Picking a web hosting for your website or blog is a difficult process with myriads of options that is available right now in the market. Kinsta and WP Engine are two of the most highly rated web hosting companies out there. They are expensive and aimed at select niches of customers who are looking for high performance and are ready to spend anywhere around $30- $200 per month for their hosting.
Founded in 2013, Kinsta is relatively new hosting compared to WP Engine, which was founded in 2009. Not a lot of people knew about Kinsta until 2016, when they became the first managed host to exclusively use Google Cloud Platform. WP Engine uses Amazon web service primarily. They claim that they use Google Cloud Platform before signing up, but unfortunately I found out that GCP is only allocated to custom premier level plans, which starts for more than $1000/mo.
You will learn more about this as we dig deep into this on the speed section below.
I would recommend going through this Bluehost Vs SiteGround review if you are one with the following features.
- Low Budget
- Just a personal blog, not intended for profit.
- Uses CMS other than WordPress. Kinsta and WP Engine only support building websites with WordPress.
Now that you don’t have any of the above-mentioned features, let’s fully compare these two hostings from head to tail.
Here’s what we will cover in this entire review.
- Uptime ( Reliability)
- Price, Plans, and Features
- PROS AND CONS
- Our Recommendation.
Let’s find out which hosting performs the best.
We did all the tests on real websites hosted on Kinsta and WP Engine by actually paying for the plans. These are high-quality web hosting companies, therefore we uploaded a very complex theme for the testing purpose.
Test websites are:- ih-inlinehosting-kinsta.host and ih-inlinehosting-wpengine.host
Here are the details to support that these websites are really hosted on Kinsta and WP Engine.
WP Engine Vs Kinsta – Can any hosting be faster than them?
A Fast website is a crucial factor in ensuring a smooth user experience for your website visitors. Better the experience, longer they will stay in site, resulting in higher conversion, and eventually higher profit for your business.
Both WP Engine and Kinsta offers excellent speed to websites hosted under them. Over the past several years, we have tested a number of web hosting for its speed, Kinsta and WP Engine was in top 5 every single time.
Why are they so fast?
This is possible as a result of their heavy investment in new innovation and technologies. Kinsta and WP Engine were one of the first few companies to start using PHP 7.3 for their hosting.
As for those who know don’t know how PHP version plays into all this, PHP is a server-level language used for building a WordPress website. According to W3Techs, PHP is used by 79% of all websites that use a server-side programming language. A higher PHP version ensures better speed and enhanced security compared to the previous version.
Also Read: Why PHP version is important?
Another important thing about Kinsta and WP Engine is that both of these comes with premium CDN’s. Thanks to the CDN offered by WP Engine and Kinsta, they are fast not just from their data center, but from every point across Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and Asia. WP Engine uses MAX CDN and Kinsta uses Key CDN as a third party tool for providing CDN. Both these CDN services are some of the best out there with over 34 POPS around the world.
We have previously mentioned that Kinsta hosts its client’s websites on the premium tier of Google Cloud Platform. Google Cloud Platform uses the same software and hardware that Google uses for its own products, such as Youtube and Gmail. That says the credibility of Kinsta. You are guaranteed to get absolute best of speed and reliability with Kinsta.
While Kinsta uses Google, WP Engine uses Google and Google’s biggest rival Amazon Web Service for hosting its client’s website. Even though WP Engine promises GCP and Amazon, we found out that this is not the case as GCP is available only for their custom level plans which starts at more than $1000/mo. Amazon is currently the leading provider of cloud services with a market share of 51% compared to a 6% market share with Google Cloud Platform.
So, Which Cloud Platform is better? There isn’t an obvious answer. Each has its own Pros and Cons. However, the point here is that your website will be hosted on one of the most reliable and fastest servers in the world if you choose to go with either Kinsta or WP Engine.
Right now, Kinsta is currently first in speed for the test conducted in 2019 on our website.
See the result for yourself how Kinsta fared against WP Engine for speed.
Kinsta Vs Wp Engine Speed Test Results.
