Namecheap Review

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Namecheap is one of the most well-known web hosting companies out there. Founded by Richard Kirkendall in 2000. Today it’s one of the biggest web hosting companies out there. But is it any good? Well, it’s not that simple. Namecheap webhosting product offerings include domain names, WordPress hosting, VPS, and dedicated hosting so there’s quite a bit to unpack here. I don’t expect you to read the entire article and as such I’ve divided it into several key sections, so feel free to skip down to the section pertaining to what you are looking for.

Domains

One of Namecheap’s core products is domain name registration. Compared to things like WordPress hosting or general web hosting, when it comes to domain registration quality is not really a factor so much as the price. When you register for webhosting, the company you registered through is required to keep you servers up and running and that’s when you are dealing with ongoing customer support for any issues that come up. On the other hand with domain registrations, once the registrar sends your info to ICANN to register the domain, that’s all that needs to be done from the web hosts end and the change of something going wrong is very low (in my experience I have never had an issue purchasing a domain name in the 10+ year’s i’ve been doing it).

Namecheap doesn’t charge a flat rate for all domains but rather a standard rate based on the TLD (Top Level Domain, like .COM, .ORG, or .NET). These rates range from $8.88/year for a . COM domains and go up from there. However the price to register is not the only price you should pay attention to. Most domain registrars will sell you the domain when you register for very cheap but make the price to renew higher. Namecheap is no different as it lets you currently purchase a .COM domain for $8.88 but the renewal is $12.98. My suggestion is to go off the renewal price when doing any budgeting for the cost of your site. There is also a domain marketplace where other Namecheap users can sell their domains. Here you can expect to pay anywhere from less than $100 to tens of thousands depending on the domain. However it should be noted that if your purchase say a .COM domain for $1,000, the renewal will still be Namecheap’s standard price at $12.88

Namecheap also offers some nice features when you register your domain. One really nice feature is WhoisGuard. Different companies have different names for this type of service but the gist is once you register a domain name, if you do not have WhoisGuard, anyone can run a “whois” lookup on your domain and see your name, telephone number and home address, if you are intersted in learning more about this, I wrote an article that covers whois privacy more in depth. Namecheap knows this is a privacy concern and offers free WhoisGuard on all their domains so they overwrite your info with their own. Now with WhoisGuard, whenever someone does a whois lookup on your site they will get a “Generic Namecheap User” with phones and addresses listed as Namecheap’s offices, instead of your actual information. Most domain registrars sell this as a service so it’s nice to see that Namecheap offers it for free.

Lastly it’s important to consider which TLD you choose. In recent years there have been hundreds of new TLD’s registered so you can get a domain name like: thiswebsite.rocks or myawesomedesign.studio. These are fun names to register however if you decide to register a domain that has an extension like .studio or .rocks, my suggestion would be to also register the .com variant of that domain name (so if you register thiswebsite.rocks, also register thiswebsiterocks.com) just in case visitors may mix up how your domain name is spelled (remember most users by now have been conditioned to think of a website as ending in .COM)

Shared Hosting

In the early days of web hosting, it was people hosting websites off of computers in their homes. As the internet became more commercialized Webhosting companies like Namecheap started letting people simply rent computers that were already set up in their datacenter and pay monthly to use it. This was great as you no longer had the overhead of making sure the hardware was up and running but it still left you with a pretty large monthly cost to rent out the entire server.

This is where shared hosting came along. Shared hosting lets you share a single server with other customers, exponentially lowering the cost to rent a server for a month. Now instead of paying $50 - $100 per month to rent an entire server, you can rent a shared server for about $5 - $10 per month.

This comes with some tradeoffs though and the biggest one being that shared servers are well....shared and the classic example is if the person you are sharing a server with uses more than he is entitled to, you get a slower site. This is only a half-truth, as there are a litany of technical things that are done behind the scenes to make sure that everyone is getting roughly the same resources, and more often than not you will not notice the difference until your site reaches a significant size.

Namecheap offers 3 tiers of shared hosting that range from $1.44 per month to $8.88 per month, depending on the tier, whether you pay per month or annually, and whether you want a US-based or UK based datacenter. Let’s take a look at the three tiers below:

Stellar: The basic plan, currently offered for $2.88/month or $1.44/month when you pay annually ($33.88 per year). This plan offers 20GB of storage as well as the ability to connect up to 3 domain names.

Stellar Plus:The mid-tier plan. Much like Stellar except this one offers “Unmetered SSD” (Namecheap is vague about what this means but I would take it to mean that it’s unlimited storage), Auto backup, and unlimited domain names.

Stellar Business:The business plan, very similar to Stellar Plus however it only allows 50GB of storage space as opposed to “Unmetered” storage in Plus. Besides that there isn’t much else to write home about. Much of the proposition in business is fine print stuff like PCI compliance and Personal Nameservers.

The bottom line is these services are almost identical. If you are just looking for a single domain, nothing special website, I don’t see any reason you would need anything more than Stellar. Namecheap makes a number of upsells to try and get you to buy the Plus and Business plans however from what I gather in the fine print, unless you need the specific features those tiers are offering it’s probably too much for what you need.

Also one last consideration here is your datacenter location. If you are based in the US or Canada then a US based server would serve you best, otherwise if you live in the UK or EU then the UK server will give you the fastest speeds. Sorry to say this but for any of my readers that are outside US/EU, Namecheap might not be the best option for you unless you are planning for your site visitors to come from the US/EU.

