What is Namecheap Hosting?
Namecheap is a web hosting provider that offers web plans for shared hosting, WordPress, and e-commerce. They also come with a free domain name registration, WhoisGuard to keep your personal information private, and a robust customer support knowledgebase.
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.
History and Culture of Namecheap
Namecheap was founded in 2001 by Richard Kirkendall, the company’s current CEO.
They are based in Phoenix, Arizona, where a team of more than one thousand employees provides their customers with low-cost domain registration , hosting, SSL certificates, and more.
The company claims to offer fairly priced, accessible services to allow anyone to “make their mark online.”
Domain Name Registration
They started as a domain registration company (hence the name), which they still offer.
In the past years, they have expanded to offer a wide range of hosting options as well.
Pros of Using Namecheap Hosting
Namecheap starts strong with a free domain name, speed, migrations, and extra plan features like backups.
Here are the full details:
1. FREE Domain and Migration
Namecheap excels at domain names. So it only makes sense that they’ll happily throw one in if you sign up for their hosting plan.
If you already have a website set up somewhere else, they’ll also help you migrate the service for free.
Kinda, sorta. We’ll come back to this in the Cons section below.
2. Decent Load Time
After the uptime, the second most important criteria is speed. The reason it’s so important is that speed has been directly correlated with visitor happiness.
Google recently found that the probability of someone bouncing increases over 100% if your pages take up to six seconds to load.
So yes, you need your site to stay alive. If that site is slow, then it’s almost as bad. Your site might as well be down because people will be leaving in droves.
Namecheap has been able to post an average page speed of 687ms over the past 24 months. This number is almost twice as slow as our other favorite hosts like A2 Hosting and HostGator Cloud. However, it’s still a better result than our industry-standard.
Namecheap average speed:
3. 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
Namecheap does offer a rock-solid 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ve got a full month to see if their service is right for you. Otherwise, it’s not too late to back out and try something else.
4. Fully-Loaded Value Plan
We’ve reviewed over 30 web hosts to date.
And for each one, we typically sign up for the most basic plan to set up our test website.
The reason is twofold:
- We want to be able to base these reviews on real data and performance figures.
- Most ‘base-level’ plans at each hosting company are pretty similar.
In other words – this allows us to compare apples to apples (for the most part). Each shared offer is fairly similar, with the same features offered on each.
Namecheap surprised us, though.
First, they offered unmetered bandwidth on their cheapest plan. They also give you access to standard features like cPanel access and apps like WordPress.
Their cheapest plan also includes a free SSL certificate for the first year. (Read: After that year’s up, you’ll have to pay.)
You also get twice-a-week backups, just in case things go haywire while updating your new site.
The best part about their cheapest offer is that you get 50 MySQL databases (which is way more than what most companies offer on a similar tier).
Plus, you can set up three websites on this plan. Most base-level hosting plans only allow you to host one single website. This is a great value if you have several sites, like a business and a personal one.
They also give you up to 50 email addresses right out of the gate, too.
This can add up to huge cost savings over time.
5. Third-Party Reviews Are Excellent
We always like to get a pulse from existing customers to make sure each review isn’t just based on our own isolated experience.
We were pleasantly surprised at some of the customer reviews online.
For instance, they have a solid 4.6-star rating on Shopper Reviewed. Supposedly that’s based on over a million reviews.
This initial view got us excited.
We already liked seeing the ‘extra’ plan features they threw in for free (that most other companies would charge you for).
So we were excited to get the test site up and running. And see the performance stats roll in.
Unfortunately, the results that did flow in weren’t inspiring.
Cons of Using Namecheap Hosting
There are three major categories we look at when considering a new web host:
- Uptime: Can this host keep my site live the vast majority of the time?
- Speed: Can this host deliver a good experience for visitors so they’ll want to come back?
- Support: And can this host help me when things spin out of control?
Unfortunately, Namecheap dropped the ball in two of the three areas.
Take a look for yourself.
1. Poor Uptime – 99.87%
Namecheap delivered a stellar 100% uptime the first month we signed up. That gave us plenty of excitement to see what was to come.
But things only got worse from then on.
The next few months hovered well below the industry average 99.93%, eventually producing an uptime of only 99.80% in August 2018. It’s not bad on the surface. Nevertheless, keep in mind that this equates to over an hour of downtime each month.
What if that downtime were to happen during a busy sales season? You’re potentially looking at tons of lost revenue.
Here is the month-by-month comparison over the last 12 months:
Last 12-month average uptime:
- January 2020 average uptime: 100%
- December 2019 average uptime: 99.96%
- November 2019 average uptime: 99.96%
- October 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
- September 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
- August 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
- July 2019 average uptime: 99.82%
- June 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- May 2019 average uptime: 99.77%
- April 2019 average uptime: 99.96%
- March 2019 average uptime: 99.87%
- February 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
2. Lackluster Customer Support
Namecheap has a pretty good Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) platform. It contains detailed answers that should help solve the most common problems you run into.
We also like to try out live chats to get a feel for their service.
Things started well enough, with a quick connection from a friendly support rep.
When she was unable to help us, she even transferred us to the ‘Concierge’ department.
Overall, we love the idea of a ‘Concierge’ department at a company. You know – like a higher manager at a hotel who’s able to personally help you with almost any request.
But that’s not exactly what happened during this conversation.
Instead, the second ‘Concierge’ rep basically copy-pasted a knowledge base article for us: https://www.namecheap.com/support/knowledgebase/article.aspx/876/83/how-to-transfer-a-domain-from-godaddy
This was annoying for a few reasons:
For starters, we weren’t asking for an explanation of the process. We were asking if they’d do the service for us. That’s a pretty common perk that most web hosts will be happy to assist you with.
Secondly, how is this remotely close to a “Concierge Service”? They’re just throwing us a link and telling us to figure it out for ourselves.
And thirdly – why did it take multiple reps and 10 minutes of our life for this solution?
The entire experience left us underwhelmed, to be honest.
This exchange didn’t leave us with a lot of confidence – if our site went down and we did have to rely on their customer support team to bail us out, where should we turn to?
Namecheap Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts
Here’s a quick overview of the hosting plans offered by Namecheap:
Stellar: The initial plan gives you unmetered bandwidth for up to three websites for $1.44/month in the first year.
Stellar Plus: The second plan increases disk space to Unmetered, for $2.44/month in the first year.
Stellar Business: Namecheap’s biggest plan has an SSD disk space of 50GB, which is good enough for unlimited websites and all that comes with only $4.44/month.
- Free domain?: Yes, the first year is free.
- Ease of Signup: Easy signup process.
- Payment Methods: Credit cards, PayPal, Dwolla, and Bitcoin.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: There are two important disclaimers to keep in mind:
- “This offer is available for new hosting purchases only. The promotional price is valid for the first 12 months on annual payments, after which the hosting service will renew at the regular rate as indicated in the package specs. Upgrades/downgrades will be performed at the full renewal price.”
- “Unmetered disk space is offered with our Ultimate package. This disk space is solely intended for your website and not for other storage purposes. This space must be used in accordance with our AUP, particularly paragraph 10.2.”
- Upsells: A few upsells along the way.
- Account Activation: Fast account activation.
- Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): 1-click installation tool to easily install popular apps and CMSs.
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.