Pantheon doesn’t specialize only in WordPress. Although it offers WordPress hosting, its plans are almost entirely geared toward enterprise-level clients and sites powered by Drupal. Despite the high price point, its hosting plans also don’t come with as many user-friendly tools, features, and support as Kinsta plans provide.
Every day we hear from frustrated Pantheon clients who are looking for an easier hosting solution, and who are curious to learn what makes Kinsta so unique.
That’s what we’ll answer here. We’ll explain what makes Kinsta unlike other solutions, and discuss the key advantages of using Kinsta as your managed WordPress host.
How Kinsta Compares to Pantheon in a Nutshell
Before diving into the specifics of Kinsta vs Pantheon, we first want to provide a brief breakdown of some of the key differences between these two platforms.
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 with us.
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
Let’s take a look at some other differences between Kinsta and Pantheon:
- Kinsta is a specialized managed WordPress hosting provider that provides feature-rich, affordable plans. We offer plans for websites of all sizes and scales.. Pantheon is a WebOps platform that focuses on enterprise and agency solutions, making it overwhelming and expensive for the average WordPress user.
- The Kinsta stack is WordPress-optimized, which makes creating and managing your site simple and straightforward. Pantheon’s infrastructure is not strictly for WordPress sites, so the platform is not as user-friendly or intuitive.
- Kinsta is the first WordPress host to be powered exclusively by the Google Cloud Platform. We know GCP’s infrastructure better than anyone, and use its premium tier global network to ensure lighting-fast latency and loading times. This includes Google Cloud Firewall, compute-optimized C2 Google Cloud machines, LXD managed hosts, and orchestrated LXC software containers for each site. Pantheon didn’t start the move to GCP until much more recently.
- All Kinsta plans, which start at just $30/month, include everything you need to maximize website performance and security. The Basic Pantheon plan is advertised as $29/month, but that’s only if you are a Pantheon Preferred member, which is the partnership program for agencies. The actual list price for the Basic plan is $60/month, which comes with very few features. For performance-enhancing options, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the four Performance plans, which have a starting monthly price of $160.
- Kinsta provides premium, multilingual 24/7 support from WordPress experts on all our plans, no matter if you’re a startup, small business, or Fortune 500 company. Pantheon uses a tiered system where the support features and response times vary depending on the level of your plan.
- Kinsta monitors every site hosted on our platform every two minutes for uptime, which means 720 times a day. Pantheon’s 99.99% uptime guarantee doesn’t apply to the Basic hosting plan. It also only offers site monitoring for Elite plans.
- All Kinsta plans come with Google Cloud firewall.
- All Kinsta plans come with our custom-built, WordPress-focused MyKinsta dashboard that includes a plethora of one-click tools and features. This includes an IP Deny tool, IonCube enabler, WordPress debugging tool, and much more. We also support several useful integrations such as New Relic, Redis, and Elasticsearch with every plan. At Pantheon, only Performance and Elite plans can access these features.
- Kinsta offers a one-click PHP switcher tool that makes it easy to change your PHP version directly from your MyKinsta dashboard. With Pantheon, you’d need to upgrade your PHP version manually.
- Kinsta offers 25 global data center locations that span five continents. Pantheon only specifies four data center locations.
- All Kinsta plans include a free CDN and premium DNS. Pantheon includes a global CDN, but most of the useful features are only available when you upgrade to the Advanced Global CDN, which you have to reach out to the support team to set up and configure.
- Kinsta’s auto-scaling infrastructure makes it easy to upgrade or downgrade with ease.
- Unlike Pantheon, Kinsta automatically performs weekly MySQL database optimization for all your sites.
- Kinsta offers out-of-the-box ecommerce-optimized caching. Our platform is optimized for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. Pantheon also offers WooCommerce hosting, but advanced server caching is only available with Performance plans.
- All Kinsta plans come with a one-click staging environment feature.
- Kinsta provides free, human-performed migrations with all of our plans. Pantheon has professional migration services available for purchase through its premium support packages. The provider encourages self-service migrations using its Pantheon Migration plugin.
- Websites with reverse proxy setups are welcome.
- Websites hosted on Kinsta come with a 100% hack-fix guarantee.
