Fell for the Kinsta hype?
Once a marketing company, Kinsta’s hosting is superficial and very expensive.
Sure, you get big brands like Google Cloud C2, Amazon Route 53’s “premium DNS” and an “enterprise-level Cloudflare integration.” But their Cloudflare is not Enterprise, Route 53 is slower than Cloudflare’s on dnsperf.com, and you have to pay heavy fees for (what should be free) paid add-ons like $100/mo Redis and $50/mo Nginx reverse proxy. Staging sites only have 1 CPU core unless you pay another $20/mo for “premium staging environments.” I smell a ripoff.
While both Kinsta and Rocket.net only have 10GB storage on their lowest plan, Kinsta uses slower network SSDs with 10x less monthly visits. Plus, they limit PHP workers which gets seriously expensive when you scale. They also have 20 less CPU cores and 120GB less RAM.
Not sure what happened with Matthew Woodward and WPX, but he now lists Kinsta as “the fastest WordPress hosting” along with SiteGround, Bluehost, and GoDaddy in his list. C’mon!
- Low PHP worker + monthly visit limits
- Paid add-ons are ridiculously expensive
- Not an enterprise-level Cloudflare integration
- Amazon Route 53’s DNS is slower than Cloudflare’s
- Slow network SSDs
- 256MB memory limit
- 12 CPU cores + 8GB RAM
- No participation in Kevin Ohashi’s test
- Raised prices when their hosting got worse
- Their TrustPilot rating sunk
- Google Cloud C2
- Kinsta MU plugin
- No email hosting
- Banned plugins
- OK support, not the best
- Unlimited free migrations (from some hosts)
- 35 data centers
- Kinsta alternatives
1. Low PHP Worker + Monthly Visit Limits
This is the main reason Kinsta gets so expensive:
PHP workers determine how many uncached requests your site can handle at once.
Smaller static sites “might” get away with 2 PHP workers on the lowest 2 plans, but 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. Chances are if your store has a decent amount of traffic, you’ll need at least 6 PHP workers for $340 – $450/mo+. And since WooCommerce sites should definitely be using Redis, you’re already looking at about $500/mo.
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.
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).
2. Paid Add-Ons Are Ridiculously Expensive
Kinsta’s add-ons are good enough reason not to use them.
I don’t know any host that charges for Redis or Nginx reverse proxy. And to “save money” by optimizing PHP workers, Kinsta recommends using Redis. You pay more to save less? Since staging sites only use 1 CPU core, you’ll likely also need to pay an extra $20/mo to get 8 cores.
- Redis – $100/mo
- Nginx reverse proxy – $50/mo)
- Premium staging environments – $20/mo
- Extra disk space – 20 GB increments at $20/mo per hosting plan
- Automatic external backups – $2/month per site + $1/GB for external bandwidth
3. Not An Enterprise-level Cloudflare Integration
Kinsta says they use an “enterprise-level Cloudflare integration.”
However, it’s far from it. You only get full page caching with Cloudflare’s layer 7 firewall. You don’t get WAF, prioritized routing, Argo Smart Routing + Tiered Cache, Mirage/Polish image optimization for (which are arguably better than plugins), load balancing, and other features.
|Kinsta Cloudflare Enterprise||FlyingProxy Cloudflare Enterprise||Cloudways Cloudflare Enterprise||Rocket.net Cloudflare Enterprise|
|Full page caching||✓||✓||x||✓|
|Argo Smart Routing||x||x||✓||✓|
|Enterprise security||Firewall rules only||✓||✓||✓|
|Price||Free with hosting||$10/mo||$5/mo||Free with hosting|
4. Amazon Route 53’s DNS Is Slower Than Cloudflare’s
Kinsta uses Amazon Route 53 for their DNS, but Cloudflare performs better on dnsperf.com.
5. Slow Network SSDs
Kinsta blogs about different types of storage, but they don’t use faster NVMe SSDs.
6. 256MB Memory Limit
Kinsta’s standard plans only have a 256MB PHP memory limit.
As one reviewer points out, you have to contact support to upgrade. And when you do, Kinsta will likely recommend upgrading to an agency plan which still only has a 512MB memory limit.
7. 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. While this doesn’t exactly impact speed, it can result in your site temporarily slowing down or 500 errors.
|CPU Cores||12 Cores||32 Cores|
|Staging CPU Cores||1 Core||32 Cores|
8. 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?
9. Raised Prices When Their Hosting Got Worse
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.
10. Their TrustPilot Rating Sunk
Looks like there have been quite the influx of complaints on their TrustPilot recently. Like most hosting companies, many positive reviews are solicited. But the bad ones come out eventually.
11. 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).
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|
12. Kinsta MU Plugin
Kinsta’s MU plugin is required for full page caching and Kinsta’s CDN integration.
This enables automatic cache clearing, custom caching rules, and changing the cache expiry in MyKinsta (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 you 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.
13. 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).
