Namecheap Review: Robust, Low-Cost Web Hosting for Bloggers – WIP
Namecheap Hosting is a household name, one of the most popular hosting and domain name providers in the world. It’s incredibly affordable, making it an awesome choice for aspiring bloggers as well as existing ones looking to make a switch to a cost-effective option. Namecheap’s uptime guarantee speaks for itself, and the company has made a habit of providing good customer support.
But, are they the right choice for hosting your site? Keep reading to learn more to find out whether Namecheap is packing the tools to suit your needs.
What Kind of Hosting Does Namecheap Offer?
Namecheap offers a variety of hosting plans, even though some may know the company name from their infamously cheap domain registrar. To begin, they have has some of the most pocket-friendly shared hosting options on the internet. But the other types of hosting they offer aren’t exactly expensive either, making Namecheap a well-rounded provider for smaller and larger businesses respectively.
If you’re interested in more control over your server, there is VPS hosting available, allowing you to gain root access. The dedicated servers are top tier and are most often used by large companies. In addition, Namecheap sells top-level domain names, apps, and private email hosting. You can migrate to Namecheap for free and get a free domain name along with an SSL option, too.
Namecheap has a fair selection of SSL certificates.
It’s pretty much a one-stop shop with great pricing. In fact, you can get shared hosting for less than a domain name for the first year. They also offer WhoIsGuard and Premium DNS services, but those are completely optional when signing up for whichever hosting plan you need.
The History of Namecheap
Richard Kirkendall started the Namecheap company in 2000. It has been voted as one of the best domain name registrars in several polls over the years. One of the most interesting parts of Namecheap’s history is how in 2013 the company started accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.
As an organization, Namecheap started as a way to provide extremely affordable domains and hosting options to users. Not only that, but the founder insisted on some of the best customer services in the industry, making Namecheap a popular choice for first-time customers.
NameCheap’s Priorities Are In Place
The company has followed through in both areas, offering pretty solid customer service over the years, along with very inexpensive domains and hosting offerings. You’ll also notice that Namecheap takes a strong stance against obnoxious upsells. Basically, Namecheap wants to put the customer first and make the interface as seamless as possible. An admirable quality for newcomer and bloggers, considering the occasional dependency on customer support.
Overall, Namecheap boasts a customer base of over three million users. Furthermore, over seven million people own domain names through the Namecheap service. That is a staggering proportion of ongoing clients to one-stop shoppers on their domain registrar.
Hosting Plans and Features
The main hosting solution from Namecheap comes in the form of shared hosting. We like shared hosting for smaller websites with lower traffic volumes since you shouldn’t have to worry about performance in an environment with shared resources.
World Class Domain Registrar and Simple Usability
Namecheap has achieved claim to fame in the hosting sector as a domain registrar first, as opposed to a hosting provider. Their extensive selection of top-level domains priced at very reasonable rates acts as relatable proof. At the time of writing, the cheapest domain name is priced at only $0.88 for the first year.
Alongside the attractive domain marketplace, I’d highly recommend you to register an account with Namecheap for the sake of experiencing their uber-minimalist web hosting hub. Many hosting providers overwhelm users with complex dashboards, often impossible to navigate without prior knowledge. With Namecheap, however, a simple, user-friendly dashboard awaits you (see below).
What’s cool about Namecheap is that you can scale up as your site grows. So, if you think you’d like better performance, control, or security, you can opt for a VPS or dedicated server. As a blogger, scalability is a factor to constantly bear in mind – you can never anticipate an unexpected traffic spike. Having the ability to instantly increase resources eliminates unnecessary future troubles.
With the shared hosting from Namecheap, you can decide to go with a WordPress-specific plan, too. The WordPress hosting has one standard price, while the regular shared hosting has a few plans. The WordPress plan includes assistance and tools for launching with the WordPress CMS, specifically.
There are hundreds of plugins, some custom, and some stock, making tedious tasks as a webmaster much easier. Popular WordPress plugins can help you perform tasks related to:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content presentation
- Social sharing
- Data collection
- Customizable WordPress themes
While playing developer is fun, it can be time-consuming and unproductive without the correct skill-set to get started. WordPress was created for ambitious individuals who want to get a functional website up and running in a matter of minutes, and the additional plugins provided support this goal.
