Kinsta vs. Bluehost
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Ask about WordPress hosting solutions and the names Kinsta and Bluehost are bound to come up for mention. Bluehost, for example, is known to provide some of the most affordable shared hosting plans and has been listed as a premium WordPress partner on numerous occasions. As for Kinsta, its reputation as a managed WordPress hosting solution is such that its client list includes big-name companies such as TripAdvisor, General Electric, and Buffer, among others.
With that said, it might be challenging to decide which of the two is right for you if you are thinking about launching or migrating a WordPress website. Each comes with its own pros and cons that you will want to factor in if you are trying to get the best results possible. And it isn’t always easy to pick one after reading many of the comparisons published online.
On one hand, many of the articles comparing Bluehost and Kinsta are too technical for the average reader. At the same time, some reviewers do very little to hide their bias for one over the other instead of giving objective facts that will help readers make the best decision for their needs.
Hopefully, after reading our take, you will have a clearer picture on the Kinsta vs Bluehost debate. So, which is better for you? First, let’s look at what is offered by both.
Bluehost is, undoubtedly, one of the most recognized companies in the website hosting business. The platform is home to over two million websites, with many of them being WordPress powered. Speaking of WordPress, Bluehost offers both shared and managed WordPress hosting plans (the managed WordPress hosting product offered by Bluehost is known as WP Pro) at some of the most competitive prices when compared to its competitors.
In addition, Bluehost has configured its services to be especially conducive to people running WordPress. For example, it was one of the first hosting platforms to introduce 1-click WordPress installation. Coupled with its raft of features for WordPress users, their reputation has resulted in Bluehost being a recommended partner of the content management system for years. Many newcomers to WordPress start off with, or switch to, Bluehost as a result.
Kinsta is a younger company than Bluehost by about a decade, but it has quickly made a name as a reliable hosting platform. Its claim to fame is providing fully managed WordPress hosting solutions. In fact, Kinsta’s entire business model is based solely on WordPress as it does not provide hosting for any other type of website.
Just in case you are wondering about the emphasis on “managed” WordPress hosting, the term refers to the practice of having all the backend activities handled by the hosting provider instead of the website owner. In such a scenario, the website owner does not have to deal with all the technical stuff such as backups, configurations, and adding security layers. They generally only need to focus on putting content on their WordPress sites and promoting it.
This is an ideal arrangement for business owners who want to provide a seamless browsing experience for their customers. Many people running e-commerce sites, for instance, don’t have the time, the knowledge, or the interest to bother with the finer points of setting up and configuring an online store. In addition, Kinsta’s managed hosting solution stands out from the competition because it is run by a number of former WordPress experts.
Differences Between Kinsta and Bluehost
My Experience Having Used Both Across Numerous Websites
Based on the above descriptions, the main difference between Bluehost and Kinsta should be glaring. Just in case you missed it, Bluehost is a multipurpose hosting platform that provides both shared and managed hosting plans for all types of websites, whether WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or something else. On the other hand, Kinsta provides managed hosting plans only for WordPress customers. Here are some of the other differences between the two:
- Pricing: Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting plans start at a price point of $19.95 monthly ($9.95 if you sign up for 36 months) while Kinsta’s cheapest basic plan is $30 per month.
- Features: The hosting features accessible to Bluehost users largely depend on the type of plan chosen and whether they are on a shared or managed hosting plan. As a result, Bluehost users on lower level plans often have to pay extra if they want certain features. With Kinsta, all users get the same level of core features, including daily automatic backups, free CDN and free SSL, regardless of the plan they are on. Kinsta’s hosting plans are mainly separated by the number of WordPress installs, website visits, and amount of storage space.
- Server infrastructure: Kinsta’s managed WordPress hosting is built on Google Cloud, which gives it access to over two dozen data centers around the world. Bluehost uses dedicated in-house data centers, of which there are believed to be six locations.
- Backend management: Kinsta has developed its own customized dashboard called MyKinsta which helps users manage their websites. Bluehost, like many other providers, uses a generic cPanel interface.
- Customer support delivery: As it relates to customer support, Kinsta only offers this through their 24-hour live chat and ticketing system. On the other hand, Bluehost users can access support through telephone, live chat, or ticket system.
Both Bluehost and Kinsta are amazing hosts for your website. I have built many of my early websites on Bluehost, and they significantly outperform the other sites I tested using Namecheap’s Easy WP Hosting. So if you are using a slower host (Godaddy), you will be amazed at the difference regardless of which option you choose.
Generally, if you are new to blogging, are creating a blog more as a hobby, or are very price sensitive, I’d suggest starting with Bluehost.
Bluehost is pretty much the cheapest option for webhosting that is also easy enough for anyone to set up their own website in minutes.
I generally recommend Kinsta for bloggers who:
- Are an experienced site builder and can appreciate the unparalleled speed of Kinsta;
- Operate multiple sites;
- Are working toward/close to being accepted to a higher paying ad network for their blog (like Mediavine);
- Want a high powered website despite having a somewhat slow theme (such as Divi) that you don’t want to change;
- Treat their blog as a business, and want to focus on growth above all else.
After all, the only real drawback to Kinsta is the higher cost.
Although, as I note in my full Kinsta review, Kinsta includes a number of features that effectively reduce the price by saving you money that you would have otherwise needed to spend on various WordPress plugins and third party tools.
