First off I’m a power user. I personally use both Kinsta and WP Engine for hosting my customer’s sites. They are both fantastic companies and have their own pros and cons. The longer I use Kinsta the more I’m realizing all of the small things that Kinsta gets right when comparing it with WP Engine. Developers at WP Engine: take note as you build out the next generation of WP Engine 😀.
Per site data center location
Each site at Kinsta can be located at any of the Kinsta supported Google Cloud Data Center Locations. This means each site can be located at the best location possible for it’s intended audience.
Unique PHP per site per environment
This is amazing for troubleshooting PHP related issues. Each site can be quickly changed between PHP versions 5.6, 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2. Likewise the staging site can run a different php version then production.
Containers are better then dedicated servers
This feature alone removes the spillover effect which happens when one out of control website adversely affects healthy sites. With WP Engine it’s always a balancing act making sure each dedicated server within your control is running smoothly. Now when individuals sites act up, troubleshooting is way easier.
Less middlemen support techs
My support inquiries are generally very technical. It typically takes a ticket creation or just luck with the right tech over WP Engine’s live chat. That’s not true with Kinsta. First off Kinsta has no ticketing system, just a live chat system. All of their techs are very knowledgable and quickly respond to questions.
I know this first hand as best described by my experience over the last few years. On a chat with WP Engine, I’ll answer 9 out of 10 of my own questions. At Kinsta I’ll answer maybe 1 out of 2 of my own questions.
Known account capacity better for scaling
With Kinsta, it’s all one big custom plan. That makes growing and scaling up pain free, and I always know my available capacity of sites. Currently I’m using 218 out of 250 total sites. With WP Engine it’s a guess and requires a chat with a technical engineer and a sales rep each time you need to scale up. That’s all because WP Engine deals with dedicated servers which take a variable amount of sites based on a number of factors like storage, visits, database size and traffic type.
Open and honest about their tech
One time I asked a Kinsta tech about their stack on got this epic answer.
Hi Austin. Our system is built on Google Compute Engine servers, each equipped with hundreds of gigabytes of RAM and 32 CPU cores. Your sites each exist within an LXD-based container within that infrastructure. Each container can have access to the full resources of the server when the traffic to the site demands it. As a result, we host several high traffic sites with 50k+ concurrent users during high traffic periods using the same architecture that powers each of your sites.
With WP Engine they will often defer to “secret sauce” and link to one of their marketing pages. Even in the enterprise space it’s difficult to get clearly defined specs.
Better SSH features
WP Engine recently introduced SSH access however it’s not as feature rich as Kinsta’s. Kinsta includes additional features like access to SSLs and web server logs via SSH.
While I could talk in depth on Kinsta’s Dashboard, I’ll just recommend you read WPCouple’s post: Kinsta’s Dashboard to Manage WordPress Is One of Its Best Features. They have a epic review of their modern dashboard.
Ok so WP Engine is really fast. That said nearly every site I move to Kinsta sees a slight performance increase. This is confirmed using tools like Pingdom Website Speed Test before and after.
Less quirks with site names
So a site name is just an arbitrary name used to reference a website within the hosting panel itself. That said WP Engine has some really odd limitations like: Site name must be between 3 and 14 characters, and must be unique. Also site names are not reusable. That means you can’t delete a site and reuse that name.
Not so with Kinsta. They allow site names to be really long (up to 32 characters). Also you can freely delete a site and recreate using the same name.