There are several ways to test the speed of a web hosting company. However, we won’t go too technical and will use just two simple tests for a better understanding.
In this first test, we hosted two websites with exactly the same theme, content, requests on both Kinsta and WP Engine. Then, we used a popular tool called Pingdom to measure the loading time of these two websites for a 7 day period. This way, it ensures that the test is fair and loading time is entirely based on the hosting company as the website used for the test is exactly the same.
Here are the test results for both Kinsta and WP Engine.
In the above test, Kinsta was faster than WP Engine by almost 0.7S.
In the second test, we did something different.
Suppose that you get 50k visitors a day for your site, those visits will not be evenly distributed for the 24 hour period. There will be times when you will be getting 500-600 visits at a given time, at those time, there will be high stress applied to your web hosting company servers and only good hosting companies will ensure consistent and fast speed at those times.
Therefore, we wanted to check the efficiency of both Kinsta and the WP engine in handling multiple people coming to your site at the same time.
We did this by using a tool called Loader.io. This tool was used to send 5000 visits to a webpage in one minute. In this test, we were sending around 100 visits/sec at any given time. We used the same website we used for the above test to make the test as fair as possible.
Here are the results.
Kinsta load was exceptional with a response time 3x faster than WP Engine throughout the test.
On the other hand, WP Engine speed was average. However, they were consistent throughout the test and didn’t break down or give errors even though we sent 5000 visits in one second.
— Neuralab (@Neuralab) July 22, 2017
Winner:- The fact remains Kinsta was too good for WP Engine when it comes to speed.
Kinsta Vs WP Engine – Which WordPress hosting is more popular and widely used?
Kinsta and WP Engine are two of the most highly-rated hosting companies among the WordPress community. Kinsta was not in the picture until 2016, when they became the first hosting company to use Google Cloud Platform. After that, their popularity soared to new heights.
WP Engine was considered to be the best WordPress hosting way back from 2011. They were very popular among the WordPress community for several years and in fact, it’s safe to say that they are the most preferred WordPress hosting right now after their acquisition of their biggest rival FlyWheel.
Kinsta is slowly catching with WP Engine’s popularity as you can see below from the data provided by Google Trends.
Kinsta also claims that they generate over 11x revenue of what they did in 2015 thanks to their excellent performance after shifting to Google Cloud Platform. Also, Kinsta’s client base includes some of biggest names in the industry such as MariaDB, Freshbooks, and Tripadvisor.
Winner: WP Engine. However, Kinsta is slowly catching the WP Engine in popularity due to its excellent performance.
Why Kinsta is faster even though both use Google Cloud Platform?
Kinsta uses the premium tier network of Google Cloud Platform, whereas WP Engine is believed to be using either the standard tier of Google cloud platform or AWS. Premium tier delivers traffic over Google’s well-provisioned, low latency, highly reliable global network with a 41% increase in speed over standard tier.
Here is a measurement from Cedexis Radar on the difference in the speed of Google Platform’s premium tier and standard tier.
Even though WP Engine claims they use GCP and AWS. That’s not the case entirely when I asked one of their support representatives to put our test website in GCP, they said that GCP is available only for custom premier level plan. That plan starts for around $1000/mo. All the other plans use AWS servers.
Another thing in favor of Kinsta is its LXC software containers for each site. It means each of your sites is hosted on separate isolated containers that have all the software required to run your website. The resource is 100% private and not shared between anyone else or even your own sites.
Which hosting is more prepared for sudden traffic surge (scalability)?
There is always a chance that your website might get sudden traffic due to various reasons.
Is Kinsta and WP Engine auto-scalable?
Nowadays, most hosting companies offer scale-up technology. This means that your hosting can increase the resources of your site under heavy load and requests.
That is if your site has come under load due to an unexpected surge in traffic, hosting companies will try to increase the number of vCPU and RAM as well as PHP workers to meet the demand. However, the limitation of this method is that there is only so much resource available and you can hit the limitation with this. Most hosting companies require a reboot of the system to take additional requests during such situations causing downtime.