Kinsta Pros and Cons
Blazing fast website loading speeds. Numerous comparisons and tests that have been published online show that Kinsta users experience faster website load times, on average, than its managed WordPress hosting counterparts.
Exceptional uptime backed up by a service level agreement (SLA) and constant uptime monitoring. Based on numerous benchmark tests, Kinsta was also found to have phenomenal uptime of 99.99%, which in many cases turns out to be at least 15 minutes more uptime per month than other web hosting platforms.
Handles traffic spikes seamlessly. While sudden spikes in traffic can easily lead to websites crashing, this is generally not the case with WordPress sites hosted by Kinsta.
Provides users with the latest technology and features geared towards security and performance. Kinsta’s support of PHP 8.0, along with cutting edge technologies such as Nginx, LXD containers, and MariaDB are among the most advanced web hosting components that many of its competitors are not yet using. Other features such as built-in plugin caching and real-time DDoS help to enhance security and speed for users.
Site staging feature. Kinsta allows users to carry out changes, make tweaks, and run tests on their websites using a staging area, before making the changes permanent.
The option to choose your own data center based on your location. You can also choose your own content delivery network (CDN), including Kinsta’s in-house KeyCDN.
Highly knowledgeable support team. Kinsta is staffed with former WordPress professionals and Linux engineers who have developed a good reputation for solving most issues encountered by customers.
Users receive a raft of add-ons at no extra cost. Kinsta users enjoy features such as free SSL, automatic daily backups, and free site migrations, among other perks, no matter what plan they are on.
Google Cloud servers help to guarantee uptime and enhance site speed as well. If one server develops an issue, websites hosted on it are automatically switched to another to reduce the chance of any downtime or lag.
Relatively expensive. With its most affordable plan starting at $30 monthly, Kinsta is often described as expensive when compared to other managed WordPress hosting platforms.
Does not offer email hosting. Many business owners have a need for email hosting, which will allow them to have an address such as email@example.com. Since Kinsta does not offer this service, website owners requiring email hosting must seek it elsewhere, which can add to their hosting costs.
Bluehost Pros and Cons
Offers some of the cheapest hosting plans in the industry. You can host a website for as little as $2.75 per month on a basic shared hosting plan or $9.95 per month (if paying for 36 months – $19.95 per month otherwise) for managed WordPress.
Offers plenty of value for money. You get a lot of bang for your buck such as unlimited websites and domains on shared hosting (except for the basic plan). Also, managed WordPress plans on Bluehost offer more disk space and bandwidth than Kinsta’s three most popular plans, as well as several other perks.
Staging area for managed WordPress customers. Like Kinsta, Bluehost has a staging environment where website owners can try out new design edits or web copy before publishing them live.
Excellent uptime. Although Bluehost does not have a SLA in place to guarantee uptime, it has a great reputation for average uptime of 99.98% or higher which is in the same ballpark as Kinsta.
cPanel Access. With cPanel being an industry staple, it means many website owners are already familiar with how it works so there is a low learning curve for users when managing their websites on Bluehost.
1-click WordPress installation. Bluehost offers one of the easiest and fastest routes to installing and setting up a WordPress website.
Offers email hosting. It is easy to set up your own business email, which is included in many Bluehost plans.
Gets average marks for speed. Numerous benchmark tests published online show that Bluehost is not among the fastest hosting providers. Reviews from its customers also suggest that many are dissatisfied with the load speed of their websites.
Limited number of servers. Although Bluehost has servers in several countries, most of its data centers are based in the U.S. Proximity to server can have an impact on website load speed, so this is one of the possible reasons why some users lament the performance of their Bluehost-hosted sites.
Add-ons can add up. Some of the cheaper hosting plans offered by Bluehost have limited features, and customers must purchase add-ons if they want more. If you want daily website backups, for instance, you will need to buy this separately from your hosting costs. As such, Bluehost users can end up paying much more for a hosting plan than advertised in order to get the features that they want.
Locked-in promotional pricing. You have to sign up for 1 – 3 years to get the low promotional prices advertised by Bluehost. Although there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, you often have to stick with Bluehost for years, even if you end up not liking the service a few months in. Also, expect to pay more for your hosting when your initial Bluehost plan expires.
Upselling prompts can be annoying. Bluehost is constantly trying to get its users to upgrade their plans or purchase add-ons, including plugins, which can come off as pesky for some users.
Is Kinsta a better hosting solution than Bluehost, or is it the other way around? Well, it all depends on what you are looking for. Kinsta appears to win in all the categories that matter, including speed, performance, and security. But much of Kinsta’s offerings are distinctly aimed at professional, high-traffic WordPress websites with specific technical needs. Kinsta is perfect for e-commerce stores, company websites, and high-volume publications, for instance.
The higher price tag for Kinsta hosting may seem like a waste of money if your website hardly gets traffic or if you are more comfortable using familiar hosting software (such as cPanel).
On the other hand, Bluehost appears to be a perfectly fine hosting solution for the user who wants to run simple websites with limited features and low to medium traffic. A hobby blogger or casual entrepreneur may not need some of the hosting features offered by Kinsta, for instance, but would appreciate the features offered by Bluehost.
In addition, people who are just starting out with WordPress or have a small budget will find that Bluehost is quite user-friendly when setting up WordPress and that the platform offers a plan to suit a variety of budgets.