WP Engine was the original pioneer of the managed WordPress hosting industry and set the bar for the rest of us. However, the market for managed hosting solutions has evolved greatly bringing in plenty of different use cases and needs.
Everyday, we encounter WP Engine clients who are looking for an alternative hosting solution that combines top performance with higher quality support. People ask us all the time how we’re different from WP Engine, and that’s the question we’ll answer here. Let’s dive into why Kinsta is the perfect alternative to WP Engine for hosting your WordPress site!
How Kinsta Compares to WP Engine in a Nutshell
Kinsta is powered exclusively by the Google Cloud Platform and Google’s Premium Tier network, which enables us to maximize the speed, performance, and security of our infrastructure. All sites on Kinsta are also protected by our free Cloudflare integration, which includes a secure firewall, HTTP/3 support, DDoS protection, and a host of other benefits.
When it comes to service availability, Kinsta guarantees 99.99% uptime while WP Engine 99.95% (excluding what they refer to as “Excused Downtime”). This means, if you decide to host your site there, you could potentially experience up to 5x downtime periods when compared with Kinsta.
While WP Engine also uses Google Cloud Platform, they don’t make top-tier products (C2 compute-optimized VMs and Premium Tier network) available for all plans. This means that on WP Engine, you have to pay more money to host your site on GCP’s fastest servers.
We are also proud to be the highest-rated managed WordPress host on G2, the world’s leading software review and comparison site:
Let’s take a look at some of the major differences between Kinsta and WP Engine:
- Kinsta has been the fastest WordPress host for five consecutive years (based on independent benchmarks).
- Kinsta supports 29 data centers across Google’s global network, whereas WP Engine only supports 11 GCP locations. Unlike Kinsta, WP Engine charges extra for hosting your site in certain locations.
- Kinsta uses C2 compute-optimized VMs (GCP’s fastest servers) for all plans in supported locations. In our tests, we found that C2 VMs are up to 200% faster than GCP’s lower-tier machines. While WP Engine offers C2 VMs on their expensive “dedicated” plans, lower-tier plans are stuck with less-performant servers.
- Kinsta performs weekly automatic MySQL optimization on all of your sites to optimize database performance. WP Engine doesn’t offer automatic database optimizations.
- Kinsta support, composed of WordPress experts and Linux engineers, is available 24/7 for every customer via live chat. Also, we don’t have a tiered support system, and our engineers are experienced and capable of solving any hosting issue on your site. While WP Engine also offers 24/7 support, they use a tiered support system.
- Kinsta offers free migrations from WP Engine and from other hosting providers. Migrations to Kinsta are handled by an expert engineer. This means you can rest assured that your site will be migrated safely. WP Engine handles migrations with a DIY plugin, which means you won’t receive a white-glove migration experience specifically tailored to your site.
- Kinsta has a simple billing model that’s only based on visits. WP Engine has both total visits and bandwidth limits in place across all of their plans which makes it difficult to estimate your monthly cost.
- Kinsta’s Agency Partner program makes it easy to manage hundreds of client sites and provides a cost-effective solution at the same time.
- Kinsta customers enjoy a free Cloudflare integration with an enterprise-level firewall and DDoS protection on all plans. WP Engine plans include firewall protection, you have to purchase their “Global Edge Security” add-on to protect your site from DDoS attacks.
- All Kinsta plans include free access to our custom application performance monitoring tool (Kinsta APM) for debugging WordPress performance issues. WP Engine does not have a built-in free APM tool. Instead, they provide support for New Relic, which requires you to purchase a separate license key to monitor performance metrics.
- Sites on Kinsta are equipped with a self-healing PHP feature, and we monitor all sites on our infrastructure for uptime 720 times per day. On WP Engine, site monitoring is only available on Premium and Enterprise plans.
- Kinsta lets you run a different version of PHP (we support PHP 8.0, 7.4, and 7.3) for each live and staging environment. Switching between PHP versions takes just a few clicks in the MyKinsta dashboard. WP Engine also has a PHP version switcher, but they only support PHP 7.3 and 7.4.
- Our custom MyKinsta dashboard includes a variety of useful site management tools that are not available on WP Engine: database search and replace, APM tool, free IP Geolocation manager, ionCube loader, PHP restart, and more.
