Namecheap Hosting Review
Started in 2000, Namecheap began it’s journey into the hosting industry offering domains and then stepped up it’s services in terms of hosting and other add-on services.
One of the most transparent and honest providers I have found online, Namecheap’s honesty reflects in it’s mission :
“We never bombard our clients with unwanted upsells or in-your-face advertising. Our goal is to be honest, straightforward, friendly and helpful.”
For most of my projects, I generally use Namecheap to book my domains, as I believe they are a market leader when it comes to domain name registrations.
Recently, I had a chance to launch a small project, and I decided to try out Namecheap’s shared hosting plans. Based on my experience, here is my review of Namecheap as a hosting provider along with it’s pros and cons.
How fast is NameCheap Hosting?
Pros of Namecheap Hosting:
1. Pricing :
Right off the bat, you will notice that Namecheap plans are super cheap. While super cheap plans do not equate to super value, Namecheap’s hosting will cost you a little less than the other industry providers.
All their plans offer an unlimited bandwidth, along with a 20 GB unlimited disk space on their basic plan. To sweeten the deal, Namecheap also offers a free migration service, if you want to move your website from an existing host free of cost.
All their plans come with a 15 day money back guarantee, should you decide to not use their services anymore.
One more thing to note is that all their web hosting plans come with a free .website domain and WhoisGuard.
2. Different Datacenters :
NameCheap has datacenters hosted in US as well as UK. When you buy your package with NameCheap, it offers you the option to choose US / UK data centers.
Based on your target audience, you can then decide to go with a datacenter of your choice.
One thing I noted though was that the UK datacenter would cost at an average $ 10 more than the US datacenter.
But having said that, it’s worth it to spend that $10 for a faster website than let the user wait for site to load.
3. Mobile Apps :
I am often on the go, and if you are just like me, you will appreciate how much mobile apps can be helpful. Namecheap has apps for Android devices as well as Apple iOS devices.
From domain name searching to managing your account, the apps can do everything that you can do from your account panel on the web.
You can manage your DNS or MX records, and edit in a jiffy, thanks to these apps.
4. Backups :
We all put in a lot of time to build our websites. But all it takes is, one wrong step to lose all our data. It is quite important that your website hosting offers data backups as a part of the hosting services.
While you should also keep backups of your website, it does not hurt to have your web host back up your websites for you.
NameCheap offers twice a week backups on their basic plans, and daily backups on their advanced plans.
They use Codeguard’s (Link : www.codeguard.com) backup service – which is also super easy to use. This can be really helpful, when you want to revert back to the change that you made last week on your website.
4. Uptime Guarantee :
During the course of my entire project, what impressed me was, Namecheap’s servers did not go down even once for a second. Namecheap offers a 100% uptime guarantee for it’s shared server hosting.
Namecheap also offers account credits, in case they are not able to stick to their SLA of 100% uptime guarantee, which is a honest and transparent effort I have seen till date.
5. Free SSH Access :
When I sign up for web hosts, I usually like to run a few shell commands that do some basic stuff. Namecheap offers SSH access to your shared hosting servers.
This can be really important if you are building web apps and want to run a few basic shell commands.
Although this is limited, it is a great feature offered by Namecheap. Compare this to other hosting providers, who charge anywhere from 5$ to 15$ for such services, Namecheap’s free offering stands out here.
To activate this, just create a support ticket, and their support team will enable it for you.
6. Security :
Not only this, it also offers a whole range of SSL certificates for Single Domain to Multiple Domains and at a low cost.
All Namecheap purchases come with one free year of WhoisGuard, that protect your personal information from being leaked out to spammers.
What they do is, replace your email by an unique firstname.lastname@example.org email address. Still Namecheap ensures that relevant information is sent to your email.
They have an inbuilt virus scanner that scans your websites for any malicious files and alerts you once it has removed them.
Namecheap handles a lot of small things technically, like hotlink protection and leech protect – both of which protect your websites from hackers.
In terms of security, Namecheap offers a range of services free of cost, whereas other providers do this for a bonus payment.
7. PHP and other apps Support :
Namecheap runs the latest version of PHP and Apache. As of this writing, Namecheap supports 5.4,5.6 and 7.0 versions of PHP.
Unlike many web hosts, who have not yet migrated to PHP 7.0, Namecheap has taken the lead once again and supports PHP 7.0.
This means you can build secure and up-to-date apps with PHP and deploy it on Namecheap. I also noticed that they offer a customisable php.ini file, which is something no web hosting provider offers.
This is not only limited to versions of PHP. Namecheap also runs the latest version of Apache servers and MySQL / PHPMyAdmin
If you are looking to deploy other apps, it offers a whole range of apps via it’s quick installer, all of which is free of cost.
8. Clutter Free interface :
One thing I have noticed with Namecheap is their backend interface is very clean and easy to use.
Usually shared hosting providers, I have worked with, put in banner ads at every turn of their backend, which becomes really hard and frustrating to use.
However with Namecheap, I have never had this problem. They pay attention to details, and their website design is one example of how simple and easy to use Namecheap is.
Also, when I installed WordPress on Namecheap, they installed a latest, up-to-date WordPress installation with no extra plugins.
On other web hosting providers, this would be accompanied with lots of sponsored plugins and themes – but with Namecheap, it was straightforward. No Banner or extra referral plugins to distract me.
Cons of using Namecheap hosting:
1. Limited Support Options :
For a company, that has been around for 17+ years now – Namecheap shockingly offers no priority support for the basic plans.
Twice, I ran into problems with Namecheap and had to wait out my time on their live chat.
Apart from this, they don’t have a dedicated community forum where users can share their issues. I also found their knowledge base and FAQ’s more oriented towards domain purchasing than towards hosting.
Having said that, their normal support is really good and available at all times, and should be more than enough for your normal hosting needs.
2. No Unlimited Bandwidth :
As with most web hosting plans, Namecheap’s claim about “unlimited bandwidth” has to be taken with a grain of salt.
The way this works is, they won’t measure or cap your bandwidth until you start using an unreasonable amount of bandwidth.
On a shared hosting server, remember that you are sharing the server with other customers as well. So after a point of time, Namecheap might suspend your account if they feel your site is not using the space judiciously.
Luckily it can be unsuspended with the live chat support, and you would be asked to upgrade to the premium plans should it ever come to it.
3. No Support for LetsEncrypt – Free SSL certificates :
There is a massive movement online these days, where site traffic is encrypted using HTTPS certificate. LetsEncrypt is a free and automated SSL certificate provider.
A lot of web hosting providers have started providing support for LetsEncrypt plugin so that you can make your site more secure for your users.
Namecheap, on the other hand, does not yet support LetsEncrypt for shared hosting. This is surprising since Namecheap is one of the very few hosts that provides technical features for free of cost, and this is an important feature to have.
Nevertheless, Namecheap does offer a whole range of SSL certificates by Comodo for as low as 10$/year
Bottom line about NameCheap Hosting:
What makes Namecheap stand out is it’s clutter free interface along with technical features being provided free of cost.
Namecheap also guarantees that they will never lock you in with any of their products. According to their hosting guarantee – “You can subscribe, modify or cancel any service you have with us at any time, without penalty”.
That said, Namecheap has to be commended for it’s transparency, in an industry which is often sneaky about their tactics.
If you are in the market to host a web app or your websites, Namecheap’s shared hosting plan seems to be a good deal.
However, be wary of performance issues on shared servers, as understandably resources are being used by other customers as well.
For better performance, I would always suggest moving on to their premium plans or dedicated servers.
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