Namecheap is one of the biggest names in domain registration. The company boasts an impressive 11 million registered users since its inception in 2000. Over the last 20 years, Namecheap has evolved beyond just domain names and moved into web hosting, security, WordPress, and several applications.
Namecheap grew to prominence as a domain registrar with their cheap pricing plans and dependable service. The ICANN-credited company manages around 10 million domains, putting it right up along the likes of GoDaddy and Domain.com.
So, does Namecheap really live up to its reputation? We decided to test it out. In this review, we will be evaluating:
- Domain registration
- Web hosting
The above factors should give a comprehensive idea if the low pricing is the only draw for its millions of users.
To sum up the positive aspects of Namecheap, it has very affordable pricing plans for all their services, and it also provides reliable service. When I first saw Namecheap’s pricing options, it was jaw-dropping.
The company offers shared web hosting services starting at just $1.44 per month or $17.28 annually for the first year. This rate is considerably cheaper than other big web hosting companies such as BlueHost or HostGator. Namecheap doubles the annual price after a year, but that is still very affordable.
Namecheap’s domain name search and registration process is user-friendly and efficient. It is a seamless process with a simple user interface. Another big positive is that all its domain registrations come with WhoisGuard, a completely free service to protect your privacy.
Overall, Namecheap offers a reasonable mix of pricing and features. While there isn’t an endless list of features, the domain registrar is good for the price. Their customer support is decent as well — nothing to brag about but still good.
While Namecheap’s pros are most highlighted by their domain registration services but their flaws are most exposed by hosting. As mentioned earlier, their web hosting pricing is a dream! Anyone can start a website with their rates. But there are two main problems: uptime rates and its functionality as a host.
A little bit of digging has shown that over the last year, Namecheap’s uptime rates were just around 83% – which is well below industry standards. By comparison, GoDaddy boasts a rate of 99.97% uptime. While setting up the hosting could save money, having a website that shuts down around 15% of the time can cost businesses and individuals dearly.
Another problem with their web hosting is that individuals or businesses that want premium services, such as dedicated hosting or VPS, might be better off with more proven companies. Namecheap’s hosting is decent, but if you have the finances for premium hosting, choosing a service that provides all the top-notch features might be a better idea.
Going through multiple review sites also shows that Namecheap’s customer support is lacking. They removed their physical contact number earlier this year, so those in need can only hope for the best via their chat support or through emails. So all’s good when the sailing is smooth, but the minute the waves begin to hit, users could be left high and dry.
Overall, Namecheap is excellent as a domain registrar but might be risky for premium web hosting.
Let’s take a detailed look at Namecheap’s primary features and what they offer customers.
Namecheap built its reputation in the industry as a domain registrar, and it excels at it. Once we took the domain registration services for a spin, it was easy to understand why Namecheap is considered to be one of the best in this space and why they have around 10 million users.
Namecheap offers cheap pricing, useful features, no hidden charges, an easy-to-use UI, and straightforward service. Let’s start with the low pricing, a .com domain on Namecheap currently costs around $8.88 a year.
Top-Level Domains (TLDs) such as .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, and .co are usually the most common and most expensive options. All of these domains can be registered on Namecheap for lower pricing compared to its competitors, such as GoDaddy.
Country-level TLDs such as .us, .uk, .jp, etc. are also available on Namecheap, except for some remote countries. Overall, searching and registering a domain on Namecheap is fairly easy and hassle-free. Their renewal prices are slightly higher but not significantly so. Namecheap is a good option, especially for subscriptions of more than a year.
Bulk searching and registering domains was also quick and straightforward. They have an account panel that is expertly designed to help every user with easy domain management. Everything you need to maintain your domain is right in front of you in their non-cluttered UI.
With every domain registered, Namecheap offers a free email, which is useful for businesses and professionals. WhoidGuard, their privacy tool, is also provided for free for a whole year. There is also an app store with tools to help with domain management, but some of these tools are pretty mediocre and unnecessary for most users.
Overall, Namecheap is an excellent option for a domain registrar. Its great pricing, easy search and registration process, good security, stable basic features, and a capable management panel all help users get their websites up and running.
Namecheap offers a comprehensive list of hosting options: shared, WordPress, VPS, Private email, and Dedicated hosting. The pricing for these options, especially the lower end ones, is excellent.
