Cloudways vs. Kinsta – Does More Expensive Mean Better Hosting?

Cloudways-vs-Kinsta

Deciding between Cloudways vs. Kinsta?

Cloudways hosts this blog. They were actually faster than Kinsta as shown in multiple speed tests and have an excellent reputation in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. Their support used to be just okay, but they made major improvements to not only their support, but also added Vultr High Frequency servers which have similar speeds as DigitalOcean. They’re cheaper (starting at $10/month for DigitalOcean) with Varnish, memcached, and Redis caching. Most Cloudways complaints are about their Breeze plugin, no email hosting, and okay support.

Kinsta is still very fast, but typically not as fast as Cloudways. They use Google Cloud C2 with KeyCDN and server side caching. Kinstya’s support is arguably better than Cloudways but they’re more expensive starting at $30/month. Kinsta is also very innovative. You will notice many high traffic bloggers like Matthew Woodward use Kinsta (one of the reasons is because they’re great for handling many simultaneous visitors). For this, Kinsta is likely your best bet.

CloudwaysKinsta
SpeedVery FastFast
Speed FeaturesOutstandingOutstanding
Simultaneous Visitor HandlingGoodOutstanding
Resource LimitsCPU LimitsPHP Workers
SupportOkayOutstanding
FeaturesManyMany
Email HostingNoNo
DashboardCustomCustom
Migrations1 Free Then $25/SiteFree From Most Hosts
SecurityGreatGreat
Data Centers2524
PricingAverageExpensive
TrustPilot Rating4.8/54.7/5
Facebook Group FeedbackOutstandingOutstanding
SummaryCloudways gives you a choice of 6 cloud providers. DigitalOcean is the cheapest at $10/mo and was slightly faster than Kinsta in tests. Support used to be bad but has improved greatly. They don't limit number of websites and are popular in Facebook Groups.Kinsta uses Google Cloud C2 and starts at $30/month with outstanding support. They have a longer track record of great support and can better handle simultaneous visitors. Slightly more user-friendly and used by many high traffic bloggers.

 

1. Speed – Cloudways vs. Kinsta Performance Tests

I tested Kinsta’s Starter Plan versus a $10/month DigitalOcean plan on Cloudways while using the same Astra Starter Site and plugins. Then I measured key metrics like TTFB and load times across various speed tools. Both Cloudways and Kinsta are fast, but Cloudways is slightly faster.

Cloudways Reports

Cloudways DigitalOcean GTmetrix
Cloudways DigitalOcean KeyCDN
Cloudways DigitalOcean WebPageTest 1
Cloudways DigitalOcean Server Response Time

 
Kinsta Reports

Kinsta TTFB GTmetrix
Kinsta TTFB KeyCDN
Kinsta WebPageTest Report 1
Kinsta Server Response Time

 
In the Pingdom test, you can see Cloudways DigitalOcean (cwdoserver.com) had an average load time of 340ms while Kinsta (knstaserver.com) averaged 628ms (a difference of 288ms). Each site had 336 individual Pingdom tests done – 7 day period at 30 minute check intervals.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

When you put all the speed tests together, here’s what it looks like:

Cloudways-vs-Kinsta-Speed-Test-2020

People who migrated to Cloudways:

Cloudways Response Times

Cloudways-Migration-Result

Cloudways Google PageSpeed

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

Cloudways Server Response Times

Untitled

WPEngine-To-Cloudways

Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Namecheap To Cloudways Migration

 
People who migrated to Kinsta:

Kinsta Migration

Kinsta Response Time Upgrade

Move to Kinsta

moved to Kinsta

Page Load Times Kinsta

Kinsta Google Cloud Migration

kinsta uptime robot

Kinsta Migration Results

20 faster loads

400ms load times

 

2. Speed Features – What Technology Do They Use?

Cloudways gives you a choice between 5 cloud hosting providers while Kinsta uses Google Cloud C2. Both have different types of caching, although both are server-side caching which is faster than any cache plugin. For CDNs, Cloudways has a set price of $1/25GB which uses StackPath’s CDN, while Kinsta provides a certain amount of GB free with each plan (higher plans come with more GBs) and uses KeyCDN. Cloudways has a Breeze plugin, but it doesn’t have good reviews and I would use WP Rocket instead (as well as on Kinsta) with these settings.