- On every plan, Kinsta offers six different types of backups (automatic/daily, optional hourly, manual, system-generated, downloadable, and automatic offsite backups to your Amazon S3 or Google Cloud storage). Pantheon only offers manual, automatic, and on-demand backups.
- Kinsta has a 30-day money-back guarantee, while Pantheon doesn’t offer any type of refund. According to its Terms of Service, “no credits or refunds of any kind will be given”.
- Pantheon does not have an affiliate program. Kinsta has a very attractive affiliate program where you get a 10% monthly recurring commission.
Try it out for yourself with our free MyKinsta dashboard demo! Register your account to see the user-friendly interface and explore our various tools.
Kinsta is Built for Performance and Scalability
Kinsta’s hosting platform uses the Google Cloud Platform as its backbone — and we’re the first managed WordPress hosting provider to do so. We always use the best and newest hosting technologies available to provide a cutting-edge infrastructure that delivers unparalleled speed, performance, and scalability.
We use a combination of LXD managed hosts and orchestrated LXC software containers for each site hosted with us. This means that each of your websites will be isolated in a container of its own, with all the necessary software included such as Linux, Nginx, PHP, and MySQL.
When you host your site with Kinsta, your resources are 100% private. You don’t even share them with your other sites. Our plans also include self-healing PHP and automatic MySQL database optimizations, to ensure that your sites are always fine-tuned for superior performance.
Our autoscaling infrastructure makes it easy to upgrade or downgrade with ease. We also use the latest compute-optimized C2 Google Cloud machines that help our clients see significant improvements in average response times. In fact, depending on the type of site you have, simply switching to Kinsta could mean a speed improvement between 20% and 300%!
We also have a unique caching system that eliminates the need for caching plugins or add-ons (like what Pantheon uses). Kinsta employs different types of caching systems to minimize server load and accelerate response times. This includes Bytecode, Query cache, Page, and CDN cache, as well as Object cache support if needed.
Although Pantheon also leverages the GCP, its hosting platform is a lot more technical and can be confusing if you’re not an experienced developer. Despite significantly higher prices, many of the performance and scalability features included with all of our plans are only available on Pantheon’s Performance of Elite Pantheon plans. There are also a lot of hidden fees and charges.
What I like most is the fact that I was able to cut several plugins when moving to Kinsta, since things like cache plugin and backup are built-in. Add to that built-in CDN and you also have a service that you usually have to pay for separately. The support is also great and try to do their best when assisting you with a question.
Kinsta is Safe and Secure
At Kinsta, we know that the security of your data is a critical priority for most webmasters, which is why we’re dedicated to providing the most secure hosting service out there. We take active and passive measures to safeguard your site.
Some of Kinsta’s key security measures include:
- Monitoring sites every two minutes for uptime, 720 times a day. Pantheon doesn’t offer an uptime guarantee for basic plans, and only offers site monitoring on Elite plans.
- Rigid software-based restrictions in place.
- Real-time DDoS attack detection, to stop malicious code from entering your website.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) support, and automatic bans for IPs that have more than six failed login attempts in a minute.
- GeoIP blocking.
- A dedicated Security Team to address malicious attackers, hacks, and exploits.
- Google Cloud Platform firewalls.
- Automated backups for all plans, so you never lose your site or data. We also store two weeks of backups at all times, with the possibility to increase data retention.
- Self-healing PHP.
- Only support for encrypted SFTP and SSH connections (no FTP).
- Completely isolated containers (LXC), using LXD to orchestrate them so there’s no chance of cross-infection from other clients.
- HTTPS through Let’s Encrypt.
- 100% hack-fix guarantee.
- Automatic security checks for every plugin installed, to discover vulnerabilities and/or security issues.
In the rare event that something were to happen to your site, our security guarantee means you will get hands-on assistance from our engineers, free of charge. We’ll restore your site and make sure it’s free of backdoors that hackers can take advantage of, which is something Pantheon doesn’t offer.
With Pantheon, you also have access to basic web-based firewalls, DDOS-protection, and HTTPS through Let’s Encrypt. However, you don’t get most of the WordPress-specific security measures we offer. On the Basic plan, all you really receive are automatic security updates and patching.