Right now Namecheap is offering a deal where you can get a free domain name when you purchase hosting. You can take advantage of the offer here

Wordpress Hosting

For Wordpress hosting Namecheap has a product called EasyWP which is a fully managed WordPress environment. Having a fully managed Wordpress environment is great as you can focus on your site and not on things like keeping your server up to date and other maintenance that doesn’t add to your site.

Namecheap offers 3 tiers of EasyWP: Starter, Turbo, and Supersonic, ranging in price from $3.88/month to $11.88/month. Let break down the three tiers:

Starter: The starter package comes in at only $3.88/month or $22.88/year for the 1st year. While that is very cheap for a whole year of Wordpress hosting, it comes with a few tradeoffs namely that you do not get Namecheap’s CDN service and storage is capped at 10GB.

Turbo: The Turbo package is EasyWP’s midrange option and comes in at $7.88/month or $26.88/year for the 1st year. This option gives you 50GB of storage and offers CDN and SSL support. CDN support here is huge if you don’t update your site that often. Basically after your site is deployed, it’s then cached so visitors are hitting the CDN and not your actual site. This helps in speeding up your site tremendously.

Supersonic: The supersonic package comes in at $11.88/month or $28.88/year for the first year. It is much like the turbo package but it offers more space and bandwidth as well as a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

A few last things to note about the various tiers here:

  • They list first-year prices but seldom mention the renewal price. For example EasyWP turbo offers the first year for just $26.88 but it renews at $68.88. If you want the cheap first year price I suggest you pay attention and make sure you cancel before the first year. The first-year deal is actually really good but if you want to do these long terms you might find a better deal elsewhere.
  • The 1.5X and 2X CPU/RAM is meaningless because they don’t tell you what the initial amount is. While I’m sure that the higher tiers give you better hardware, the 1.5X and 2X figures are just marketing fluff.

The bottom line here is that EasyWP will make your Wordpress experience easier. While I don’t like the marketing speak or the shady renewal pricing, having a fully managed WordPress experience really helps in moving the ball forward on any blog as you don’t have to worry about all the technical details and can focus on your content instead.

Email Hosting

Namecheap also offers email hosting that you can get. While you could set up an email server and Wordpress server all on a single Stellar server, having them split up and individually managed in my opinion is the better route to go. Here’s a look at their email plans

Starter: Namecheap offers some seriously cheap email hosting starting at just $0.99 per month so you can get a whole year’s worth of email for just $11.88. Now granted this plan only gives you a single mailbox and 2GB of storage but if you are just in need of a simple email service then this ticks the box and comes in at a great price.

Pro: Pro offers you more features on top of Starter including 3 mailboxes and 30GB of storage for emails and 15GB for files as well as “Full Mobile Support” (not sure what this means, all the plans support POP/IMAP so this is really all you’re going to need anyways. Consider it marketing fluff). This plan is basically starter + more storage. As far as pricing it’s still only $2.82 per month which comes out to $33.88 per year.

Ultimate: The ultimate plan is really where you want to be though. It offers everything from the previous plans plus 75GB of storage vs 30GB in Pro and it runs on separate mail servers so your mail delivery is faster and less of a headache. I haven’t run this service so I don’t know the validity of how much better these mail servers are but at just $4.66 per month or $55.88 per year. This is on par with pricing for GSuite and Microsoft 365 but you get way more storage than either competitor.

Bottom Line. If you need basic email either for a contact page or communicating with customers then the Starter will do just fine. However once your mail needs increase I suggest skipping Pro and going right to Ultimate. It’s the best plan by far and the price is still highly competitive with other players in the space.

I personally host my mail with another provider and my cost per month is about $4.50 but that’s when I pay 3 years at a time. Namecheap offers more storage at less of a cost then any of their competitors (and I say this from experience in dealing with email providers) and if you use something like Outlook or Apple Mail you won’t notice a difference.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

A VPS is much like shared hosting. You are basically renting a server from Namecheap. Now that “server” is virtual but you control the entire thing, how it’s run and you are the only person that has access to it. VPS’s are great as they offer power and flexibility but I should warn that most readers will not need this unless they are running a power hungry web application, a large Wordpress site, or a gaming server. Let’s take a look at their plans:

Pulsar: For $11.88 per month or $140.88 per year, you can get a virtualized server with 2CPU Cores, 2GB of RAM and 40GB of storage as well as 1TB of bandwidth every month.

Quasar: For $19.88 per month or $235.88 per year, you can get the Quasar VPS which offers 4CPU Cores, 6GB of RAM and 120GB of storage as well as 3TB of bandwidth every month.

Both offer the same feature set but with different specs for the server. All can run popular Linux distributions but cannot run Windows Server.

Dedicated Servers

If a VPS is your own virtual server that you rent out, a Dedicated Server is just like the name implies, your very own dedicated piece of hardware that you rent from Namecheap. This gives you the most flexibility in hosting because you have complete control over your server. With a dedicated server you will be able to run large scale Wordpress installations, large email servers or even both at the same time if you choose.

Unlike all the other products here that have a set plan for you to choose from, each individual server will have it’s own price. Since it would be impossible to encapsulate all the products offered in a review.

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Namecheap is a fantastic place to get your domains and web hosting. They offer competitive pricing on domains, hosting and email. I especially like their EasyWP service as I think it makes the whole process of setting up a Wordpress site much easier and very cost effective given their plans. Lastly I think their VPS service has a bit to be desired. While they do offer a generous amount, I wish their pricing was a little better as $140 is a steep increase from even the most expensive stellar plan.

If you like what you here, you can learn more about Namecheap's product offerings here