Wow, 2018 has been an incredible year for the team at Kinsta. We are growing faster than we ever thought possible and have been pushing out new feature updates at an astounding rate. Like you might have guessed, we have many new faces that have joined the team, from developers to support engineers. Together we are on a mission to continue building the best managed WordPress hosting platform in the industry.
We want to first thank all of you for supporting us thus far and trusting us with hosting your businesses, blogs, and ecommerce sites. We wouldn’t be here without you, and your feedback and suggestions have been invaluable to our team. One thing that never changes at Kinsta is we’ll never stop innovating.
Some of the changes and new features we’re especially proud of this year include:
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- Google Cloud Platform
- Releasing dozens of improvements to our MyKinsta dashboard. We still call this a dashboard, but in reality, it has evolved into so much more than that. It truly is an all-in-one solution for managing all of your WordPress sites.
- Adding five new data centers, allowing you to choose from 18 different data centers to host your sites.
- Listening to your feedback and adding more disk space, migrations, and installs on our hosting plans.
- Being one of the first hosts to release PHP 7.3. Performance has and always will be a top priority for us.
- Helping developer teams of all sizes do more. SSH is now available on all plans. This allows those even on our starter plans to utilize Git, WP-CLI, and popular tools like Bedrock and Trellis.
- Releasing multi-user access permissions so agencies and developers can work together.
Check out more below of what we accomplished in 2018 and some amazing features we have planned for this upcoming year.
Customer and Revenue Growth Rate
For those of you who don’t know, Kinsta is a 100% bootstrapped company and we’re really proud of this! If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to check our CFO’s post on 16 lessons we learned bootstrapping Kinsta from $0 to 7-figures in revenue.
While almost all of our competitors have gone down the VC funding route, we’ve chosen to build the company we want to build, without investors making decisions behind the scenes. This allows us to focus on things such as performance, customer’s feedback, and providing the best support in the industry. For example, our support team isn’t tiered into different levels. We think that model is broken when it comes to hosting. Our entire team is made up of only the best Linux Engineers and WordPress developers.
Some of these strategies don’t always make us the most money upfront but it helps to improve our platform as a whole moving forward. Being bootstrapped, we have the advantage of being able to do this. And we are happy to see it pay off in the results!
Kinsta has yet again seen continuous customer and revenue growth throughout 2018. We try to stay as open and transparent as possible, so here is our annual run rate graph below, pulled directly from Baremetrics. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a 124% increase in revenue. We are now generating over 11x what we did in 2015.
And over the past 12 months, our client base has grown by over 262%! (previous growth in 2017 was 157.7%). October was by far our busiest month ever.
We always find it fascinating how diverse our client base is. Over the past year, we’ve had the pleasure of working with everyone from small bloggers, to WordPress agencies, and some of biggest names in the industry, such as MariaDB, Freshbooks, and Tripadvisor.
Our amazing affiliates have also contributed a big part to our growth. This year the number of Kinsta affiliates skyrocketed and we now work with thousands of bloggers and affiliate marketers around the globe.
Who doesn’t like a little passive income? Our low churn rate, currently sitting at under 5%, makes this a little easier! We are proud that Kinsta affiliates can refer customers knowing that they’ll be taken care of, not just because we are trying to make a quick buck.
Here are a few additional fun facts:
- Kinsta’s clients average a little over 7.5 billion HTTP requests per month.
- 236+ terabytes egress data transfer travels through Kinsta’s servers each month.
- 92+ terabytes data transfer travels through the Kinsta CDN each month.
According to our data from Intercom, we again managed to decrease our median support ticket response time, down to 1 minute and 35 seconds (previously 2 minutes in 2017, and 7 minutes in 2016). The median time to solve and close your issue has also improved. Right now it’s at 48 minutes, down from 55 minutes in 2017.
As we grow we continue to add new highly-skilled support engineers so that we always maintain the same level and quality of service. And so far so good. 97% of all live chats/tickets are closed with the client happy and satisfied. A big shout out to our amazing support team for accomplishing this! They work 24×7 365 days a year to ensure all Kinsta clients get the best support possible.
This year we are also excited to offer support in additional languages. That’s right, many of our support engineers are bilingual as well. We are working on getting native language support to 24×7 across the board, but for right now the schedule is as follows:
- Spanish support is available weekdays between 10:00 and 01:00 CET.
- German support is available weekdays between 9:00 and 17:00 CET.
- French support is available weekdays between 8:00 and 16:00 CET.
- Dutch support is available weekdays between 8:00 and 16:00 CET.
