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chris wagner

Chris Wagner

“I have been a paying customer for NameCheap since November 2017.

I am monitoring NameCheap’s shared hosting servers for Uptime and Performance through my website hostingpill-nc.website.

This review of NameCheap is based on actual testing done on their servers.”

This NameCheap Review was revised and updated on June 19, 2019.

In the world of domain name registration, few names are bigger than Namecheap. Namecheap is well established in domain registration for its low prices and reliable service.

Like many other registrars, Namecheap also offers hosting services. Unfortunately, while we all know Namecheap the registrar, few of us know Namecheap the host. This isn’t surprising, given that the company’s name directly refers to domains and not hosting, but nonetheless…

Today, you’re in luck! Because in this review I will summarize my findings from using Namecheap. And to make things extra special, I’ll talk about Namecheap as both a host and registrar.

So, how does Namecheap stack up? Is it only good for being cheap? Is it only good for managing its 10 million domains, or can it do the other part of the site equation as well?

It’s complicated, but we’ll get there. So without further ado, let’s talk about Namecheap!

Pros

Let’s start with what Namecheap has going for it, as a domain registrar and as a host.

For both domain registration and hosting, Namecheap’s most notable strength is its affordability. Though prices of course vary product to product, it’s pretty clear that Namecheap generally has some of the lowest prices on domain registration and hosting.

Get your .com at $5.88/1st year, Promo code: NEWCOM

Namecheap’s domain registrar side is decently-featured—you can do whatever you need to and importantly, you get free Whois privacy for a year with every domain registration (most registrars charge).

namecheap-whoisguard

As a host, Namecheap isn’t laden with features and resources, but it’s certainly decent for the price—particularly with shared hosting, where one might already be looking for affordable options, Namecheap provides a good mix of price and resources.

One great thing about Namecheap is it’s very easy to use. Both hosting and registering a domain with Namecheap are seamless processes, with an intuitive and simple user interface largely lacking upsells.

Clearly, Namecheap is on a roll here—its customer support is good too, overall. The representatives are generally helpful and responsive, and the on-site information is decent. Nothing exceptional here, but little to complain about either.

Namecheap also has good security and is reliable as a registrar.

As a host…well, it’s time we get to the downsides.

Cons

Downsides? But Namecheap was just doing so well! Yeah, well, low prices don’t always guarantee quality in everything, unfortunately.

The main qualm I have with Namecheap is questionable uptime scores (by our measurements). Our measurements have shown uptime below industry standard. Now, this isn’t the end of the world, but it does make its hosting look less attractive.

Additionally, for Namecheap’s higher-end hosting products (such as VPS and dedicated hosting), I think Namecheap’s decent prices don’t count as much. Sure, it’s good to save, but anyone already investing in a heavier-handed hosting solution wants quality above all else.

With that in mind, it’s not that Namecheap is bad—it just might be a bit risky. If you’re looking for a more serious hosting solution, you’re probably better off checking out a company primarily dedicated to hosting.

On paper, the list of downsides doesn’t seem too long. However, they are a bit severe and may make Namecheap less attractive for some potential customers. We’ve only scratched the surface so far, though—let’s go deep into the details!

Pricing and Features:

This is a lot of information, so I’m going to talk first about Namecheap’s features and pricing as a domain registrar and then as a host. The other factors—ease of use onwards—are easier to evaluate together.

Namecheap has a registrar is undoubtedly strong. The short version: it’s got great prices, good features, and is very straightforward as a service. No wonder it manages 10 million domains.

The longer version: a single .com domain on Namecheap usually goes for $8.88 a year at the time of this writing.

This is already a few bucks below the typical price, and though the renewal fees are higher, they are not significantly more so—especially if you purchase more than one year at the very beginning.

As a matter of fact, Namecheap is one of the best options if you want to hold onto your domains for more than the first two years because renewal prices remain consistently low across the board.

You also get a free year of WhoisGuard, which is great because domain registrars tend to charge for it separately, and it’s essential for most users (WhoisGuard protects your privacy by hiding your registration details from the public registry of domains).

If you want to buy in bulk, Namecheap is still a good option. It’s got a ton of top-level domains (TLDs) to choose from, most of which are competitively priced. Namecheap’s tools are straightforward enough that even a bulk-buyer can manage things without much of a hassle.

Namecheap’s domain management apparatus also has an app store, but it’s pretty lackluster.

namecheap-app-store

Without bogging you down with unnecessary information, Namecheap’s work as a domain registrar is very solid. There aren’t a whole lot of tools, but that’s pretty natural considering you’re managing domains, not websites—and as far as those tools go, they work well and are very easy to get the hang of.

