WP Engine and Kinsta are two rock-solid managed WordPress web hosts out there. Both charge premium prices and offer a hassle-free web hosting experience for WordPress websites. What are the main points of difference between WP Engine and Kinsta? Kinsta is pricier than WP Engine. What are you getting by paying the incremental hosting charges on Kinsta? We look at the key differences between Kinsta and WP Engine.
Datacenters – Kinsta Vs WP Engine
Kinsta is strictly hosted on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It offers 31 Google Cloud datacenter locations for you. You could pick a location that is closer to your audience. There are no incremental charges that vary with the GCP location you choose. Barring Africa, Kinsta offers datacenter coverage spanning all the continents.
- United States – 9 datacenter locations in Central, East and West US regions.
- Europe – 10 datacenter locations in Central, West and North Europe.
- Asia – 10 datacenter locations spanning India, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
- Australia – 2 datacenter locations in Melbourne and Sydney.
WP Engine offers managed WordPress hosting on Google Cloud Platform and AWS or Amazon Web Services. AWS is offered for the premium and enterprise dedicated hosting customers. For all practical reasons, the managed WordPress hosting on WP Engine is offered through the following Google Data Centers:
- United States – 3 datacenter locations in US East (Virginia and Ohio) and US West (Oregon).
- Canada – 1 datacenter location
- Europe – 2 datacenters in Europe East and one in West.
- Asia – 2 datacenter locations in Taiwan and Tokyo.
There are 9 datacenter locations for you to choose GCP hosting for WP Engine.
In terms of datacenter coverage for managed WordPress hosting, Kinsta has more options to pick a GCP cloud location that is closest to your target audience. If you are targeting US customers, Kinsta offers East, West, and Central locations to pick the GCP hosting.
Compute instances – Kinsta vs WP Engine
This may be a significant difference that you ought to be aware of. Kinsta hosts each WordPress site on Google cloud servers with C2 compute instances. C2 instances are faster and more useful for high-intensity websites. The below excerpt from Google’s cloud hosting website mentions the performance of the C2 instance:
The C2 is based on the second generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor and provides up to 60 virtual cores (vCPUs) and 240GB of system memory. C2s can run at a sustained frequency of 3.8GHz and offer more than 40% improvement compared to previous generation VMs for general applications. Compared to previous generation VMs, total memory bandwidth improves by 1.21X and memory bandwidth/vCPU improves by 1.94X.1 Here we take a deeper look at using C2 VMs for your HPC workloads on Google Cloud. source - https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/compute/using-c2-machines-for-your-hpc-workloads
WP Engine offers C2 compute instances on Premium and higher plans. Not all managed WordPress plans at WP Engine work on the C2 compute instances at the Google Cloud Platform. We will have to give it to Kinsta for the C2 compute instances on Google cloud hosting. C2 instance pricing on Google Cloud is more expensive than the E2 standard or N2 standard compute instances. For more information about the Google Virtual Machine cloud instances, you may check this page.
CDN – Kinsta vs WP Engine
Kinsta offers Cloudflare CDN on all its plans for managed WordPress hosting. Cloudflare CDN is tightly integrated with Kinsta. You can enable or disable Kinsta CDN through Kinsta’s control panel. CDN runs through a sub-domain on your main domain. You can also choose to have your own Cloudflare account and allow it to cache the site hosted on Kinsta. Self-managed Cloudflare deployments take precedence over Kinsta’s Cloudflare integration.
WP Engine uses Stackpatch (MaxCDN) to offer CDN services to managed WordPress hosting customers. It is, however, in the process of moving over to Cloudflare for the CDN services. WP Engine has set an end 2022 date for completely moving off the MaxCDN network. As and when it gets there, Kinsta and WP Engine would be serving static content from the Cloudflare CDN network. For now, Kinsta has an edge because of the dense coverage of the Cloudflare CDN network.
PHP Support – Kinsta vs WP Engine
- Kinsta is quick to adopt the latest PHP version 8.1. It also supports PHP versions 8 and 7.4. As is the case, most sites continue to run on PHP 7.4 as of now.
- WP Engine deploys new installs on PHP version 8. It also supports PHO version 7.4. We expect PHP 8.1 to become available on WP Engine sometime soon.
Backups – Kinsta vs WP Engine
WP Engine has a simple backup program that takes a backup of your site and stores it over an encrypted channel to Amazon S3. WP Engine retains the backups for 60 days. Sites are backed up every day automatically. WP Engine also allows you to take backups manually. All backup checkpoints are retained for a period of 60 days. You can choose to restore your site from any specific checkpoint on the list.
Kinsta takes automatic backups every day. It also allows you to take manual backups as and when you desire. Depending upon your WordPress hosting plan, you may be entitled to backup retention between 14-30 days. Backups are retained in Amazon S3.
Kinsta, however, goes beyond the normal backup process. It allows you to also take WordPress backups manually. The backup files can be downloaded and you could restore your WordPress installation through these backup files. WordPress backups also include the database backups in a .sql file. Kinsta, further, provides the flexibility to increase backup frequency from daily to 6 hourly or hourly for an incremental fee. As of writing this, you can choose to take backups every 6 hours for an incremental fee of $50 a month. Hourly backups will cost an incremental amount of $100 a month. The costs may look steep at first. However, for websites that do a lot of transaction processing, the cost may pale into insignificance for the amount of data captured.
Database Optimization – Kinsta vs WP Engine
WP Engine uses innoDB. Regular database optimization helps in improving the performance of your website. WP Engine offers database optimization tools through the user control panel. You will need to log in to the user control panel and perform the database optimization tasks. WP Engine, as a default practice, has disabled post revisions from being retained in the database. As part of best practices for improved performance of websites, we suggest performing database optimization on WP Engine every week or month.
Kinsta uses MariaDB. It has implemented an automatic database optimization script for all customers. Every week, Kinsta performs automatic database optimization for all customers. The hassle associated with running database optimization tasks manually is no longer there on Kinsta. Would you prefer your host to automatically optimize your site’s database? Or, do you prefer to do database optimization manually? The answer to these two questions should help you decide if WP Engine or Kinsta is more appropriate for you.
Costs – Kinsta vs WP Engine
We feel that cost should be the last criteria for deciding on a managed WordPress host. Higher priced plans and hosts must be evaluated in terms of incremental features and service offerings. WP Engine is almost 20 percent cheaper than Kinsta.
- For 400,000 visits a month, Kinsta costs $300 and WP Engine costs $232 on monthly payment terms.
- For 100,000 visits a month, Kinsta costs $100 and WP Engine costs $92 on monthly payment terms.
Eventually, the decision to choose WP Engine or Kinsta should depend upon your site’s goals and traffic. Both hosts have built a reputation for robust service arrangements.
Between Kinsta and WP Engine, I prefer Kinsta because:
- Kinsta uses C2 instances on Google Cloud for all the managed WordPress plans.
- Kinsta offers more datacenter options on the Google Cloud Platform.
- Kinsta is tightly integrated with Cloudflare for the CDN offering.
- Kinsta performs automatic database optimization every month.
WP Engine is a good host too. As mentioned above, you could choose anyone that is more suitable for your goals and cause.
Rajesh Dhawan is a technology professional who loves to blog about smart wearables, Cloud computing and Microsoft technologies. He loves to break complex problems into manageable chunks of meaningful information.