We have nothing against DigitalOcean. However, it’s important to understand that they specialize in cloud computing, not managed WordPress hosting. They offer a network of Virtual Machines (VMs) aimed at developers who want to deploy their own cloud servers.
The problem with this is that some people assume handling their own hosting can help them save a few bucks, only to realize they severely underestimated the amount of time, skill, and money needed to properly do so.
It’s not that configuring your own cloud server doesn’t have its advantages. It’s just not necessarily the best use of your time.
At Kinsta, we hear every day from frustrated clients who are tired of trying to manage their own servers. Many are looking for a DigitalOcean alternative and want to hear what makes Kinsta unique.
That’s what we’ll answer here. We’ll discuss what distinguishes Kinsta from VPS providers such as DigitalOcean, and explore the benefits of using Kinsta as your managed WordPress host.
How Kinsta Compares to DigitalOcean in a Nutshell
Before we take a deep dive into the specifics of Kinsta vs DigitalOcean, we first want to offer a brief breakdown of the key differences.
Kinsta is the first host to be powered exclusively by the Google Cloud Platform. Google’s premium-tier network positions us to maximize the speed, security, and performance of each site hosted on our platform.
We are also proud to be the highest-rated managed WordPress host on G2, the world’s leading software review and comparison site:
#1 WordPress Hosting Provider by G2
If you use a VPS provider such as DigitalOcean, you’ll be assuming the role of a systems administrator (sysadmin). This means handling all of the configuring, updating, and maintenance needed to keep your site and server running.
At Kinsta, we have sysadmins taking care of the servers behind the scenes, so we’re aware of the work that goes into this task. It’s not the easiest, most efficient, or most beginner-friendly option, which is why many people prefer to use managed WordPress hosting.
In other words, signing up for a DigitalOcean plan is like getting all the parts to a vehicle and then having to put it together yourself. If you’re an auto mechanic or a car fanatic, investing the time and money required for such a task might be enjoyable. Plus, you’d have total control over the process.
However, most people would still opt for simply buying a car that’s ready to go, especially one that comes with a warranty and a maintenance plan. There’s no hassle involved and you don’t have to worry about making a mistake that could end up costing you big money.
Some additional differences between Kinsta vs DigitalOcean include:
- Kinsta is a leading managed WordPress hosting provider that offers all-in-one solutions for running and managing your website. DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider that offers Droplets or Linux-based VMs for deploying and scaling your own applications.
- Kinsta’s feature-packed, developer-friendly, ready-made platform is great for both beginners and advanced users. DigitalOcean is geared primarily towards sysadmins and experienced developers who have the time, patience, budget, and technical know-how to create, configure, and manage their own cloud servers.
- Kinsta includes everything you need to maximize site performance and security on each of our plans. With DigitalOcean, you’ll be responsible for collecting, purchasing, and piecing the tools together yourself.
- Kinsta has 24 data centers across the globe, while DigitalOcean has 12.
- All of our plans include a free Content Delivery Network (CDN) and free premium DNS. DigitalOcean doesn’t offer any CDN on its own. It’s compatible with Cloudflare, but you have to set it up yourself.
- Kinsta support, composed of WordPress experts and Linux engineers, is available 24/7 for every customer. DigitalOcean doesn’t have a chat support option, just the option to open a ticket or search their knowledgebase.
- Kinsta provides free, human-performed migrations with all of our plans. DigitalOcean doesn’t offer website migration services.
- Kinsta offers free one-click Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. DigitalOcean offers SSL certificates, but you’re responsible for manually installing and renewing them.
- All Kinsta plans come with our custom-built, WordPress-specific MyKinsta dashboard with one-click WordPress installation
- Staging environments are available on all Kinsta plans, while at DigitalOcean you need to take care of the staging creation on your own through the command-line interface.
- Kinsta offers simple, straightforward hosting plans and packages which can be easily integrated with add-on solutions. DigitalOcean plans can be complex and confusing.
- Kinsta has a 30-day money-back guarantee, while DigitalOcean doesn’t have a refund policy.
In case you’re not convinced yet, let’s look more closely at what Kinsta has to offer.
