A quick online search of the top providers of managed WordPress hosting almost always mention WP Engine and Kinsta among them.
Both WP Engine and Kinsta are incredibly fast (which is an important factor for Google ranking), offer excellent customer support, and high-quality hosting services.
If you’re struggling with which one to choose for your own business or blog, we’re going to help you make the right choice by comparing the two based on particular key metrics.
We’ll look at each host individually, and then compare them based on their features, performance, support, uptime, pricing, pros, and cons.
WP Engine is a leading and award-winning digital experience platform in the WordPress community, renowned for its performance and ability to run even the latest, computer-optimized virtual machine architectures.
This and other factors make it possible for the platform to provide its customers with the most performant, secure, and reliable setup on which to build great digital experiences with WordPress.
It’s trusted in 150 countries by over 120,000 customers, thanks to its performance.
They partner with world-class infrastructure providers like Google Cloud platform and Amazon Web Services, to continuously enhance their proprietary WordPress optimization stack to deliver performance improvements to customers.
As the pioneer of managed WP hosting, and the first to set the bar for the rest, WP Engine keeps enhancing its services to offer their customers the superior speed, service, and support they need.
Let’s take a look at what WP Engine offers.
WP Engine Infrastructure
WP Engine’s software stack is fine-tuned with the flexibility to scale dynamically in mind, so your business can thrive in the midst of unpredictable traffic conditions, especially if it goes viral.
Its EverCache technology – a proprietary caching software – makes its customers’ digital experience pretty fast and scalable.
Plus, the flexibility of their plans allows them to leverage more traffic, hardware, and features so they can scale to millions of website visits and hits each day.
Explore: WP Engine vs Siteground
WP Engine Server Solutions
By partnering with other best-in-class services like Amazon Web Services, WP Engine is able to provide top-tier infrastructure to its customers for high-availability and clustered server solutions.
This ensures you enjoy disaster recovery and scalability.
They also offer Google’s next-generation hardware that delivers high performance and helps pages load faster than ever before.
Diversity of Scalable Options
WP Engine also offers a wide range of options that are scalable and powerful enough to meet the needs of their business and enterprise customers.
A dedicated virtual machine is also available that offers better isolation and performance consistently.
It also offers four infrastructure options you can choose from: Shared, Single Node, Dynamic Web Scaling, and Cluster.
We’ll look at these in our review of the WP Engine features below.
WP Engine Security
You shouldn’t compromise with the security of your website, which is why WP Engine’s platform offers multiple layers of security to choose from, plus a dedicated security engineering team.
It also allows you to tailor your security posture based on your business needs.
They also offer daily automated backups stored for 60 days, plus years of security experience specific to WordPress filtered into its DXP’s security environment.
Plus, they’ve included Global Edge Security, an advanced and high-performance security solution specifically for WordPress for all their customers.
This feature is built in partnership with Cloudflare, a leading web performance and security company.
With the Global Edge Security, you get managed WAF to mitigate threats at the edge and inspect SQL or XXS traffic injections, DDoS protection, and Cloudflare CDN for improved site speed.
Interesting Comparison: WP Engine vs Bluehost
WP Engine Plugin Updates
WP Engine also offers the Smart Plugin Manager, a tool that helps you safely update plugins on WordPress by incorporating artificial intelligence.
The tool automatically checks for updates for WordPress plugins every 24 hours, ensuring your site doesn’t miss anything when updates occur.
You not only save time and effort from the tedious process but also prevent plugin vulnerabilities that present a large number of the known entry points for WordPress site attacks.
Thus, your plugins stay secure and updated.
WP Engine Developer Tools
WP Engine works together with developers so they offer the right tools they need at their disposal.
They’ve also added features and solutions that are geared to making the developers’ work and lives much easier, such as Local by Flywheel, the top local WordPress development tool.
This allows developers to spend more time launching sites and less time debugging local environments.
WP Engine’s developer workflow has the development, staging, and production environments, which help developers build projects faster, launch smoothly, and efficiently maintain what they build.
Check Out: WP Engine vs Pantheon
Access to the Genesis Framework
With WP Engine, your developers can quickly build secure, search engine optimized, fast and great-looking WordPress themes.
It also has tools like Page Performance that give them a real-time view into performance data and recommendations, developers can speed up their site performance.
Signing up for any WP Engine plan gets you free access to more than 35 premium StudioPress themes so you can create mobile responsive and beautiful web pages and websites in just hours.
The themes are integrated with HubSpot, eCommerce-ready, Gutenberg-optimized, easy to customize, and SEO-friendly.
WP Engine Dedicated Tiered Agency Program
WP Engine partners with agencies and offers them a dedicated, tiered agency program with support and benefits that’ll help them grow their business while delighting their customers with better digital experiences.
The platform comprises over 4,500 agencies dedicated to delivering WordPress solutions for enterprises.
Each agency partner receives a free WP Engine developer account, a listing on their recommended agency page, and specialized developer documentation.
