Azure vs Kinsta: Where should I host my WordPress and Teams SSO Site?

Selecting the best web hosting provider is one of the most important decisions when launching an online Learning Management System (LMS). The hosting environment can make or break your LMS in terms of performance, security, scalability and ultimately, the user experience.

In this post, we’ll look at two popular hosting options for WordPress LMS applications - Microsoft Azure and Kinsta. We'll evaluate them across key criteria like pricing, support, scalability and security. Our focus will be a medium-sized company with around 100 employees looking to host the Thrive Apprentice LMS plugin on WordPress.

What Should You Look for in a WordPress Hosting Provider with Teams?

Before diving into the specifics of Azure and Kinsta, let’s overview four crucial factors to consider when choosing any LMS web host:


Pricing models and costs can vary greatly between hosting providers. Some offer fixed monthly plans, while others bill you based on resource usage. As traffic and storage needs change, your costs will change accordingly. Be sure to understand the pricing structure upfront so there are no surprises.


Having access to round-the-clock customer support is vital. You don’t want your LMS going down on a Sunday night with no one to call! Aside from live support, check for knowledge bases, documentation, forums and other self-help resources.


A good host makes it easy to scale your infrastructure up or down based on demand. As your LMS gains more users and content, you'll need more server resources. Scaling should happen seamlessly without downtime.


Security is make-or-break, given the sensitive user data and content within an LMS. The hosting environment should offer built-in security measures, regular backups, and software updates. Prioritize providers with strong security track records.

Microsoft Azure for LMS Hosting

As a leading cloud platform, Microsoft Azure offers rock-solid reliability combined with excellent scalability. Here's a rundown of Azure's hosting capabilities for a WordPress LMS:


Azure uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model based on the exact resources you use. For a small WordPress LMS, costs can start from around $70 per month. Once you surpass the initial allotments, Azure auto-scales while charging you marginally more. Costs are predictable since they align directly with site traffic and storage.


Extensive official documentation and an active user community help overcome any hurdles when hosting WordPress on Azure. Microsoft also provides paid support plans that guarantee responses within 8 hours for critical issues. However, support on WordPress specific issues such as the "site is down" or a plug-in issue aren't supported.  


One of Azure's biggest strengths is the ability to scale instantly based on demand. Their global network of data centers provides virtually unlimited capacity to handle spikes in LMS traffic. Resources like server CPU, memory, and bandwidth can scale up or down automatically in seconds.


Azure has state-of-the-art security built into its infrastructure and follows industry best practices. With automatic OS patching, DDoS protection, and server-level firewalls, Azure offers a robust security foundation. You can also fine-tune additional security layers to your needs.

Kinsta for LMS Hosting

Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting provider specialized for sites with high traffic, security needs and large numbers of users - perfect for LMS applications. Here are Kinsta's main features:


Kinsta offers fixed monthly pricing plans based on your needs, starting from $30 per month. Each plan includes specific resource allotments, so you know exactly what you’re paying for upfront. No variable charges. Kinsta's own performance benchmarking technology ensures you stay within plan limits.


With deep WordPress expertise, Kinsta's support team is equipped to troubleshoot WordPress hosting issues quickly. They provide 24/7 live chat and phone support along with an extensive knowledge base tailored specifically for WordPress users. At Collab365, we've used their support countless times and it's truly amazing.


Kinsta's container-based hosting architecture (hosted on Google Cloud) allows resources to scale up seamlessly as your LMS traffic grows. The technology automatically launches new containers to handle increased loads without any downtime. We've run some very high throughput sites with many users logging in and performance has always been acceptable. If needed, Kinsta also offer dedicated servers for your needs.


LMS data security is addressed through hardware firewalls, DDoS protection, server-level encryption, and daily backups. Kinsta also proactively monitors for threats and vulnerabilities using intrusion detection systems. Their team stays on top of WordPress security releases to keep your site patched and secure. In addition, it's really easy to use Cloudflare as a reverse proxy to your WordPress site.

Direct Comparison of Azure and Kinsta

For a 100 employee company using the Thrive Apprentice LMS plugin, here is an estimated monthly cost comparison:

Azure can likely handle large traffic variations more seamlessly, while Kinsta offers predictable costs. For WordPress-specific support, Kinsta has much deeper expertise. Either option can provide excellent uptime and security for a medium-sized LMS application.

Key Takeaways - What's the Right LMS Hosting Choice?

When evaluating Azure and Kinsta for hosting a WordPress LMS site, a few key points emerge:

  • Azure offers greater potential for cost-effective scalability to a large user base with its cloud infrastructure. But costs are variable and somewhat hard to determine. For Azure you need to make decisions on the App Service Plan, Database Server, CDN, Email (Azure Communication Services) and BLOB Storage.  
  • Kinsta provides managed WordPress hosting tailored for LMS sites with fixed pricing plans, strong security and expert support. But limited flexibility to customize infrastructure. Kinsta's pricing model is somewhat easier as they offer set plans where you know the costs up front. They have plans ranging from $35/month to $675/month. With the Kinsta Plans, you get a number of WordPress installs, visits per month, PHP Workers and storage size. It's also extremely easy to upscale your server by contacting their customer support. 
  • For most small-medium businesses, Kinsta will be the simpler option with fewer technical demands to get the LMS running smoothly. Even for as little as $59 / month you can have more than 1 WordPress install which is great if you need a "Staging" environment for testing purposes (which you will).
  • If expecting wide variability in site traffic and wanting more infrastructure control, Azure is a good choice, but be prepared to support it on your own.
  • WordPress support is crucial and Kinsta win this hands-down. There are countless times I've been chatting to their engineers to help diagnose performance problems, issues with Plugins. Kinsta also alert you to known issues with Plug-ins. If you choose the Azure approach then you're pretty much on your own when it comes to running a WordPress site. 

Ultimately, the ideal option depends on your specific priorities and in-house technical expertise.

For non-technical users looking to run an LMS upto 1000 employees, Kinsta's managed hosting and WordPress support should be the correct decision. The fixed pricing provides cost predictability and their scalable architecture can accommodate company growth. If you need to scale your WordPress LMS hosted solution, to a large enterprise you're more likely to choose Azure but will need a WordPress expert to provide 2nd line support. 

Here's the pricing information for setting up WordPress on an Azure App Service Plan:

Next Steps - Get Expert Help Choosing Your LMS Host

We looked at two great options for hosting a WordPress LMS site - but there are many other good hosts out there too. The perfect one for your needs depends on several company-specific factors.

My recommendation is to make a list of your must-have requirements like expected traffic, number of courses, growth plans and budget. Then, speak to Microsoft Azure and Kinsta directly about tailoring a solution to your needs. Get their advice as WordPress and LMS hosting experts.

With some expert help, you'll be able to confidently choose a hosting provider that delivers the performance, reliability and ease-of-use your company needs. This will let you focus on creating and launching great learning experiences rather than worrying about your LMS infrastructure.

The right hosting choice is critical for LMS success. But with a clear understanding of your needs and the leading options available, you can pick a provider that exceeds your expectations. Your learners and training managers will thank you!

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