Kinsta is Built for Performance and Scalability
Kinsta’s unique, powerful solution doesn’t fit into any of the categories of traditional hosting, such as shared, VPS, or dedicated plans. Our infrastructure was custom built to deliver unparalleled performance and support.
The raw cost of most barebone and VPS hosting plans is relatively cheap. For example, at DigitalOcean you can get a balanced VM with 1 GB for as low as $5 per month.
While this inexpensiveness may seem like an advantage, it can also be misleading. You’re simply paying for the machine (CPU, RAM, etc.). If you want a managed database, that brings the cost up to $15 per month.
Plus, if you use a VPS provider such as DigitalOcean, server setup and configuration is entirely your responsibility. This means you’ll need to know exactly how much CPU, RAM, and so on you need for your WordPress site, as well as what your memory requirements are.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Just to mention a few, you’ll also be responsible for:
- Assigning IP addresses
- Setting up your DNS records
- Installing PHP
- Setting up proper website caching
- You have to take care of backups
- Secure your server and WordPress sites
- Deal with DDoS attacks on your own
- Constantly check for vulnerabilities
- Set up a CDN
- Implement a firewall solution
- Come up with a staging solution
- Website monitoring
- Set up and renew the SSL certificates
- Troubleshoot on your own
- Keep all software on the server up to date
How much is your time worth? Managing your servers is a very time-consuming process and requires a lot of expertise. A $10 VPS at the end of the month can cost you $500 or $1000!
Are you really saving money if you go with a cheap VPS solution?
Starting at just $30 per month, Kinsta plans include all of these technical elements and more. For each site hosted on our platform, we use LXD-managed hosts and LXC software containers. This means that every site has its own isolated container equipped with all the necessary resources, including MySQL, PHP, Linux, and Nginx.
Kinsta’s auto-scaling infrastructure also enables you to upgrade or downgrade with ease. Plus, we have custom-compiled Linux packages and Nginx rulesets that enable us to maximize the performance or your WordPress sites, as well as more than 30 different software packages and PHP extensions.
With Kinsta, configuration is never a concern. You can launch a new WordPress site quickly and easily directly from your MyKinsta dashboard, and choose from any of our 24 global data centers.
DigitalOcean offers a one-click preconfigured droplet, but this too can be misleading. For example, you would need to use a DigitalOcean Virtual Network Computing (VNC) console, or an app such as Terminal to set it up on the cloud server.
Another benefit of using Kinsta is our unique caching system that helps to optimize speed and performance. DigitalOcean is compatible with Cloudflare, however, that requires you to use a Cloudflare worker, which is a paid service.
Kinsta eliminates the need for any caching plugins or add-ons because we use different types of caching systems to reduce server load and accelerate response times. These include Bytecode, Query cache, Page, and CDN cache. We also support Object cache if you need it.
We also understand that uptime is a critical priority, which is why we offer compute-optimized C2 Google Cloud machines that enable our customers to see major improvements in average response times. In fact, depending on the type of site you’re running, simply switching to Kinsta could result in an immediate speed improvement between 20% and 300%!
Kinsta is the best managed WordPress host in history! The performance of their revolutionary [service] uses a mix of Nginx, PHP 7, LXD software containers, and MariaDB to make your WordPress website performance super fast. In terms of features, Kinsta offers daily backups and easy integration with KeyCDN among many others. Their support is unmatched – they have alerted me to issues with my website before I even knew about them…Kinsta is one of a kind, remember that. VPS hosting or shared hosting does not compare to the combination of unique hosting technology that Kinsta has to offer.
Kinsta managed WordPress hosting eliminates the need for you to learn and assume the role of a sysadmin. We have experienced technicians ready to handle everything for you. We provide the powerful platform, innovative technology, and robust solutions and tools needed to maximize your site’s performance.
Bottom line: using Kinsta as your managed WordPress hosting provider can save you a lot of time and money (not to mention headaches and frustration).
24/7 Expert Support
There are a wide variety of causes that can lead to performance issues with your WordPress site. If yours suddenly slows or breaks, would you know how to troubleshoot the issue, and identify whether it was a server or site-related problem?
