Kinsta vs WP Engine (2020): Which Managed WordPress Hosting Is Better?

When you mention managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine is undoubtedly the first name that will come to everyone’s minds. WP Engine is a pioneer for web hosting services focusing solely on the WordPress platform, allowing them to deliver super-fast pages with impressive uptime and security. Over the years, competitors have risen in this space but none have gone up so far than Kinsta, who aims to make WordPress sites fully scalable and high-performing from day one. Here’s a comparison of the important points to consider when choosing between Kinsta and WP Engine.

Kinsta vs WP Engine WordPress Hosting Comparison Chart

NameKinstaWP Engine
 WP Engine logo
PricingCheck Pricing at Kinsta.comCheck Pricing at WPEngine.com
Traffic TiersStarter: 20,000/mo
Pro: 40,000/mo
Business: 100k to 600k/mo
Enterprise: 1m to 3m/mo
Startup: 25,000/mo
Growth: 100,000/mo
Scale: 400,000/mo
Custom: 1,000,000+/mo
Storage TiersStarter: 10 GB
Pro: 20 GB
Business: 30-60 GB
Enterprise: 100-250 GB
Startup: 10 GB
Growth: 20 GB
Scale: 50 GB
Custom: 100 GB – 1 TB
Monthly BandwidthStarter: 50 GB
Pro: 100 GB
Business: 200-500 GB
Enterprise: 500-1000 GB
Startup: 50 GB
Growth: 200 GB
Scale: 500 GB
Custom: 400 GB+
WebsitesStarter: 1
Pro: 2
Business: 5-40
Enterprise: 60-150
Startup: 1
Growth: 10
Scale: 30
Custom: 30
Hosting InterfaceMyKinstaWP Engine Client Portal
Content Delivery NetworkKeyCDNMaxCDN
Free SSL CertificatesYesYes
Staging AreaYesYes
Free Site BackupYesYes
Free Site RestoreYesYes
Backup Retention14-30 days60 days
Premium ThemesNo35+ StudioPress Themes
Site TransferYesYes (plugin)
Multisite SupportPro and upAdd-on
Customer Support24/7 chat and ticket24/7 chat, phone (Growth and up), ticket (Custom only)
Money Back Guarantee30 days60 days

Features

WP Engine has additional features and options over Kinsta.

WP Engine bundles the Genesis framework along with StudioPress themes with every plan.

In general, Kinsta and WP Engine offer very similar managed hosting features and benefits. Both will host your site on the Google Cloud Platform, which offers scalable resources as your site needs it. This can prevent downtime if your site traffic surges, since cloud hosting can assign needed resources almost instantly. However, WP Engine lets you use the Amazon Web Services platform instead at its highest tier hosting plans, along with alternative data center locations, though at an additional cost.

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Both Kinsta and WP Engine also include free content delivery network plans so site visitors can get faster loading times anywhere in the globe. Since Kinsta has recently moved away from charging by bandwidth, it has instead added CDN bandwidth limits instead of the monthly bandwidth allowances of WP Engine. These are comparable between each host’s plans, though WP Engine’s Growth plan is 200 GB/mo, which is double Kinsta’s corresponding Pro plan.

Migrating sites is easy on both web hosts, though Kinsta gives free premium migrations where their team takes care of the entire process as well as unlimited basic migrations from other popular hosts (limited time only). In comparison, WP Engine only provides a DIY plugin that will make site migration an easy and quick process, though complex sites might need more careful attention and expert support.

Site developers can create staging websites on both hosts to try new plugins or test changes that can impact the live site’s uptime. WP Engine gives you three environments: development, staging, and production, further segregating updates you’re making to sites. Moving the staging site to production will only copy files; you’ll also need to copy database tables if needed. Meanwhile, there are only live and staging sites on Kinsta, though both site and database are copied over.

WP Engine also gives you the option of creating transferable sites. These gives developers a space to build sites for clients which can then be transferred to that client’s WP Engine account. Finally, you’ll get the Genesis framework and free StudioPress themes on any WP Engine plan, but these are only really useful if you’re creating new sites or revamping a site’s current theme.

Speed

Kinsta and WP Engine offer similar speeds.

Kinsta was very stable and fast during this load impact test.

One of the foremost reasons site owners choose managed WordPress hosting is site speed. Generally, these hosts offer faster loading times to visitors via servers optimized for the platform. In this, Kinsta and WP Engine prove they are at the top, as their speed results are neck and neck, delivering fantastic loading times for lightweight themes and multipurpose themes alike.

Load impact testing further reveals that Kinsta and WP Engine doesn’t buckle under traffic spikes. In the charts above and below, you can see that both hosts were able to smoothly handle the steady rise of virtual users visiting a test page. Page loading speed remained consistent throughout the ten-minute period, showing the robustness of both WordPress hosts.

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WP Engine performed similarly well on the same test.

Kinsta has a few more data centers around the world than WP Engine, at 24 vs 20. Selecting the data center nearest your target audience plays a critical role in the overall loading times that your site visitors get, though both global CDNs they employ, KeyCDN and MaxCDN, ensure that site files are easily accessible globally. KeyCDN has 34 POPs in six continents while MaxCDN only has 19 locations.