Higher tiers offer joint marketing, dedicated sales support, and custom training programs to evangelize about the benefits of WP Engine.
WP Engine Affiliate program
WP Engine’s affiliates can earn high payouts ranging from $200 to $7500.
The commission range impacts on how much you get, plus cookie tracking timeframe for referrals – tracked for 180 days – influences the number of referrals credited to your name.
Other benefits affiliates earn include co-branded landing pages, a two-tiered affiliate program, and access to the ShareASale Affiliate dashboard.
Also Read: WP Engine vs AWS
WP Engine Support
WP Engine’s award-winning customer support team ensures your issues are resolved quickly and correctly.
It offers high-quality support and access to resources such as a directory of consultants and seasoned WordPress experts who partner with the platform to offer maintenance or development services 24/7.
WP Engine Migration Services
WP Engine’s Automated Migration plugin helps you migrate to its platform in just a few clicks.
Once you download the plugin, you can use it by entering basic information about your site, and the migration will be done automatically.
In case you’re stuck during the process, you can always reach their tech support team who are always on standby to help with any issues.
Be sure to check your site and check that everything looks proper before you switch your DNS.
WP Engine never charges for site migration – it’s free always, whether you cancel within its money-back guarantee period of 60 days or not.
Interesting Comparison: WP Engine vs FlyWheel
WP Engine Pricing
WP Engine offers four pricing plans –
$30/month, $115/month, $290/month and a custom plan for big businesses. Annual plans are slightly cheaper.
WP Engine Pros and Cons
- Excellent support
- Access to StudioPress and Genesis Framework
- Great security
- Fast speeds
- Good performance
- Scalable and flexible
- Safe plugin updates
- Excellent support
- No lower-tier plans
- Limits on bandwidth
- Site migration requires a plugin
Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting provider that’s built for scaling and performance so that your site stays online even when there are traffic surges.
Its entire infrastructure is built upon the Google Cloud Platform and doesn’t fall under traditional hosting categories, which means it’s different from the conventional VPS, shared, or dedicated infrastructure.
Kinsta uses orchestrated LXC software containers and LXD managed hosts for every site so that each is housed in its own container with everything it needs to run it (Nginx, Linux, MySQL, PHP).
The software resources are 100 percent private, so no one else is sharing it with you, not even your own sites if you’re running multiple ones.
Regardless of the plan you choose, Kinsta gives you the same core infrastructure, and provides a seamless and painless upgrade or downgrade for your plan – Starter or Enterprise.
This is different from WP Engine, where you have to move to a VPS from a shared environment, then over cloud hosting or to a dedicated server, and perform multiple site migrations at every step of the process.
Kinsta’s hosting configuration is private and secure by design, while allowing scalability (up or down) of server resources as needed, and based on your site’s demands.
Let’s see its notable features.
Kinsta Is Optimized For eCommerce Sites
Kinsta’s platform is optimized for Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce. Ecommerce sites can demand a lot from their owners, besides generating lots of cache-bypassing dynamic page loads.
Clients that use Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce daily can increase the speeds of their stores thanks to Kinsta.
It offers fast server-level page caching and automatic bypass caching in the checkout process, and by excluding cache from certain pages like my-account, cart, or checkout.
Kinsta has scored the title of “top tier” performance on Review Signal’s annual review, which puts it as the fastest WordPress host on the web.
The review rigorously tests the performances of top hosting providers, and Kinsta hasn’t failed for five years in a row.
Kinsta has also performed well in tests like Blitz.io Test, which detects if a site is caching its front page, and determines the performance of the caching system.
It managed to handle 5,000 concurrent hits without issues.
Kinsta Is Developer-friendly
Like WP Engine, Kinsta also boasts of being developer-friendly, having built their dashboard and tools with WordPress developers in mind, and because they’re developers too. They offer accessibility features that allow developers to enjoy a more efficient workflow including:
- SSH access, WP-CLI, and Git on all their plans
- Custom setups like Trellis and Bedrock, plus Sage and other starter themes
- One-click staging environments to push changes easily from staging to production
- Restore automatic backups to staging and production
- Post and page revisions available by default
- Switching between PHP engines in one click
- Ability to load sites over reverse proxies
- Add-ons such as Elastic search for faster search and Redis for faster database performance
Kinsta is offering unlimited free migrations through October 31, 2019, to all WP Engine customers that want to switch to its platform.
As we’ve already seen, the migrations in WP Engine are done using a plugin, but you handle the process on your own, while Kinsta does it for you.
With the plugin method, data or images stored outside the WP Content directory aren’t migrated, neither are redirects, which are crucial in preventing SEO issues.
Consequently, large or complex sites can experience data loss or fail altogether if you’re not privy to the process and how it works.
This is why Kinsta offers an expert migration team that’ll handle everything for you, plus you don’t incur downtime.
They also inspect your migrated site before it goes live again.
Kinsta is designed by developers, which is why its entire support team comprises Linux hosting engineers and WordPress developers.
Most of these experts have created plugins and themes, managed their own servers, and contributed back to the platform so you’ll get expert advice from active WordPress users.
