Last Update | September 2021
Monthly Update - September 2021
|Hosting Plans||Shared Hosting; WordPress Hosting; Reseller Hosting; VPS Hosting; Dedicated Servers; Migrations and Transfers|
|Top Features||100% Uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA); Use Of Latest Technology; Components With Multiple Redundancies; User-Friendly Interface; cPanel; Softaculous Installer For WordPress; Over 100 Single Click Apps; Single Contact Point For Billing And Support; Free Domain And Migration; Free Email Accounts In Every Plan; Free Automatic Backups Twice A Week; 30-day Money-back Guarantee|
|Customer Support||Live Chat; Help Center; Ticketing System|
During September, Namecheap:
- ‘Back to School’ fall sale: Up to 94% off on domains, hosting and more
- Performed scheduled hardware maintenance on a premium server
During August, Namecheap:
- Provided a free .com domain for the first year with all shared hosting plans, offered discounts on its Professional Business Email service (45% off all plans)
- Received a perfect rating on Forbes (The Best Domain Registrars Of 2021)
- Completed scheduled Jellyfish.ai performance testing, scheduled Spam Experts maintenance, scheduled migrations, and face some issues with domains
Namecheap is the furthest you can go with associations! As the name implies, they provide names, and they do so “cheap.” And as you already know, names in web hosting refer to domains!
You got it right, if you need an affordable domain, Namecheap is the go-to place. But that’s not where it ends. Namecheap goes far and beyond when it comes to its customers. The company offers Shared, WordPress, Reseller, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Servers, Migrations, and Transfers.
Namecheap is committed to delivering customer commitment, protecting privacy and freedom. It aims to provide the best domains at the best prices with the best service ever since its establishment in 2000. Now, let’s put all of it in numbers as the best indicator if you ask me.
The company has over 1,700 Namecheapers in over 18 countries, manages over 13 million domains worldwide, and has a 4.7 out of 5 overall satisfaction rate based on more than 1.5M verified Shopper Approved reviews.
Customers around the globe trust Namecheap, and there’s no doubt about it. But the question for today is, do I? I’ll put all strings aside and provide you with a firsthand review regarding Namecheap’s service, features, support, and reliability. Let’s hop right into it!
Getting Started with Namecheap
Way to go, Namecheap! What an impressive welcome. I will not lie; I love the site.
Namecheap is one of the top domain name registrars as an affordable and reliable domain and hosting option. And they make this clear as soon as you visit their site.
You can immediately spot their offers for registering or transferring a domain name.
If you choose to register, you can enter data and ‘Search’ for availability or use the Beast Mode. In the Beast Mode, you can enter various specifications, such as price range, or filter TLDs according to niches.
If you scroll a bit down on the home page, you will also get to the plans, even though you can access them from the Top Menu as well. Here, you can choose between Promos, Domains, WordPress, Hosting, Security, and Apps.
Namecheap always points out the top deals so that customers can further benefit from their services. At the point of my registration, the company offered free domains, 99 cent domains, and many price discounts on different plans. However, these offers continually change so that I wouldn’t stick to this information.
In Domains, you can find the most popular domains. Namecheap further classifies its offers into Transfer sales, New launches, or Best price categories.
The company also offers free trials within the WordPress hosting plans. In hosting, you can find plans on sale, free trials, and free domains. The same applies to the remaining two categories, Security and Apps.
Now, let’s go shopping!
You can find Domain Name Search, Domain Transfer, New TLDs, Bulk Domain Search, Personal Domain, Marketplace, Whois Lookup, PremiumDNS, and FreeDNS in Domains.
You can migrate to WordPress or go for Managed WordPress Hosting. I will leave the rest of the options for later on in the review.
I will go for the shared hosting option, as usual. It’s the cheapest one after all!
Namecheap offers three different Shared Hosting plans, Stellar, Stellar Plus, and Stellar Business.
At this point, you can choose between three data center locations, the US, UK, or Europe. Also, you can select a monthly plan, an annual one, or one for two years.
