Kinsta Review: Too Much Marketing But Not Enough CPU Cores/RAM, PHP Workers, Monthly Visits, $100/mo Redis (Seriously)?

Kinsta review

Kinsta is way too expensive when you look at their specs.

Humble me and compare Kinsta’s specs vs. Rocket.net’s. Just keep in mind some specs are buried in their blog which you’ll find links to in this review. Kinsta gives you 20 less CPU cores, 120GB less RAM, and 10x+ less monthly visits (yes, you read those right). They also use slower network SSDs instead of NVMe, have no full page caching with Cloudflare Enterprise, low PHP worker limits, and only use a mere 1 CPU core on staging sites compared to 128 cores on Rocket.

Sure, you get all the “big brands” like Google Cloud C2, Cloudflare Enterprise (kind of), and Amazon Route 53 DNS. And yeah, they have good support and a helpful blog. But that’s the problem. Kinsta is great at marketing – not hosting. This is probably why Matthew W. ranked Kinsta as the #1 fastest WordPress host. More marketing! But when comparing their specs vs. price, the value just isn’t there. You’re better off at Rocket.net which is both faster & superior.

 

1. 12 CPU Cores + 8GB RAM

This is what Kinsta gives you on standard plans (listed on this page).

For comparison, Rocket.net gives you 32 cores + 128GB RAM. And on staging websites, Kinsta only uses 1 CPU core + 8GB RAM while Rocket.net gives you the full 32 cores + 128GB RAM. This means Kinsta has 16x less RAM on live sites and 32x less CPU cores on staging sites. Too low!

Kinsta Rocket.net
CPU Cores 12 Cores 32 Cores
RAM 8GB 128GB
Staging CPU Cores 1 Core 32 Cores
Staging RAM 8GB 128GB

 

2. Low Visit Count + PHP Worker Limits

Kinsta allows up to 25x less visits than Rocket.net with PHP worker limits (which are otherwise non-existent).

Kinsta php workers monthly visits 1
Kinsta’s lowest plan: $35/mo, 25k monthly visits, 2 PHP workers
Rocket. Net monthly visits bandwidth
Rocket.net’s lowest plan: $30/mo, 250k monthly visits, no PHP worker limit

Visits counts are different than Google Analytics which count human visitors not using ad blockers. Kinsta counts human visitors (with or without ad blockers) as well as unknown bots.

Kinsta visit count

To calculate visit counts, take your average Google Analytics monthly visitors and multiply it by 143% since around 42.7% of people use ad blockers. Then add monthly visits from unknown bots (you can reduce this using Cloudflare’s firewall and IP/user-agent banning rules in Kinsta).

Rocket. Net vs kinsta monthly visits

PHP workers determine how many uncached requests your site can handle at once.

Smaller static sites can get away with 2 PHP workers (on the lowest 2 plans). Kinsta recommends WooCommerce/dynamic sites start at 4 PHP workers (the next 2 plans). Which means eCommerce sites are already looking at $115 – $225/mo. And that’s the starting point.

Chances are if your store has a decent amount of traffic, you’ll need at least 6 PHP workers for $340 – $450/mo+.

This also assumes your theme, plugins, and PHP code are optimized while taking advantage of Kinsta’s full page caching. Kinsta lists object caching (i.e. Redis) as one of the best methods to lower PHP worker usage. Which means to save money, you’ll need to spend $100/mo on Redis. Kinsta Analytics show the top uncached requests in your dashboard which you should monitor.

Kinsta php worker limit 1

 

3. No Full Page Caching On Cloudflare Enterprise

Since Kinsta doesn’t support full page caching from Cloudflare, more requests will hit your origin and therefore, increase the amount of PHP workers needed. For comparison, Rocket.net does use Cloudflare’s full page caching and only around 10% of requests hit your origin (which is why they don’t limit PHP workers). For this reason, scaling on Kinsta is much more expensive.