Customers also get to chat with the experts and team members who support Kinsta’s large clientele and Fortune 500 firms.
Support is available 24/7, with an average response time of 1 minute and 19 seconds compared to WP Engine’s 3 minutes average time. Kinsta also monitors uptime by the minute, and the staff is always on top of things even before you contact them with your issue.
Kinsta has 20 data centers globally across five continents, as it’s exclusively powered by Google Cloud platform.
These centers are available across all their plans without hidden fees or extra charges.
Everything is interconnected over the premium tier network of the Google Cloud platform to reduce distance and hops and ensure faster and more secure data transportation.
It also means a more snappy and responsive WordPress backend dashboard, and quick file transfers.
Kinsta Content Delivery
Kinsta ensures your content delivery is turbocharged as it cares about your site’s performance from every point in the world, not just from data centers.
In partnership with KeyCDN, and provision of free bandwidth across its plans, Kinsta ensures your content is delivered and cached from KeyCDN’s 34 POPs worldwide, including regions like America, Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and Australia.
The CDN also automatically protects your site against bad bots while offering industry standards like HPACK compression and GZIP.
Kinsta Affiliate Program
Kinsta offers one of the highest paying affiliate programs in the industry and has become one of the fastest-growing hosting providers because of it.
You can earn from $50 to $500 per signup based on the plan you refer people to.
You also get a 10 percent monthly recurring commission for the customer you refer to, which is a great way of building passive income.
The hosting dashboard is specifically built by Kinsta so you don’t have to use a third-party platform; it also allows Kinsta developers to build new features based on your needs so you can make more money from the program.
Kinsta offers 10 tiers at different prices per month from $30, $60, $100, up to $1,500 for the Enterprise plans.
Additional custom solutions are available if you want more, and the plans are only limited by total visits.
There are no hard limits on bandwidth though.
The overage charges at Kinsta are $1 per every extra 1000 visits on your plan’s limit, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is available if you want out.
Kinsta Pros and Cons
- Fast speeds
- Great performance
- Global presence
- No hard bandwidth limit
- Excellent 24/7 support
- Handles site migration
- Expert team of engineers and developers
- Doesn’t offer themes nor access to the Genesis Framework
WP Engine vs Kinsta: Which is The Better WordPress Hosting Provider?
Both providers have their advantages unique to the platform.
To answer this question, therefore, we’re going to compare them against specific metrics:
WP Engine offers high performance for your site, so does Kinsta, even though it only runs on Google Cloud Platform. Kinsta also informs you that every site on its platform doesn’t share hosting with others, which is reason enough to trust its performance.
WP Engine offers hosting over a large platform, with a whole server dedicated to your website and multiple nodes working to service your site continuously.
This way, there are lesser downtimes, plus if you get any glitches, cloud hosting is available to minimize the effects of the problem, but this is a costly venture altogether.
Security is critical for any site, which is why your hosting solution should prioritize this component and pay special attention to it.
WP Engine protects websites by restraining write-to-disk type of processes, and logging anything that’s written to the disk to track possible malicious items.
Both providers have system scanners that ensure your plugins are secure and updated, and any compromised ones are automatically disabled.
By having dedicated environments for websites, WP Engine and Kinsta ensure your site isn’t anywhere among the vulnerable ones, which impacts on its performance and ensures you’re not sharing resources like disk space, processing power, memory, and more with other sites.
Both hosting providers offer excellent support, except WP Engine offers it on different levels and for different kinds of issues.
Kinsta, on the other hand, has a flat support structure such that there’s no back and forth or redirection.
Whether the query is basic or advanced, it’ll be handled.
They both resolve issues in less than five minutes on average, which ensures fewer hassles along the way for their customers.
WP Engine is costlier than Kinsta to the point it’s inaccessible for business owners without big budgets.
Its cheapest plan starts at $35, but lacks critical features like support, and the next plan costs $115, but you only get imported SSL certificates and phone support as an extra.
Kinsta’s packages aren’t very reasonable, though they save you the cost by having a global presence across five continents for wider reach.
They also don’t charge hard limits on bandwidth as WP Engine does.
Content delivery network
These partnerships with CDN services elevate the performance of your website, so both services deliver an ace on this front.
The only difference is while WP Engine has 19 locations for its CDN, Kinsta has 33.
Uptime checks: Both Kinsta and WP Engine monitor your site for downtime, with WP Engine’s at 99.95 percent while Kinsta’s is 99.9 percent.
Conclusion – Kinsta vs WP Engine
WP Engine and Kinsta have several similarities, which doesn’t make it easy to declare one better than the other.
However, when you dig into the details, you’ll see the apparent differences between the hosts, and one begins to emerge the winner.
With WP Engine, you get more for your money, unless Kinsta has a specific feature that you must access.
Otherwise, WP Engine offers the partnerships, power, security, knowledge, enterprise-grade features, and more that you need to scale your business at each stage of its growth, which is why it’s our winner in this round.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.