MyKinsta: A Dashboard That’s Better Than the Competition
At Kinsta, it’s our mission to provide clients with the best hosting experience possible. That’s why our talented team of developers created a custom hosting dashboard that is built specifically for WordPress site management:
Let’s take a look at some of the features that make our MyKinsta dashboard so powerful, which you don’t necessarily get when using Pantheon:
- Toggle between different PHP versions with the click of a button. If you want to change your PHP version with Pantheon, you need to do it manually.
- New Relic integration, as well as Redis and Elasticsearch add-ons. With Pantheon, these features are only available on Performance and Elite plans.
- Get detailed analytics on bandwidth and visitors, CDN usage, cache HIT & MISS rates, and more.
- Access to one-click staging environments, and the option to restore backups to production or staging.
- Quick phpMyAdmin access, which isn’t available with Pantheon.
- Automatic MySQL database optimizations.
- One-click Ioncube enabler.
- Use of premium Amazon Route 53 DNS, to manage your DNS records directly in the dashboard.
- One-click CDN setup. Pantheon plans come with a Global CDN, but if you want to use the Advanced Global CDN, you need to have the support team configure it for you.
- A dashboard tool to purge the site cache easily.
- Simple redirect management.
- An IP Deny tool that lets you quickly and easily block IP addresses. At Pantheon, this is only available with the Advanced Global CDN add-on.
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates that you can install with one click, and the option to import your own.
- A WordPress debugging tool.
- Password protection for your environment, and the ability to strengthen login security by adding your SSH keys to the dashboard.
- A multilingual dashboard that’s available in 10 languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, and Dutch.
There’s no need to simply take our word for it, though. Try our dashboard out for yourself! You can register for a free account, and then explore the user-friendly interface and plethora of tools to see firsthand what makes MyKinsta different from the competition.
At Kinsta, we value our clients’ feedback and are always looking for ways to improve. That’s why we regularly incorporate the requests and feedback we get in order to better our products. If there’s a way to enhance your experience, we want to know about it!
Expert Support for WordPress
At Kinsta, we treat every customer and site as a mission-critical priority, whether you’re a solopreneur, agency, or global enterprise. Our support team of WordPress experts is available 24 hours a day year-round, including holidays, weekends, and late nights.
Pantheon claims to offer free 24/7 support. However, this only includes live chat during business hours. As a paid service, it offers tiered support packages where response times and support features vary depending on your package level.
With Kinsta, you don’t need to worry about being left hanging if you’re faced with an urgent issue, regardless of your plan. Our support engineers are always ready to provide quick answers to your questions and concerns. No problem is too big or too small for us to handle.
In addition to multilingual support and resources that are available in over 10 languages, we’re also proud to maintain an initial ticket response time average of under two minutes!
Our clients can attest to this. For the past two years, more than 97 percent of our customers closed a chat support session happy or satisfied with the help they received:
Kinsta is the provider that really cares about each of its customers, from my point of view. Kinsta offers you useful and fast tools to manage a website in WordPress. I love the MyKinsta dashboard, it is very intuitive, functional, and fast, I also like the option of being able to contact support through the Intercom chat. The support is effective and ultra fast. The prices are fair and the knowledge base is very comprehensive and contains useful information. I highly recommend it.
To make our customer support as quick and convenient as possible, we use the Intercom customer messaging platform. All chat session communications are logged, so you won’t ever need to repeat yourself to support agents.
Kinsta is Developer-Friendly
The Kinsta team is mostly made up of developers, which has made it easy for us to create a WordPress hosting solution tailored to their needs as well, without sacrificing ease of use. Everything from our custom dashboard to our products and tools are built to help improve your productivity.
Some of the developer-friendly features and tools you’ll have access to at Kinsta, which you won’t necessarily get with Pantheon, include:
- Full phpMyAdmin access to your 100% private MySQL database (hosted on localhost in your isolated container).
- One-click staging environments for all plans.
- New Relic integration, as well as a Redis add-on for quicker database performance, and an Elasticsearch add-on for faster search. Pantheon only offers support for New Relic and Redis on Performance and Elite plans.
- The option to work with custom setups like Bedrock or Trellis.
- Git, WP-CLI, and SSH access included, regardless of your plan. You can control SSH access by adding your keys through the MyKinsta dashboard.
- Six different types of backups: automatic/daily, optional hourly, manual, system-generated, downloadable, and automatic external backups sent to your Amazon S3 or Google Cloud storage. You can also restore backups to staging as well as production.