As for general shared hosting, Namecheap offers three plans (excluding WordPress Hosting). The plans are only sold as yearly packages, and they are extremely cheap compared to their competition. In fact, the first year of Namecheap shared hosting might even be cheaper than the average domain name.
Before we explore further, here are the three shared hosting plans side-by-side:
|Stellar||Stellar Plus||Stellar Business|
|SSD||20GB Accelerated SDD||Unlimited Accelerated SSD||50GB Pure SSD|
|Datacenter Locations||US & UK||US & UK||US & UK|
After the first year, you can expect the yearly pricing to go up, but it’s still a pretty good deal compared to other options on the market.
The company also gives you the opportunity to choose where you’d like to host your website. Namecheap has datacenters in the US and the UK, so make your decision based on that. You don’t have to live in one of those countries, but it’s best to select the one closest to you and your site visitors.
Performance and Features of Shared Plans
As for the features that come along with the shared hosting plans, you have plenty to take advantage of including at least 20 GB of accelerated SSD disk space, unlimited bandwidth for all plans, support for at least three websites, cPanel, a 100% uptime guarantee, support for subdomains, unlimited parked domains for all plans, and at least 50 FTP users. Other features include:
Other features include:
- One-click installations for programs like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal
- Twice a week backups for all packages
- Over 100 free apps
- Support for several email accounts and webmail
- At least 50 MySQL databases
- A virus and malware scanner
- Dashboard stats for your websites
The 14-day money back guarantee isn’t as long as competitor’s, but it should still be enough time to test out Namecheap and see how it works for your company. For all Stellar and Business plans, Namecheap actually offers an extended money-back guarantee period of 30 days.
Overall, the main benefit of going with Namecheap is the pricing. You can’t beat it with even the most discounted hosting provider out there. Namecheap does a good job of maintaining a stable and user-friendly infrastructure, too.
The next step up from shared hosting is a VPS. This sits right in the middle of shared and dedicated hosting, providing affordable plans with plenty of control over the server. You still typically share the server with a few websites, but the number of websites on the server is often decreased to improve performance.
Namecheap offers self-managed and managed plans so you can decide whether or not you’d like to run the server yourself. VPS also provides full root access (similar to a dedicated server, yet none of the four plans are going to break the bank).
With the VPS hosting you get:
- At least 15 GB of RAID protected disk space
- At least one CPU
- At least 512 MB of RAM
- At least 100 GB of RAM
- 20 GB of managed backup storage for some of the plans
- Root level access
- Free dedicated IPs
- A selection of 1/3/6/12 month contracts
- 14-day money-back guarantee
- CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu or Fedora support (selected versions)
A VPS helps out quite a bit once your website starts getting more visitors. Some companies have someone on hand who can manage the server, but if you’d rather focus on your day-to-day operations, Namecheap has managed options as well.
A dedicated server is typically only for extremely high traffic sites. It offers full control over your server. Because of this control, you have full reign over the customization of the server. You can even choose certain features, such as hardware and operating systems.
Namecheap gives you the option of taking a new dedicated server, alternatively a cheaper option of a recycled one.
Namecheap sets up your dedicated server in around four hours, making it a rather quick configuration process. You also get multiple Intel Cores for the ultimate performance.
Dedicated Server Performance
Some of the dedicated hosting features include both single and multiple CPU plans, multiple Cores for all plans, at least 8 GM of RAM, at least 500 GB of hard drive, and at least 10 TB of bandwidth.
You’ll also get:
- A Tier IV datacenter located in Phoenix
- Supermicro Server Hardware
- An uptime guarantee of 100% for most plans (one of the plans has a 99.9% uptime guarantee)
The dedicated plans from Namecheap are some of the cheapest solutions you’ll find. Most of the time you’d pay hundreds of dollars per month for a dedicated host, but that’s not the case with Namecheap.
