What is Namecheap Hosting?
Remember when GoDaddy got in trouble for their founder shooting elephants?
Well Namecheap took the moral high ground and helped shocked customers move over to their platform.
They're the go to when you want a domain name, but what about their hosting?
This company was founded in 2000 by a man named Richard Kirkendall, and it is independently owned and operated.
For the first half of its existence, Namecheap was solely providing domain name registrars, but since 2007 they expanded to offer shared hosting options as well. The offices of Namecheap are centered in Los Angeles, and thus far they boast a client list of over two million.
How Good is Namecheap Hosting?
As the name suggests, this site is known for its cheap domain names.
But now they're being honey badgers and staking their claim in web hosting.
For just $10 a year.
Having been around for over fifteen years, the company has gotten a solid reputation as a domain registrar, and the web hosting services are okay, even if they are not quite as remarkable as other sites. Overall, the best thing about Namecheap is the price, but they do have pretty good customer service, and they do provide everything that you need to get your website up and running. If you’re looking for something simple and straightforward, then Namecheap can be a decent option, assuming that you want to save money. If, however, you need something more robust or want to host multiple sites or do anything highly complex, then Namecheap can be extremely limiting.
Our Official Namecheap Hosting Review
This company was founded in 2000 by a man named Richard Kirkendall, and it is independently owned and operated. For the first half of its existence, Namecheap was solely providing domain name registrars, but since 2007 they expanded to offer shared hosting options as well. The offices of Namecheap are centered in Los Angeles, and thus far they boast a client list of over two million. Namecheap is ICANN-accredited.
Best Features of Namecheap Hosting
Before we dive into the numerous issues that come with Namecheap Hosting (unfortunately there are quite a few), let’s start off by looking at the things that they do well. Being in business for this long and having so many customers (so they say) means that they have to be doing a few things right, so we should highlight the positive aspects that come with getting a cheap domain and website from Namecheap.
There are four plans that you can choose from, and they are all ridiculously cheap when compared to other sites. Where Namecheap really shines is in its introductory pricing, which starts at $9.88 for the Value package. The pricing list is as follows.
- Value: $9.88 to start, renew at $38.88 per year
- Professional: $19.88 to start, $78.88 per year renewal
- Ultimate: $29.88 to start, renew at $129.88 per year
- Business Pro: $19.88 to start, $17.98 per month to renew
As you can see, you can get started for a very low introductory price. But do you get a lot for the money? Not exactly. But we’ll get into that later.
2. Quick and Easy Onboarding
Whenever you sign up with a new hosting site, you have to get all of your information and get everything up and running. Some sites can make this needlessly complicated, which means that if you’re not already familiar with the layout, it can be confusing and take more time than necessary. Namecheap, thankfully, makes the onboarding process exceedingly simple. You get a welcome email as soon as you sign up and you can log in immediately afterward. Everything is laid out in an efficient manner, meaning that you won’t get turned around at all and have to call customer support.
When looking at customer reviews, there seems to be some discrepancy with the support system. On the one hand, some users will claim that they have been given the runaround, while on the other hand, different people say that the customer support is the best thing about the site. With our limited experience, we have to say that, overall, the service provided is slightly above average, with response times being relatively quick.
One thing that we would prefer is if they have telephone support, but you can do live chat, which means that you should be able to fix your problem within an hour or so. The other option is to open a ticket, which can take anywhere from five hours to a full day, depending on the volume of customers.
4. Website Management
As we mentioned above, Namecheap is only good for anyone who doesn’t need a lot of features or functionality to their page. Most of the complaints we’ve seen were from users who wanted to integrate a lot of added applications and programs into their website, which is not ideal for this host.
That being said, assuming that simplicity is your endgame, then Namecheap does make things easy for you. Once you get started on your site, the back end is very minimalist and user-friendly, meaning that you don’t need a degree in computer science to navigate through the menu options. Some might even say it’s too simple.
5. Backup Options
Whenever you are managing a website, you have to make sure that you are backing up your material on a regular basis. Namecheap does take a lot of this burden off of your shoulders, however, and backs up your site twice a week. While we do recommend that you should do it on your own as well, this is a nice feature that they offer, so if you forget to do it, you aren’t screwed in the long run.
6. Website Features
While the additional features that Namecheap offers are limited when compared to other sites, the ones that it does have are pretty good.
- Softaculous: as far as installing third-party scripts and applications, this program makes things super easy by allowing you to place everything with one click.
- CloudFlare: this third-party program can help speed up your site and make you more mobile. Namecheap allows you to integrate with CloudFlare for better performance.