Kinsta and WP Engine are built on the Google Cloud and AWS respectively, which provides seamless autoscaling of resources during heavy traffic. That means hardware resources are allocated to each site automatically by their virtual machines to scale up or down as needed based on the demands of the site. So when you need to scale up, Google and AWS will do it for no downtime.
These excellent allocations of resources make both Kinsta and WP Engine a perfect choice for autoscaling.
Kinsta Vs WP Engine – Are they UP 100% of the time?
Largely, your website downtime is caused by your web hosting company. It can be due to hardware failure, technical glitch, over usage of resources by other customers using your same server, and many more reasons. These are directly caused by the inefficiency of the web hosting company that you are using for your website.
Unavailability of the website is a serious issue. It can affect in loss of revenue, bad user experience, drop in search engine rankings, etc,. Therefore it’s very important to ensure that your website is up and running to anyone visiting your website.
Have you ever seen Google, Youtube or Amazon.com being unavailable?
Your answer is most probably no! Google and Amazon servers some of the best in reliability and availability. It is safe to assume that your website will be in the safe hands whoever you choose.
Anyway, we still wanted to test the uptime of both these hosting companies just to make sure we are absolutely right.
We used a tool called host-tracker to track uptime of around 150 websites hosted under several web hosting companies. Here are the figures for the uptime of Kinsta and Bluehost for the last quarter.
Winner:- Both are very reliable hosting companies.
Kinsta Vs WP Engine – Is Support Important?
When I first started building websites and were in lookout for a suitable web host, I was all into speed and performance. I never considered the support of a web host. However, with years of experience and after interacting with so many website owners, I realized that support is as important as speed or performance.
No matter how good a web hosting it is, a good support will play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth experience for building your website. There will always be a time when you will need to add more resources during traffic peaks, have some problem with billings, or need to customize your server to support some specific software just for your site, etc,. You need support for each of those cases and more.
Kinsta offers support in the form of 24/7 Live chat and ticketing support. According to Intercom, Kinsta’s is very fast and their median first response time for the last year is just 1m 35S. Additionally, the median time to solve and close an issue is just 48 minutes. That’s really fast, with some other hosting companies, you will have to wait just 1 hour to get an initial response.
When it comes to WP Engine, customers can contact them through e-mail support, and toll-free telephone service. In addition, clients can access a chat box that is available on every page of their site. From our tests, the initial response for support queries is very fast with an initial response in one minute.
Winner:- Both these hosting companies offer excellent support with very fast responses.
Kinsta Vs WP Engine – Price, Plans and Features.
When comparing Kinsta and WP Engine, the price is on the higher side. Kinsta’s basic plans start at $25/mo with 10GB of storage and 20k monthly traffic limit. Whereas the WP engine plans are slightly expensive and start at $29/mo with 10 GB of storage and 25k monthly traffic limit.
Here are more details on their prices, plans, and features.
|Plan Name||WP Engine Startup||Growth||Scale||Kinsta Starter||Pro||Business|
|Disk Space||10 GB||20 GB||30GB||10GB||20GB||30GB|
|Number of Websites Allowed||1||5||15||1||2||5|
|Free Domain Name||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|30-Day Money-Back Guarantee||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Server Location||5||5||5||22 Locations||22 Locations||22 Locations|
|Free Site Backup||Everyday||Everyday||Everyday||Everyday||Everyday||Everyday|
|Backup On Demand||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Site Transfer||Using a plugin||Using a plugin||Using a plugin||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|In-Built Caching System||WP Engine Caching||WP Engine Caching||WP Engine Caching||Kinsta Caching||Kinsta Caching||Kinsta Caching|
|SFTP And SSH||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Support Channel||Live Chat||Live Chat/ Phone||Live Chat/ Phone||Live Chat||Live Chat||Live Chat|
|Check Latest WP Engine Price||Check Latest WP Engine Price||Check Latest WP Engine Price||Check Kinsta Price||Check Kinsta Price||Check Kinsta Price|
The prices and features of both these hosting companies are similar. However, there are some notable differences and here are some of them.
#1 Kinsta offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, while WP Engine offers 60-day.