- Kinsta offers six types of backups: free automatic/daily, optional hourly, manual, system-generated, downloadable, and external backups sent automatically to your Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage. WP Engine only includes automatic, manual, and downloadable backups with no support for external backups.
- Kinsta’s support team made up of over 120 WordPress experts is available 24/7/365. Our average response time for support requests is under 2 minutes, and we even offer multilingual support for non-English speaking customers. While WP Engine also offers 24/7/365 support, they don’t have multilingual support.
- For developers and agencies, Kinsta offers a powerful local development tool called DevKinsta. With DevKinsta, you can clone and develop your projects locally (WordPress multisite is supported) and push updates to Kinsta when you’re ready. WP Engine is compatible with Local, but they don’t have multisite support at this time.
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
If you’re looking for a performance-oriented and scalable host, Kinsta’s got you covered. Our custom-built hosting platform is optimized to deliver incredible speed, performance, and scalability whether you’re running a personal blog or an ecommerce store doing millions in revenue. At Kinsta, you can scale up and down between plans with just a few clicks. Best of all, there is no downtime when switching plans, and your hosting bill is automatically prorated!
At Kinsta, we only use the fastest virtual machines and network routing for our hosting stack. Kinsta uses compute-optimized C2 virtual machines – these are Google Cloud Platform’s fastest servers. Kinsta customers can take advantage of C2 machines on all plans from Starter to Enterprise 4, and beyond. On the other hand, WP Engine only offers C2 machines on expensive dedicated plans.
To top it off, we make use of GCP’s Premium Tier network (WP Engine does not), which ensures traffic to and from our customers’ sites are routed around the world as quickly as possible. When it comes to page load times and site performance, every millisecond counts!
High-performance virtual machines powered by Google Cloud Platform form the foundation of our hosting infrastructure. Beyond that, our high-performance hosting stack consists of orchestrated LXC containerized software containers and LXD managed hosts, and highly tuned configurations for Nginx, PHP, and MariaDB. Our unique containerized infrastructure allows sites hosted on Kinsta to automatically scale CPU and RAM usage in response to traffic surges.
Kinsta is reliable and makes shipping changes easy. The support team was exceedingly helpful when we needed to migrate our blog. A+ on their support team.
Kinsta is Safe and Secure
At Kinsta, we know that the security of your data is of the utmost importance, which is why we’re dedicated to providing the most secure hosting service by taking a variety of active and passive measures to safeguard your site.
All sites on Kinsta are protected by our free Cloudflare integration, which includes an enterprise-level firewall with a custom ruleset and DDoS protection. With our Cloudflare integration, you’ll get the benefits of enhanced security and performance without having to manage your own Cloudflare account.
Some of Kinsta’s key security measures include:
- Monitoring sites every two minutes for uptime, 720 times a day.
- Rigid software-based restrictions to stop malicious code from entering your website.
- Real-time DDoS attack detection and mitigation.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) support, and automatic bans for IPs that have more than six failed login attempts in a minute.
- A dedicated Security Team to address malicious attackers, hacks, and exploits.
- Free Cloudflare integration with a secure firewall and built-in DDoS protection.
- 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.
- 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.
- Free Cloudflare SSL certificates with wildcard domain support.
- 100% hack-fix guarantee if your site is infected with malware while hosted on Kinsta.
- 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.
On WP Engine, you don’t have access to a secure firewall with DDoS protection unless you pay for an extra “Global Edge Security” add-on. Furthermore, WP Engine’s lack of uptime monitoring for non-premium and non-enterprise plans means you might not get notified promptly when your site goes down unless you pay for a third-party monitoring service.
Kinsta is Developer-Friendly
The Kinsta team is mostly made up of developers, which allows us to create a WordPress hosting solution tailored for developers, without sacrificing ease of use. Everything from our custom dashboard to our products and tools is built to help improve your productivity.
Some of the developer-friendly features and tools you’ll have access as a Kinsta customer include:
- SSH, Git, and WP-CLI access on all plans.
- We allow you to use custom setups like Bedrock and Trellis, as well as starter themes such as Sage.
- We have one-click WordPress staging environments which allow you to easily push changes from staging to production as well as a convenient site cloning feature.
- We allow you to run a different version of PHP (including PHP 8.0) for each live site and staging site and switching between PHP engines takes just one click.