- The option to load your site over reverse proxy on all Kinsta plans
- Unrestricted access to your site’s critical files.
- The ability to run a different version of PHP on the staging and live versions of your site, and easily test for potential bugs post-switch.
- Post and page revisions enabled by default.
With Kinsta as your hosting provider, you’ll have all the tools needed to manage your WordPress site, regardless of your technical knowledge. Pantheon, on the other hand, is geared toward developers, is not as user-friendly, and requires a lot of time for technical configurations and setup that could otherwise be spent on business-critical tasks.
I’ve experienced a number of different hosting providers in the decade or so I’ve been working in web dev, and Kinsta has definitely been one of my favourites.
Their inbound marketing content is actually helpful and easy to consume (rather than just being optimised for SEO), and their customer support is quick and helpful in their responses.
That said, my favourite part about Kinsta is the UI/UX of their product – it’s just really easy to use intuitively. You get your head around it quickly with a short learning curve, which is nice if you’re used to working with cPanel.
Develop Locally with DevKinsta
For developers and agencies, Kinsta offers a simple to use (but powerful) local development tool called DevKinsta. With DevKinsta, you can launch WordPress sites with a full hosting stack and SSL support on your local computer with just a few clicks.
DevKinsta is fully integrated with MyKinsta and Kinsta’s hosting platform, which means you can develop locally and push updates directly to a staging environment on Kinsta! Pantheon doesn’t have an integration with a local WordPress development tool, which means there is no way to clone and push WordPress sites for their customers. If you’re a busy freelance or agency developer, DevKinsta’s advanced features and MyKinsta integration can be a huge time saver.
Free Performance Monitoring Tool
WordPress is a dynamic CMS, which means it’s constantly executing PHP code in the background. Depending on your theme and plugin configuration, it’s possible for your site to get bogged down with bloated and inefficient code.
That’s where APM (Application Performance Monitoring) tools can help. An APM monitors requests to your site, and tracks various metrics like external API requests, database queries, PHP execution time, and more. This information allows you to quickly debug and troubleshoot performance bottlenecks.
All Kinsta plans come with a free custom-built APM tool that can be easily accessed right in the MyKinsta dashboard. Kinsta APM provides you with key WordPress performance insights without the need for expensive third-party subscriptions to New Relic and other APM services.
With Kinsta APM, you can debug the following and more:
- Slow WordPress plugins and themes.
- Long calls to external APIs and domains.
- Unoptimized MySQL database queries.
A2 Hosting plans do not come with a free APM tool, which makes it very difficult to quickly troubleshoot performance issues on your WordPress site. Pantheon’s “Performance” plans come with free access to New Relic APM, but their lower-tier plans do not.
Feature Comparison Overview
At this point, we want to take a moment to look at some of the biggest differences between Kinsta and Pantheon:
|Pricing||Plans start at $30/month||Plans start at $60/month (with prepayment), $29/month for Pantheon Preferred members|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days on all plans||X|
|Plan Tiers||10 (not including custom)||6|
|Premium 24×7 Support||All plans||Varies by plan|
|Core Infrastructure||Same across all plans (GCP)||Same across all plans|
|Uptime Monitoring||All plans||Performance and Elite plans|
|Global Data Centers||25 locations||4 regions|
|Premium 24×7 Support||Included on all plans||Varies by plan|
|Free Expert Migrations||All plans||Paid service|
|PHP Versions||PHP 7.3, 7.4, 8.0||PHP 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3|
|Uptime Monitoring||All plans||X|
|Resource Limits||Only limited by PHP workers||Varies by plan|
|Free APM Tool||Kinsta APM||Not specified|
|Multisite Support||Pro plans and higher||Elite plans only|
|Reverse Proxy Support||✓||Varies by plan|
|Redis Add-on||✓||Performance and Elite plans|
|New Relic APM Support||✓||Performance and Elite plans|
|Multilingual Dashboard||English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, French, Swedish, Danish, Japan||Not specified|
Pantheon offers a fair amount of features and tools that can be difficult to configure and use, unless you’re a developer.
If you want the same performance and scalability you’d get from a cloud hosting provider, but with a better user experience and less technical requirements and paid services, Kinsta is the obvious choice.
