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A Year with Kinsta: A Managed WordPress Host Review

September 5th, 2020

About a year ago, I closed down a dedicated virtual server I had at MediaTemple and wanted to move to more “hands-off” server management solutions. I put my portfolio site, this one, on Kinsta and set up a secondary account at Siteground to use exclusively for staging projects and some smaller builds I was hosting. Here’s some pros & cons from my first year with Kinsta:

Pro: Kinsta Free Migrations

When I moved hosts, I was slammed with client work so I took advantage of the free migration service Kinsta offers for my own site. I basically filled out a form with my site details and submitted it and they took care of the rest. There were zero hiccups in this process. It was buttery smooth and done really quickly. It definitely started things out in a positive direction. Free migrations are included in every Kinsta plan.

Pro: Insanely Reliable Managed WordPress Hosting

In my year with being hosted at Kinsta, I’ve had to reach out to their support exactly 0 times saying things like, “My site is down and I’m not sure why.” I have had just really reliable hosting during my year with them. It’s nice to have hosting you don’t have to worry about.

Pro: Responsive Support

While I haven’t had the need to reach out to Kinsta‘s support for anything on my own site, there have been a few instances of needing something on other projects and whenever I’ve interacted with them, they’ve been extremely quick to respond and helpful in solving. I’ve never had a frustrating experience with them which is not the case with most other hosting companies I’ve dealt with.

Pro: Easy-to-Use Hosting Features

A lot of managed WordPress hosts offer a substantial amount of features, but sometimes accessing all those is a bit convoluted. The Kinsta dashboard area makes it all really simple. Setting up their CDN is a breeze, requesting SSL certificates is painfully simple, etc.

Pro: Kinsta’s Beautiful Dashboard

The MyKinsta dashboard is so pretty to look at. I’ve worked with a lot of hosting companies and Kinsta’s admin is my favorite stylistically by far. I know when looking for a host, being able to say “it’s so pretty” when managing it isn’t high on the list but man, Kinsta nails it in this department.

Con: No Free Transferable or Staging Installs

I have one complaint about Kinsta and that is it. As a developer who frequently spins up staging sites for clients while a project is in development and helps clients set up hosting, I really wish that they had something comparable to some other managed WordPress hosts where you can set up an account on behalf of your client (without paying for the hosting account), migrate their site there then transfer the account to them. Flywheel does it with their demo sites. WP Engine does it with transferable installs, where you can set up a private, password-protected temporary instance and then transfer to a client to take live.

Now, Kinsta allows you to transfer installs but ultimately, you’d be either using a site that is on your existing plan or having to set up (& pay for) the initial account yourself ahead of transferring. Neither is really convenient. I’m hoping something comparable gets added at some point because it would be massively helpful to freelancers and agencies who do spin up temporary environments or want to make hosting handoff easier on clients. Right now, I have to maintain a separate hosting account elsewhere so I can spin up staging installs without needing a site slot for them in my account and then, if recommending Kinsta, the client needs to sign up there themselves then grant me access. For the more technologically savvy clients, not a huge deal but for others, it can be intimidating and I’d rather take care of as much as possible for those people if there was a route to do so.

I love, love, love recommending Kinsta to clients and their lacking this feature doesn’t change that. In my year with them, it’s my only bone to pick. Beyond that, I’m a massively happy customer and they remain my go-to managed WordPress hosting recommendation.

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