With Kinsta, you wouldn’t have to. We can save you time that might otherwise be spent scouring Google for answers, or risking the loss of critical data by troubleshooting on your own. This is something you’d have to do when acting as your own sysadmin.
At Kinsta, our customers are our top priority. We treat every customer and site as mission-critical, which is why we don’t have tiered support. We offer 24/7 premium support for each of our plans. Our WordPress experts and Linux engineers are ready to provide quick, concise answers to your questions and concerns.
In addition to multilingual support and resources that are available in over 10 languages, we also have an initial ticket response time of under two minutes. If you don’t believe us, just ask some of our clients!
For the past two years, more than 97 percent of our customers closed a chat support session happy or satisfied with the support they received:
I came from Digital Ocean and their servers are fine, but I’m not really qualified to handle server-related issues. Upgrading the server’s software via the SSH command line was too much for me. Kinsta does everything for me and I trust that they are making the proper optimizations because that’s their job.
To make our customer support as quick and convenient as possible, we use the Intercom customer messaging platform. Plus, all communications are logged, meaning you won’t ever need to repeat yourself to multiple support agents.
DigitalOcean claims to offer 24/7 support. However, this can be a bit misleading. They don’t offer live chat support, only a ticket-based system.
In addition, the support you get varies by tier. Premium support is only available as a paid option. Business support is available for users who “spend $500+ per month on [the] platform”.
MyKinsta: A Dashboard for Better WordPress Management
DigitalOcean offers a basic dashboard where you can access your existing resources and view your account information. However, when it comes to leveraging advanced tools and features, you’re mostly on your own for setting everything up via SSH. For example, for automatic configurations and security updates, you’ll need a cloud control panel such as ServerPilot.
At Kinsta, our mission is to make managing your WordPress site as simple and straightforward as possible. This is why we custom-built our own user portal, MyKinsta, specifically for WordPress site management:
Let’s take a look at some of the powerful features that make our MyKinsta dashboard so useful:
- One-click staging environments and an option to restore backups to production or staging. DigitalOcean only has paid add-on options for this, which you’ll have to configure and manage yourself.
- Quick phpMyAdmin access.
- Premium Amazon Route 53 DNS to manage your DNS records directly in the dashboard.
- Detailed analytics and insights, including bandwidth and visitor data, performance analysis data, CDN usage and insights, and cache HIT and MISS ratio.
- One-click CDN setup.
- Search and replace tool to make performing bulk updates easy.
- One-click PHP version switching, and the option to restart PHP when needed.
- Dashboard tool to purge site cache.
- Simple redirect management.
- Ability to quickly and easily block IP addresses via the IP Deny tool.
- New Relic integration. With DigitalOcean, you would need to purchase your own license.
- Free one-click Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, and the option to import your own. With DigitalOcean, you would need to set and renew Let’s Encrypt on your own
- WordPress debugging tool.
- Simple password protection for your environment, and the option to strengthen login security by adding your SSH keys to the dashboard.
- Multilingual dashboard that’s available in 10 languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch.
Kinsta offers the best bang for the buck. The performance on the Google Cloud network is outstanding compared to similarly priced VPSs. The MyKinsta dashboard is clean, well designed and very easy to use. Last but not least, Kinsta’s blog is full of useful guides, tips, and tricks.
No need to simply take our word for it, though. You can try it out for yourself with our free MyKinsta demo! All you have to do is register for an account, then you can check out the user-friendly interface and explore the various tools to learn for yourself what makes MyKinsta unlike the others!
At Kinsta, we value our clients’ feedback and are always looking for opportunities to improve. We regularly incorporate the requests and feedback we receive to enhance our offerings. We’re always innovating and exploring new ways to make your website and hosting experience better!
Kinsta is Developer-Friendly
DigitalOcean is geared primarily towards programmers and developers. However, even if you’re capable of acting as your own sysadmin, that doesn’t mean you should. It’s smart to consider whether your time and attention would be better spent elsewhere, like on other critical aspects of your business.
Kinsta tools are built with developers in mind. Many of our team members are developers and engineers themselves, so we understand what it means to create a ‘developer-friendly’ product. This is exactly what we did with our MyKinsta dashboard.
