins – Kinsta Bans Caching, Backup, Security Plugins
Kinsta bans certain plugins like caching, backup, and security plugins.
This actually isn’t a bad thing since Kinsta’s MU plugin handles caching and they do a great job with backups/security plugins. So there is no reason you should need these any banned plugins.
8. Migrations – Bother Offer A Free Migration
Kinsta offers unlimited free migrations from most hosts. Otherwise, it’s considered a premium migration and each plan includes a certain number of these premium migrations (shown on the plans page). If you want to move more websites to Kinsta than your plan includes, it’s $100/site.
9. Security – How Do They Protect Your Site?
While both Cloudways and Kinsta have great security, but Kinsta wins this one.
Kinsta has free Cloudflare integration with an enterprise-level firewall and DDoS protection. They also have a hack fix guarantee which means there is very little chance your website will get hacked. However, both hosts provide firewalls, account isolation, 2FA, and ongoing security patches. Cloudways uses Kyup while Kinsta uses LXCs and LXDs to isolate their containers. The bot protection from Cloudways can provide an additional security layer while saving resources.
10. Data Centers – Where Are They Located?
Cloudways data centers depend on which cloud provider you choose.
Cloudways Data Centers:
|San Francisco, USA||Netherland, Netherlands||Hong Kong, China|
|New York, USA||Tokyo, Japan||Miami, USA|
|Silicon Valley, USA||Seoul, Korea||Seattle, USA|
|Paris, France||Bangalore, India||Northern California, USA|
|Frankfurt, Germany||Mumbai, India||Northern Virginia, USA|
|Singapore, Singapore||Sydney, Australia||Northern Carolina, USA|
|Dublin, Ireland||Los Angeles, USA||Ohio, USA|
|London, England||Dallas, USA||Stockholm, Sweden|
|Sao Paulo, Brazil||Chicago, USA||Belgium, Belgium|
|Toronto, Canada||Newark, USA||Oregon, USA|
|Montreal, Canada||Atlanta, USA||Iowa, USA|
|Fermont, Canada||Taiwan, China|
|Amsterdam, Netherlands||Bahrain, Bahrain|
Kinsta Data Centers:
|Changhua County, Taiwan||Melbourne, Australia||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Hong Kong||Warsaw, Poland||Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA|
|Tokyo, Japan||Hamina, Finland||Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA|
|Osaka, Japan||St. Ghislain, Belgium||Ashburn, Virginia, USA|
|Seoul, South Korea||London, United Kingdom||The Dalles, Oregon, USA|
|Mumbai, India||Frankfurt, Germany||Los Angeles, California, USA|
|Delhi, India||Eemshaven, Netherlands||Salt Lake City, Utah, USA|
|Jurong West, Singapore||Zurich, Switzerland||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Jakarta, Indonesia||Montréal, Canada||Las Vegas, Nevada, USA|
|Sydney, Australia||Toronto, Canada|
11. Pricing – Kinsta Is More Expensive Than Cloudways
Both Kinsta and Cloudways are monthly pricing with no high renewals.
Kinsta starts at $30/month while Cloudways starts at $10/month for their entry level DigitalOcean plan. With Kinsta, you can get 2 months free when you sign up for 1 year.
However with Cloudways, no matter how much you scale up, you’re still paying about 2x the price listed on the DigitalOcean or Vultr website (for example). It may not be a big deal for a small server, but once you get up there, it will be cheaper to use a control panel like SpinupWP. Both Cloudways + Kinsta upsell cloud hosting services because they each add their own value.
|DO Premium||1 CORE||1GB||25GB||1TB||$12/mo|
|DO Premium||1 CORE||2GB||50GB||2TB||$26/mo|
|DO Premium||2 CORE||4GB||80GB||4TB||$50/mo|
|Vultr HF||1 CORE||1GB||32GB||1TB||$13/mo|
|Vultr HF||1 CORE||2GB||64GB||2TB||$26/mo|
|Vultr HF||2 CORE||4GB||128GB||3TB||$50/mo|
|AWS||1 vCPU||1.75GB||20 GB||2 GB||$36.51/mo|
|AWS||1 vCPU||3.75GB||20 GB||2 GB||$88.77/mo|
|AWS||2 vCPU||8GB||20 GB||2 GB||$176.26/mo|
|Google Cloud||1 vCPU||1.7 GB||20 GB||2 GB||$33.18/mo|
|Google Cloud||1 vCPU||3.75 GB||20 GB||2 GB||$73.50/mo|
|Google Cloud||2 vCPU||7.5 GB||20 GB||2 GB||$138.52/mo|
|Kinsta Plan||Websites||Visits/Month||PHP Workers||Price|
12. TrustPilot – Which One Has Better Reviews?
Cloudways has slightly better reviews than Kinsta, but they’re both around 4.5/5.
TrustPilot is typically a solid source for reviews (except Hostinger who writes fake reviews). Cloudways and Kinsta support likely ask their customers to leave reviews, but that’s common.
13. Facebook Feedback – What People Say About Cloudways vs. Kinsta
Here are a few threads I pulled from Facebook Groups on Cloudways vs. Kinsta:
Cloudways for speed/price and Kinsta for support? That seems like the general consensus.
14. Promo Code – Cloudways Gives You 30% Off Your First 3 Months
Cloudways always has a 30% off promo code which you can get through their coupons page. Kinsta doesn’t offer a coupon, but rather gives you 2 months free when you sign up for 1 year.
Summary – The Winner Of Cloudways vs. Kinsta
My blog is using Cloudways Vultr HF.
I would say it has medium traffic and even though I have the money to migrate to Kinsta, I’ve been very happy with Cloudways and see no reason to move. My site loads extremely fast, support has always been helpful, and those are really the main two things I look for in hosting.
If you decide to use Cloudways, here are a few steps/optimizations I recommend:
Step 1: Sign up for a Cloudways free trial.
Step 2: Add a server.
Step 3: Name your app/server name, select a server (I recommend DigitalOcean or Vultr HF), then select your server size data center closest to your visitors. When done, click Launch Now.
Step 4: Go to Settings & Packages and use the latest PHP/MySQL version, and install Redis.
Enjoy the faster load times.
Any questions? Hit me up in the comments.