CloudwaysKinsta
ServerDigitalOcean, Vultr + Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google CloudGoogle Cloud C2
SpeedFastestFast
CachingVarnish, Redis, MemcachedBytecode, Object, Page, CDN
CDNStackPath ($1/25GB)KeyCDN ($.10/GB)
PHP7.47.4
Cache PluginBreezeNone
Premium DNSDNS Made Easy (Paid)Amazon Route 53 (Free)

 

3. Simultaneous Visitor Handling – Can They Handle Lots Of Visitors?

Disclaimer: I haven’t done an official test on Cloudways vs. Kinsta for simultaneous visitors.

Butmany high traffic bloggers like Matthew Woodward use Kinsta. Kinsta also prides themselves in this… they posted multiple screenshots on Twitter showing how their client’s site was able to handle hundreds and 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

 

4. Resource Limits – Cloudways CPU vs. Kinsta PHP Worker Limits

Both Cloudways and Kinsta have resource limits.

On Cloudways, you can view CPU usage inside 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

Look out for PHP worker limits.

 

5. Support – Better Support At Kinsta

Support is where Kinsta wins the most.

This is the main reason you’re paying for higher prices at Kinsta. Their support is phenomenal and consistent. This is best reflected if you dig through their TrustPilot reviews, you will constantly see great reviews about their support. They are fast, are US-based, and very helpful.

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

 

6. Features – Who Has More?

Take a look at Cloudways’ features page as well as Kinsta’s.

A few unique things about Cloudways is their bot protection, MariaDB 10.3, Redis, Breeze plugin, server level caching, scaling, GIT, SSH, cloning, Elastic Email, and cron job management.

A few unique things about Kinsta is their premium DNS, search and replace, IonCube Loader, redirects, and IP Deny. But one of the most unique features is their built-in analytics where you can see information on visitors, bandwidth usage, CDN usage, Geo and IP, and cache analytics.

CloudwaysKinsta
SSLFreeFree
BackupsFree Daily (Consumes Usage)Free Daily
StagingYesYes
SupportGreatAwesome
DashboardCustomCustom
Email Hosting$1/month via RackspaceNone
# Of SitesUnlimitedPlan-Specific (1, 2, 5, 10, etc)
Banned PluginsNoYes
Migrations1 Free Then $25/SiteFree Unlimited From Most Hosts

Kinsta Analytics Cache

 

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

Kinsta uses the MyKinsta dashboard while 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

MyKinsta Dashboard

 

8. 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 mailbox through Rackspace. Kinsta recommends G Suite.

 

9. Migrations – Cloudways Is Cheaper And Has A Plugin

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

Kinsta offers unlimited free migrations from many 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

 

10. Security – How Do They Protect Your Site?

You can read up on Cloudways’ and Kinsta’s security pages.

While both Cloudways and Kinsta have great security, Kinsta wins this one.

They offer 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

 

11. Data Centers – Where Are They Located?

Cloudways has 38 data centers while Kinsta has 24 data centers.

Cloudways’ data centers depend on which cloud provider you choose. (e.g. DigitalOcean).

Cloudways Data Centers:

123
San Francisco, USANetherland, NetherlandsHong Kong, China
New York, USATokyo, JapanMiami, USA
Silicon Valley, USASeoul, KoreaNorth Virginia, USA
Paris, FranceBangalore, IndiaSeattle, USA
Frankfurt, GermanyMumbai, IndiaNorthern California, USA
Singapore, SingaporeSydney, AustraliaNorthern Virginia, USA
Dublin, IrelandLos Angeles, USANorthern Carolina, USA
London, EnglandDallas, USAOhio, USA
Sao Paulo, BrazilChicago, USAStockholm, Sweden
Toronto, CanadaNewark, USABelgium, Belgium
Montreal, CanadaAtlanta, USAOregon, USA
Fermont, CanadaTaiwan, ChinaIowa, USA
Amsterdam, NetherlandsBahrain, Bahrain