The most basic shared hosting plan offers users 20 Gb SSD, three websites, a free website builder, free WhoisGuard, and free automatic SSL installation. All of that for just $2.88 per month! This price is rarely matched by competitors.
Their Stellar Plus offers unmetered SSD, unlimited websites, and AutoBackup plus all the above-listed add-ons for $4.88 a month. They have a higher-end shared hosting plan, named Stellar Business, that offers 50GB SSD and cloud storage along with the all of the features of the Stellar Plus plan. The highest tier’s limited SSD might be a drawback for some.
Typically, most providers charge significantly higher for monthly plans compared to yearly ones. Still, Namecheap offers similar prices for both Yearly costs are even cheaper for shared hosting, starting at just $17.28 a year ($1.44 per month) — which doubles once you renew.
Namecheap’s Virtual Private Server or VPS Hosting plans are decent with the cheapest Pulsar plan offering 2 CPU cores, 1000 GB bandwidth, 2 GB RAM, and 40 GB SSD RAID 10 for $11.88 a month or $140.88 a year. They also have a higher plan named Quasar.
Their VPS plans come with a complimentary .website domain, WhoisGuard, OS selection, and full root access, free transfer of existing websites, and even a 30-day money-back guarantee. While this is a decent offering, it is worth noting that competitors can offer the same or higher quality features for around the same price.
The same applies to their Dedicated Server plans, there are several clearance servers with decent specs that are surprisingly cheap, but new servers get pricier as specs improve. Namecheap also promises a 99.99% up-time rate, same-day setup, free migration, and more benefits with its Dedicated Server hosting.
Some tests have shown that Namecheap’s uptimes are a meager 83%, while others indicate the uptime has never dropped below 99.9% since February 2019. The uptime rates largely depend on the user’s site and their chosen plan, since their higher-end plans guarantee a 99.99% up-time rate while no such promise is made for lower-tier programs.
Everything considered Namecheap is best for shared hosting. This is perfect for individuals or small companies who don’t anticipate a lot of traffic. Businesses who want higher-end options and killer specs might be better off with other companies that are solely dedicated to hosting. These companies offer similar prices for VPS or Dedicated Server and have greater features.
WordPress was the fist well-known website builder back in the day and remains one of the most trusted platforms today. Namecheap can help individuals and small businesses leverage WordPress for their causes with their well-thought-out and affordable WordPress specific plans.
It offers EasyWP, a managed WordPress hosting provider, plans starting at under $4 a month. EasyWP boasts WordPress installation within 90 seconds and a host of other features management and backup features.
We must give kudos to Namecheap for designing its plans around the number of visitors a month. This is beneficial for users and is an easy metric to measure growth. Namecheap’s EasyWP Starter plan is $3.88 a month, with a killer offer of just $0.01 for the first month. This plan offers 10GB SSD storage and is limited to 50,000 visitors/month.
The Starter Plan is useful for individuals or small businesses looking to start their WordPress journey. As traffic grows, higher-end plans are suggested. These include the EasyWP Turbo plan, which is limited to 200,000 visitors/month. Apart from the increase in website traffic, more CPU, RAM, and SSD are provided. Free SSL and CDN are also included. This plan costs $7.88 a month.
Their premium plan, EasyWP Supersonic, costs $11.88 a month and is perfect for rising businesses with 100GB SSD storage, 500,000 visitors a month, a 99.99% uptime guarantee, and all the features of the Turbo plan.
It’s fair to say that these plans are well-priced for the features they offer. Another big benefit is that Namecheap’s Managed WordPress is hosted on the Namecheap Cloud and has a dashboard that is straightforward and easy to operate – making it easier to manage WordPress sites.
EasyWP also prides itself on being the fastest of all WordPress hosts and around three times faster than traditional web hosting. We also liked their effective backup and restore tool.
The only drawback to Namecheap’s WordPress hosting is that it might not be suitable for larger businesses. Individuals and small businesses should go for Namecheap’s plans with their eyes closed and can be rest assured that they get their money’s worth.
If your domain is registered elsewhere or your website is hosted by another provider or your WordPress is not managed by EasyWP, Namecheap makes migrating to its plans and services rather easy.