Let’s talk about its hosting:

As far as hosting goes, Namecheap has a surprisingly comprehensive set of options: shared, WordPress, reseller, VPS, and dedicated server hosting are all available.

If you’re like me, you’d expect shared hosting to be Namecheap’s main point of attraction—after all, affordable hosting seems like it would naturally be Namecheap’s strength.

When I first saw Namecheap’s shared hosting prices, I balked.

nc-shared-hosting

 

What? $15.44 a month for shared hosting?! But then I realized that was the annual price—i.e., for 12 months together.

nc-shared-monthly-pricing

If you pay month to month, it starts at $2.88. Although we haven’t gotten into features yet, that’s a pretty great price. But what makes it even more impressive is that it’s a month-to-month price, which is usually significantly more expensive. To have a monthly price so low means Namecheap’s shared hosting is on another level of affordability, that matched by only one or two other hosting companies.

Paying annually is even cheaper, at least for the first year. The second year, the price doubles—typical. But even here, a doubling of the price is still incredibly affordable. The renewed price of shared hosting with Namecheap is on par with first-year discounted prices on most other major hosting providers.

This makes Namecheap a truly affordable shared hosting option even after the renewal price. Okay, but is the price worth it?

Shared hosting options come with at minimum 20GB SSD-accelerated disk space, unmetered bandwidth, 3 websites, a site-builder, and the choice of a US or UK data center (though the UK datacenters cost a buck or two more a month). They also come with free domains, free WhoisGuard, and up to 50 Positive SSL certificates.

As you’d expect, higher tiers give you unlimited sites and more SSD disk space. Back-ups are decent—twice a week for the first two tiers, and 6x a day every week for the third tier. As is common with other providers, you can add a dedicated IP for an extra $2 a month, and you get access to an app store that has a good amount of free apps.

The main problem I have with the features is the third tier is limited to 50GB of pure SSD disk space. This is a good amount, but for a third tier, I still think it could be higher.

All in all, I’ve got to say shared hosting looks pretty solid in terms of its features. How about everything else?

WordPress hosting is also very well-priced. Of course the monthly price is higher than the yearly price, but nonetheless, it’s certainly at or below the market price for WordPress hosting.

Namecheap’s WordPress hosting runs on Namecheap’s cloud, and supposedly this makes it much faster than using WordPress on a normal shared hosting account. Aside from that, it doesn’t look feature-laden but has decent enough pricing that it’s fair.

It looks pretty similar for reseller hosting.

nc-reseller-hosting

The prices are still pretty low, and if you know what you’re doing, you can easily make a tidy profit. I do wonder if the first tier could use some more disk space, but it’s okay.

VPS hosting is still pretty affordable, but a little more in the “normal” range.

namecheap-vps-hosting

The resources allocated to the VPS plans aren’t bad, but there are other providers that have higher quality VPS options for similar prices, or at least prices not significantly more expensive.

Last but not least, dedicated server options with Namecheap are alright. You can choose from clearance (lower end) servers, or “new” servers (guess what that means).

Clearance servers are surprisingly affordable. Yes, even for products categorized as “clearance” servers. You’ve got 8 options with decent specs.

namecheap-dedicated-servers

The higher-end options are naturally pricier, and there are only three options to choose from. These have much better specifications than the clearance servers.

namecheap-new-server

Roughly speaking, Namecheap’s hosting is definitely worth checking out for its lower-end options: shared hosting and WordPress hosting.

If you’re getting shared or WordPress hosting you can usually expect lower quality specifications compared to VPS or dedicated hosting, and if this is in your mind as you look for those options, then NameCheap could be worth a try.

Although shared hosting is by far Namecheap’s best deal, with great set of features and resources allocated for low prices, its other options aren’t bad. But that’s about it: not bad. Namecheap’s WordPress hosting is low enough priced that I think it’s worth a try for individuals looking for saving.

If you’re a business, however, I would be a little more skeptical. If you’re a small business sticking to one site, and if you’re not anticipating a huge amount of traffic, then Namecheap’s shared or even WordPress plans could be a pretty good option.

If you anticipate a lot of traffic and want higher quality service, Namecheap won’t be bad but might not warrant its price. Sure, it’s cheap, but at this point, you’d be willing to invest in higher quality. Other hosting companies offer better specifications and even lower limits on resource allocations, for prices that are admittedly higher but not at all undeserved.

In all, Namecheap’s hosting is a hidden gem for individuals or small businesses who only need a site or two. If you’re looking for anything higher end, Namecheap’s hosting may not be great. As far as domains go, Namecheap is definitely a great option.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is important for both hosting and domain management, but in different ways.