Kinsta Data Centers:

123
Council Bluffs, Iowa, USASão Paulo, BrazilHamina, Finland
St. Ghislain, BelgiumLondon, UKLos Angeles, California
Changhua County, TaiwanFrankfurt, GermanyHong Kong
Sydney, AustraliaJurong West, SingaporeZürich, Switzerland
The Dalles, Oregon, USATokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Salt Lake City, USAMumbai, IndiaSeoul, South Korea
Ashburn, Virginia, USAMontréal, CanadaLas Vegas, Nevada, USA
Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USAEemshaven, NetherlandsJakarta, Indonesia

 

12. Pricing – Kinsta Is More Expensive Than Cloudways

Kinsta and Cloudways are monthly pricing with no higher renewals.

Kinsta starts at $30/month while Cloudways starts at $10/month for their entry level DigitalOcean plan. With Kinsta, you can get 4 months free when you sign up for 1 year.

If you want to compare Google Cloud hosting (since that’s what Kinsta uses), Cloudways is slightly more expensive starting $33.18/month. It depends on which cloud provider you choose (I typically recommend DigitalOcean or Vultr High Frequency). But it depends on your needs.

Cloudways Pricing:

PlanPrice
DigitalOcean$10/month
Vultr$11/month
Linode$12/month
Vultr High Frequency$13/month
Google Cloud$33.18/month
AWS$36.51/month

Cloudways-Pricing

Kinsta Pricing:

PlanPrice
Starter$30/month
Pro$60/month
Business 1$100/month
Business 2$200/month
Business 3$300/month
Business 4$400/month
Enterprise 1$600/month
Enterprise 2$900/month
Enterprise 3$1200/month
Enterprise 4$1500/month

Kinsta Pricing

 

13. TrustPilot – Both Have 4.7+ Star TrustPilot Reviews

Cloudways and Kinsta both have around 4.8/5 star reviews on TrustPilot.

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 all good.

Cloudways TrustPilot Rating

Kinsta TrustPilot Reviews

 

14. Facebook Group Feedback – What Are People Saying?

Here are a few threads from the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group, the group I recommend joining to get real, unbiased opinions from usually knowledgeable people. WP Speed Matters and WordPress Speed Up are also good. Just know that Hristo (the SiteGround community manager) is an admin of the WordPress Speed Up Group and the “opinions” are more biased.

Happy customers using Cloudways:

Cloudways-Feedback-in-Facebok-Groups

Happy customers using Kinsta:

Kinsta Hosting Feedback

 

15. Summary – The Winner Of Cloudways vs. Kinsta

Cloudways for pure speed and affordability. Kinsta if you’re willing to pay more for exceptional support with slightly slower speeds (but still fast) and limits to visitor counts and PHP workers.

I’ve been using Cloudways DigitalOcean since 2019 and couldn’t be happier. They’re highly recommend in the WordPress Hosting Facebook and rated #1 in numerous Facebook polls.

Kinsta-vs.-Cloudways

If you decide to use Cloudways, here are a few steps/optimizations I recommend:

Step 1: Sign up for a Cloudways free trial.

Cloudways-Homepage

Step 2: Use promo code OMM25 to get 25% off your first 2 months.

Cloudways Promo Code

Step 3: Add a server.

Add-Server-To-Cloudways

Step 4: 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.

Vultr-High-Frequency-Option

Step 5: In Cloudways, go Servers → Manage Services, then enable the following:

Cloudways-Services

Step 6: Go to Settings & Packages and upgrade to PHP 7.4, MariaDB 10.3, and install Redis.

Hosting-Speed-Optimizations

Step 7: Request a free migration or use their Migrator plugin to move your site(s).

Cloudways Free Migration 1

Enjoy the faster load times.

Cloudways Shoutout

Any questions? Hit me up in the comments.

Cheers,
Tom

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