As your managed WordPress host, Kinsta provides you with an expansive collection of tools and features to help streamline your workflow efficiency. Some of the developer-friendly features you’ll have access to at Kinsta, which you won’t necessarily get with DigitalOcean (unless you purchase and configure them yourself) include:
- One-click staging environments for all plans.
- Git, WP-CLI, and SSH access included, regardless of your plan.
- Five different types of backups available: automatic/daily, optional hourly, manual, system generated, and downloadable. On the other hand, DigitalOcean backups can be limiting. They offer weekly snapshots for your machine, but at an added cost of 20% of your droplet. This is just for server backups, too. WordPress site and offsite backup solutions require more money and disk space.
- A Redis add-on for quicker database performance. An Elasticsearch add-on for faster search.
- The option to load your site over reverse proxy.
- Unrestricted access to your site’s critical files.
- The ability to use custom setups such as Bedrock and Trellis.
- An option to run a different version of PHP for each live and staging site and the ability to switch your PHP version with one click.
- Default enabled post and page revisions.
- The ability to restore backups to staging as well as production. Unlike DigitalOcean, Kinsta offers a one-click backup restoration feature directly in the MyKinsta dashboard. Plus, we don’t include backups as part of your total disk space usage.
Staging environments are critical for testing plugins, themes, and core updates to ensure they’re compatible with your website and won’t cause anything to break. They’re also an important feature for debugging code and developing projects before pushing them live.
That’s why we offer one-click staging with every WordPress site hosted at Kinsta. You can create a new staging environment directly from your MyKinsta dashboard. You can push changes live with a single click, as well as restore backups to a production or staging site.
It doesn’t get any easier than that. Plus, as with backups, your staging sites aren’t included in your total disk space usage (only your live sites are).
With DigitalOcean, it’s possible to clone your machine. However, that isn’t exactly free or easy. It would require a premium add-on, which you would need to purchase, install, and configure yourself.
Kinsta also offers free one-click SSL with our Let’s Encrypt integration on every plan, as well as the option to install your own. In addition, you can quickly enable HTTPS and import your SSL certificate directly in the MyKinsta dashboard:
This isn’t the case with DigitalOcean. You’d be required to put a system in place for SSL certificate installation, issuing, and automatic renewal. You could use a system such as ServerPilot or Certbot, but again, this isn’t free or easy.
Website Performance at Kinsta
Kinsta is the highest-rated managed WordPress host on G2. In addition, each year, Review Signal conducts a performance test and review for the top hosting companies in the industry. For the past five years, Kinsta has scored top-tier status.
In addition to uptime, Kinsta scored impressive results for every load impact and speed test. DigitalOcean has never participated in these web performance benchmark tests – but we need to mention they aren’t a WordPress host, they are a cloud provider. However, on Review Signal, DigitalOcean has an overall rating of 71% and an uptime monitoring rating of 97%.
In order to prevent unnecessary downtime, having a server able to withstand a sudden spike in traffic — like those powering sites hosted at Kinsta — is key. With DigitalOcean the chances are that your $10 droplet probably wouldn’t be equipped to maintain uptime during unexpected surges.
At Kinsta, our auto-scaling infrastructure makes it so that server resources can be easily scaled up or down as needed. Each of our machines has dozens of CPUs and hundreds of gigabytes of RAM. We use Google’s latest compute-optimized (C2) virtual machines, and automatically allocate hardware resources, including CPU and RAM, to each site container as they’re needed.
With DigitalOcean you pay for the resources you use and achieving superior web performance isn’t exactly cheap.
Let’s say you purchase a VPS plan for $15 per month. Then you’ll need a backup solution, CDN, and uptime monitoring tool, all of which cost at least $5 per month each.
You’ll also have to factor in a staging site, a New Relic license, the cost of your time that is spent on upgrading and troubleshooting, etc. This all adds up quickly.
Kinsta plans start at just $30 per month, and include all of the speed and performance optimization tools you need. Plus, you’ll get the security and support features to take your site to the next level.