Free Migrations from Real People
Whether you want to move one site or 100, Kinsta provides hassle-free migrations that are handled by our skilled WordPress experts. You won’t have to deal with any complex technology or risk losing critical data.
If you’re interested in moving your site to managed WordPress hosting, we offer unlimited free migrations from Pantheon!
To get started, simply complete our site migration request form, and our experts will reach out to schedule a time. Then you can track the migration’s status directly from your MyKinsta dashboard.
It’s a great hosting package which has a lot of scalability for our future needs. They have excellent support staff who are on hand to help with the most minor or serious issue. We have used other hosting providers before and Kinsta were recommended to us, and since changing hosting providers Kinsta has really helped our business reach its potential.
Pantheon lets you migrate your website for free. However, this requires you to do it yourself via a plugin, which can be time-consuming and complicated. You can request that its experts handle the migration process for you, but this is a paid service.
Kinsta Has a Global Presence
Kinsta has a massive global footprint, which consists of 25 data center locations spanning five continents. We add a new location every time one becomes available.
Our many locations also make it easy for you to pick a different server option for each of your WordPress sites, with no hidden fees or extra 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
Pantheon is not as transparent or specific when it comes to its data center locations. Your choice is limited to four broad regions: U.S., Canada, European Union, and Australia.
Optimized for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads
As a managed WordPress hosting company, we understand the importance of a platform capable of supporting high-traffic, resource-intensive ecommerce sites. We also recognize the unique and demanding challenges that come with powering online stores. This is why we optimized our platform for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Download sites.
We use advanced server-level caching mechanisms that help speed up the loading times for your ecommerce sites. We also offer automatic purging of cache and archive pages.
Our expert engineers are very familiar with WooCommerce, and have developed a custom workflow that optimizes performance. Some of the ways we enhance the ecommerce experience are by:
- 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.
- Implementing specific rules to allow EDD and WooCommerce functionality during server-level page caching.
Pantheon offers WooCommerce hosting. However, this requires a Performance or Elite plan, which are both much more expensive than Kinsta plans (even with the same features included).
Turbocharging Your Content Delivery with Kinsta CDN
In addition to free bandwidth, all Kinsta plans include a free Content Delivery Network (CDN). This is a premium IPv6 and HTTP/2-enabled CDN, to deliver your content lightning-fast across the globe.
Our content delivery architecture was tailor-made for high throughput and low latency. You can enable the CDN directly from your MyKinsta dashboard, and your content will be delivered and cached from our CDN’s 34 POPs across the world. This spans all major regions, including North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa.
Pantheon offers a free Global CDN via Fastly with all plans. However, to take advantage of features such as full-page caching, IP block listing, and reverse proxy support, you need to upgrade to the Advanced Global CDN. Not only does this involve more money, but you also need to have the Pantheon Professional Services team enable and configure it.
Best Affiliate Program in the Industry
Kinsta is constantly exceeding our clients’ expectations. Our satisfied customers are eager to spread the word about our products and services, which has helped us become one of the fastest-growing hosts in the industry.
This is one of the reasons why we’re proud to offer true profit-sharing through our custom affiliate program, which is one of the highest paying programs in the hosting industry. As a partner, you’ll have the ability to earn between $50 to $500 in referral commissions, depending on the plan.
This is a powerful opportunity to earn a passive income! You can even earn a 10% monthly recurring commission for the entire lifetime of each customer you refer to us.
To make the Kinsta affiliate experience even more enjoyable, we custom built our own easy-to-use affiliate dashboard. Therefore, you won’t have to deal with complicated or confusing third-party platforms.
Pantheon does not currently offer an affiliate program. It only provides a Pantheon Partnership Program, which is geared toward agencies.
Join Others Making the Switch to Kinsta
At Kinsta, we offer the fastest, latest technology possible. We’re constantly evolving and adapting to leverage the most innovative solutions available. You can see for yourself simply by checking out our feature updates!
If you’re looking for an affordable, powerful, and more user-friendly alternative to Pantheon, Kinsta’s managed WordPress hosting solution has you covered.
We are confident in our solutions and want you to be 100% satisfied with your hosting, which is why, unlike Pantheon, we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re ready to make the move away from Pantheon and switch to our managed WordPress hosting platform, try out Kinsta risk-free for 30 days!