Cloudways vs. Kinsta 2022: Vultr HF, Google Cloud C2, Other Key Differences

Cloudways vs kinsta

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.

Cloudways Kinsta
Speed Fast Fast
Simultaneous Visits Good Excellent
Resource Limits CPU Limits PHP Workers
Support Average Excellent
Email Hosting No No
Banned Plugins No Yes
Dashboard Custom Custom
Migrations 1 Free Then $25/Site Free From Most Hosts
Security Great Great
Data Centers 44 29
Pricing Average Expensive
TrustPilot Rating 4.7/5 4.5/5
Facebook Feedback Excellent Excellent
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.

Wordpress-hosting-2020-pingdom-test

Cloudways Reports

Kinsta Reports

When you put all the speed tests together, here’s what you get:

Cloudways-vs-kinsta-speed-test-2020

People who migrated to Cloudways (click thumbnails to enlarge):

Kinsta vs cloudways speed

Cloudways numbers
Another-happy-cloudways-customer

People who migrated to Kinsta:

Kinsta migrationKinsta response time upgrade

Move to kinsta

Moved to kinsta

Page load times kinsta

Kinsta google cloud migrationKinsta uptime robot

Kinsta migration results

20 faster loads

400ms load times

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.

Cloudways Kinsta
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)
PHP 8.0 8.0
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.

Kinsta concurrent visitors

Traffic surge
Kinsta simultaneous visitors

 

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.

Kinsta-php-workers

 

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.

Cloudways-support-review

 

5. Dashboard – Both Use A Custom, User-Friendly Dashboard

Kinsta uses the MyKinsta dashboard and Cloudways also uses a custom dashboard.

Both are user-friendly, but Kinsta is a bit easier to work around. You really should request a demo from Cloudways and Kinsta so you can navigate them yourself and try their dashboards.

Cloudwayscdn

Kinsta analytics cache

Mykinsta dashboard
MyKinsta dashboard
Cloudways application settings
Cloudways dashboard

 

6. Email Hosting – Neither Cloudways Or Kinsta Have It

Cloudways doesn’t support email hosting and neither does Kinsta.

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

Cloudways offers 1 free migration then $25 per site and also has a Migrator plugin.

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.

Kinsta-premium-migrations

 

9. Security – How Do They Protect Your Site?

You can read the Cloudways’ and Kinsta security pages.

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.

Cloudways-security

 

10. Data Centers – Where Are They Located?

Cloudways has 44 data centers while Kinsta has 28 data centers.

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.

Cloudways Plan CPU RAM Storage Bandwidth Price
DO 1 CORE 1GB 25GB 1TB $10/mo
DO 1 CORE 2GB 50GB 2TB $22/mo
DO 2 CORE 4GB 80GB 4TB $42/mo
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 1 CORE 1GB 25GB 1TB $11/mo
Vultr 1 CORE 2GB 55GB 2TB $23/mo
Vultr 2 CORE 4GB 80GB 3TB $44/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
Linode 1 CORE 1GB 25GB 1TB $12/mo
Linode 1 CORE 2GB 55GB 2TB $24/mo
Linode 2 CORE 4GB 80GB 4TB $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
Starter 1 25,000 2 $30/mo
Pro 2 50,000 2 $60/mo
Business 1 5 100,000 4 $100/mo
Business 2 10 250,000 4 $200/mo
Business 3 20 400,000 6 $300/mo
Business 4 40 600,000 6 $400/mo
Enterprise 1 60 1M 8 $600/mo
Enterprise 2 80 1.5M 10 $900/mo
Enterprise 3 120 2M 12 $1200/mo
Enterprise 4 150 3M 16 $1500/mo

 

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:

Kinsta-vs. -cloudways

Cloudways-feedback-in-facebok-groups

Kinsta hosting feedback

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.

Cloudways coupon code
25% off 2 months of Cloudways with code OMM25 (or use their coupons page for 30% off 3 months)

 

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.

Cloudways wordpress hosting

Step 2: Add a server.

Launch server on cloudways

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.

Launch vultr high frequency server

Step 4: Go to Settings & Packages and use the latest PHP/MySQL version, and install Redis.

Cloudways settings packages

Step 5: Request a free migration or use their Migrator plugin to move your website(s).

Cloudways free migration request

Enjoy the faster load times.

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

Any questions? Hit me up in the comments.

Cheers,
Tom

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7 thoughts on “Cloudways vs. Kinsta 2022: Vultr HF, Google Cloud C2, Other Key Differences”

  1. I take Vultr normal ( no High Frequency ) to Paris.

    for french customers, you recommend Vultr Normal ( Paris ) or Digital Ocean ( Francfort or Amsterdam ) ?

    Reply
    • That’s a tough call and you wouldn’t know unless you tested it. If you’re using Vultr now, you can switch to DigitalOcean for a month and test the results. I think they would be very close.

      Reply
  2. Hey Tom!

    I have been testing Cloudways (Vultr High Frequency) and has been AMAZING. Thanks for your advice.

    Question: In your opinion, what is the best tool and metric (TTFB, total time…) to measure the website’s speed of someone else? I don’t have access to their Wordpress admin panel.

    Thanks man!

    Reply
    • Hey Pablo!

      I personally look at GTmetrix’s fully loaded time the most. Looking into the future though, GTmetrix will be revamping to measure FCP, LCP, other metrics found in Lighthouse. So I would be paying more attention to those. They haven’t updated it yet, but we’re anticipating it happening soon. TTFB is also good for measuring hosting speed and I like KeyCDN’s Performance test since it measures TTFB across various global locations.

      Reply

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