Kinsta is Safe and Secure
When using DigitalOcean, hardening and securing your server is largely your own responsibility. This includes installing your own firewalls, malware scanning, Nginx/Apache patching, PHP updating, etc.
Although DigitalOcean may point you toward the tools you can purchase to perform these crucial tasks, having the time, money, and technical know-how to execute them that can present some issues.
If malicious code gets into your network or you fall victim to a DDoS attack, would you be prepared to resolve it? When you use Kinsta as your managed WordPress host, this is never an issue.
At Kinsta, we take both active and passive measures to safeguard your site, including:
- Monitoring your sites every two minutes for uptime
- Implementing strict software-based restrictions
- Detecting DDoS attacks as they happen, and stopping malicious code from entering our network.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) support
- GeoIP blocking
- Google Cloud Platform firewall
- Automated backups for all plans
- Isolated LXC containers
- Self-healing PHP
- Only support for encrypted SFTP and SSH connections (no FTP)
While DigitalOcean offers some monitoring services for your server, there’s no solution for monitoring your WordPress site. For that, you would need to pay for a separate service. This can be costly and annoying, even more so if you have multiple websites.
On the other hand, Kinsta provides premium uptime monitoring for all of your WordPress sites via our in-house developed monitoring system.. The status of the sites hosted on our platform are checked every two minutes. In the off-chance that something were to happen to your site, we offer a free 100% hack-fix guarantee.
If we are notified of an issue with your site, we’ll also contact you immediately.
Kinsta Has a Global Presence
Kinsta has 24 data centers (and counting) around the globe. Our massive global footprint, which spans five continents, makes it easy for you to pick a different data center for each of your websites. There are no extra fees or hidden charges!
Our locations include:
- Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
- London, UK
- Sydney, Australia
- St. Ghislain, Belgium
- Changhua County, Taiwan
- Mumbai, India
- The Dalles, Oregon, USA
- Ashburn, Virginia, USA
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Seoul, South Korea.
- Salt Lake City, USA.
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Jurong West, Singapore
- Tokyo, Japan
- Montréal, Canada
- Eemshaven, Netherlands
- Hamina, Finland
- Los Angeles, California, USA
- Hong Kong
- Zürich, Switzerland
- Osaka, Japan
- Las Vegas, USA
- Jakarta, Indonesia
While DigitalOcean has data centers around the globe, they provide about half of what Kinsta offers. They have 12 data centers, with a presence on three continents.
DigitalOcean doesn’t offer migration services. If you’re interested in moving your site to managed WordPress hosting, we’re now offering unlimited free migrations from DigitalOcean!
Whether you want to move one site or 100, our hassle-free migrations make doing so quick and easy. We handle the entire migration process for you, so you won’t have to deal with complex technology or risk losing critical data.
To get started, simply complete our site migration request form, and a member from our team will reach out to schedule a time for the migration. Then you can track the migration status directly from your MyKinsta dashboard.
Migration process was smoother than butter, customer service is knowledgeable and fast. Only thing faster is my site speed :)
Kinsta is Optimized for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads
We appreciate that ecommerce is vital for many businesses, and that these websites come with particularly challenging and complicated demands. This is why Kinsta is optimized for ecommerce stores.
We take care of caching for you at the server level to deliver fast page loading times. Plus, our solution is configured to work out of the box for WordPress, WooCommerce, and Easy Digital Download sites.
To optimize the speed and performance of your online store, we offer automatic purging of cache and archive pages, as well as:
- Excluding ‘My Account’, checkout, cart, and other pages that shouldn’t be cached
- Ensuring a smooth checkout process by automatically bypassing the cache for users when “woocommerce_items_in_cart” or “edit_items_in_cart” are detected
- Putting specific rules in place to allow EDD and WooCommerce functionality during server-level page caching
With DigitalOcean, you won’t find any ecommerce-specific solutions built into their plans and products. While it’s not impossible to set up your own online store, it can be a time consuming and tedious process as compared to using managed WordPress hosting.