The basics of managing a domain are taken care of by your registrar most of the time, so if you just want to secure a name for your site, there isn’t a whole lot you need to do. You basically need to adjust your settings/preferences as needed, make sure everything’s linked to your site, and then you’re ready to go.

If you’re buying in bulk or trading domains, even that’s pretty straightforward with a registrar, as they have tools just to make those jobs easier.

Namecheap does very well on the domain front. The user interface is super simple: you basically get a dashboard and a few other pages on a sidebar that let you easily manage your domains and your Namecheap account.

namecheap-dashboard

*Note: Sorry for the censor! It’s a top secret project I’m not ready to show the world…yet!

Anyway, ease of use is a little more important for hosting in my opinion. Yes, hosting is similar to domain registration in that you’re basically looking for the right allocation of resources for the right price, and then you can let your host do the job for you.

However, hosting is a bit more complicated because of all the various things involved: you might be using a site builder or integrating with WordPress, or you might be managing SSL certificates or email accounts or any number of other things. Plus, there are a lot more things to manage the hosting of your website.

So it’s a similar, but a different beast. Luckily Namecheap makes it as easy to manage your hosting as the best of them. Namecheap’s user interface for hosting is very similar to its domain management user interface (pictured above).

Here’s another thing that’s both good and bad: Namecheap makes it very easy to connect your domain with hosting, if you want to use Namecheap for both. Why is this bad? Because it means some upselling that can get annoying, though it’s not too much.

On the bright side, if you want to couple your host and domain, it’ll be a breeze with Namecheap. Once you actually begin to use Namecheap’s web hosting service, I’d say it’s pretty straightforward.

Like its domain registrar, Namecheap is intuitive to use and has an easy user interface. The included cPanel will simplify everything and Namecheap’s skins will ensure the experience stays smooth.

Plus, Namecheap’s shared hosting packages come with a website builder included. This is pretty normal, but Namecheap’s site builder is particularly intuitive and efficient.

namecheap-features

One thing I like about Namecheap is its relative transparency. True, Namecheap isn’t placing a huge banner on its landing page that says “YOUR HOSTING PACKAGE WILL RENEW AT X PRICE!”

But it’s still a company that keeps things mostly straightforward for the user. This is true for the domain registration process and the post-registration domain management process. It’s also true for hosting: it’s very easy to examine your account’s settings and modify them as needed.

In conclusion: Namecheap’s domain registration is about as easy as can be—only Google Domains is any simpler—and its hosting is about as easy to use as Namecheap’s main competitors.

Customer Support

One cannot, of course, always rely on a product being easy to use. Sometimes technical difficulties arise, or sometimes software is easy to use but you need to know how to do something unusual, make a change to your account, etc.

Customer support is therefore essential—does Namecheap’s affordability come at the cost of good customer support? Let’s see.

Note: keep in mind that Namecheap’s customer support resources are shared between the domain and the hosting side.

First off, you have a few options for contacting representatives directly. You can do this via a ticket or live chat—no phone support currently, unfortunately. However, the ticketing and live chat have worked out pretty well for me in the past. Here’s an example…

namecheap-chat-1

It took about a minute for a representative to reach me, which isn’t bad.

namecheap-chat-2

What is unfortunate, however, is the representative took another minute and a half to get back to me with an answer.

namecheap-chat-3

This is a pretty good example of my experience with Namecheap’s customer support on live chat. Some of my experiences have been faster than this, but not many have been slower. In any case, compared to the best live chats, this is a little slow, but all things considered, I got my answer in the space of fewer than 4 minutes. So I’d say it’s still a fine live chat.

Aside from contacting representatives, you can leave feedback, and read status updates and news.

I dislike how Namecheap’s on-site support and the information is organized: things are too separated. Namecheap’s main support page has the buttons for contacting representatives and also has some popular articles and FAQs. It also has a search bar for the knowledge base.

Alternatively, you can go directly to the knowledge base, a separate page, and browse articles (or search) from there.

namecheap-knowledgebase

I like Namecheap’s knowledge base. It’s well-organized, has plenty of content, and is pleasing to the eye.

Namecheap also has a resource center, basically comprised of less technical support for the practical uses of Namecheap’s technology—stuff anyone can find useful, like how to build a website, good SEO practices, and so on.

Resource centers like this are common, but it’s nice to see Namecheap keeping up.

While Namecheap’s customer support isn’t incredibly buffed out, it is still plenty strong. The customer representatives seem to be responsive and helpful in my experience, plus the on-site information and resources are accessible and useful. Namecheap’s support may not be encyclopedic, but it absolutely has more than the barebones.

Security and Reliability

Security is essential for both domain registration and hosting. Does Namecheap handle security well on both fronts?

