Kinsta vs SiteGround: Which Managed WordPress Host is a Better Value?

kinsta vs siteground on laptop screen

Kinsta and SiteGround are both highly-rated hosting companies that focus on managed WordPress hosting and excellent customer service.

Kinsta only provides manages WordPress hosting and highly specializes in this market, while SiteGround offers everything from cheap shared hosting all the way up to enterprise dedicated hosting for all platforms.

For successful businesses looking for top-tier features, speed, and support, and are committed to building on WordPress, Kinsta is probably the way to go. The extra price you pay is negligible for a successful business's monthly expenses.

For smaller, leaner bloggers and businesses, or conversely those who need more flexibility in the types of sites they host (beyond just WordPress), SiteGround is a rock-solid choice that you'll be happy with. They also have excellent support that goes above and beyond 90% of hosts.

Quick summary: Kinsta is best for those who can pay a higher price for a bit more advanced technical features and slightly faster site speed, while SiteGround is best for those who want more bang for their buck and need more flexibility beyond just WordPress hosting.

Let's dive in to more details and compare them side by side.

Value & Pricing Comparison – Starter Plans

We don't personally believe pricing is the most important, rather value is. We'd rather pay a bit more for better overall value, and assume you're in the same boat.

First we're going to look at the starter plans for both of these companies. We've chosen the most basic plan for Kinsta, which is $30 a month, and the GoGeek plan for SiteGround – which is the highest price of their 3 WordPress options, but is the most fair to compare since it's closest in price.

It's important to note, however, that SiteGround gives you a screaming good deal at half the cost of Kinsta's pricing, but only for the initial signup period, and only for the 12-month option.

Kinsta StarterSiteGround GoGeek
Intro Price$30/mo$14.99/mo
Standard Price$30/mo$39.99/mo
Websites Allowed1Unlimited
Monthly Visits20,000100,000
Disk Space10 GB40 GB
Hosting InfrastructureGoogle CloudGoogle Cloud
Best forSuccessful WordPress SitesBudget-Conscious or Flexible Needs

SiteGround Pricing & Discount Details

There are a few important callouts for SiteGround pricing. Namely, their discounting for the first 12 months.

So you get the GoGeek plan for just $14.99 a month, which is a really amazing price for unlimited websites, but you only get this by signing up for the 12-month plan. After that, it jumps up by more than double to $39.99.

Here's a full table of SiteGround GoGeek plan pricing:

After promotion

Personally, I'm totally fine with taking this huge discount for the first year. It allows me a full year to understand their hosting product and quality, and although it's a bit painful to migrate, I can always switch to another host later. (Hint: Kinsta will migrate you over from SiteGround free).

Kinsta Pricing Details

Unlike SiteGround, Kinsta offers no discounts so there's nothing to say about discounts. They take more of the consistency approach. They are confident in their own value, and so they lay it out there for you to take them up on it at face value.

I like this approach as well. As a company, they'll get less of the deal-chasing clients that can be a headache in the long-run, always looking for the cheapest price and not considering long-term value. So if you're a frugal penny-pincher (nothing wrong with that), or simply don't have a big budget, Kinsta is probably not the host for you.

That being said, most businesses that are established and successful can afford Kinsta pricing, which starts at just $30 a month. I mean, that's likely half of what you're paying monthly for your cellphone bill, and 1/3 the cost annually as the top tier iPhone. And you're hosting your entire business website – not something you want to skimp out on.

[Joe write more here on: fairness, value, higher cost, etc]

Speed & Uptime Comparison

SSL, Caching Tools, and CDNs

Both offer Free SSL

Both Kinsta and SiteGround include free SSL certificates powered by Let's Encrypt, which is now pretty much industry standard. Both make it easy to enable with a few clicks, so between the two it's really a wash. They both do this well!

Caching Tools

Both hosts also love to tout their caching tools, and have branded names for them. Kinsta has Kinsta Cache and SiteGround has SiteGround SuperCacher.

CDNs – Cloudflare vs KeyCDN

Kinsta uses the premium KeyCDN while SiteGround uses Cloudflare. Which is better? According to Kinsta, KeyCDN is the more premium offering, yet Cloudflare is a huge, admired company as well.

Kinsta itself has a really good breakdown on the differences between the Kinsta KeyCDN vs Cloudflare, go read that if you want all the technical details.

One important highlight relevant for you is:

The Kinsta CDN is powered by KeyCDN, a traditional pull CDN. One of the primary reasons we typically recommend the Kinsta CDN over the Cloudflare CDN is because it has very low TTFB and doesn’t impact the request to your hosting provider. Remember, Cloudflare is a reverse proxy/WAF CDN, which means it sits in between your site and the host. This adds overhead which results in higher TTFB.