Once again, we can spot the hosting providers’ rule of thumb – the longer the term, the better the discount. Consequently, if you know what you are looking for and can commit with resources, you might as well purchase the yearly or 2-year plan. However, there’s a catch!
Namecheap only provides you a discount on the initial purchase. The price increases at renewal, but they are transparent about it (even though the letters are a bit small and pale, a good ‘detective’ can spot them).
All shared hosting plans come with a domain name, unmetered bandwidth, free website builder, domain name and privacy protection, free automatic SSL installation, free Supersonic CDN, 30-day money-back guarantee, and free under 24 hours website migration.
The differences between Stellar, Stellar Plus and Stellar Business lie in the number of websites, SSD, and AutoBackup & Cloud Storage. Furthermore, Stellar Plus and Business plan come with a free .com domain.
Another thing worthy of mention is the price changes regarding the data centers. While the locations in the US are cheaper, you will have to pay more for the UK and EU, which is quite unfortunate if you live there. See, the closer you are to a data center, the better the speeds. So, if this is your priority, you might as well have to pay a bit extra.
I chose the Stellar monthly plan with a data center in the US to test what Namecheap has to offer at its core.
Once you click on ‘Get Started,’ you will get to the following screen.
In the ‘Domain Name Connection,’ you need to connect a domain to your hosting plan. Here, you can choose between a new domain name or an existing one. You can also check the disk space, bandwidth, and the number of websites you get with your purchase.
I already have a domain name that I usually use for all testing purposes, so, once again, I’ll do the same.
I clicked on Existing Domain Name, which required me to sign in to Namecheap. So, I pursued it.
When I clicked on Sign In, I got to the following screen. At this point, you can enter your credentials if you have a Namecheap account. If not, like in my case, you will need to create an account. It’s all fast and easy, so worry not; it will only take you a few seconds.
You need to enter your username, password, first, last name, and email, and you’ll be good to go.
Next, you need to enter your domain so that Namecheap can connect it to the hosting. Once again, the process took seconds.
At last, you will see the following screen, showing you that Namecheap has set the structure in place.
So, you can once again check your purchase and click add to cart. The provider will then transfer you to the following screen. Here, you can once again check whether all is how it’s supposed to be.
For instance, in Bulk Settings, you can choose whether eligible services should automatically renew before the expiration date or not.
You can also check or modify the time for the plan – one month, a year, or two years. Right next to it, there’s the button to auto-renew. They might have forced this option a bit too much, but at least they are fully transparent regarding their offers, which I must admit, I like.
Now, onto the fun part! If you scroll a bit down, you will find several add-ons to improve your site further, such as SSL, VPN, EasyWP WordPress, and Professional Email.
Usually, web hosting providers include a free SSL, so I wouldn’t say I like this too much. Worse yet, the price increases at renewal.
As for the VPN, Namecheap provides a free trial in the first month, after which you will have to pay for the service. It’s the better alternative, as it lets you, the customer, test whether you need a VPN and how it will work for your needs.
More precisely, Namecheap offers three different VPN plans – monthly, 1-year, and 3-year VPN plan.
One thing to look out for at this point is the initial discount. For instance, Namecheap advertises a 100% discount on the monthly plan. However, that’s essentially the free trial, after which you will pay for the service. The same applies to the rest of the plans, offering a discount exclusively on the first purchase. In other words, the price increases at renewal.
EasyWP WordPress allows you to launch and host your WordPress site in less than 30 seconds. It also includes a free SSL, easy backups, and a simple dashboard with a strong security layer. If you go for this option, you can also skip on the paid SSL, as it’s included for free in the EasyWP.
I have already added a web hosting plan in my basket, as you can see. Now, as for the professional email, Namecheap once again provides you a free trial. You can test how the feature works for your business during this time and then decide whether to add it to your plan or not.
After I checked everything, I confirmed my order. See, Namecheap also provides the option for a promo code, but unfortunately, I don’t have one at the moment. So, I will have to go for the full price. On the bright side of things, it’s an affordable one.