The reseller hosting program uses the Namecheap infrastructure for people to resell the hosting to their own clients. Essentially you create your own sales website, build up a client list, then utilize the Namecheap datacenter and servers for your own customers. The plans are rather affordable for making a decent profit, and you don’t have to spend any money on the hardware.
Honestly, you could potentially turn a profit with one or two clients, seeing as how the Namecheap reseller plans are so affordable.
You can prepay for the reseller plans as well. So if you’d like a two-year contract, that decreases the monthly rate to save you a little cash in the long run.
Let’s explore some of the offerings in the reseller program:
- A full reseller control panel for handling clients and offering customer support.
- Multi-site hosting.
- Great servers and support from the Namecheap team.
- Marketing tools.
- At least 25GB of disk space and at least 1000GB of bandwidth.
You also get a 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited hosted domains and subdomains, email accounts and webmail for your clients, a cPanel control panel for your clients, and pretty much everything else you would find in the shared hosting plans.
Extras and Additional Services
You do have the option to get a free .website domain, but the basic domains come at a yearly price. Namecheap lets you transfer a domain you currently own, or you can purchase one directly after selecting your hosting plan.
You can buy domains for multiple years, so select the number of years you want it for. As a new or soon-to-be webmaster, I recommend careful consideration of buying a domain name for multiple years. Unless, of course, you are adamant you have secured the strongest possible name and domain type for your website.
Here are some other extras you might want to consider:
- WhoIsGuard: this protects your personal information from spammers. Your email and name are connected to your website so anyone can technically see it. This results in lots of spam, so you have the option to hide it completely. Shared hosting plans provide this for the first year at no cost.
- PremiumDNS: this gives you DDoS protection and a 100% uptime guarantee for as long as you have the DNS. It’s mainly recommended for very important domains and business websites.
- PositiveSSL: pay for the encryption of all transactional data, and get a seal to let your customer know that your site is secure. You typically only need this for an e-commerce site.
After that, you confirm your order and make a Namecheap account. Then you can move onto using the one-click installation options for various CMSs.
Apps and Domains
As we mentioned before, Namecheap provides a domain search tool to check if a domain name is available. If your desired website name is taken, the domain search engine will suggest alternative name endings (e.g: if ‘funkyspider.com’ is taken, ‘funkyspider.org‘ may pop us as an available suggestion, providing it’s available).
In addition, Namecheap has several apps that are both free and premium. Over 100 free apps come with all plans, so you can take advantage of tools like Symantec Swap, Canvas, and Public.
Some of the premium apps include the following:
- Namecheap Legal
- Ghost Machine
- GSuite by Google Apps
When you select one of the apps, you’ll be pleased to find there are one-click installations for all of them. Some of the apps have separate dashboards, but some let you manage your accounts through the Namecheap interface.
Uptime and Response Time
With an already impressive uptime guarantee of 99.9%, we thought it would be insightful to gather historical data on both Namecheap’s uptime and response time. Speed is another quality that should be considered as second to none – after all, who want to browse and use a slow website?
Here is Namecheap’s historical uptime and response time data for the past 10 months:
|Month & Year||Uptime||Response Time|
|December 2018||100%||488 ms|
|November 2018||99.71%||451 ms|
|October 2018||99.90%||377 ms|
|September 2018||99.98%||403 ms|
|August 2018||99.96%||407 ms|
|July 2018||99.93%||416 ms|
|June 2018||100%||804 ms|
|May 2018||100%||948 ms|
|April 2018||100%||955 ms|
|March 2018||99.85%||928 ms|
Looking at the data, Namecheap has boasted an average response time of 617.7 ms and an average uptime of 99.933%, staying within the bounds of their generous guarantee.
Namecheap Customer Support
The Namecheap customer support team has a mission of putting the customer first. Although Namecheap has become one of the biggest domain and hosting providers in the world, it has done so because of the customer support, not in spite of it.
Along with a social presence, a strong knowledge base, and a ticketing system, Namecheap provides a live chat area for you to check-in on your hosting and speak with someone without having to pick up the phone. You can also read the Namecheap blog for updates and tips.