- Google Apps: for anyone who loves Google, you can install the company’s apps onto your website through Namecheap
When you go to any hosting site, they will all claim that they guarantee over 99% reliability of uptime. As far as we could tell, Namecheap does not spell out what they can offer should that percentage dip, which means that their guarantee may just be some empty promises.
That being said, we have not seen any significant issues with uptime, meaning that they seem to have everything under control. Most of the complaints we’ve seen have been with features and scripts not working properly, but no one seems to have that many issues with uptime. Of course, sometimes things happen, but the site overall appears to deliver on its promise.
8. Domain Registrar
First and foremost, Namecheap started out as a registrar for domains, and as such, that is what the site does remarkably well. If you are looking to purchase a domain and have it hosted elsewhere, Namecheap makes it incredibly easy to do so. In fact, many major sites use this service and then go through a different hosting site because it’s so cost-effective and easy to use. Overall, even if you don’t use Namecheap for website hosting (you probably won’t), it can be a terrific option for purchasing domains.
Downsides of Namecheap Hosting
Now that we’ve looked at the positive side of Namecheap, we should flip the coin and see what doesn’t work. Unfortunately, in this case, the bad does outweigh the good, but if you need a cheap hosting site and don’t have a lot of extra requirements, then you might not have to worry about any of this stuff.
1. Limited Options
When looking through the hosting services, Namecheap does put caps on the number of domains and databases that you can have. Obviously, the cheaper your package, the less you get, but in this case, the limitations are more than what you would expect. Here is the breakdown.
- Value Package: Three domains, 20 GB disk space, fifty databases, and fifty email accounts.
- Professional: Ten domains, 50 GB disk space, 100 databases and email accounts
- Ultimate: Fifty domains, 50 GB disk space, 100 databases and email accounts
- Business Pro: 20 GB disk space and 5000 GB of bandwidth
As you can see, you don’t get as much for your money as you would expect. However, if you don’t see any problem with staying under those caps, then you will find that Namecheap is much more cost-effective than the competition. However, you won’t get the same level of functionality and performance either, so you should keep that in mind as well.
The other thing about these caps is that they are not as straightforward as other sites. Because you are limited in every aspect, that means that you could need to upgrade your package for one of multiple reasons. For example, you may have one site and domain, but if you need more than 20 GB of disk space, then you have to upgrade. Similarly, if you need more databases you will have to upgrade, and so on. Other hosting services space things out so that you upgrade when you get bigger and add more features. With Namecheap, you may continue to operate a single website and have to update regardless of how big you get.
Another major limitation of Namecheap is the speed in which it loads your page. Assuming that you want people to look at your website, you have to make sure that it won’t take a long time to load; otherwise, your customers will bounce off before they’ve seen anything. Thus, you need to find a hosting service that can ensure that your site will appear quickly, no matter what device is being used.
In that regard, Namecheap is not that great. Again, if you have a simple page without a lot of graphics or complex applications, you probably don’t have to worry. But if your site starts to have extra features or functionality, then you might be in for some trouble. Overall, Namecheap is nowhere near as fast at page loading as the competition.
3. Money-Back Guarantee
While it’s not always the best indicator of the strength of a company, one way to get a sense of how reliable a business will be is whether or not they offer a money-back guarantee. That means that the company stands behind its product 100%, which gives customers a feeling of security and comfort.
With that in mind, Namecheap does offer such a guarantee, but it is extremely limited in scope. Most hosting sites that offer such a deal will do so for thirty days. Here, you have only two weeks to decide if it’s right for you, which is not enough time in our book. Thus, we do have to list this as a negative, as it seems like the site is hoping to attract newbies who don’t know that two weeks is too short to evaluate a hosting company. If Namecheap were more confident in its services, then it would offer at least thirty days.
4. Linux Only
While this limitation is not necessarily enough to condemn the site, it is worth noting that Namecheap does only offer services for Linux, meaning that Windows or Mac users are out of luck. What is remarkable about that is that this site seems to be geared for first-time website users, who will most likely not be using Linux to set up their page. Nonetheless, this is what the site has to offer.
Overall, when looking at all of the pros and cons, we have to say that the only thing that Namecheap has going for it is that they have lower prices than the competition. If you want to rely on this company for holding your domain, then we highly recommend doing so, as that is what it does best. However, when it comes to hosting services, Namecheap has too many issues to make it a viable solution.
That being said, though, if you are the type of person who is far more concerned with price than with performance, you can give Namecheap a chance. However, lower prices do not mean better value, which means that you could get far better features and functionality for just a little more money, and you won’t have to deal with any headaches further down the line.
In short, Namecheap started out as an excellent domain registrar and then decided to try its hand at web hosting. However, because that was not the original purpose, the site does not specialize in hosting services, meaning that it has a lackluster performance.
