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Cloudways vs Kinsta: Hard to Choose, but I Did 2021

Vlad Melnic Vlad Melnic

Although Cloudways and Kinsta are both big names in managed WordPress hosting, the two are not built to serve the same needs. Before you choose one or the other, it’s important to understand what each one does best.

The main difference between them is that Cloudways is far more versatile than Kinsta. Kinsta is built on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), whereas Cloudways integrates five different cloud infrastructures, including GCP, AWS, Digital Ocean, Linode, and Vultr. You also get to choose your own CMS with Cloudways, while Kinsta only offers WordPress.

Kinsta is a fully managed service, which comes with a few advantages – namely, the provider takes care of WordPress core updates for you, while Cloudways doesn’t.

To fairly compare Cloudways and Kinsta, I’ve extensively researched and tested both services. Cloudways has a slight edge overall, but in some cases, Kinsta is the better option. Click here to see Cloudways’ latest deals, or read on for the full comparison.

1. Plans and Pricing

Both Hosts Offer Great Value, but Cloudways Gives You Cheaper Options

Cloudways and Kinsta provide premium managed cloud services, so they’re more expensive than regular shared hosting and are primarily geared toward businesses and developers with high-traffic websites or apps.

With Kinsta, you don’t get to choose your cloud infrastructure. The only option is GCP. Cloudways, on the other hand, gives you several cheaper alternatives, including Digital Ocean, Linode, and Vultr, and as well as a second premium option, AWS. If you opt for Linode or Vultr, you can pay significantly less for your hosting and get more storage space and bandwidth to boot.

As for the CMS you choose to work with, Kinsta is once again more restrictive since your only option is WordPress. With Cloudways, you can use WordPress, as well as Magento, Drupal, Joomla, Laravel, and a few other applications. Whether you use one of these exclusively or work with several at a time, the cost stays the same.

One great thing about both Cloudways and Kinsta is that their pricing is fully transparent. You don’t have to worry about sneaky renewal rates or upsells, and you always know exactly how much you’re going to pay for a service.

Their pricing structures are different, though. With Cloudways, you pay at the end of each month and only for the resources that you used. There isn’t a money-back guarantee, but you don’t really need one since you make no advance payments. Plus, you get a 3-day free trial to test the platform’s features.

With Kinsta you pay a fixed amount for your hosting, and you do it in advance, either for a month or a year. Kinsta offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and if you cancel your service after your first month, you’ll get a refund for the services you haven’t yet used.

2. Features

Kinsta Has Better Features for WordPress, but Cloudways Is More Versatile

As a fully managed WordPress hosting service, Kinsta takes care of WordPress updates for you. Cloudways doesn’t offer automatic updates, but this won’t bother you much if you own a single website. If, on the other hand, you’re managing multiple projects, you’ll likely need third-party software like MainWP to update all of your WordPress installations at once.

Both Cloudways and Kinsta offer one free website transfer on all plans. With Cloudways, you can pay extra for additional migrations performed by the support team. Meanwhile, Kinsta includes extra premium transfers for free on higher-tier plans.

With both hosts, you get a proprietary control panel to help you easily manage your account and projects. Both panels are easier to use than the more traditional cPanel, but Kinsta’s is especially useful for handling multiple WordPress websites in one place.

Kinsta‘s control panel and automatic WordPress updates make it a solid choice if you’re only using WordPress, but if you want to work with other frameworks as well, Cloudways is the only option.

Cloudways lets you run multiple projects using PHP, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and several other frameworks at the same time, on the same server, without having to provision a VM (virtual machine) for each one.

As for the resources you get with each host, storage space is fairly balanced, but there are some differences in terms of bandwidth allocations. Cloudways gives you a limited amount of bandwidth, and you have to pay extra if you use more throughout the month.

With Kinsta, your bandwidth is not capped, but you can only have a limited number of unique monthly visits before you are charged extra. In addition, your CDN (content delivery network) bandwidth is limited. Basically, you’ll need a better plan to support a high-traffic website regardless of the provider you choose.

It’s also worth noting that neither Cloudways nor Kinsta offers domain registration or email hosting, so you’ll have to buy these services from a different provider.