Once you click ‘Confirm Order,’ you’ll get to the Account Contact Information form.
Here, you need to enter First and Last Name, Address, City, State/Province, Zip/Postal Code, Country, Phone Number, Fax Number, and Email Address.
If you check the box ‘I’m registering on behalf of a company,’ Namecheap will also ask for your Company Name and Job Title.
You can fill out all information and click ‘Continue,’ which will take you to pay.
Namecheap provides options to pay by card, Paypal, or Account Funds. I’ll go for the first option.
As soon as you enter the card info, you can once again check your billing address. At this point, you can also add it as your default account contact or add a new contact.
At last, you can adjust the renewal settings for your purchase by ticking the boxes in the section.
Once you finish with Billing, you will get to the fourth step of the process, order. Here, you can edit your order details, either update your shopping cart or change payment details.
Once you check all details and information, including the Terms and Agreements, you can click on Pay Now.
And that’s all about it! You are finished with the registration process.
One thing I like when it comes to Namecheap is its dedication to customers. As soon as you place your order, they thank you for it and ask for feedback.
Setting Things up at Namecheap
First things first, let’s review the Dashboard.
You can find yourself a new domain (possibly using the Beast Mode) or check your active plans here. As you can see, I have one functional product.
Furthermore, you can top up your account balance or turn on the two-factor authentication straight from here, in the Dashboard.
If you click on Manage, it will redirect you to the Domain List, which is essentially a shortcut to some important actions you can take into your account.
The Domain List consists of Domain, Products, Sharing and Transfer, and Advanced DNS sections.
In Domain, you can find PremiumDNS, Private Email, or Domain Contacts.
The Products tab lists all your Namecheap products. You can filter according to Status (Active, Alert, Grace, or Expired), Flags (Trial and Blocked), or Others (New).
Furthermore, you can manage your products or access the cPanel.
An alternative way to get to the cPanel is using the Hosting List tab. Here, you can find the button ‘Go to cPanel.’
And here we are! If you are at least a bit into hosting services, you certainly recognize the standard form. Yet, I will further elaborate for the first-time users.
The cPanel is one of my favorite features in a hosting provider, as it comes with incredible ease of use yet many options.
Namecheap provides ten standard sections within the cPanel. However, it takes things to another level, as it also adds the tab ‘Exclusive for Namecheap Customers,’ allowing for a superior and unique customer experience.
Let’s get into more details.
In Email, you can Email Accounts, Forwarders, Email Routing, Autoresponders, Default Addresses, Mailing Lists, Track Delivery, and Global Email Filters. And that’s just halfway through. Here, you can also set Email Filters, Email Deliverability, Address Importer, Spam Filters, Calendars and Contacts, Email Disk Usage, E-mail FAQ, and E-mail Client Setup.
Next, Files covers File Manager, Directory Privacy, Disk Usage, Web Disk, FTP Accounts, Backup, Backup Wizard, Git Version Control, and Inodes Usage.
Databases are all about phpMyAdmin, MySQL Databases, its Database Wizard, and FAQ.
Domains cover add-on, subdomains, aliases, redirects, Zone Editor, Dynamic DNS, and FAQ. I have to mention it; I like how Namecheap further facilitates the user experience by adding a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section in each subcategory.
Metrics generally provide you with all the needed information and analytics regarding your account. Here, you can find Visitors, Errors, Bandwidth, Raw Access, Awstats, and Resource Usage.
Security covers SSH Access, SSL/TLS, Manage API Tokens, Hotlink Protection, Leech Protection, SSL/TLS Status, and Two-Factor Authentication.
The software section consists of WP Manager by Softaculous, PHP PEAR Packages, Optimize Website, Application Manager, Softaculous APPs Installer, Setup Node.js App, Select PHP Version, Setup Python App, Setup Ruby App, and PHP FAQ.
In Advanced features, you can manage Cron Jobs, Indexes, Error Pages, and find the Virus Scanner.