#2 Kinsta offers free migration by their professionals whereas WP Engine offers to do this with some plugins.
Kinsta offers free migration through its expert migration team for all their plans. Additionally, they offer an unlimited number of migrations to anyone who is wanting to make move from SiteGround, WP Engine, Godaddy, Flywheel, Pagely, A2hosting, Cloudways and DreamHost to Kinsta.
#3 Kinsta lets you choose from 20 Global data centers from Google, whereas WP Engine initially offers you just with 3 locations.
The server location plays an important role in determining the site speed. If your website traffic is from the USA, then you need to set up your web hosting with a hosting that has data centers in the USA. This way, it will ensure that your site visitors will have less distance to travel to fetch your website data, resulting in decreased latency and higher speed.
Kinsta offers you the following 20 locations for your website to choose from.
WP Engine offers 18 data centers in comparison to Kinsta. However, there is a catch to this, only three of these data centers are included in your basic plan. For example, if you purchase WP Engine’s scale plan, you will be provided with just three standard locations namely the US, UK, and Belgium. If you want some other location namely, Germany or Australia, it would be an additional $100/month. That’s very expensive!
#WP Engine offers backup for the last 40 days compared to Kinsta which offers only the backup for the last 14 days.
WP Engine creates system generated automatic cloud backup for your account for the last 40 days in addition to manual backups that you can create yourself while doing big changes. You can restore any of those backups from your control panel with just a click for no fees.
Meanwhile, Kinsta offers these backups only for the last 14 days. That’s one thing we didn’t like about Kinsta.
#Kinsta and WP Engine offer 1 click staging feature for those who want to test out some new design before pushing it to live.
UA – Interface – Excellent dashboard
Kinsta and WP Engine offer an excellent dashboard. They use their own custom made panel where everything can be easily accessible with just a click.
Both these dashboards come with great features like 1 click PHP version change, CDN integration and detailed analytics of your site.
In addition, Kinsta offers its dashboard in 12 popular languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish.
Kinsta and WP Engine Interface will let you do so many cool things with just a click. Gone are those days when you had to contact support for setting up HTTPS, installing CDN, switching PHP versions or backing-up or restoring accounts. Their advanced interface will let you do all these with just a click from your dashboard.
PROS and CONS of Kinsta and WP Engine.
We have already covered so many pros and cons of these two web hosting. Let’s summarise that.
- Uses the Google Cloud Platform premium tier.
- Very fast websites.
- 20 Global data center location to choose from.
- Free migration from your existing hosts.
- Automatic backups.
- Multilingual backups.
- 24/7 Support
- Key CDN for free.
WP Engine PROS
- Uses Google Cloud Platform and AWS(for higher plans)
- Fast websites.
- 19 data center locations.
- Free migration using a plugin.
- Automatic backup for the last 40 days.
- 24/7 Chat and Phone support.
- Max CDN for free.
- Lack of File manager to transfer files. It depends on SFTP for file transfer.
- Less disk storage compared to WP Engine.
- Automatic backup is available only for the last 14 days.
WP Engine Cons
- Lack of File manager to transfer files. It depends on SFTP for file transfer.
- Only 3 data center locations are available with standard plans. Additional locations are add-ons.
- Migrations are done by plugins and not by humans.
Our Recommendation – Which WordPress hosting is the right choice for your website?
We have compared every aspect of Kinsta and WP Engine in this post.
When it comes to performance, Kinsta is 2x better than WP Engine in the current scenario. Kinsta is a new company with lots of exciting features and puts the highest emphasis on performance. Other than speed, all the other aspects were equal and there wasn’t any real difference. They both use Google Cloud Platform, has similar price, are highly reliable and contains so many useful features.
Extra speed with Kinsta can be attributed to their usage of Google Cloud Platform’s premium tier network. According to Google, Google Cloud’s premium tier network is about 41% faster, on average, than the standard tier network. That explains the difference in the speed of Kinsta and WP Engine.
That said, Our recommendation is to choose Kinsta over WP Engine purely based on the 2x performance offered by Kinsta.Host with WP Engine Host with Kinsta