Over the years we’ve probably tried 15 different hosts across all of our projects ranging from content sites, to eCommerce, to SaaS sites.
Majority of the time, it’s pretty much the same offering, cloaked in a different brand.
Every now and then, you get an outlier, that is run by well-experienced folks who put the CUSTOMER first and build a product/service based on CUSTOMER NEEDS vs building something and shoving it into customers’ hands.
The first question: To manage or not manage?
Table of Contents
What Is Regular Hosting vs Managed Hosting?
Complete control of the server (assuming you are at the level where you need this)
Host any type of site – WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, custom built content or SaaS site
Managed WordPress Hosting
Optimized in every way for WordPress – they don’t do anything else, ONLY WordPress Hosting
Which leads to benefits in terms of speed, security and saving valuble time by having automatic updates and backups
The Main Criteria On Our Journey To Find A New Host
We reached an inflection point last year where we were absolutely fed up with our previous host plus the depth of technical expertise to manage a server, while trying to keep a nimble team.
Even though we had a dedicated server and full control over everything, the support was absolutely horrendous and not helpful at all, which led to small issues taking a long time to fix.
Anyways, I digress. We knew we needed a new solution, and our main criteria were:
- SPEED: A host that understands server side caching and the importance of speed
- SCALABILITY: The flexibility to easily add in more resources as we need them
- STAGING ENVIRONMENTS: An easy way to create and use staging environments so our freelance developers could get on and complete work without ever touching our live site
- CANADIAN DATA CENTRE: Considering 97% of our traffic is Canadian, it does not make sense to host our site in Iowa
- SUPPORT: People that actually know what they’re talking about and super fast response times, because you know, we’re a little impatient 🙂
Now let’s go through each of the above and see why Kinsta came out as the winner.
While we could sit here and right an article just on speed, Kinsta is a clear winner in this area.
Being built and run by WordPress developers and experts, they truly understand what needs to be done from a technical point of view to deliver super fast instances.
The clear differentiator here is their server side caching technology they’ve implemented which in itself with no other changes will deliver your WordPress site to users fast.
This includes Bytecode cache, Object cache, Page cache and CDN cache.
You really don’t need to sit around and fiddle with cahcing plug-ins which some of us have spent countless hours doing :).
We’ve seen double-digit increases from our previous host.
Let the results speak for themselves:
Being a site that randomly sees large surges in traffic, it was important for us to find a host that did not constrain resources and that could handle any spikes in traffic.
The last thing you want is a piece of content or a product on your site going viral, and users ending up at a 404 Not Found page on your site.
Kinsta does not constrain the CPUs or RAM allocated to your install.
Instead it auto-scales based on the demands of your website at any given point in time.
While it’s important to understand that CPUs and RAM are not the only constraint points, you can have the peace of mind knowing that those won’t be of any concern.
Does your host auto-scale?
- STAGING ENVIRONMENTS
Since WordPress does not have any native staging capabilities, it was important to us to find a host that could help with this.
It’s important for us to have a separate environemt where devs can work on changes, enhancements, fixes and other things without touching the live site.
It’s also critical to have a staging environment if you are using freelance devs.
You can provide them access to files as well as the WordPress Admin area after which you can review changes to ensure everything is in order before pushing things live.
Kinsta provides a seamless staging environment including a one-click Push To Live.
- CANADIAN DATA CENTRE
As mentioned above, 97% of our traffic is Canadian.
It only makes sense to host our site in a data center in Canada to keep latency as low as possible. While other hosts were a little perplexed, unsure of if they had a data center in Canada and for those that did, unsure of if they could allow us to specifically pick a location we would prefer to host at.
Kinsta made it simple and straight-forward.
While adding our first site, a drop-down of choices allows you to pick from 1 of their 24 Google Cloud data centers – Simple and straightforward!
Kinsta currently has data centers in:
- Montréal, Canada
- Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
- The Dalles, Oregon, USA
- Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
- Ashburn, Virginia, USA
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA
- Los Angeles, California, USA
- St. Ghislain, Belgium
- London, UK
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Zürich, Switzerland
- Eemshaven, Netherlands
- Hamina, Finland
- Changhua County, Taiwan
- Jurong West, Singapore
- Tokyo, Japan
- Mumbai, India
- Hong Kong
- Osaka, Japan
- Seoul, South Korea
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Sydney, Australia
This one is well discussed and well documented all over the Internet.
The support staff at Kinsta are not so-called ‘customer service agents’.
They’re actual WordPress users, developers, creators, builders.
They know the platform inside out.
When you ask tough questions, you get the right answers in a very timely manner.
This is one of the differentiating factors that puts Kinsta well-ahead of the pack.
I’ve worked with support folks at other hosts and have gone in circles as they’re not the right person to be answering my question.
Kinsta has a different breed of support staff.
Test them and you’ll see!
Some other features you may want to take note of:
- Free SSL
- Free automatic backups and one-click restore
- Free KeyCDN service
What’s Pricing Like?
Kinsta offers a straight-forward pricing structure starting at $30 USD per month per install and becoming lower as you buy the ability to have more WordPress instances.
Simple. No contracts, cancel anytime.
There are add-ons but these are mainly for advanced users with advanced or particular use cases – For example, Cloudflare Railgun, Elasticsearch, Redis, Nginx Reverse Proxy and more can be added on.
The price chart below with the first 3 plans they offer shows that if you have 5 installs, your effective price is $20 USD per month per install.
Paying annually also saves you 2 months. So you can do 5 installs at $1000 per year, coming out to just $16.67 per install per year!
However, even at $30 USD per month for a single install, I think you get great value for the money – essentially a very well experienced team of WordPress experts providing a critical piece of the puzzle especially if your online property is revenue generating.
Kinsta will also migrate your site to their platform for FREE!
|Free SSL & CDN
|CDN 50 GB
|CDN 100 GB
|CDN 200 GB
|Free Premium Migrations
|$30 USD per month
|$60 USD per month
|$100 USD per month
If you do happen to to go beyond the visit, storage or CDN limits, you will be notified for as you approach the limit and there are nominal charges for the extra usage.
Everything continues on seamlessly; there is never any disruption in service.
Ok, Tell Us The Bad Parts
I would if I could.
We’ve migrated a couple of sites over to Kinsta so far with a few more to go.
At this point, we honestly have nothing negative to say.
However, I’ll share 2 thoughts some of our colleagues have expressed:
To some, maybe the fact that they don’t have email as we’ve become accustomed to when using NameCheap or other providers is a negative, however I don’t know how many businesses can survive without an Outlook 365 or G Suite account these days.
We use Outlook 365 for all of our needs so this definitely does not pertain to us, but I understand that some folks do not understand the value of an Exchange server and having all of your devices sync up automatically.
- Phone Support
If you’re one of those that likes to talk to someone on the phone when you need help or are having issues, this may be a negative.
Definitely not us, we prefer chat or email and we’ve used their online support many times which is available 24/7.
Response times are super fast, answers are actually helpful, not canned responses other companies used to give us.