Kinsta also notes on that page that while the Kinsta KeyCDN does filter known bots, it doesn't block bad bot traffic. So while Kinsta will try not to count bad bot traffic towards your monthly traffic quota, they themselves are not guaranteeing they'll catch everything. This can actually be a big downside if you're on a budget and don't want to have to upgrade to the next level of Kinsta hosting.

So Kinsta's KeyCDN is superior for speed via TTFB (time to first bite) but the downside may be that you'll get more bad bot/spam traffic without Cloudflare, which Kinsta admits is better for the job.

cPanel and Site Management Tools

Kinsta does not use cPanel, the standard for the vast majority of web hosts. That has its own pros and cons of course, as I find cPanel to have a ton of features, but can remain clunky as well.

One downside of Kinsta not having cPanel is the file manager is missing and does not exist in Kinsta's custom management panel. They spin this as a benefit, but in reality it's a missing conveniences. Instead of simply heading to the file manager tool in cPanel, you now have to connect to an FTP tool like Filezilla and manage it from there. Some may not have a problem with this, but others will be very annoyed by this missing tool.

Here's a look at Kinsta's management panel:

Now onto the positive features. To start, the admin panel is very clean and simple. It's not nearly as overwhelming as cPanel's massive interface. It's also a much better user experience and interface design, something Kinsta is really good at doing well. Lastly, there's not a ton of upsells that you get with cPanel – in fact there's none at all. You can just focus on the work you need to do and not get bombarded by ads.

What I also appreciate is that there are a lot of tools and features in Kinsta's hosting admin panel that you normally wouldn't get in cPanel, or they would be hidden away. We won't go into all the details here, but there's handy tools like site cache, restart PHP, WordPress debugging, search and replace, and a few more. While they're not all for beginners, and some should only be touched by advanced users, they're easy to see and use when you want them.

SiteGround does use cPanel currently, although they are also in the process of switching over to their own custom dashboard. The switch likely has a lot to do with cPanel increasing prices after being acquired by a private equity firm.

[Insert screenshots of SiteGround panel and more info once I take a 2nd look at their custom panel]

Advanced Features: Staging & Git

One big bummer I found with Kinsta, was that on the Starter plan they limit your staging to just one copy. With SiteGround, with was never an issue, and as long as you didn't go over your disk space storage, you were good to create as many staging copies as you wanted.

Customer Support Comparison – Kinsta Wins

SiteGround used to have the best support hands-down.

In 2020 and through 2021 they have now made it hard to get ahold of a support agent via live chat.

You now have to jump through a bunch of hoops and it takes a lot of clicks:

In this particular instance I had to wait 5 minutes to get help. But when they did come on, they were very helpful as usual:

Kinsta, on the other-hand, makes their support an easy live chat box away:

So for best overall support, the new winner is Kinsta – SiteGround is still a great support provider for the money, and much better than other contenders like Bluehost and HostGator.

I Migrated from SiteGround to Kinsta, This was My Experience

I migrated this website from SiteGround to Kinsta in August 2020 and was generally happy with the experience. I still have over 15 websites on SiteGround and am happily still a customer. I wanted to fully experience Kinsta firsthand, and this website, Whats The Host, is on Kinsta to get that experience.

Here's are some highlights of what went down:

  1. Very Easy, Free Migration by Kinsta
  2. Instant improvement in site speeds
    1. This is proof that Kinsta truly is faster like they claim to be. What's interesting is that SiteGround is also now on Google Cloud, so there is added value that Kinsta provides with their own proprietary technology.
    2. [image 1]
    3. [image 2-3]
  3. Their Support was Right on the Ball
  4. Ran into Issues with the Staging Site
    1. I was importing photos with multiple plugins
    2. That probably triggered some issues
    3. Overloaded PHP Workers
    4. Thankfully support was super helpful
  5. Disappointed by Staging Site Limitations
    1. Chatted with support, they don't allow more than one staging copy. This is disappointing because of the workflow of wanting to snapshot a version of the site (staging 2) before you overwrite the live site with the staging 1 version.
  6. They stuck with me all the way through

Overall the experience was very pleasant. The support standing by made me, a non-developer, feel secure and confident in the process the whole way through.

Overall Winner: Kinsta for Businesses, SiteGround for Hobbyists & Techies

For successful growing businesses that don't mind paying $30+ for world-class support, Kinsta is the way to go.

At the end of the day, if a lot of the underlying hosting technology is the same – both being on Google Cloud – then the differentiators are the smaller details: admin interface UI, upgrades like CDNs and speed tools, and customer support.

For those who are hobbyists who have a lot of sites they're working on and want to keep costs low, SiteGround is the way to go. SiteGround is also great for techies & developers that don't want to only have WordPress hosting, and are ok with less customer support because they can handle more things on their own.

Last Updated on March 20, 2021 by Joe

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