We particularly like the Abuse page, which has a form for reporting abuses of the Namecheap platform. Finally, you can check status updates and search through the entire support center to see if your problem has been talked about in the past. The only downside of the Namecheap support team is that it doesn’t have a direct phone line for all plans.
This might not bother some people, but many users would rather speak to a rep on the phone.
Where Does Namecheap Excel?
There’s no doubt about it, the main reason users choose Namecheap is because of their low pricing. It’s hard to pass up the fact that you can get shared hosting for less than a domain name. Additionally, Namecheap’s incredibly simplistic user-friendly dashboard has acted as nothing but inviting.
With very little distraction, anyone with the slightest idea of how to work a website could navigate at ease.
The pricing remains low throughout all of the types of hosting as well. You’d be hard-pressed to locate a VPS or dedicated server that’s cheaper than what’s offered here. Not only that, but you get some wonderful tools and freebies in each of the hosting plans. Some of the plans have free domain names, while others offer SSD support.
The twice-a-week backups offer peace of mind. And the free dedicated IPs on VPS plans really stand out. These are typically only used on VPS and e-commerce sites, so it’s nice that you don’t have to pay extra for them.
Overall Pros and Cons of Namecheap
To summarize what we have reviewed, let’s take a look at where Namecheap finishes strong or falls short for bloggers looking to secure trusted hosting.
- Incredibly cheap top-level domains
- User-friendly dashboard
- Variety of plans ideal for scalability
- Free backups for all plans
- Free SSL
- Limited 14-day money-back guarantee for most plans
- Average response times are slower than expected in excess of 600 ms in the past 10 months
- Limited backups (only 2 per week for the lower tier shared hosting plans)
If Namecheap doesn’t tickle your fancy, do not worry. I have assembled three alternatives to fill the void. The following three hosting providers may act as a suitable substitute.
Boasting a solid 99.9% uptime average over the past year, BlueHost proves to be a valid alternative to look into. The company has been active since 1996, offers 24/7 multi-avenue support and has plans starting at a generous $2.75/month.
Finding the 14-day standard money-back guarantee short with Namecheap? Hostgator offers a staggering 45-day money-back guarantee. Further features to tempt and attract bloggers include:
- Free WordPress Integration with all plans
- 24/7 support
- Free SSL certificates
Perhaps it’s more of an unfamiliar brand name, but it doesn’t mean they are under-equipped to cater for your aspiring website’s need. CoolHandle offers a generous starter pack for $3.95/month, boasting:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 50GB Storage
- 25 sub-domains
- 5 email accounts
In addition, they offer 24/7 technical support for all clients.
Should You Choose Namecheap for Your Blog?
Many people find Namecheap to be a suitable hosting option. But is it right for you? You’ll definitely want to consider Namecheap if you need affordable shared or VPS hosting, you need an affordable dedicated server, or you anticipate contacting customer support frequently.
On the other hand, Namecheap might not appeal to you if you’d rather go with a smaller company with better-managed hosting services.
While there are a couple drawbacks, it’s pretty clear Namecheap is an excellent hosting option for most sites.
Is there a waiting time to move domains from one Namecheap account to another?
After purchasing a domain, you are able to move a domain instantly to another Namecheap account, with the exception of expired domains. Both WhoIsGuard and PremiumDNS subscriptions will be transferred along with your eligible domain. Once a domain is transferred, however, the process cannot be reversed.
What is the Namecheap marketplace?
The marketplace was created to offer a set of apps for Namecheap users to integrate – it is a luxurious in-house feature to have. Think of it as a plugin directory within your hosting provider’s account.
What do I do if I can’t access cPanel?
There can be dozens of error codes, should you not be able to access your control panel. In this case, please refer to one of Namecheap’s official support avenues, which is available 24/7.
Are backups included in my plan?
Yes, backups are included in all Namecheap plans, although they vary in limitation. For instance, the Stellar and Stellar Plus plans have a backup allowance of two per week, whereas the Stellar Business plan can handle up to six backups per week. Always ensure you check your respective plan for backup limitations and prepare up-front.