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I will share my experiences and facts to help you make a decision between Kinsta vs. WPEngine.
I will also recommend an idle choice in the conclusion section, however, the final decision should be yours based on your location and requirement.
Kinsta and WPEngine are similar in the categorical sense as they both are managed WordPress hosts (hosting environments specifically designed for WordPress), but they are different in many ways.
A brief history of WPEngine and Kinsta:
WPEngine is the disrupter, as they are one of the first ones that got into WordPress’s managed hosting space in 2010. Their service was like flying in a business class, and they definitely did really well since they launched.
However, being the first one and only one, they had a kind of monopoly and the pricing and support were putting people aside. However, they were making up for it, by offering an excellent WordPress hosting environment. Something a lot of businesses and WordPress website needed at that time.
Kinsta on the other hand started 3 years after WPEngine by Mark Gavalda, in Budapest. It is a bootstrapped company that disrupted the whole managed WordPress hosting space.
In fact, it was the first real alternative to WPEngine in terms of better hosting quality, pricing and most important: First-class support.
Now, in 2021, both of the companies have come to a place where they are fighting for the same pie. WPEngine is backed up by its solid marketing team, VC funding and focus on Enterprise clients.
Kinsta, on the other hand, is growing rapidly fast and with its content team, isolated hosting environment and outstanding customer support.
For an end-user like you and me, it is a tough decision and it is not always about the cost of hosting, but the scalability.
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 options. Making the 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
- Overage charges
- 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. We expect someone knowledgable to be on the other site who could get things fixed like a genie.
This is one reason a user like you and I 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.
WPEngine Pricing Vs. Kinsta Pricing
WPEngine and Kinsta both offer various plans to suit the needs of different WordPress users. WPEngine offers 5 different plans whereas Kinsta offers up to 10 different plans.
For an end-user, that means, more choices, and you can always upgrade to the next plan with a small difference in the cost.
Let’s take a look at the entry-level hosting pricing of both the hosting:
|Visits / month||20,000||25,000|
|Disk space||10 GB||10 GB|
If you wish to get started with managed WordPress hosting, WPEngine and Kinsta both offer a low budget, entry-level package at $30/month.
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 Scale 3 of WPEngine (at $290/month) and the Business 3 plan of Kinsta (at $300/month).
|Features||Kinsta (Business 3)||WPEngine (Scale 3)|
|Local Storage||50 GB||50GB|
|PHP Worker Per site||6||–|
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:
If you plan to host more than 20 WordPress sites and need more PHP workers, you should look to Kinsta’s Enterprise packages.
WPEngine $115 plan 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.
Similarly, Kinsta offers 100k visits in their $100/month plan. 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 5 WordPress site, while the $115 WPEngine plan allows for 10.
Another notable difference between WPEngine and Kinsta is free migration.
Depending upon your plan, with Kinsta, you get a limited number of free premium migrations and then have to pay $100 for each additional migration. The migration will be done by Kinsta team and usually they finish it within 24-48 hours after you created a ticket for 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.
Overage Charges: Kinsta Vs. WPEngine
When running a website, we all desire more traffic.
This is one reason why “overage” charges really matter when comparing WPEngine to Kinsta.
Overage charges is basically the amount you have to pay for extra bandwidth or storage usage then provided.
Back in the days, 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.
Back in the days, Kinsta did not have overage charges and lately, they have also introduced overage charges.
Both the hosting companies provide data analytics to help you decide if you would be paying overage charges or not. You also have an option o upgrade to the next tier in case if your usage is getting higher.
As of 2021, here are the overage charges for both the companies:
- Kinsta: $1 for each 1,000 extra monthly site visits and prorated at the rate of $2 USD per GB.
- WP Engine: $2 for each 1,000 extra monthly site visits. No bandwidth overages charges.
For reference, ShoutMeLoud receives more than 700k visits/month and our bandwidth requirement is close to 500GB/month.
A 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.
Note: Since Kinsta has around 10 plans, it is better to move to the next tier by paying a small fee difference. Moreover, you could anytime downgrade or upgrade your plan, which does not requiring changing the server,
If you are moving from any other hosting, you will notice a significant improvement in overall load time.
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.
By an independent researcher, Kinsta outperformed WPEngine to a great extent. See the performance comparison chart below:
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?
A few years back, there were considerable amount of difference in WPEngine and Kinsta offering in terms of pricing and overage charges. However, with time Kinsta increased the pricing and WPEngine has reduced the pricing.
Kinsta also introduced overage charges just like WPEngine, and now this is no more a deciding factor between them.
However, Kinsta has managed to create a strong community with their service quality. Even being a large company, they are able to cater to webmasters of all sizes and support is still the best in 2021.
When we compare the specs, Kinsta has an edge over WPEngine, and is the idle choice for WordPress website or any size. Kinsta offers 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.
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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