The team has again more than doubled in 2018. We’ve hired more support engineers, developers, sysadmins, as well as team members to help in marketing and sales. In fact, there isn’t a time when we aren’t hiring, so make sure to check out our career page if you want to explore opportunities to work at Kinsta.
With so many of our competitors providing subpar service, Kinsta has had to add a dedicated migration team which now helps with all of our white-glove migrations. You can rest easy knowing your data will be safe when migrating over.
On the management front, we’re excited that Tom Sepper is our new Director of Support. Tom has over 16 years of experience working in the web hosting and IT industry, much of which was spent in a managerial type role working alongside remote teams. You could also consider him a “jack of all trades,” as he’s done a little bit of everything, including operations, customer service, project management, marketing, and HR.
Tom hails from the great state of Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth area). He’s a family man, die-hard Cubs fan, and is a Texas Hold’em aficionado. Learn more about Tom.
On the marketing side, we are happy to welcome Simon Illes, as our Affiliate Marketing Manager. If you have a question about the affiliate program, need help with content for your blog, you can contact him directly by emailing [email protected]om.
On the sales side, we have Jennie Lawton, as our Sales Manager. Got a question about which hosting plan to choose or if Kinsta can help you on your next project? Or maybe you need a custom plan, yes Kinsta does offer custom dedicated solutions if you need them. Send us a message, and most likely you’ll chat with Jennie throughout some point in the process.
Whenever a company grows as fast as we have, there is always some restructuring that goes on. You want to put team members in positions where they will succeed the most, as well as doing something they enjoy. Over this past year, we’ve made a few changes to our management team:
- Jon Penland has been moved from Head of Sales & Support over to Chief Operating Officer.
- Anita Dunai has been moved from Chief Operating Officer to Head of Local Operations.
- Brian Jackson has been moved from Director of Inbound Marketing to Chief Marketing Officer.
Feature Updates and Changes
Now for the fun part! All the feature updates and changes we were able to push out over this past year. We can’t possibly go into detail on all of the changes, so we’ll just cover the major ones.
Huge Changes to Our Hosting Plans Based on Client Feedback
Kinsta takes all feedback and suggestions very seriously. When we message or tweet you back saying that we’ll pass this along to our development or client care team, we mean it. Throughout 2018 we heard from a lot of you that some of our plans weren’t satisfactory, and therefore we made some changes!
Previously our Business 1 plan had three installs. A lot of you manage multiple websites or work with clients, and this simply wasn’t enough. Therefore, we’ve added two more, bringing it to five WordPress installs on our Business 1 plan.
We also heard from a lot of developers with smaller sites, that the lack of SSH on our lower-tier plans was a big let down. This has slowed down your workflows and prevented great tools like Bedrock and Trellis from being used.
Therefore, SSH access is now available on plans, from Starter plans through Enterprise. Previously this was only available on our Business 1 and higher plans. This also means that Git and WP-CLI are also now accessible across the board. We hope as developers, this will help make your lives a little easier!
One of the biggest criticisms we heard is that we didn’t provide enough disk space (SSD storage) on our lower-tier plans. And while we have found that many users severely overestimate the disk space they actually need, we still agreed. Especially for those of you with bigger files and media. Therefore, we added more disk space on our Starter, Pro, and Business 1 plans.
Here is a summary of the changes:
- Starter plans now have 5 GB (previously 3 GB)
- Pro plans now have 10 GB (previously 6 GB)
- Business 1 plans now have 15 GB (previously 10 GB)
We know for some of you, migrating a WordPress site is a pretty big deal and it can be overwhelming. Previously, only our Pro and higher plans included a certain number of free migrations. However, we’ve found that those on Starter plans are typically the ones who require the most help with migrations. Therefore, all Starter annual plans now include a free migration.
This includes those paying annually by credit card and wire transfers. Those eligible for our non-profit and open source project discounts can also take advantage of the free migration.
We definitely don’t want to hinder anyone’s ability to give Kinsta a try, so let our expert team handle your website’s migration. We hope this makes your transition to Kinsta a little smoother!
Infrastructure Additions: Five New Data Centers
Adding new data centers is always a big priority to us, not only because of performance but also for data privacy laws. Because Kinsta is built on Google Cloud Platform, our team has the ability to roll out new locations almost immediately after they become available. Which means as Google grows, so does Kinsta! This allowed us to add five more data center locations this past year, bringing us to a total of 18.