Preferences provide access to Password and Security, Change Language or Style, Contact Information, and User Manager.
The Softaculous Apps Installer is divided into two sections, Scripts, and Categories.
Scripts consist of WordPress, Joomla, AbanteCart, phpBB, SMF, WHMCS, Open Real Estate, MyBB, Dolphin, pH7CMS, Laravel, OpenCart, Concrete5, and Oxwall.
In turn, Categories cover Blogs, Micro Blogs, Portals/CMS, Forums, Image Galleries, Wikis, Social Networking, Ad Management, Calendars, Gaming, Mails, Polls and Analytics, Project Management, E-Commerce, ERP, Guest Books, Customer Support, Educational, DB Tools, Music, RSS, File Management, Others and Libraries.
Now, sure I saved the best for last.
Exclusive for Namecheap customers covers Jellyfish Spam Protection, Google Apps, Namecheap SSL, CodeGuard, Website Builder, Contact Support, Namecheap Knowledgebase, and Manage Shell.
I’m not finished with the cPanel yet. On the right side of your screen, you can find two additional sections, General Information, and Statistics.
General Information displays the Current User, Primary Domain, Shared IP Address, Home Directory, Last Login IP Address, and Theme.
You’ll get to the following screen if you click on the blue button with the tool emoji. Here, you can view the SSL status of your domains.
In turn, if you click on Server Information, you will find details, such as Hosting Package, Server Name, cPanel Version, Apache Version, PHP Version, or MySQL Version. It also displays the Architecture, Operating System, Shared IP, Path to Sendmail or Perl, Perl Version, and Kernel Version.
Under General Information, you can see the Statistics. It shows how close you are to reaching your hosting plan’s full potential or, say, limits. It portrays information such as File Usage, Disk usage, MySQL Disk Usage, PostgreSQL Disk Usage, Bandwidth, Addon Domains, Subdomains, Email Accounts, Mailing Lists, Auto responders, Forwarders, Email Filters, FTP Accounts, MySQL Databases, CPU Usage, Entry Processes, Physical Memory Usage, IOPS, I/O Usage, and Number Of Processes.
And that’s a wrap-up. Well, at least with the cPanel. Back to the Dashboard!
As you can see, I haven’t set the Private Email feature. it comes with a Domain-Based email, Anti-Spam protection, Email & File Storage, and POP3/IMAP/Webmail access. Furthermore, you can get two months for free.
In SSL Certificates, you can find the ID, Name, Status, term, and time remaining for your SSL.
Apps display the application you have activated on your plan. See, I have none. So, let’s hop to the store to see what Namecheap has to offer.
I clicked on ‘Get some apps.’ The next thing I see is this unique shop.
Namecheap provides both free and paid apps.
Supersonic CDN, EasyWP, Namecheap VPN, Logo Maker, Namecheap Uptime Monitoring, and Canvas are free apps.
However, you’ll have to pay for the Site Maker, Validation.com, Google Workspace, Business Card Maker, Strikingly, Hosting, Weebly, Ghost Machine, and Namecheap Legal.
Finally, Profile (within the Dashboard) consists of Personal Info, Security, Billing, Tools, and Inbox.
Personal info covers Name, Username, Primary Email, All Addresses, and Social media.
Security is divided into Access (Password, Two-Factor Authentication, and Support PIN) and Recovery & Alerts (Recovery Settings, Security Alerts, and Incoming Invitations).
What I liked the most about this section is the support PIN, as it continually changes. You can also choose to refresh it any time you see fit manually.
Billing provides for a comprehensive view of all Account Funds, Payments, Apps Payments, and History.
In Account Funds, you can check or top-up your balance, withdraw Marketplace Earnings or Affiliate Commissions.
Both the Payment and Apps Payments sections refer to your payment methods. Here, you can edit, add a new card to your account.
At last, History covers all Orders, Transactions, Apps Orders, and Apps Transactions you had with Namecheap.
