SiteGround vs. Kinsta: Choosing Between the Two Best WordPress Hosts
Kinsta and SiteGround are the two best hosts in WordPress. They’re also very different. Which one’s right for you? We’ll make it easy:
Buy Kinsta if:
1. You’re not highly budget-conscious.
Kinsta will cost quite a bit more than SiteGround as your traffic scales, but for larger projects both are cheap enough not to worry.
2. You’re focused on well-optimized WordPress hosting.
As WordPress’s best managed host, Kinsta outperforms SiteGround on speed, even on a per-dollar basis.
3. Your site earns revenue that would grow with speed.
Many online stores profit from an even slightly faster site. Many small-business or personal sites may not.
4. You’re pretty technical.
If slightly better geeky features gets you excited, and the lack of phone support doesn’t scare you, Kinsta could be a good fit.
Buy SiteGround if:
1. You’re budget-conscious.
If $60 or $100 a month sounds like a painful amount to pay for web hosting, then start out on SiteGround shared hosting.
2. You want to host things other than WordPress.
Kinsta only does WordPress, so if you want to manage email accounts through your hosting—or if you’re also messing around with a Python app—then get SiteGround.
3. Your site is just starting out.
4. You think you may need phone support.
SiteGround has it, Kinsta doesn’t, so if you need it consider SiteGround.
SiteGround vs. Kinsta: Why You Can Trust Us
When we tell you that, in 2020, SiteGround and Kinsta are the two best hosts in WordPress, we’re not just saying that. We’ve spent dozens of hours collecting and analyzing tens of thousands of unbiased user reviews from multiple trustworthy sources, and Kinsta (#1) and SiteGround (#2) have the absolute-highest user satisfaction ratings of all WordPress hosts.
If you’d like to see our complete, unbiased analysis of the best WordPress hosting—including full detail on where we get our data—have a look:
We take our own advice. WPShout was hosted on SiteGround for more than five years, and in December 2019 we switched to Kinsta.
We also take our own advice. WPShout was hosted on SiteGround for more than five years (read our full SiteGround review for our thoughts), and in December 2019 we switched to Kinsta. More on why we switched later, but know that we are active users and supporters of both SiteGround and Kinsta on our own WordPress projects.
About this Hosting Review
We’re affiliates for these hosts because we’ve seen honest data proving that they’re the best, not the other way around. We’re not affiliates for lower-performing hosts (some familiar names should be GoDaddy, Bluehost, or HostGator) because we really, really don’t want you to buy their hosting.
The point is that we have actually gone out and collected real, unbiased data on the WordPress hosting world from thousands of people. Having done that, we can give you our honest help in making the best decision possible. In that context, we’re happy acting as affiliates for the two top-performing WordPress hosts of 2020.
SiteGround vs. Kinsta: Comparison in Detail
Let’s break down exactly how Kinsta and siteGround differ.
Understanding Shared vs. Managed Hosting: Why Comparing SiteGround and Kinsta is Apples-to-Oranges
Other than being high-quality, SiteGround and Kinsta are two very different hosting companies. SiteGround is the best shared host for WordPress, and Kinsta is the best managed host. Which one you want depends on your needs.In 2020, @SiteGround is the best shared host for #WordPress, and @Kinsta is the best managed host. Click To Tweet
How Shared Hosting (like SiteGround) Works
Shared hosts pack hundreds or even thousands of accounts onto a single server. This makes them quite a bit less expensive, but they also tend to be slower. In principle, shared hosting can also have other disadvantages, such as slowdowns if a neighboring account hits a traffic spike, or difficulty delivering email because of a spambot neighbor; however, SiteGround has mostly solved these sorts of issues.
How Managed WordPress Hosting (like Kinsta) Works
Managed hosting does only WordPress. Each account also gets its own virtualized space rather than sharing common resources. Managed hosting is optimized for just WordPress, so it tends to be faster. (It also tends to have cool WordPress features like regular backups and one-click staging; however, SiteGround has gone above and beyond what shared hosts generally offer, and has these features, too.)
The downside of managed hosting is that it’s a lot more expensive. Like most managed hosts, Kinsta starts around $30—not much pricier than some shared hosting—but cost quickly ramps up with monthly traffic. On a monthly basis, we’re paying about eight times for Kinsta what we used to pay for SiteGround (and we were already on SiteGround’s most expensive shared tier).