This infrastructure change allows you to even more strategically position your WordPress sites closer to your visitors and customers. This helps to decrease network latency, TTFB, and ensure faster page load times. Below is a list of old locations and the new ones added in 2018:
- Hong Kong (new)
- Los Angeles, California, USA (new)
- Hamina, Finland (new)
- Montreal, Canada (new)
- Eemshaven, Netherlands (new)
- Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
- St. Ghislain, Belgium
- Changhua County, Taiwan
- Sydney, Australia
- The Dalles, Oregon, USA
- Ashburn, Virginia, USA
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina, USA
- London, UK
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Jurong West, Singapore
- Tokyo, Japan
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Mumbai, India
It’s important to remember as well, that all of Kinsta’s hosting plans are on Google Cloud Platform’s premium tier network. While some of our competitors are utilizing the standard tier, we never settle for second best.
For data traveling across continents, Google Cloud’s premium tier network is about 41% faster, on average, than the standard tier network. For data traveling to a nearby region (same continent), the premium tier is about 8% faster. While networking only makes up a fraction of your total page load times, every millisecond adds up!
If you want to read more about why Kinsta chose Google Cloud Platform as a provider, check out our case study with Google.
Improvements to MyKinsta Dashboard
Our development team has been literally working around the clock this past year to make our MyKinsta dashboard, not only a dashboard, but an all-in-one solution for managing your hosted WordPress sites. If you’re not a Kinsta client and are used to cPanel, you’ll be blown away by this! Below are a few of the many improvements that were made over this past year.
Force HTTPS Tool
In the past, Kinsta clients had to reach out to our support team or use a plugin to redirect all of their HTTP traffic to HTTPS. No more! We now have a Force HTTPS tool. This allows you to redirect the traffic with a few simple clicks from the MyKinsta dashboard.
CDN Usage in MyKinsta Analytics
Being data junkies ourselves, we want you to have access to as much data as possible. This makes it easier for you to troubleshoot performance and billing issues on your WordPress sites, without ever having to reach out to our support team. Therefore, we added the ability to see your CDN usage in MyKinsta Analytics.
You can see an overview of usage across all of your sites, or filter it down individually. Data is available from the past 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days. The top section shows you bandwidth used by the Kinsta CDN. Below it, you can see the top files by requests and the top files by bytes. If a certain media file from your site is hogging all of your CDN bandwidth, you’ll be able to easily spot it within a few seconds.
You can also see the top file extensions by bytes. This makes it easy to see what type of media on your site is responsible for the majority of your bandwidth usage. We also give you a response code breakdown.
Multi-User Access and Permissions
Multi-user access and permissions was also one of the most highly requested features in 2018. We were excited to finally get this in our MyKinsta dashboard. Whether you’re an agency working with hundreds of clients, or simply needed to give a developer restricted access, this can now all be done with a few simple clicks.
There are six roles that you can now apply to users to further grant or restrict access:
- Company Administrator: Complete control of all company and site data.
- Company Developer: Manage all sites and manage users on or below their level. No access to billing details or company settings.
- Company Billing: Only sees billing details and company settings such as invoices, company address, etc.
- Site Administrator: Complete access to a site and have full control of all environments attached to that site. Cannot remove a site from a company.
- Site Developer: Access to the staging environment for a single site. Can perform any actions on it, apart from removing the staging environment.
- Company Owner: Only one allowed and is automatically a company administrator. Can request account closure or transfer ownership to another company administrator.
Working in a constantly changing team? No problem. Another new feature we added is the ability to transfer company ownership. This allows for easy restructuring of permissions at the top-level of your company.
Paranoid much? Even though Kinsta offers automatic backups, you can never be too safe. Therefore, this past year we added downloadable backups. You can now with a single click create a downloadable archive file (.zip) containing your entire WordPress site. The archive file contains your website’s files as well as the SQL file containing the contents of your database.
You Can Add Your SSH Keys in MyKinsta
Being WordPress developers ourselves, we are always trying to figure out ways to speed up development workflows. Many of you utilize SSH here at Kinsta on a daily basis. Whether it is to perform common sysadmin tasks or run tools such as Composer, WP-CLI, etc.
Therefore we added the ability to add your SSH keys in the MyKinsta dashboard. SSH keys provide a more secure way of logging into a server and eliminate the need for a password. Although you can further protect your login by adding a passphrase.
Hourly Backups Add-on
While Kinsta already offers automatic backups every 24 hours, this simply wasn’t enough for some clients.
Many run WordPress sites that are frequently changing. Whether it’s a high-traffic blog that gets a lot of comments or more data-intensive sites such as e-commerce, membership, and communities. Losing data is something you can’t afford. If a problem occurs, having to roll back a site 24 hours is just not a feasible solution and can be a nightmare when it comes to merging back in transactional data.