For website and WordPress migration, users just have to open a ticket, fill out the current details, allow Namecheap technicians access to the existing hosting account, purchase one of their affordable plans and voila! They’ll do the rest for you.
Namecheap is so confident in securely migrating its users’ websites that they guarantee that the transfer will be done within 24 hours with less than 15 minutes of downtime. If this guarantee isn’t fulfilled, the user will get credited with the value of their first purchase. So if you bought a year-long plan and were not satisfied with your migration, then you get the entire year for free!
WordPress migration is equally simple. It’s also wonderful that Namecheap offers all of its migration processes for free. All users have to do is purchase one of their plans; there is no additional charge. Namecheap also has SSL Encryption in place to keep the user’s listed login credentials safe and secure pre-migration.
Things get slightly more complicated with Domain migration. Namecheap charges a price for the transfer in the form of a year-long renewal. So, a .com domain transfer currently costs $8.58 along with ICANN fees. Any remaining time you have with your current registered plan is also carried over to your Namecheap plan.
Another complication is that generic TLDs and country-level TLDs have different rules and regulations before they can be transferred. Although this isn’t in Namecheap’s control so we can’t fault them for that. Namecheap promises no down-times during the transfer process as well, but that’s a hard claim to prove.
Namecheap’s migration is free and competent. The only downside could be longer transfer times in some cases, especially for domain migration.
We’ve repeatedly mentioned WhoisGuard throughout the review, and if you’re curious about what that is, it’s a privacy protection service. When users enter sensitive or confidential information while signing up for Namecheap’s services, WhoisGuard ensures that this data doesn’t fall into the hands of scammers and fraudsters.
Whois is a database that stores a user’s information (name, address, contact info, etc.) when they register a domain with ICANN. Every registrar’s information is listed on the Whois database and can be searched by anyone. If you’re thinking “that doesn’t sound safe at all!” then you’re right.
Namecheap counteracts this security threat with its WhoisGuard service, which is free with most of its services. WhoisGuard takes several measures to keep user data safe. When a user registers a new domain, WhoisGuard replaces publicly available user information with generic details instead. WhoisGuard can be turned on and off with ease.
WhoisGuard is a great privacy tool in theory – it prevents spam, domain hijacking, and other fraudulent activities, but is it really effective in practice? While there is no surefire answer to that question, we looked into reviews on multiple sites and found several users complaining about spam after signing up for Namecheap’s services.
The criticism might be related to a case-by-case basis, but everyone that’s been on the internet long enough understands the value of security and privacy. Would I sign up for Namecheap despite reading the negative comments? Yes. Because there were plenty of positive reviews as well but, at the end of the day, it depends on the individual
Some additional factors that we took into consideration for this review are:
- User Experience – Namecheap has a considerably good user interface throughout its domain and hosting services. The user dashboards are neat, uncluttered, and have everything you need right in front of you. Even the website builder is well-made and simple enough for a beginner to use. We found it extremely easy to navigate throughout the site and user controls.
- Security measures – While the jury might be out on WhoisGuard. Namecheap does maintain good security standards. Two-factor authentication can be enabled on user accounts and cPanels, and some of the hosting packages provide free SSL certificates for a year. Namecheap’s server security is up-to-date, and they have proper RAID measures. The company also claims their servers are regularly tested.
- Customer Support – Probably one of Namecheap’s biggest criticisms on customer review outlets is the lackluster customer support provided. Since the removal of its contact number, all customer matters are handled via chat or emails, no matter how urgent the problem is.
So going back to our initial question, does Namecheap live up to its name? The short answer is that it’s excellent as a domain registrar but could improve on its hosting services.
The low pricing plans, easy domain search, registration, and buying, is a plus for users. So is the user-friendly interface throughout the website. Bulk-buying domains can also be done hassle-free. So, Namecheap’s place as one of the top domain registrars can’t be disputed.
When it comes to hosting, however, Namecheap is great for individuals and small businesses, but companies that are heavily reliant on their website would probably get better hosting services elsewhere. Given the shaky uptime stats and the limited features, those looking for VPS hosting or a dedicated server should likely choose another hosting provider.
Despite the alleged security concerns mentioned above, we think that Namecheap is a great tool when it comes to registering your domain and starting your business or WordPress site. The company’s handling of intense hosting requirements is still uncertain, but it is a top-notch domain registrar.