To help you quickly compare Cloudways and Kinsta, I’ve summarized their basic features in the table below:

Cloudways Kinsta
Hosting Type Managed WordPress, Magento, Laravel, Joomla, WooCommerce, Drupal, PrestaShop, and PHP (cloud) Fully managed WordPress (cloud)
Free Domain No No
Free SSL Certificate Yes Yes
Disk Space 20GB to 3840GB

(more storage is available on custom plans)

10GB to 250GB
Bandwidth 2GB to 20TB Unmetered, but monthly visits are limited
Automatic Backups Yes, on all plans Yes, on all plans
Control Panel Proprietary control panel Proprietary control panel
Email Accounts No No
Free CDN Yes Yes, but CDN bandwidth is limited
Free Site Migration Yes Yes
Money-Back Guarantee No 30 days

3. Performance

You Can Count on Both Hosts for Outstanding Performance

Both Cloudways and Kinsta are built on some of the world’s most reliable, high-performing infrastructures.

If you were to provision a server with GCP directly, you’d get it bare of any software. With Cloudways and Kinsta, you also get each provider’s speed-optimized server stack, preconfigured and ready to go.

Both hosts use Nginx as a web server, MariaDB databases, the latest PHP versions, and several caches to speed up your websites. But the CDN that you get with each provider is different.

Cloudways has a proprietary CDN neatly integrated into its dashboard. For a modest fee, you get unlimited access to the CDN, and you can easily switch it on with a few clicks. Kinsta uses KeyCDN, which is free for all plans, but only for a limited amount of traffic. So you might end up paying extra for the CDN unless you upgrade to a more expensive plan.

In terms of data centers, both Cloudways and Kinsta have an impressive number of locations. Kinsta has 24, and Cloudways has … well, a lot. It’s hard to get an accurate number because of how many cloud infrastructures it manages. With both hosts, data centers are strategically distributed around the globe, so you can reach audiences anywhere.

Since Cloudways manages several cloud infrastructures, you’d have to check with specific providers for their uptime guarantees. That said, Cloudways’ partners are all high-profile hosts with great uptime records. With Digital Ocean, for example, you get a 99.99% uptime guarantee backed by compensation for excessive downtime.

Kinsta offers a standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, but if we know anything about GCP, it’s that its massive network is almost always up and running.

Cloudways achieved an excellent score during our performance tests. To find out more, read our expert Cloudways review.

Kinsta did even better. Read our in-depth Kinsta review to see what this means for your website.

4. Security

Neither Host Makes You Pay Extra for Security

Kinsta relies on several features from GCP to ensure the safety of your website. You get Google’s firewall to keep malware out, and your websites are separated using LXD technology so that any security breaches are fully contained.

In addition, you’re backed up by Kinsta’s Hack Fix Guarantee. In the unlikely event that one of your websites is compromised, a team of experts from Kinsta will offer to clean it up immediately.

With Cloudways, each cloud provider has its own security features, and Cloudways uses its own dedicated firewalls to keep clients’ accounts secure. It won’t clean up a hacked website for free, but it does have several guides to help you do this yourself.

Both Cloudways and Kinsta include automatic daily backups in all plans. If disaster strikes, you can restore a previous version of your website with just a couple of clicks.

SSL certificates are standard with both Cloudways and Kinsta, which is critical for keeping your customers’ information secure if you’re building an e-commerce platform. Even with regular websites, padlock protection ensures that your site ranks better in search engines.

5. Support

Cloudways Has More Support Channels Than Kinsta

Since Cloudways and Kinsta are premium managed hosting services, I had big expectations when I tested their customer support. I’m glad to say that they both performed well, but Cloudways is superior thanks to its additional support options.

With both hosts, you get 24/7 specialized support, with a few noteworthy differences. Kinsta has a single support model for all plans, which means that no matter the subscription you choose, you get the same support privileges. You can only get in touch through live chat and tickets.

Cloudways has standard live chat and ticket support included on all plans, but you can buy advanced support that comes with deeper application troubleshooting and faster response times. Or you can upgrade to premium support, which gives you two extra channels – phone and a private Slack line.