Therefore we added a new hourly backup add-on which allows you to choose from increments of every hour or every 6 hours.
IP Deny Tool
While we already have some security precautions in place at Kinsta, certain sites will simply get hit harder than others, whether it’s from bots, spammer or hackers. Therefore, to help combat this we added an IP Deny tool. This allows you to stop them dead in their tracks.
One-Click Database Password Changes
Previously you had to reach out to the Kinsta support team to change your database password. No more! We’ve added a simple button in the MyKinsta dashboard which you can use to easily generate a new database password.
Rebuilt Our Affiliate Dashboard
We launched the Kinsta affiliate program back in 2017, however, this year our developers rebuilt the entire affiliate dashboard from the ground up. When we finished we were left with a vastly superior system which required a lot less management, had a lot more features, automated common affiliate admin tasks, and shared the same technology stack as our main product, MyKinsta.
Read more about what went into rebuilding our affiliate system.
Launch an Affiliate Facebook Group and Blog
If you’re an affiliate marketer, figuring out additional ways to make money or increase your earnings is something that’s probably always on your mind. The frustrating part is many new strategies and approaches take time to test, and time is something a lot of you don’t have.
Therefore, we decided to launch the Make Money with WordPress Facebook group focused entirely on how to increase your income with the best CMS on the planet! Learn affiliate marketing techniques and chat with others who have seen success and get applicable shortcuts to higher earnings. We’ve already got 650+ members! Head on over and join in on the conversation.
Want more affiliate content? We also launched the affiliate academy section on our blog. This is still fairly new but we already have some interviews with some big name affiliate marketers which will be published soon. It always helps to get insider tips from those in the trenches on a daily basis.
PHP 7.3 Is Here and It’s Fast!
We aren’t ashamed to admit it, being obsessed with performance, one of the most exciting feature updates for us this year was the official release of PHP 7.3! Who doesn’t like a free speed boost?
Curious how it performs? We tested PHP 7.3 with WordPress 4.9.8, WordPress 5.0, WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. PHP 7.3 was a clear winner in every single one of our benchmarks.
- From our findings, PHP 7.3 is on average 9% faster than PHP 7.2.
- If you compare PHP 7.3 to PHP 5.6, it can handle almost 3x as many requests (transactions) per second!
- WordPress 5.0 PHP 5.6 benchmark: 91.64 req/sec
- WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.0 benchmark results: 206.71 req/sec
- WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.1 benchmark results: 210.98 req/sec
- WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.2 benchmark results: 229.18 req/sec
- WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.3 benchmark results: 253.20 req/sec
To see the performance of all platforms and more detailed test results, make sure to check out our annual PHP benchmarks report.
Remember, you can change your PHP version with a few simple clicks in the MyKinsta dashboard.
Besides all of the major features updates and changes mentioned above, here’s a quick rundown on a few additional ones.
- November 02, 2018: WP-CLI v2 Is Now the Default on All Kinsta Servers
- September 21, 2018: Improvements to MyKinsta Navigation, User Profiles, and Billing
- September 17, 2018: Stay in the Loop with Our New Status Page
- May 01, 2018: Export Redirects to CSV, New Backup UI, and Quick Navigation
- Our CDN partner, KeyCDN added nine additional POPs in 2018, bringing the total locations to 35. They also added IPv6 support.
Connecting with the WordPress, Blogging, and Marketing Community
Looking back at this same time last year, WordPress powered 29% of the web, and today it now powers over 32%. Because of this we always try and connect with the growing community as much as possible. We were happy to sponsor various WordCamps and Meetups this year:
- WordCamp Verona
- WordCamp Asheville
- WordCamp Toronto
- WordCamp Udaipur
- WordCamp Atlanta
- WordCamp Porto
- WordCamp São Paulo
- WordCamp Gran Canaria
- WordCamp Guadalajara
- WordCamp Puebla
- WordCamp Montevideo
- WordPress Meetup Tuluá (Col)
- WordPress Meetup Caracas (Ven)
- WordPress Meetup Bogotá (Col)
- WordPress Meetup León (Nic)
- WordPress Meetup Monterrey (Mx)
- WordPress Meetup Pubela (Mx)
It’s always nice to see a few pictures. So here’s Daniel Harfouch, our Chief Global Strategist, hanging out with the YITH team.
And Rafael Benard, a support engineer at Kinsta, who got a snapshot with Matt Mullenweg while attending WordCamp US.
