Kinsta and WPEngine are similar in that they are both managed WordPress hosts (hosting environments specifically designed for WordPress), but they are different in many ways.
One thing which I can tell you right now: Both hosts have their pros and cons, and you should pick one based on your requirements. If you need to host a low traffic WordPress site, you should pick WPEngine. However, if you need to host a high traffic site with optimum performance, then pick Kinsta.
In the below few paragraphs, I have compared both hosting companies based on various parameters. You should pay close attention in order to make a well-informed decision when deciding between Kinsta and WPEngine.
Note: Since managed WordPress hosting is not cheap, you need to make sure that you really know why you want to choose a managed WordPress host over a cheaper (and usually suitable) other option. Making a right decision at this point will ensure proper growth infrastructure for your WordPress site.
Kinsta vs. WPEngine: A detailed comparison
Before we move ahead, let’s quickly mention some of the similar features offered by WPEngine and Kinsta hosting:
- Managed WordPress hosting environment
- Free SSL certificate
- Custom SSL certificate support
- Staging site feature
- PHP 7 ready
But apart from these basic things, there are a lot of differences…
The first thing that really matters in a managed WordPress host is the support quality.
This is one reason a user like you and me will end up paying such a hefty amount every month for hosting our websites.
WPEngine and Kinsta both offer 24/7 customer support, but the difference here is in the level of support they offer.
- The entire Kinsta support team is made up of WordPress experts who will resolve your issues instantly.
- WPEngine’s support team has a mixture of WordPress experts and entry-level technicians.
In WPEngine, basic issues are usually taken care of easily. However, for any issues which are complex, a resolution will take some time and there will be a lot of back and forth. This is a problem when you are running a high-end WordPress site and there is a pressing issue that needs to be handled quickly.
If you wish to get started with managed WordPress hosting, WPEngine offers a low budget, entry-level package (Personal plan) at $29/month. However, the Personal plan doesn’t really give you a lot of the benefits of WPEngine’s main features.
For example, the support is even more limited and advanced features (like CDN) are not included. This plan is more of a marketing ploy to get people using WPEngine so they can be upsold later to a more expensive plan.
A better comparison happens when we compare the Professional plan of WPEngine (at $99/month) and the Business 1 plan of Kinsta (at $100/month).
Here are the pricing plans for WPEngine:
One pretty cutting-edge thing with WPEngine is the GeoIP feature which allows you to personalize content based on geographical location. But this is only offered to Business plan users and above.
Check out all of the pricing options for WPEngine here.
Here are the pricing charts for entry-level packages from Kinsta:
The biggest differences between the Business plans in Kinsta are the amount of sites you can host with one account and the amount of storage and bandwidth.
If you plan to host more than 20 WordPress sites and need more PHP workers, you should look to Kinsta’s Enterprise packages.
You can check out all Kinsta packages here.
One important difference between the two hosts is that WPEngine limits your site’s growth. Their $99 plan only offers 100K visits/month, and based on how they calculate a “visit”, you will likely go over that quota. When you do, you will have to pay a significant “overage” fee.
On the other hand, Kinsta hosting offers unlimited visits and page views. At the same time, Kinsta has a limit on bandwidth usage; but this number is high enough that you don’t need to worry about it. However, I still recommend you use CloudFlare (free to get started) when using either WPEngine or Kinsta hosting.
Also, the $100 Kinsta plan allows for only 1 WordPress site, while the $99 WPEngine plan allows for 10. But if you feel like you’re going to run over 100K visits (and with 10 sites, you probably will), you will end up paying a lot of extra money.
Another notable difference between WPEngine and Kinsta is free migration.
Depending upon your plan, with Kinsta, you get a limited number of free migrations and then have to pay $100 for each additional migration. The process of requesting a migration on Kinsta is smooth and professional.
WPEngine doesn’t offer free migrations and charges $99 for every site migration. They do offer a DIY tool that you can use if you know how to do technical things; otherwise, you will need to pay them to migrate your site.
I have shared my WPEngine migration experience here where I talk about how I saved $750 in migration.
When running a website, we all desire more traffic.
This is one reason why “overage” charges really matter when comparing WPEngine to Kinsta.
WPEngine’s pricing is based on the number of monthly visits to your site, which I believe is one of the worst ways to calculate pricing.
In fact, the main reason I left WPEngine was because my site’s traffic was growing (more than half a million page views a month), and I was paying a lot of extra money every month for “extra visits”.
In fact, there was even a time when I used to wish that I wouldn’t get any more visits because the overage charges were too much.
At that time, they even charged for bot visits (but they have since changed this).
It’s important for you to understand how WPEngine counts visits:
The above information is found here.
In my opinion, this is more of a marketing gimmick. WPEngine could just as easily be fair when they price their packages. Instead of using visits as a measurement that resets every 24 hours, they could have just picked a better way to price their plans.
So if you notice, this is a big problem for any blog who has a loyal readership base or an eCommerce site who has loyal buyers.
For example, let’s say you have you a popular blog hosted on WPEngine and you have 20K loyal readers who visit your site every day to read your new posts. Now, let’s do the math and see how many visits (according to WPEngine’s definition) you will receive with only 20K loyal readers:
- 20,000 visits/day x 30 days – 600,000 visits/month
Now, you have already crossed their limit of 400K visits in their Business plan, and this is just with your loyal readers. This doesn’t account for people that come to your site via various marketing efforts, word-of-mouth, or sheer coincidence.
Now, you will need to pay overage charges of $1 per 1000 visits.
For any growing blog or WordPress-based business site, WPEngine’s “visit system” is not pocket-friendly.
That said, Kinsta also has overages charges, but their overage charges are based on bandwidth. For reference, ShoutMeLoud receives more than 1.5 million page views/month and our bandwidth requirement is close to 200GB/month.
A Business 3 or Business 4 package would be sufficient for hosting one site similar in size to ShoutMeLoud.
You can read about Kinsta’s overage charges on bandwidth here.
You should definitely weigh overage charges as one of the biggest factors when deciding between WPEngine and Kinsta.
If you are moving from any other hosting, you will notice a significant improvement in overall load time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much information about their server architectures so I can’t comment too much on the specifications.
WPEngine offers an in-built caching system called Evercache. Apart from a few 500 internal server errors, I have never had any issue with WPEngine’s server.
One thing is for sure, WPEngine delivers web pages swiftly.
Like WPEngine, Kinsta also boasts an Enterprise-level architect, and your site is hosted on the Google Cloud platform. They also offer an in-built caching system, and you don’t need to use any 3rd party cache plugin.
Which is better? WPEngine or Kinsta?
WPEngine is a pretty great host with a fantastic team behind it. They are indeed one of the best-managed WordPress hosts available.
However, if you are asking for my single recommendation between the two, in my opinion Kinsta is better. They offer much more than they promise. You never have to worry about site slowness, downtime, getting quality support, or any other hosting-related issues.
In fact, it was only after moving from WPEngine to Kinsta that I was able to scale ShoutMeLoud up to the level that it’s at now.
But for a budding WP site, there’s no reason that WPEngine won’t be able to get the job done and be able to do it for a cheaper price.
Now I want to hear from you: If you’ve ever hosted your WordPress site on any of these two web hosts, do share your experience and review with us. It would be great to hear some more views and experiences to make this Kinsta vs. WPEngine comparison even more thorough!
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