But what about the quality of support?

As far as I’m concerned, both customer support teams are outstanding. Agents are well-trained, polite, and quick to respond. I never had to wait more than a couple minutes to get in touch with someone from either Cloudways or Kinsta, and whenever I used the live chat feature, I got all the information I needed.

Cloudways Has a Slight Edge Overall, but Kinsta Is Better for WordPress

Cloudways and Kinsta are tied in performance and security, but Cloudways takes the lead with its great pricing and its versatility in terms of support and features.

But if you prefer to work with WordPress, Kinsta is your best bet. Its high-performance platform is optimized for this CMS, and you don’t have to worry about backups or manual WordPress updates. These are just a few of the reasons why Kinsta secured a spot in our top 10 best web hosting services.

However, if you want to use other frameworks in addition to WordPress, Cloudways gives you an easy way to deploy several isolated applications on a single server. With five cloud platforms and so many data centers to choose from, Cloudways is a great solution for projects of all sizes.

Cloudways Kinsta
Plans and Pricing Slightly more expensive than Kinsta if you want GCP or AWS, but cheaper options are available with Digital Ocean, Linode, and Vultr; you pay only for what you use Great value for WordPress websites; payments are made in advance, but you can get a prorated refund even after the first 30 days
Key Features Containerized applications using PHP, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and other frameworks; you don’t need a separate VM for each project; free migration for your first website WordPress comes preinstalled, but you can’t use any other CMS; automated WordPress updates, free migration for your first website
Performance SSD storage, CloudwaysCDN for a modest fee, built-in caching, a choice of dozens of data centers around the world SSD storage, free KeyCDN but limited CDN bandwidth, built-in caching, a choice of 24 data centers around the world, 99.9% uptime guarantee
Security Free SSL certificates, automatic daily backups, GCP firewall, completely isolated applications Free SSL certificates, automatic daily backups, firewall, hack fix guarantee
Support 24/7 support via tickets and live chat; priority and phone support available as an add-on; extensive knowledge base and community forum 24/7 support via tickets and live chat; extensive knowledge base

FAQ

Is Cloudways better than Kinsta?It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a managed WordPress service with automated backups and updates, Kinsta would be a great pick. In fact, it’s one of the 10 best web hosting services in the industry today. But Kinsta is built entirely on GCP, while Cloudways lets you choose between five popular cloud infrastructures, including GCP and AWS. In addition, it offers several applications besides WordPress and lets you deploy multiple apps at the same time, without having to provision a separate VM for each.Is Kinsta good for WordPress hosting?Yes, Kinsta is a great option for WordPress websites. It’s built on GCP, which is one of the fastest cloud infrastructures in the world, and its servers are optimized for WordPress. Server-side caching, a CDN, and other performance-enhancing features are integrated into your dashboard, while security is entirely taken care of by Kinsta. These are just a few of the reasons why Kinsta made it on our list of the best managed WordPress hosting services.Is Cloudways cheaper than Kinsta?If you want to use GCP or AWS as your cloud infrastructure, Cloudways and Kinsta have virtually the same prices. However, Cloudways also gives you the option to work with more affordable providers, such as DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr. If you opt for any of the latter three, Cloudways is significantly cheaper than Kinsta, and you get more resources to boot.Does Cloudways use cPanel?No, Cloudways uses its own proprietary control panel, but this is actually a good thing. All of the essential options – such as domain settings, CDN, SSL certificates, resource usage graphs, and more – are easy to reach, while the interface is less cluttered and easier to use than cPanel. Live chat support is also integrated into the dashboard, so you can quickly get help whenever you need it.

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anonymus
Excellent info. Easy to read and helped me to get closer to my decision as a very small business owner with a little budget but big goals. Excellent info. Easy to read and helped me to get closer to my decision as a very small business owner with a little budget but big goals.
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Tammy Slauenwhite
Excellent info. Easy to read and helped me to get closer to my decision as a very small business owner with a little budget but big goals.
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WebsitePlanet Team
Thanks for the feedback. Glad you found it informative.
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