Throughout 2018 we had the pleasure of interviewing nine of the top minds throughout the community; from developers to bloggers, and even WordCamp organizers. Below are just a few, you can check out all of them here.
- Interview with Raelene Morey of Words By Birds
- Interview with Jonathan Denwood of WP-Tonic
- Interview with David Vongries of MapSteps
- Interview with James Laws of Ninja Forms
- Interview with Kevin Muldoon of kevinmuldoon.com
- Interview with Daman Jeet of XLPlugins
- Interview with Basilis Kanonidis of NinjaOutreach
- Interview with Jean Galea & Mark Zahra of WP Mayor
- Interview with Laura Sacco of Yoast
Providing High-Quality Content
As you might have guessed, we love content marketing here at Kinsta! We literally spent thousands of hours in 2018 writing and updating content to help make your lives a little easier. Here’s a list of our 10 most popular blog posts and tutorials:
- What’s New in WordPress 5.0 (Hello Gutenberg)
- Is PHP Dead? No! At Least Not According to PHP Usage Statistics
- The Do’s and Don’ts for Hosting WordPress Membership Sites
- Pingdom Speed Test Tool: Ultimate Guide for 2019
- Ultimate WordPress Multilingual Guide – How We Launched 12 Languages
- Why You Should Stop Using Nulled WordPress Plugins and Themes
- Affiliate Systems Suck, So We Rolled Our Own
- What’s New in PHP 7.3
- Is WordPress Secure? Here’s What the Data Says
- Website Downtime: Applicable Tips on How to Prevent It
Another piece of content we are especially proud of this year is our Speed up WordPress guide. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to go check it out! We share over 15 years worth of experience and hard lessons learned, all in one massive guide. It’s 25,000+ words of applicable tips and advanced strategies on WordPress performance.
And of course, we can’t forget our annual PHP benchmarks report. We tested the performance of 18 platforms/configurations (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!) on five versions of PHP (5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3)! From the results, you can clearly see that PHP 7.3 is dominating. Also check out which version of WordPress is faster, 4.9.8 or 5.0.
We have a lot of great content coming down the pipe in 2019, so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
In 2017 we launched our Spanish site. But this year we took it a step further and launched our website in 10 more languages! We don’t use auto-translation tools either. Our team works with professional native language speakers to ensure the highest-quality translations. When our team does something, we go all the way.
Our content is now available in the following 12 languages:
How We Stack Up
Curious how Kinsta stacks up? Based on independent tests from Review Signal, Kinsta was among the highest-performing WordPress hosts for the fourth year in a row in 2018, earning the Top Tier WordPress Hosting Performance award. We also have built some pages to help you see how we differ from other providers on the market:
New 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
We stand behind our service and that’s why we decided to now offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, along with no long-term contracts. This means you can try out Kinsta risk-free for 30 days! We have no doubt that once you try our platform that you’ll see what you’ve been missing and why Kinsta is different.
What to Expect in 2019
In 2019 we’ll be focusing heavily on overhauling our support systems. The goal is to provide a better support experience for our customers and for our support engineers. On the MyKinsta side, we’ll be focusing on the user experience. We’re going through our UI elements and making sure they’re the absolute best fit for each task. The goal is not to only to give you the best tools on the market but to make sure you spend as little time as possible in MyKinsta so you can focus on growing your business.
You will see a bunch of upgrades to the Analytics section (with more metrics than ever), easier migrations, better notifications (both in-app and email) and bunch of optimization to make sure MyKinsta runs smoothly. We’ll be continuing our global expansion on multiple fronts. We’ve launched in 12 languages with business-hour support being added gradually. We’re getting ready to introduce multiple currencies to make sure as many of our customers can pay in their selected currency.
A couple other specific things we’ll be improving/adding include:
- Switching from a development domain to a live domain will be easier than ever.
- Improvements to our DNS Editor UI.
- Tighter integration between MyKinsta and our support systems: MyKinsta tools will be easier than ever to find and our support team will reach new heights of effectiveness as our support systems intelligently and proactively feed our Engineers critical time-saving information.
- The affiliate dashboard will be getting a lot of new features to provide more data, such as seeing which sites are converting, which pages and posts, etc. We’ll also be adding the ability to easily share Kinsta’s content on social media with your affiliate link.
Always feel free to let us know if you need something and we appreciate your continued support. From all of us at Kinsta, we wish you a Happy Holidays. Here’s to a successful 2019!
The post Looking Back at an Incredible 2018 – Kinsta Year in Review appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.