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Kinsta vs Pantheon (2021): Managed WordPress Hosting Comparison

Unlike most managed WordPress hosting providers like Kinsta, Pantheon offers a broader range of solutions which include Drupal and WooCommerce optimized services. Marketing itself as a WebOps platform, Pantheon makes it clear that their hosting plans are intended for agencies and larger enterprises, similar to Kinsta’s higher tier plans. So while Kinsta is more attractive to smaller website owners, it’s a more difficult choice for others to decide between Kinsta and Pantheon. Here’s a comparison of their features, performance and more.

Kinsta vs Pantheon Web Hosting Comparison Chart

NameKinstaPantheon
 Pantheon logo
PricingCheck Pricing at Kinsta.comCheck Pricing at Pantheon.com
Traffic TiersStarter: 20,000/mo
Pro: 40,000/mo
Business: 100k to 600k/mo
Enterprise: 1m to 3M/mo
Basic: 25,000
Performance: Up to 300,000
Elite+: Up to 20M
Storage TiersStarter: 10 GB
Pro: 20 GB
Business: 30-60 GB
Enterprise: 100-250 GB
Basic: 20 GB
Performance: 30-200 GB
Elite+: 20 GB+
Monthly BandwidthStarter: 50 GB
Pro: 100 GB
Business: 200-500 GB
Enterprise: 500-1000 GB
Basic: 125K pages
Performance: Up to 1.5M pages
Elite+: Unlimited
WebsitesStarter: 1
Pro: 2
Business: 5-40
Enterprise: 60-150
Basic: 5
Performance: 10-70
Elite+: 270
Hosting InterfaceMyKinstaCustom
Content Delivery NetworkKeyCDNGlobal CDN
Free SSL CertificatesYesYes
Staging AreaYesYes
Free Site BackupYesYes
Free Site RestoreYesYes
Backup Retention14-30 days1-6 months
Free Site MigrationYesNo
Multisite SupportPro and upElite only
Customer Support24/7 live chat and ticket24/7 live chat, ticket, phone
Money Back Guarantee30 daysNone

Features

Kinsta has more consumer-targeted services while Pantheon targets enterprises only.

This infographic shows the relative difference between Pantheon and Kinsta’s services.

The first important difference between Kinsta and Pantheon is that Pantheon doesn’t specialize in WordPress like Kinsta does. Pantheon’s WebOps platform caters to both WordPress and Drupal sites. Kinsta on the other hand focuses solely on WordPress, so their infrastructure, features and even their customer support are optimized for the CMS.

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The next crucial distinction between the two hosts is their targeted clients. Essentially, Kinsta offers consumer-friendly up to enterprise-level WordPress hosting plans, so customers big and small are quite welcome in its ecosystem. In comparison, Pantheon targets enterprises chiefly, and is heavily geared towards agencies and developers. As such, the average WordPress user will likely find Kinsta’s services and portals friendlier while Pantheon can be a bit overwhelming.

Both have built their server network on the Google Cloud Platform, though Kinsta built theirs exclusively on the premium tier network first while Pantheon made its move more recently. Users will gain access to the MyKinsta dashboard on Kinsta, which will include all of the tools and settings needed to manage your WordPress sites. Pantheon has a custom dashboard as well, but it’s more expansive as it contains WordPress and Drupal site management.

Pantheon and Kinsta both offer optimized caching for ecommerce sites, making them ideal for WooCommerce hosting, though advanced server caching is only included in Pantheon’s non-Basic plans. Kinsta will also migrate a number of sites for free, performed by their expert team, while Pantheon encourages clients to use their migration plugin or otherwise purchase professional site transfer packages.

Speed

Pantheon is faster than Kinsta.

Pantheon promises sub-second page loads for websites across the world.

Pantheon is one of the fastest web hosts on the planet. It has proven its mettle in multiple speed comparisons over the years. Review Signal 2019 WordPress Hosting Benchmarks saw Pantheon and Kinsta compete in the $25-$50 range along with other hosts. Pantheon posted the fastest Load Impact testing score, with a 28 ms peak average load time compared to Kinsta’s 619 ms. It was also the fastest on the Load Storm test, with an average response time of 134 ms against Kinsta’s 505 ms.