- We leave post and page revisions enabled by default. While we recommend limiting or disabling these, we believe this should be your choice.
- Loading your site over a reverse proxy is possible, and we have many clients who do so.
- We offer a free APM (Application Performance Monitoring) tool for troubleshooting WordPress performance issues.
- Kinsta is fully integrated with DevKinsta, our free local development tool.
- 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.
With Kinsta as your hosting provider, you’ll have all the tools needed to manage your WordPress site, regardless of your technical knowledge.
The free migration I received was the first time a host migrated a site and got all the little details correct, not forgetting things, etc. and they were incredibly friendly and patient.
MyKinsta: A Custom-Built Dashboard for Powerful Site Management
At Kinsta, we believe in empowering our customers with powerful features to make WordPress site management a breeze. Our MyKinsta dashboard is built with usability in mind.
With features like search and replace, force HTTPS, URL redirects with IP geolocation support, IP deny, free Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool, and more, you have a wide array of powerful tools for managing your WordPress site. MyKinsta even includes a comprehensive analytics dashboard that provides insights into key site metrics.
Let’s take a look at some of the features that make our MyKinsta dashboard so powerful:
- Toggle between different PHP versions with the click of a button. Unlike WP Engine which only supports PHP 7.3 and 7.4, Kinsta supports PHP 8.0, 7.4, and 7.3.
- A free APM (application performance monitoring) tool that gives you all the necessary PHP and MySQL data to debug WordPress performance issues. High-performance object caching with our Redis add-on.
- A built-in Cloudflare integration with optimized settings to secure and boost the performance of your site without the need for a separate Cloudflare subscription.
- 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.
- Automatic MySQL database optimizations.
- One-click ionCube enabler.
- Free Kinsta DNS (powered by Amazon Route53) to manage your DNS records directly in the dashboard.
- One-click CDN setup with Kinsta CDN.
- A dashboard tool to purge the site cache easily.
- Simple redirect management with IP geolocation support.
- An IP Deny tool that lets you quickly and easily block IP addresses before they reach your site. WP Engine’s IP deny method involves manually updating a GeoIP database and setting up rules with a WordPress plugin (iQ Block Country), which defeats the purpose of blocking IP addresses.
- Free automatic Cloudflare SSL certificates with wildcard domain support, and the option to import your own.
- A dashboard toggle for enabling WP_DEBUG mode.
- 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 (wherever you are).
With Kinsta, you don’t need to worry about being left hanging if you’re faced with an urgent issue, regardless of your plan. At Kinsta, we don’t rely on a tiered support system, which means we won’t waste your time with escalations and transfers. Whether you’re on our Starter plan or Enterprise 4 plan, you’ll have access to the same team of WordPress experts.
Kinsta provides a fantastic product and rock-solid support when it’s needed. We are recommending the platform more and more to our clients. The bonus of reduced pricing for non-profits makes it a no-brainer for hosting your WordPress site.
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, we maintained an average response time of less than 2 minutes, and more than 97 percent of our customers closed a chat support session happy or satisfied with the help they received.
Agency Partner Program
Kinsta has an Agency Partner Program that’s specifically designed for agencies looking for a powerful and secure hosting platform with minimal overhead. After joining our Agency Partner Program, your agency will be able to focus on developing client projects and expanding your business, while we handle the hosting side of things.
Our Agency Partner Program also comes with a number of perks:
- Free hosting for your agency site on a Kinsta Pro plan (a $60/month value).
- Unlimited free migrations for your client sites.
- White-label our cache clearing plugin with your agency’s logo and branding.
- One month of free hosting, so you don’t have to worry about paying for two hosting plans while migrating your client sites to Kinsta.
As a member of our Agency Partner Program, all your client sites will receive the same level of support, features, and tooling offered on our normal plan tiers!
This means your sites will be hosted on Google Cloud Platform’s fastest servers with dedicated resources on a per-site basis, and they’ll also be backed by our 24/7 support engineers. Lastly, with multi-user support in the MyKinsta dashboard, you’ll be able to provide permissioned dashboard access to agency developers or even directly to your clients.
Kinsta Has a Global Presence
Kinsta has a massive global footprint, which consists of 29 data center locations spanning five continents. Furthermore, Kinsta customers have access to every data center location without any extra or hidden fees.