Yes! Well, …it’s decent. I wish there were more information available on Namecheap’s site, but its sheer popularity implies Namecheap can at least be trusted with your domain registration.

The problem arises more for hosting: we don’t know how popular Namecheap’s hosting is, and because Namecheap is a domain registrar first and a host second, it’s unclear how much of its resources get diverted to hosting security and reliability.

Luckily, Namecheap does have some decent security standards company-wide, plus has decent security tools/features for users.

For example, you can use two-factor authentication (2FA) for your account and cPanel, plus you get SSL certificates for free with some hosting packages (for the first year). On top of that, you get Domain Lock security and free WhoisGuard for a year with every domain registration. You can upgrade for special Namecheap security or you can purchase the Namecheap VPN.

Namecheap also employs DDoS protection for all its servers and has staff available to attend to servers in the event of a DDoS attack. Namecheap also uses the latest servers, has good RAID protection for the servers, regularly tests their servers, and has full redundancy “at all levels” within their network.

That all sounds excellent, but even great security doesn’t mean you’re bound to see perfect website uptime. How does Namecheap perform there?

nc-test-website

Here’s the average Uptime:
namecheap-uptime-2019

  • May 2019: 99.82%
  • Apr 2019: 99.81%
  • Mar 2019: 99.87%
  • Feb 2019: 99.91%
  • Jan 2019: 99.89%

namecheap-uptime-2018

  • Dec 2018: 99.91%
  • Nov 2018: 99.57%
  • Oct 2018: 99.91%
  • Sep 2018: 99.98%
  • Aug 2018: 99.94%
  • Jul 2018: 100%
  • Jun 2018: 100%
  • May 2018: 100%
  • Apr 2018: 100%
  • Mar 2018: 99.99%
  • Feb 2018: 99.98%
  • Jan 2018: 100%

namecheap-uptime-2017

  • Dec 2017: 100%
  • Nov 2017: 99.99%

Here’s the average Response Time:

  • May 2019: 1,577 ms
  • Apr 2019: 1,233 ms
  • Mar 2019: 1,137 ms
  • Feb 2019: 1,125 ms
  • Jan 2019: 1,089 ms
  • Dec 2018: 514 ms
  • Nov 2018: 571 ms
  • Oct 2018: 436 ms
  • Sep 2018: 461 ms
  • Aug 2018: 629 ms
  • Jul 2018: 613 ms
  • Jun 2018: 520 ms
  • May 2018: 350 ms
  • Apr 2018: 369 ms
  • Mar 2018: 310 ms
  • Feb 2018: 723 ms
  • Jan 2018: 545 ms
  • Dec 2017: 335 ms
  • Nov 2017: 302 ms

Namecheap Uptime Score: Last 19 months, detailed data you can see here.

As you can see, the uptime is decent, but far from perfect. Namecheap promises 100% uptime, but this is actually a nuanced promise: Namecheap is promising its servers will have a 100% uptime, not your site. Don’t be fooled.

Although the response times have overall been good (except for January), the uptime scores make me hesitant to recommend to a business that is really counting on an always-up website.

Nonetheless, at Namecheap prices, it’s not a terrible sell. It’s unfortunate that the industry standard of 100% site uptime isn’t met, but understandable. If you are still interested in Namecheap, consider yourself warned about the uptime!

The short version is this: Namecheap has good security and you can probably trust it with your information. The problem will be more with uptime and reliability, for those interesting in using Namecheap as a host. As a domain registrar, Namecheap is about as reliable as you can get.

Conclusion: Do I recommend Namecheap?

All things considered, how is Namecheap?

As a registrar, Namecheap clearly deserves its spot as one of the top dogs. It’s got good prices, an easy interface for managing domains, and has good deals all along the spectrum of single-domain purchasers to bulk-buyers.

As a host, Namecheap is considerably more complicated. On one hand, Namecheap is very affordable for lower-end hosting products, the shared or WordPress hosting packages.

These packages have really low prices and decent resource allocations. They’re pretty good deals for those who are willing to risk some potentially iffy uptime.

The higher-end tiers look good on paper, but I would leave it to a company that specializes more directly in hosting.

Namecheap seems great, but our uptime measurements have been a light Achilles heel. Particularly if you have ecommerce needs, Namecheap might be a bit risky.

If having top-tier site uptime is less important to you—typically you’d be a hobbyist or perhaps a business that wants a site but does not find a site essential to the business—then Namecheap could still be a decent option that saves you money.

In short, my conclusion is that Namecheap is a risky option for those with intense hosting needs, and a steal for those who don’t. As a registrar, it’s mostly great all around. But if you’re still unsure, just try it risk-free for 30 days!

 

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Summary
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NameCheap
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