The bottom line is buy your domain here but host it elsewhere.
Namecheap Hosting FAQs
If you are still on the fence about Namecheap or are thinking about signing up with them, then here are some common questions that people have about the service. If you cannot find what you’re looking for here, then we suggest contacting the website directly. They should be able to answer any questions you have, although you should keep in mind that they will be trying to sell you a package, so it might sound better than it actually is.
Can you host multiple websites through Namecheap?
Yes, you can, although you are limited in the number. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you are capped on disk space and databases, meaning that even if you host only two sites, you may need to upgrade to a higher level to allow for more data storage. Nonetheless, Namecheap allows you to host at minimum three sites and at most fifty.
What type of hosting is available?
Namecheap offers four different types of hosting services. Shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated servers.
Does the site offer free domains if you sign up for its hosting plan?
No, Namecheap does not provide any free domains. Because it started off as a registrar, you have to buy your domains separately. Fortunately, they are very cost-effective.
Are there hidden fees?
Thankfully, Namecheap is very upfront about its pricing and costs, meaning that you shouldn’t find any charges that were not listed and shown to you before you signed up.
Can I host my email through Namecheap if I don’t have a website?
Yes, the site does offer dedicated email hosting services. You can get disk space and file storage for your emails as well as anti-spam protection.
Does Namecheap offer a money-back guarantee?
Yes, but it is only valid for fourteen days (two weeks). However, if you choose a dedicated server plan, then you do not have this option. Also, if you incur additional fees during your first two weeks, those will not be refunded.
Does this site offer different payment plan structuring?
Yes, Namecheap is very diverse with regards to how you can pay for its services. You can choose to pay monthly, yearly, bi-yearly, or even tri-yearly if you want. The Business Pro plan, however, is only available for monthly renewal, so you cannot prepay for an entire year. Overall, the more you spend up front, the more you will save in the long run.
As for how you can pay, the site does take all major credit cards as well as PayPal and even BitCoin.
What types of customer support options does Namecheap have?
The primary method of contacting the support team is through a ticket system or by opening live chat. They do not have any phone service at this time. You can also go through the site’s knowledge database to find answers to common problems.
Where are Namecheap’s data centers located?
They have numerous locations in North America, such as Dallas, Phoenix, and Atlanta. The site’s headquarters are in Los Angeles. Namecheap also has data centers in the UK and Europe if you are outside of the US.
Does Namecheap have redundancies for its data centers?
Yes, as with all hosting sites, Namecheap has redundancies for power, security features, and networking.
Does the site offer a guarantee on its uptime?
If you get a shared or dedicated server plan, then Namecheap does offer a 100% uptime guarantee. If you get a reseller or VPS plan, then that percentage drops to 99.9%. Should you experience any less than that, you can be eligible for a cycle extension. You do have to submit a ticket within ten days to qualify, though.
Does Namecheap offer unlimited plans?
Yes, a couple of the plans offered do have unlimited bandwidth and disk space. But you have to pay a premium for it.
Does Namecheap have its own control panel system?
No, the site utilizes cPanel, which is an industry standard system for managing your website.
Does the site backup my data?
Yes, you will get backed up twice a week, although the site says this is for “restoration purposes” only. That means that you should be backing up on your own. You can request additional backups from Namecheap for free.
What kind of programming language is accepted on this site?
Namecheap does allow for many industry standard programs to integrate into your website. The top names are MySQL, Perl, Ruby on Rails, and PHP.
Can I transfer my domain or website to Namecheap?
Yes, you can. The site has a transition team that will help you bring any existing domain names and websites you have to their servers. Best of all, if your old host had a different control panel setup, Namecheap will make it compatible with cPanel. You can transfer all of your existing material no matter which plan you choose.
If I’m new to building a website, does Namecheap offers tools to help me?
Yes, you can find a lot of industry-wide tools to help you create your website easily. The most common are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. You can set everything up with one click using Softaculous. These tools work whether you are starting a simple blog or setting up an online store.
What kind of security options does Namecheap provide?
So far, the site only protects your information through a firewall. The site also has a proprietary security team in house that will monitor for any issues.
Can I provide video streaming on my website through Namecheap?
Yes, but you have to do it through a VPS or dedicated server plan. If you use a shared hosting package, you cannot stream video as it will impact the server speed.
- Decent customer support
- Experienced Domain registrar
- User-friendly interface
- Reliable uptimes
- Decent business features
- Limited features offered
- Value plans are much more restricted
- Not ideal for large enterprises or hosting many sites
- Issues can flare up on a somewhat regular basis
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