Even when Kinsta releases full page caching, it’s still not the same as Rocket.net. While they both use WAF and many other Cloudflare Enterprise features, Rocket.net went as far to build their data centers in the same ones as Cloudflare’s (the CEO was also StackPath’s chief product officer). Kinsta and Cloudways are both playing catch up.

Kinsta cloudflare enterprise

 

4. Network SSDs

Kinsta blogs about different types of storage, they don’t use the faster NVMe storage.

Nvme vs sata
Credit: PCWorld

 

5. No Participation In Kevin Ohashi’s Test

If Kinsta is as fast as they claim, why don’t they compete in Kevin Ohashi’s WordPress Hosting Benchmark tests? Kinsta interviewed Kevin and obviously knows who he is, so where are they?

Rocket. Net top tier wordpress hosting benchmarks

 

6. Expensive With Unwarranted Price Increase

Kinsta raised their prices which were already on the expensive side, although you can get 2 months free if you pay 1 year upfront. What makes Kinsta expensive are limits on PHP workers and visit counts which are the main things to determine when figuring out which plan you need.

Kinsta monthly pricing
Monthly pricing
Kinsta yearly pricing
Yearly pricing (2 months free)

 

7. Amazon Route 53 DNS Slower Than Cloudflare

Kinsta uses Amazon Route 53 for their DNS, but Cloudflare performs better on dnsperf.com.

Amazon route 53 dns

 

8. Redis Is $100/Month

Chances are if you’re looking at Kinsta, you may also want to use Redis especially if it’s a eCommerce/dynamic site. As explained earlier, Redis can be used to optimize PHP workers.

$100/month for Redis is a lot of money for object caching. You will need to request the add-on via support, then Kinsta’s team will install Redis in your site container and the WP Redis plugin.

Wp redis plugin

 

9. TrustPilot Rating Going Down

Looks like there have been quite the influx of complaints on their TrustPilot recently. Like most hosting companies, many positive reviews are solicited. But eventually, the bad ones come out.

Kinsta trustpilot reviews

 

10. Google Cloud C2

At least Kinsta uses Google Cloud C2 which is a compute-optimized machine family offered by Google (as opposed to “balanced” which is used with the N2 family on SiteGround for example).

Google cloud c2

Kinsta uses C2 standard VM instances which Google has benchmarks for. Note that Kinsta provides 12 CPU + 8GB RAM on standard plans, then numbers get higher on enterprise plans.

Machine Type CPU Platform vCPUs Coremark Score Standard Deviation (%) Sample Count
n2d-standard-2 Milan 2 38,897 3.61 2,264
n2d-standard-4 Milan 4 79,682 3.02 2,040
n2d-standard-8 Milan 8 145,022 3.03 1,824
n2d-standard-16 Milan 16 303,974 2.52 1,712
n2d-standard-32 Milan 32 611,375 1.77 905
n2d-standard-48 Milan 48 916,485 2.31 648
n2d-standard-64 Milan 64 1,217,192 2.71 512
n2d-standard-80 Milan 80 1,553,066 3.33 488
n2d-standard-96 Milan 96 1,826,345 4.00 388
n2d-standard-128 Milan 128 2,425,400 3.89 312
n2d-standard-224 Milan 224 3,938,461 1.49 212

 

11. Kinsta MU Plugin

Kinsta’s MU plugin is required for full page caching and Kinsta CDN integration.

The plugin enables automatic cache clearing, supports custom caching rules, and you can change the cache expiry in your MyKinsta dashboard (default is 1 hour). It’s installed on every website hosted at Kinsta by default, but will need to be manually installed if you migrated your website yourself or installed WordPress.

Kinsta says no WordPress cache plugins are needed at Kinsta and even bans some of them. However, cache plugins do a lot more than just caching and are a key part of addressing core web vitals. Which means you’ll still want a cache plugin (i.e. FlyingPress or WP Rocket). Kinsta automatically disables caching in WP Rocket, but you’ll have to check this if using FlyingPress.