Turbocharging Your Content Delivery with Kinsta CDN
All Kinsta plans include the free CDN. You can easily enable it for your sites through the MyKinsta dashboard. Unlike DigitalOcean, all of our plans include free bandwidth. With DigitalOcean, you’re charged for the amount of bandwidth you use, with prices varying based on your resources.
We’ve partnered with KeyCDN, a premium HTTP/2 and IPv6-enabled Content Delivery Network (CDN). Our content delivery architecture is built specifically for high throughput and low latency, and your content will be delivered and cached from our CDN’s 34 POPs across the globe. Our locations span all major regions, including Asia, North America, Europe, Australia, South America, and Africa!
Also, unlike Kinsta, DigitalOcean doesn’t include a premium CDN with all of its plans. The Spaces CDN add-on is available for a monthly fee. While their VMs are compatible with Cloudflare, you’ll need to set that service up yourself.
Feature Comparison Overview
Now that we’ve made it this far, let’s take a look at some of the biggest differences between Kinsta vs DigitalOcean:
|Pricing||Plans start at $30/month||Plans start at $5/month|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days on all plans||X|
|Plan Tiers||10 (not including custom)||4 (based on CPU and storage needs)|
|Premium 24×7 Support||All plans||Paid add-on|
|Core Infrastructure (GCP)||Same across all plans||Varies by plan|
|SSH Access||All plans||All plans|
|Global Data Centers||24 locations||12|
|Bandwidth Limits||No limits (within AUP)||1 TB – 12 TB (Shared),|
4 TB – 9 TB (Dedicated)
|Container Technology||100% resource isolation on all plans||Varies by plan|
|Free Migrations||All plans||No|
|Staging Environment||All plans||Machine cloning varies by plan, premium add-on|
|One-Click Backup and Restore||All plans||Manually, weekly server backups only for additional fee|
|PHP Versions||PHP 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 7.4||Not specified|
|Switch PHP Engine||One-click change in dashboard||Manually|
|Free CDN||34 (All regions)||Cloudflare compatible, requires manual setup|
|Free SSL Certificates||All plans||Varies by plan|
|Premium DNS||Amazon Route 53||X|
|Uptime Monitoring||All plans||Premium add-on|
|Resource Limits||Only limited by PHP workers||Varies by plan|
|Multisite Support||Pro plans and higher||Not specified|
|Weekly automatic MySQL database optimization||✓||X|
|Reverse Proxy Support||✓||Not specified|
|Redis Add-on||✓||Managed database plans|
|Elasticsearch Add-on||✓||✓ (manual setup)|
|New Relic APM Support||✓||Not specified|
|Multilingual Dashboard||English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, French, Swedish, Danish, Japanese||Not specified|
Best Affiliate Program in the Industry
Kinsta is passionate about exceeding our clients’ expectations, which results in many of our happy customers being eager to spread the word about our managed WordPress hosting. This has helped us to become one of the fastest-growing hosts in the industry.
Therefore, we’re proud to offer an affiliate program that presents the opportunity for true profit sharing with our clients. It’s one of the highest-paying affiliate programs in the hosting industry, and provides an effective way to share in our profits and earn a passive income!
Kinsta affiliate partners can earn as much as $500 (depending on the plan) for every signup referred to us. In addition, for the lifetime of the referred customers, you’ll receive a 10% monthly recurring commission. Considering that our customers have an incredibly low churn rate, this is a great way to earn a passive income.
Also, our unique WordPress hosting affiliate dashboard makes it so you won’t ever have to deal with confusing third-party platforms. Everything is accessible and straightforward.
DigitalOcean doesn’t have an affiliate program, only a referral program. If someone uses your referral link and spends $25, you get a DigitalOcean credit worth the same amount.
Join Others Making the Switch to Kinsta
At Kinsta, we take pride in offering the fastest, latest technology possible. We’re constantly evolving and adapting to harness the most innovative solutions available. You can see for yourself by checking out our many feature updates! No other hosting provider releases the amount of new features, tools, and integrations with the same speed and frequency.
We are confident in our solutions, and want you to be completely satisfied with your hosting. This is why, unlike DigitalOcean, we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re ready to make the move away from DigitalOcean and switch to a new managed hosting provider, try out Kinsta risk-free for 30 days!