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Kinsta includes a free CDN and premium DNS with all of their plans. With 24 data center locations and 34 PoPs in five continents, Kinsta guarantees fast loading times around the world. Pantheon also has a Global CDN, powered by Fastly, though many of its features need to be unlocked with the assistance from its support. Still, once completed, Pantheon delivers in buckets, as WebPageTest.org results show that Pantheon is the fastest host in 7 out of 11 global locations tested.

Reliability

Kinsta provides free and more reliable 24/7 customer support than Pantheon.

Site uptime on Kinsta is guaranteed at 99.9% on their SLA.

Customer support at Kinsta is topnotch, and you can count on their team to respond quickly with their average initial response time of less than 2 minutes. Moreover, Kinsta’s support is focused on WordPress alone, so you’ll be speaking with a knowledgeable agent that can help you instantly with fixing any issues. Plus, Kinsta provides true 24/7 live chat support even on weekends and holidays all year.

In comparison, Pantheon’s 24/7 support only includes live chat during actual business hours, so you’ll need to check if you’re located in another part of the world. However, they have a wider range of support channels, including phone, ticketing, video conferencing and even Slack. Pantheon also includes a paid support package that has varying response times and features per tier.

Uptime is excellent on both hosts. Kinsta and Pantheon can deliver 99.9% uptime throughout the year. Sites are protected behind GCP firewalls and their managed hosting services include DDoS detection, GeoIP blocking, automated daily backups, updates, and more. You can enable SSL and HTTPS through Let’s Encrypt as well. Kinsta performs site monitoring on sites on all plans every two minutes, contacting you immediately in case your site goes down. On the other hand, Pantheon only monitors sites in a similar way if they’re on an Elite plan.

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Plans and Pricing

Kinsta offers more affordable hosting than Pantheon.

There’s a crucial bit of information regarding Pantheon’s pricing.

Though neither can be classified as affordable web hosting, Kinsta and Pantheon have low tier plans that can be appealing for small sites. However, while these lowest tier plans roughly cost the same per month on first glance, Pantheon’s pricing needs some clarification. Pantheon displays their Preferred Pricing on their main plans page even though this is only available to agencies who join their Partner Program. As such, Pantheon’s plans are actually a bit more expensive than you might think.

Kinsta has ten total tiers that should match most enterprise sizes. There’s also a custom tier plan for businesses that have higher server needs or special dedicated VM requirements. Multisite support is unlocked starting at Pro plans, while this is only included in Pantheon’s Elite plan. Moreover, there are numerous advanced features that Kinsta includes in all tiers which Pantheon only provides in their higher tier plans.

Correspondingly, Pantheon’s storage, bandwidth and website limits are higher than Kinsta’s per tier. Most notably, you can have up to 5 domains hosted on Pantheon’s Basic tier while Kinsta only allows one WordPress install on its Starter plan. Instead of tracking bandwidth by amount of data, Pantheon tracks pages served which include cached and non-HTML responses to a visitor. Both will charge overage fees if you exceed these limits, though Pantheon adds overage protection to Performance plans and up.

Verdict

Kinsta is better for medium to large websites while Pantheon is more suited for agencies and large enterprises.

Kinsta

Better for small businesses

Kinsta logo

Pantheon

Better for large enterprises

Pantheon logo

With user-friendly features, interface, and support, Kinsta is highly recommended for small websites, businesses and even bigger enterprises. As WordPress specialists, Kinsta offers focused managed hosting services that are excellent in value. On the other hand, Pantheon is topnotch in performance, promising blazing fast loading speeds for your visitors. Pantheon’s plans are quite pricey, but they’re attractive for agencies who participate in their Partner Program and can get their Preferred Pricing schedule.

FAQs

πŸ“Œ What’s the difference between Kinsta and Pantheon?

Kinsta offers WordPress managed hosting exclusively while Pantheon provides managed hosting services for both WordPress and Drupal websites.

πŸ“Œ Which is faster Pantheon or Kinsta?

Pantheon is considerably faster than Kinsta, as proven by several load impact and load storm tests conducted in multiple geographical locations.

πŸ“Œ What is Pantheon’s WebOps platform?

A WebOps platform is specially designed to make web and app development easier through tools and management services.

πŸ“Œ Does Kinsta have good uptime?

Yes, Kinsta has a 99.9% uptime guarantee for the whole year. They also perform site monitoring every 2 minutes so they can immediately address any issue or possibility of downtime.

Derick Bondoc