In Tools, there are four subsections, Organization, Notifications, Advanced, Business & Dev Tools. Organization divides your domains into groups for easier management. You can manage the notifications sent by Namecheap in the second subcategory. Then, you can preset domain contacts and DNS/host records for use with new domain registrations in Advanced. And finally, you can use Business & Dev Tools to manage your involvement in Namecheap’s Affiliate Program, API Access, Reseller Program, and Domain Marketplace.
Inbox, the last tab from Profile, contains messages from Namecheap regarding your account and other services.
Performance, Speed, and Uptime
Namecheap offers a monthly Uptime Guarantee for its hosted services. If the provider fails to meet this Guarantee, you will be eligible for a cycle prolongation for the time the service was unreachable. More precisely, Reseller and VPS accounts come with 99.9%, while Shared, Business & Dedicated Server Accounts come with a 100% uptime guarantee.
Enough with the theory; let’s see how it works in practice. Namecheap provided for a 99.96% uptime average for the last year. In other words, the provider had some outages. Still, it delivered a decent number.
The same applies to its speed. While there are faster hosting providers on the market, Namecheap provided for average, proper load time. Better yet, they are continually working to improve these indicators, thus improve the user experience.
You can choose between US, UK, or European servers. The rule of thumb is, the closer the data center, the faster the server. However, you will have to pay an extra dollar if you choose UK or EU, which is a bit unfortunate.
Also, you can benefit from SSD (solid-state drive) storage, which is essentially faster than traditional drives.
Level of Support at Namecheap
Namecheap provides many ways to contact their support team if you need help or encounter an issue with your hosting plan. More precisely, you can use their comprehensive help center, ticketing system, or 24/7 available live chat.
The Help Center is indeed a one-stop solution. Here, you can find the Knowledgebase, Guru Guides, Blog, How-To Videos, and Status Updates.
The Knowledgebase is utterly comprehensive. It covers all different aspects of Namecheap’s service. So, you are very likely to find what you have been looking for. Moreover, there is the FAQ section, introducing some aspects from customers’ perspectives.
Apps, EasyWP, How-To Videos, General & Support, Checkout & Billing, Domains, Domain Privacy Protection, Domain Transfers, Hosting, Email service, SSL Certificates, My Account, Affiliates, API & Resellers, Legacy Products, PremiumDNS are all sections within the Knowledgebase.
The Guru Guides introduce a different perspective with deeper-level expertise from Namecheap’s in-house professionals. In this section, you can find the Affiliate Marketing, Expert Advice, Expert Insights, Getting Started, Online Marketing, Parents, Product general, Products, Apps & Deals, Security, Students, and Tutorials categories.
Furthermore, you can filter – Beginner or Advanced level, depending on your knowledge and needs.
The blog displays the top articles Namecheap’s resident bloggers on business, tech, and more. You can also learn from the how-to videos, being the best solution for beginners. At last, you can check the current status of your server.
Namecheap further facilitates your experience since it allows you to learn by product. Using this option, you can select your product/service and find all you need to know about it.
Sure, there is a lot of data here. However, you still might not find what you are looking for. If that’s the case, you can either submit a ticket or chat with a live person. Also, Namecheap likes to hear what its users have to say, so feel free to leave feedback.
Here’s how the ticketing system looks and works. First, you need to choose a department. Then, you enter General Information, User Ticket Creation, Account Ownership Verification, Your Message, tick a few boxes, and click Submit.
At first, it seemed fast and easy. But honestly, Namecheap requires too much information at this point. You need to enter your domain name, user name, hosting package, Namecheap username, support PIN, even though you are logged in to your account. I have seen more straightforward forms in my career for sure.
Now, onto the live chat. I will contact a live agent to ask for a refund.
Namecheap offers a rock-solid 30-day money-back guarantee. You can test out their products during this period and back out while it’s not too late if you don’t see them fit. And that’s exactly what I did. Don’t get me wrong; I was satisfied with the service. But at the end of the day, that’s what I do. I test web hosting providers with a single goal – to provide you, my followers, with an honest firsthand review.
