Laptop computer displaying logo of WordPress.
Image: monticellllo/Adobe Stock

WordPress can be used for everything from a single-page blog to a massive website with hundreds of pages, but for the latter, you’ll need a managed hosting plan that provides the security and speed you need to support constant site traffic. WP Engine is the biggest name in WordPress hosting, though Kinsta is quickly establishing itself as a worthy competitor.

In this guide, learn all about both solutions as we compare Kinsta and WP Engine to help you make the right choice when developing your website.

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What is WP Engine?

WP Engine Logo.
Source: WP Engine. WP Engine Logo.

WP Engine is a WordPress platform that offers managed WordPress hosting, automated updates, daily backups, support, migration, SEO rankings and more. The platform supports more than 1.5 million websites and 185,000+ customers across 150 countries, making it one of the most popular and trusted options for WordPress hosting.

What is Kinsta?

The Kinsta logo.
Source: Kinsta.

Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting service that offers 34 data centers worldwide and guarantees 99.9% uptime. The Starter plan supports 25,000 visits a month, which is suitable for the average website. Kinsta is quickly catching up to WP Engine when it comes to managed WordPress hosting.

Kinsta vs. WP Engine: Comparison table

KinstaWP Engine
Daily backupsYesYes
Dev, stage and production environmentsNoYes
Free Cloudflare integrationYesNo
SFTP connectionsYesYes
StudioPress themes includedNoYes
Starting price$35 per month$20 per month

Kinsta and WP Engine pricing breakdown

WP Engine provides three pricing plans: Managed WordPress, eCommerce Solutions for Woo and Advanced Solutions. With prices that range from $20 per month to up to $600 per month, there is an option for small, medium or large businesses. Additionally, the plans can be customized to include specific features and capabilities.

Kinsta offers 10 pricing plans, beginning with Starter and including Pro, Business and Enterprise tiers. Kinsta’s pricing starts at $35 and moves up to $1,650. If you need more capacity, contact the provider to customize your Kinsta plans.

KinstaWP Engine
DemoYes, with limited functionsNo
Free trialNoNo
Base planStarts at $35 per month
1 WordPress install
25,000 visits per month
10 GB disk space
Free migrations
Starts at $20 per month
1 site
25,000 visits per month
10 GB storage
50 GB bandwidth per month
Top-tier plan$1,650 per month
150 WordPress installs
2,500,000 visits
250 GB disk space
$600 per month
More than 30 sites
Over 50 GB storage
Over 500 GB bandwidth per month

Kinsta vs. WP Engine: Feature comparison

While WP Engine offers greater options and flexibility, Kinsta provides greater ease and support for new users.

Development workflow

WP Engine offers three environments in its development workflow: development, staging and production. When you’re ready to transfer things over to the production environment, WP Engine will only copy the files over as opposed to the content stored in the WordPress database. However, it does give you the option to copy the tables of your choice from the staging site database if that’s something that you want to do.

SEE: Use this hiring kit from TechRepublic Premium to find the right back-end developer for your team.

Meanwhile, Kinsta only offers two environments in its development workflow: staging and production. When you’re ready to transfer things over to the production environment, Kinsta lets you copy the entire site and allows you to push only the files or database, so you have full control over what gets transferred between environments (Figure A). Kinsta also offers a service called Static Site Hosting, which is available from within the dashboard and lets users deploy a project right away.

Figure A

Kinsta’s main dashboard.
Kinsta’s main dashboard. Source: Kinsta


Both Kinsta and WP Engine offer migration support, but the solutions handle it differently. Each Kinsta plan allows you to migrate one site over to its hosting with the assistance of their expert engineers. You may need to wait a little bit. Still, it also guarantees you will have an expert overseeing every step of the process in case something goes wrong.

WP Engine relies on a free plug-in called WP Migrate to move sites over to its hosting (Figure B). This offers more flexibility in terms of the number of sites you can move and how many sites you can migrate, but it means an expert engineer won’t be on call if anything goes wrong in the process. If something does go awry, you’ll have to reach out to WP Engine tech support and wait for a response, just like any other issue.

Figure B

WP Engine migration features are offered through WP Migrate.
WP Engine migration features are offered through WP Migrate. Source: WP Migrate

Backups and security

Kinsta and WP Engine offer four types of backups: automatic, system-generated, manual and downloadable. WP Engine stores the 40 most recent checkpoints for up to 60 days. If you need to access an older checkpoint within that 60-day window, its support team can help you out. As for other security measures, WP Engine has a dedicated security engineering team that creates WordPress-specific security features to scan for malware and detect threats. WP Engine has also partnered with Cloudflare to create the Global Edge Security add-on plan, which provides more protection for an added monthly fee.

Kinsta offers two additional types of backups: optional hourly backups and external backups sent automatically to your Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage. However, it only stores backups for between 14 and 30 days, depending on your plan — it’s up to you whether it’s worth the tradeoff to get the additional types of backups but to store your files for less time. All Kinsta plans also get access to a free Cloudflare integration, offering enterprise-level firewall and distributed denial-of-service protection for peace of mind. Through the Environment dashboard, Kinsta offers security and performance tools (Figure C).

Figure C

Kinsta's Environment dashboard and security tools.
Kinsta’s Environment dashboard and security tools. Source: Kinsta


A website’s success is greatly impacted by its availability. While there are many security and uptime plug-ins that can integrate into WP Engine and Kinsta, both solutions — through contractual agreements — guarantee a high level of uptime to all users. The WP Engine service level agreement says that the company “will make the Services available 99.95% of the time, excluding any Excused Downtime.” Excused downtime refers to scheduled and emergency maintenance, beta services, force majeure events and your actions or omissions.

SEE: Estimate how much each system failure is going to cost you.

In contrast, Kinsta’s service level agreement guarantees necessary services at least 99.9% of the time during each monthly billing period. Kinsta assures it checks site uptime every two minutes, monitoring loading and providing expert support. If Kinsta detects site errors, DNS errors, SSL errors or domain expirations, the company will contact you immediately.

Choosing between Kinsta and WP Engine

Kinsta and WP Engine are trustworthy, high-performance options for hosting WordPress site(s); it really comes down to your specific needs and the exact features you want. Kinsta is slightly more geared to beginners with its dedicated migration support, while WP Engine provides more options for staging and development.

You can’t go wrong with either Kinsta or WP Engine, but before making your choice, do carefully scrutinize your unique hosting needs to make sure you’ve chosen the platform that covers most of them.

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