The Best and Worst Kinsta Features of 2023

This will be a very dated post so I’ll start off by saying today is Tuesday, September 26th, 2023. A year from now my thoughts on Kinsta’s best and worst features will change. That’s because the development team over at Kinsta is amazing and has done a fantastic job building out their platform. For today, let’s talk about two newish features Kinsta released within the last 12 months.

To sum up my thoughts, Kinsta’s Image Optimization is amazing, easily my favorite feature of Kinsta. Everyone should use it. Whereas Kinsta’s Edge Caching is problematic and not ready for the average customer. When I create new sites at Kinsta the first thing I do is turn off Edge Caching and turn on Kinsta’s lossless image optimization.

Disabling Kinsta’s Edge Caching
Enabling Kinsta’s CDN image optimization

Everything to like about Kinsta’s image optimizations.

With a single click from MyKinsta, you can have Kinsta serve a lossless optimized version of all of your images. This is done without any plugins or configurations. No extra storage is needed. It even preserves the original image URL! If you’ve ever used WP Smush Pro or Jetpack’s Photon, Kinsta’s image optimization feels like magic. They’re able to do this by leveraging their built-in CDN powered by Cloudflare. The only thing I’d tell Kinsta’s developers, please enable this by default for new sites. This feature has been flawless. It never causes any downsides and only has upsides.

What Kinsta gets wrong with edge caching

So the idea with Edge Caching is pretty amazing. Take the cache of the website, now spread that across a massive global network, and serve the website cache from a data center that is closest to each web request. That means, for example, a website that is hosted in a US data center will serve cached pages to customers in Japan from a data center based in Japan. This results in a massive speed increase for global visitors.

Edge caching is an added caching layer which means things are more complex. The current version of Edge caching with Kinsta has some issues:

  • Purging Kinsta’s server cache or CDN cache will not purge Edge cache.
  • Edge caching doesn’t follow server caching expiration rules and there doesn’t seem to be away to tweak it’s age limit. I’ve personally seen month-old copies of pages stuck in edge caching.
  • Edge caching is enabled by default and retroactively rolled out to all existing WordPress sites.

These issues aren’t minor. It’s bad enough that when Anchor Hosting customers reach out for help with a caching problem, 9 times out of 10 disabling Edge caching resolves their issues. Even if Kinsta fixes Edge caching so that it’s 100% reliable, with no downsides, it’s still a more niche feature. Unlike image optimization, not all customers need an Edge cache. Many customers are local websites serving a local market. Making their website load faster in other regions is not something they’ll ever use.

Kinsta, please make Edge caching opt-in instead of the current opt-out approach.