14. Banned Plugins
Kinsta has a list of banned plugins. Hosts often do this because these plugins are notorious for increasing memory usage or cause duplicate functionality. For example, since Kinsta already provides Enterprise-level security through Cloudflare, you shouldn’t need any security plugin.
- Cache plugins
- Backup plugins
- Image optimization plugins
- Video conversion plugins
- Certain performance plugins
- Security plugins
15. OK Support, Not The Best
Kinsta’s support used to be good, but how good can it be when you constantly run out of resources? With all their limits, I imagine you get the “upgrade your plan” response quite a bit.
16. Unlimited Free Migrations (From Some Hosts)
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.
17. 35 Data Centers
Kinsta currently has 35 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.
18. Kinsta Alternatives
Rocket.net is significantly better than Kinsta.
They use 16x more CPU cores, 3x RAM, free Redis, NVMe SSDs, LiteSpeed’s PHP, and their Cloudflare Enterprise has more features like full page caching, Argo Smart Routing, image optimization, and load balancing. Plus, they allow 10-25 times the monthly visits with no PHP worker limits since only about 10% of traffic actually hits the origin server (the rest is offloaded to Cloudflare). Support is better, prices are cheaper, and they also have better TrustPilot rating. Kinsta is more popular due to marketing, but Rocket.net’s specs blow Kinsta’s out of the water.
|Kinsta Starter Plan||Cloudways Vultr HF (2GB)||Servebolt Pro Plan||Rocket.net Starter Plan|
|Type||Google Cloud C2||Cloud||Private cloud||Private cloud|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|Nginx reverse proxy||$50/mo||✓||✓||✓|
|Cores/RAM||12 cores/8GB||1 core/2GB||Unmetered||32 cores/128GB|
|Staging cores/RAM||1 core/8GB||1 core/2GB||Unmetered||32 cores/128GB|
|Storage||10GB / SATA||64GB / NVMe||4GB / ???||10GB / NVMe|
|PHP workers||2 PHP workers||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Redis||$100/mo||Redis Pro||Redis only on Business plan and up||Redis + Redis Pro on Business plan and up|
|CDN||Cloudflare free + full page caching + layer 7 firewall rules||Cloudflare Enterprise – APO ($5/mo)||Cloudflare Enterprise (Accelerated Domains): $299/mo||Cloudflare Enterprise|
|DNS||Amazon Route 53||DNS Made Easy ($5/mo)||x||Cloudflare|
|Bandwidth or monthly visits||25k visits/mo||2TB||1M dynamic requests||50GB + 250k visits/mo|
|Migrations||Free (most hosts)||1 free + $25/site||Unlimited free||Unlimited free|
They have a perfect TrustPilot rating and you can find several people who posted results:
I was previously using Cloudways Vultr High Frequency who also has Cloudflare Enterprise, NVMe storage, and Redis Object Cache Pro. However, Rocket.net has a lot more CPU/RAM with no limits on PHP workers (CPU limits). Plus, Rocket.net’s support is likely the best you’ll find if you reach out to Ben Gabler and his team. The main benefit of Cloudways is they allow more storage/bandwidth, but I can tell you the jump from Cloudways to Rocket.net was a nice boost.
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.
My favorite is Digital Ocean. You can achieve higher speed and have more resources on DO while paying at least 60% less compared to KInsta or any other managed wordpress hosting. The redis community version, NGINX server and mariadb offer more speed than wordpress running on managed Kinsta server. Plus Kinsta increased prices last. That’s when I decided to learn about servers and self host rather than pay higher prices. Hosting Wordpress on DO is both faster and safer unless you want to waste money nothing on sites like Kinsta. If you spend $35 on DO, you get more than treble what Kinsta offers at the same price. Plus extra disks on DO are also priced low $10 for 100 gb. Kinsta provides NGINX servers and a few features like cdn and a free search and replace feature. However, if someone can do it himself self hosting on DO, AWS or Azure, is much cheaper. Best thing about DO, no worrying about unexpected charges. There is one click wordpress and you can always create new droplets from snapshots if you want to resize. One can start a wordpress site for as low as $5 on DO and a $10 droplet would easily serve more than 30000 visitors a month. Kinsta’s pricing is just ridiculous.
Unlimited workers is a BS once you are there and you need them you quickly find out that’s a marketing gimmick from Rocket, don’t get why people believe unlimited is a real thing in hosting. You should do your research, test the services and not just go after the affiliate commission here.
Not just “going after aff commissions” when I’ve been using them for about a year and have great results with a fast global TTFB. I hear you on your main point and I’ll look into it more, but I’ve been getting paid the exact same per sale for about 7 years whether it was from SG, CW, or Rocket. Even my post on “best hosting” lists GridPane/RunCloud near the top who don’t have an aff program. So no, I’m not just going after affiliate commissions. I’ll do my research, please do yours :)
Speed tested them (kinsta who was fully optimized) vs the siteground copy rocket took that was bloated and not optimized.
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.
Grade – A
Performance – 97%
Structure – 97%
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.
Thanks for sharing those results! I plan to do a review on them soon. I’ve heard great things.