However, keep in mind, extra add-ons such as server management, dedicated IP address, and licenses are non-refundable. As I have none, I will get a full refund of my resources.
Once I clicked on Live Chat Support, I got to the following screen.
I entered all information, as requested, and clicked on Start Chat.
The live chat agent got into the chat in less than a minute, which is excellent. However, I got the following response. They asked me to use the ticketing system. Is there a point in having a live chat to redirect users onto the ticketing system?
I sure don’t like how their system works. But I had to fill out the request. The next thing I saw is this message.
Namecheap offers priority support with VPS Hosting or Reseller Plans. I’m not sure where I stand with this one, as I have a shared hosting plan. But I guess they have to justify paying more, one way or the other.
Security and Backups
Namecheap is dedicated to the constant improvement of privacy, security, and integrity. These are indeed the areas that set Namecheap apart from its competitors, ultimately making it the better alternative.
First, Namecheap has the best hardware and software firewalls combined with a highly technical in-house security system. It comes with Leech Protect, CodeGuard, Virus scanners, Hotlink protection, WhoisGuard, and SSL Certificates.
Leech Protect is a unique feature that allows you to limit the number of logins that can occur in 2 hours. So, you can protect your site from brute force attacks with it. CodeGuard provides monitoring, backup, and restoration services. And WhoisGuard hides your name, address, email, and contact number from third parties such as hackers, spammers, or marketing entities to protect your data.
Here, I would also mention two-factor authentication, the VPN service, personal privacy, and browsing protection. Furthermore, you can use the TOTP - Time-based One-Time Password feature. It allows you to use one-time passwords generated by an application, such as Google Authenticator, to protect your account.
PremiumDNS is yet another noble feature. This protection transfers your domain to a PremiumDNS platform with 100% DNS uptime and DDoS protection at the DNS level. It includes security technology DNSSEC (DNS Security Extensions). In turn, it protects you from malicious third parties who attempt to redirect site visitors to “imposter” sites.
The best thing about the backup is that Namecheap provides them for free. More precisely, the provider performs two backups per week. You can always request a copy of this data. However, you can also choose to complete one independently.
Specific Features of Namecheap
Done with all specifications and details, we get to my favorite question. Why should you go for Namecheap than any other provider on the market? Here are several features that make its products distinct and valuable.
- 100% Uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA)
- Use Of Latest Technology
- Components With Multiple Redundancies
- User-Friendly Interface, Standard cPanel
- Softaculous Installer For WordPress
- Over 100 Single Click Apps
- Single Contact Point For Billing And Support
- Free Domain And Migration
- Free Email Accounts In Every Plan
- Free Automatic Backups Twice A Week
- Flexibility And Scalability Without Contracts
If I had to describe Namecheap with one word, I would go for decent. It provides for average uptime and speed, meaning there are both better and worse performing competitors. However, if you consider the pricing, you might as well understand its value.
Namecheap is affordable all over. It comes with cheap shared hosting and lots of freebies. Better yet, it’s user-friendly. Even beginners can easily navigate the cPanel and find all they need in it. Still, it’s not much, as Namecheap seems to lack some advanced features.
Now, even though it provides for free domain and migration, Namecheap is once again limited in this regard. After the first year, the renewal prices increase. So, you will have to pay an annual fee for the domain, otherwise advertised as free. I’m not too fond of the lack of transparency, which I have to say, I stumbled upon.
Namecheap managed to amaze me with its wide offer of security-enhancing features. They seem to value the privacy and safety of their clients. Furthermore, Namecheap continually updates its list of top-level extensions. In turn, you can rest assured, you will always pick from interesting extensions instead of the popular .com.
At last, I would say they need some improvement in terms of customer support. While I must praise their comprehensive Knowledge Base with almost all hosting-related information you might ever need, Namecheap might need to work on their ticketing system. It takes so much time to fill the form out (find all names, usernames, and codes). It’s always better to go for the more straightforward solution. Furthermore, I didn’t get the best impression from the live chat agent, and they don’t offer phone support.