In addition, Kinsta lets you select which data center to use with any of its hosting plans, while WP Engine charges a fee if you choose a different location other than the 3 standard ones.

Reliability

Kinsta and WP Engine offer similar uptime and backup features.

You get regular uptime checks and automatic backups on Kinsta and WP Engine.

Both Kinsta and WP Engine have uptime guarantees in their SLAs, aiming for 99.95% and 99.9% availability, respectively. While those numbers seems the same, they translate to around a 4-hour difference over the course of a year. Fortunately, you’ll get that near-100% uptime for your sites on either host without question, as their infrastructure are very well-built and are protected with numerous safeguards and contingencies.

WordPress management and security are topnotch for both Kinsta and WP Engine. Both hosts will update the WordPress software automatically and they implement server-level caching. They employ active and passive measures, such as GeoIP blocking, DDoS protection, managed WAF, hardware firewalls, SSL support, etc., to prevent malicious attacks and other suspicious behavior from affecting your site’s integrity and operation.

Daily backups are automatic on both hosts and you can backup manually too. Backups are stored longer on WP Engine than on Kinsta, though the added duration might not matter depending on your development cycle. You can restore backups to staging or live environments in a few clicks. In the event your site gets hacked, Kinsta will restore your site with high priority for free while WP Engine will secure the services of Sucuri to accomplish the same.

Customer support channels are different on either host. While they both have 24/7 live chat teams standing by for all users, Kinsta doesn’t offer phone support of any kind. Instead, they have a 24/7 ticketing system with expert WordPress developers resolving issues. Meanwhile, WP Engine provides 24/7 phone support in their non-Startup plans but ticketing is only available at the Custom tier.

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Plans and Pricing

Kinsta has lower overage charges than WP Engine.

Kinsta makes it clear what they charge overage fees on.

Kinsta and WP Engine plans cost much more than non-managed hosting, but that’s to be expected from the quality of their services. There are a lot more options at Kinsta, as they list ten different plans with increasing limits and specs. In comparison, WP Engine offers four pricing tiers, but the highest one, Custom, doesn’t have its pricing set and instead is quoted depending on your needs. Meanwhile, Kinsta outlines its higher-tier pricing with Business 1-4 and Enterprise 1-4 tiers, giving you a much clearer idea of how much it costs to host your site depending on its average monthly visits.

WP Engine’s Startup and Kinsta’s Starter plans are matched evenly, though the Startup plan has a higher monthly visit limit. There’s a significant gap between their next tier plans, though, and it’s much fairer to compare WP Engine’s Growth plan to Kinsta’s Business 1 plan, as each has a 100,000 monthly limit.

Once you go over your plan limits, both hosts will bill you overage charges. As mentioned, Kinsta now only looks at unique visits and not bandwidth consumption, simplifying this calculation. Every 1,000 visits over your monthly limit costs an extra $1 on Kinsta, but it’s double that at WP Engine. This can turn out to be a hefty cost if your site is steadily growing or you get sudden traffic spikes. Note that Kinsta does have overage charges if you go over your CDN bandwidth allowance at $0.10/GB.

Verdict

Kinsta is better for growing businesses while WP Engine is better for agencies.

Kinsta

Better for businesses

Kinsta logo

WP Engine

Better for agencies

WP Engine logo

Because of how close their performance and features are, it’s tough to simply recommend one host here over the other. With lower overage charges and clearly defined higher tier plans, Kinsta can be better suited for growing businesses or if you only need to host 1-2 websites. Kinsta will take care of site migrations with their expert team who are also on standby on live chat and email for any issues.

Agencies and developers who build websites for clients will find WP Engine more conducive since it has transferable sites, free StudioPress themes, and its mid-tier plans allow more installs. You also get three development environments to test features and make changes, plus there’s a hotline if you prefer speaking to customer support via phone.

FAQs

📌 What are the differences between Kinsta and WP Engine?

Kinsta offers 10 hosting plans while WP Engine only offers 4, so it’s easier to find the right tier for your website(s) on Kinsta based on monthly views. For customer support, Kinsta doesn’t offer phone support but has both live chat and email ticketing at all tiers. In comparison, WP Engine has live chat and phone support, but ticketing is reserved for its highest plan.

📌 Which is better: Kinsta or WP Engine?

Both Kinsta and WP Engine are great WordPress hosting companies. We find WP Engine to be a bit better for developers and agencies who build sites for clients as it has numerous features they’d find very useful. For everyone else, Kinsta offers more pricing tiers, lower overage fees, and faster support response.

📌 Is WP Engine good?

Yes, WP Engine is a well-respected hosting company specializing solely on WordPress-based websites. It delivers fast loading times, near-perfect uptime, and scalable solutions with its cloud hosting infrastructure.

📌 How much faster will my site be on Kinsta?

A case study by SkyRocketWP showed an average 49% reduction on page loading times among over 100 transfered sites.