Our data center locations include:
- Changhua County, Taiwan
- Hong Kong
- Tokyo, Japan
- Osaka, Japan
- Seoul, South Korea
- Mumbai, India
- Delhi, India
- Jurong West, Singapore
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Sydney, Australia
- Melbourne, Australia
- Warsaw, Poland
- Hamina, Finland
- St. Ghislain, Belgium
- London, United Kingdom
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Eemshaven, Netherlands
- Zurich, Switzerland,
- Montréal, Canada
- Toronto, Canada
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Santiago, Chile
- Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA
- Ashburn, Virginia, USA
- The Dalles, Oregon, USA
- Los Angeles, California, USA
- Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
- Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Unlike Kinsta, WP Engine only offers 11 locations from Google Cloud Platform’s global network. In addition, certain locations like the popular Frankfurt data center in Germany require a plan with “upgraded pricing”.
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 Application Performance Monitoring tools (APM) can help. An APM tool 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 to pay for 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.
Unlike Kinsta, WP Engine plans do not come with a free custom-built APM tool. This means if you’re on a lower-tier WP Engine plan, you won’t be able to collect insights about your site’s performance. WP Engine offers an APM tool powered by New Relic, though, on premium and enterprise plans.
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 Downloads.
WooCommerce and other WordPress ecommerce plugins rely heavily on CPU performance because they cannot be efficiently cached. This is where our C2 compute-optimized VMs really shine with their industry-leading CPU performance. At Kinsta, we make C2 VMs available on all plans from Starter to Enterprise 4, and beyond.
Our expert engineers are very familiar with WooCommerce, and have developed a custom workflow that optimizes performance. Some of the ways we enhance the WordPress 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.
While WP Engine has special caching rules for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, they do not offer C2 compute-optimized VMs to all customers. Instead, they only make Google Cloud Platform’s fastest servers available for dedicated plans.
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 (macOS, Windows, and Ubuntu) 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!
WP Engine is compatible with the Local WordPress development tool. However, WP Engine’s integration with Local doesn’t support WordPress multisite configurations which are very popular with agencies and developers.
If you’re a busy freelance or agency developer, DevKinsta’s advanced features (including multisite support) and MyKinsta integration can be a huge time saver.
Feature Comparison Overview
At this point, we want to take a moment to look at some of the biggest differences between Kinsta and WP Engine:
|Pricing||Plans start at $30/month||Plans start at $30/month|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days||60 days|
|Plan Tiers||10 (not including custom)||5|
|Premium 24×7 Support||All plans||All plans|
|Free Cloudflare Integration||✓||X|
|Core Infrastructure||Same across all plans (GCP)||Varies by plan|
|Uptime Monitoring||All plans||X|
|Global Data Centers||29 locations||15 locations|
|Free Expert Migrations||All plans||X|
|Free DDoS Protection||✓||X|
|PHP Versions||PHP 7.3, 7.4, 8.0||PHP 7.3, 7.4|
|Free Cloudflare Firewall||✓||X|
|Free SSL Certificates||Yes (wildcard domains supported)||Yes (wildcard domains not supported)|
|Resource Limits||Only limited by PHP workers||Varies by plan|
|Free APM Tool||Kinsta APM||X|
|Multisite Support||Pro plans and higher ($60/month)||Growth plan and higher ($115/month)|
|IP Geolocation||✓||$40/month add-on|
|Reverse Proxy Support||✓||X|
|Performance Analytics||✓||Varies by plan|
|New Relic APM Support||✓||Varies by plan|
|Multilingual Dashboard||English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, French, Swedish, Danish, Japan||X|
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 WP Engine! To top it off, unlike WP Engine where free migrations are performed via a WordPress plugin, our migrations are performed by an expert migrations engineer.
Fabulous dashboard! With great stats for debugging and speed optimisation.
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.
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.
Affiliate Program with Recurring Commissions
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.
WP Engine offers $200 per new customer or 100% of the customer’s first monthly payment (whichever is higher). Since WP Engine doesn’t pay recurring commissions for the lifetime of a referred customer, their affiliate program doesn’t allow you to build a passive income stream.
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 a value-packed, powerful, and more user-friendly alternative to WP Engine, 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 we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and free migrations from WP Engine. If you’re ready to make the move away from WP Engine and switch to our managed WordPress hosting platform, try out Kinsta risk-free for 30 days!