Kinsta site cache 1

Kinsta mu plugin 1

 

12. No Email Hosting

Kinsta doesn’t have email hosting and recommends Google Workspace instead.

It’s a good idea to keep your web/email hosting separate anyways because resources can be solely dedicated to your website (plus, moving email accounts between hosts can be a pain).

Google workspace

 

13. Banned Plugins

Kinsta has a list of banned plugins.

WP Rocket is one of the only cache plugins allowed, Kinsta already provides backups, you’ll probably want to use Cloudflare Mirage + Polish for image optimization, and security plugins aren’t needed which increase CPU usage from their ongoing scans. These make sense to me.

  • Cache plugins
  • Backup plugins
  • Image optimization plugins
  • Video conversion plugins
  • Certain performance plugins
  • Security plugins

 

14. Great Support, But Not The “Best”

This is a lot of what you’re paying for since Kinsta’s support is good.

Does their CEO answer the phone though like Ben Gabler does at Rocket.net? Nope. There’s actually no phone support. Just when you think you’re getting the best support, you’re not.

 

15. Unlimited Free Migrations

Kinsta offers unlimited free migrations from the hosts below, then 1 premium migration.

A2 Hosting, Bluehost, Cloudways, DreamHost, Flywheel, GoDaddy, HostGator, Pagely, Pantheon, Savvii, SiteGround, tsoHost, WP Engine, WPX Hosting. Duplicator, ManageWP and cPanel backups are also supported.

Kinsta migrations

 

16. 34 Data Centers

Kinsta currently has 34 data center locations. Obviously you want to choose the data center closest to your visitors (for a faster TTFB) which you can do inside your MyKinsta dashboard.

Kinsta data centers 1

 

17. MyKinsta Demo

Request a MyKinsta demo and try it yourself.

Some host’s custom dashboards are a mess, but Kinsta’s is clean, fast, and user-friendly.

Things You Can Do In MyKinsta

  • Add domains
  • Add redirects
  • Add New Relic
  • Take backups
  • Block IP addresses
  • Switch PHP version
  • Setup a staging site
  • Activate KinstaCDN
  • APM (for debugging)
  • Add SSL + force HTTPS
  • Enable server-side caching
  • View a plethora of analytics
  • Add users to your Kinsta account
  • View outdated WordPress plugins
  • Accessing database with phpMyAdmin
  • Search/replace values in your database

Kinsta analytics cache

Kinsta staging

Final Thoughts: Kinsta was a marketing company that decided to get into hosting. If their marketing was as good as hosting, I would recommend them. Unfortunately, it’s superficial.

Cheers,
Tom

You Might Also Like:

2 thoughts on “Kinsta Review: Too Much Marketing But Not Enough CPU Cores/RAM, PHP Workers, Monthly Visits, $100/mo Redis (Seriously)?”

  1. Speed tested them (kinsta who was fully optimized) vs the siteground copy rocket took that was bloated and not optimized.

    Results?
    Fastorslow.com (My personal fav site to test speed worldwide)
    97 for rocket.net
    47 for kinsta.com

    In fact Kinsta is only 87 in Hong Kong, and 67 overall after many reruns.
    Rocket is 83 in HK and 97 worldwide.

    GT Metrix
    Rocket.net
    Grade – A
    Performance – 97%
    Structure – 97%
    Kinsta.com
    Grade – C
    Performance – 72%
    Structure – 94%

    This is horrible for kinsta as this was using their CDN and rocket cache plus fully optimized database that went from 69,000kb to 13,000kb and autoload and crons stripped down.

    Rocket.net is the fastest managed web host ive ever used, having managed is great for minor and small issues. Will be using them for all critical websites and ecommerce in the future.

    Kinsta isn’t really worth it either, Redis = 100/mo extra, 4 php workers on their 100/mo plan.
    Rocket.net installs redis for you for free.

    Please do a review on them.

    Reply

Leave a Comment