SiteGround and Kinsta: Both Great, at Different Things
Comparing SiteGround and Kinsta actually means comparing the single best company in each of two different types of WordPress hosting.
In other words, when you’re comparing SiteGround and Kinsta, what you’re actually comparing is the single best company in each of two different types of WordPress hosting: “the best apple vs. the best orange.” Which host will be the right fit for you is more a function of your own business than anything specific to those companies.
To learn more on the differences between shared, managed, and cloud/VPS hosting, read our in-depth article on the topic. And with those differences understood, let’s look at a couple of key comparisons we can make between the Kinsta and SiteGround customer experience.
Kinsta Outperforms SiteGround
Why did we change from SiteGround to Kinsta? One reason: we want a faster website.
Did Kinsta deliver? Yes.
Below is the fastest we could get the WPShout homepage on SiteGround’s GoGeek plan. Pay particular attention to the first two items in the load “waterfall” at the bottom of the image: server response time was slightly more than 0.5 seconds—fast, but not enough to make our otherwise bulky homepage score well in a speed test. Half a second was the fastest server response time we could get from SiteGround; it was often many times that number.
Below is a printout after the switch to Kinsta.
Again, pay particular attention to the server response time (as other details changed between the two screenshots). The server is serving content within just over .1 seconds after the request. Overall, the site is significantly faster than it could’ve been in a SiteGround shared environment.
What’s Kinsta’s secret? Well, one answer is “they charge us eight times as much.” We certainly didn’t want to pay eight times more for hosting, but that was the Kinsta tier we qualified for based on our hosting traffic. So keep that in mind.
Kinsta is faster than SiteGround on a per-dollar basis, because it is free to optimize its servers for WordPress only.
More generally, Kinsta really is faster than SiteGround—both overall and on a per-dollar basis—because it is free to optimize its servers for WordPress and nothing but WordPress. Review Signal‘s most recent hosting benchmarks—the most definitive, reliable, and unbiased hosting performance tests on the internet—consistently put Kinsta ahead of SiteGround even within a given pricing tier. For a ton of technical detail, read the benchmarks themselves:
Recommendation: Do the Easy Site Speed Stuff First, Then Upgrade to Managed Hosting
We only switched hosting once we’d implemented almost all other options for speeding up WPShout.
In general, we recommend most sites follow that same overall trajectory: start on shared hosting, grow traffic, begin earning revenue, and do everything else you can to make WordPress fast. After that, bite the bullet and start chipping away at server response times by moving to managed hosting.
SiteGround Offers Phone Support, Kinsta Doesn’t
Kinsta offers chat-only support, with no tech support phone number available.
This is an important topic. Kinsta—unlike many other managed hosts, such as WP Engine—offers chat-only support, with no tech support phone number available.
This frankly scared me when we switched from SiteGround to Kinsta. I was accustomed to receiving very good phone-based support from SiteGround whenever I needed it, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to make chat-only support work for us.
Kinsta’s chat support is fast and responsive, and their techs know their stuff. What you lose is the ability to communicate quickly, to describe shades of nuance or confusion that are hard to type, and everything else you can imagine that is the difference between “text chat with a human” and “talking to a human.”
Here’s what I’ll say for now: chat-only support has been great for our needs, but I’ve also been a professional WordPress developer for almost a decade. Biting the bullet worked for us, but if you want the comfort of another human voice when something’s not working the way you expect, Kinsta might not be the best choice for you. (If not, what managed-host-with-phone support should you choose? Try Flywheel—only hesitation is that WP Engine recently bought them—or browse our full hosting review for options.)
Kinsta vs. SiteGround: Closing Thoughts
SiteGround is the perfect default choice for WordPress hosting—it’s what most people should host their websites on. It only starts to wear out its welcome when your site really starts to grow, or when it has business needs that slightly slower speeds are interfering with.
Kinsta is the right choice when it makes business sense to pay higher prices for higher speeds (and a slightly cleaner managed experience), and when you or someone on your team has enough technical chops to be comfortable with the chat-only tech support.
Do we love SiteGround? With all our hearts. Most of our sites other than WPShout are still on SiteGround, and we’re sending our new WordPress clients to them all the time. Are we glad we switched WPShout over to Kinsta? Yes, because the speed upgrade justified the added cost based on where we’re at as a business.
And that’s it! You should have plenty of information to make your choice, but if you’d like more input, please contact us in the comments below or in our Facebook group. We’d love to help. 🙂