Namecheap vs. Bluehost - Who Is the Right One for You?
With technology as the front runner for our modern age, it comes as no surprise that almost every aspect of a business is done online. Of course, this includes websites and blogs. If you want to have an excellent and fast-running website or blog, the go-to solution is web hosting. And the world of web hosting is a large one.
So, it comes as no surprise that sometimes people can't decide on which provider to use. Hence, the reason why I started the Vendor vs. Vendor series. And in this episode of the series, I will be comparing two quite popular American hosting providers: Namecheap and Bluehost. One is the cheapest alternative available today, and the other is the more reliable option. So, a question arises: Is cheaper better, or is paying a higher price the more intelligent choice?
These two providers have been around for some time now and have numerous users worldwide. Therefore, the choice between the two can be a difficult one. So, in this article, I will try to ascertain whether one of these providers has the upper hand on the other and which one is the better choice.
Let's start with introductions.
General Info About the Providers
The ice breaker for today is Bluehost. It is a private company founded in 2003 in Provo, Utah. The Endurance International Group acquired it in 2010. In the 18 years it has existed, it has managed to win over 2 million websites. Bluehost is a committed WordPress provider, supporting it for more than a decade. It is also a WordPress recommended provider.
Aside from WordPress hosting, Bluehost also offers shared hosting, VPS, and dedicated server hosting, which it introduced in 2013. Also, it provides WooCommerce hosting and other professional marketing services.
Now onto Namecheap. Namecheap is known far and wide as the cheapest provider out there. Namecheap is also a private company that was founded in 2000, making it Bluehost's senior. It is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar based in Phoenix, Arizona. The CEO of the company is Richard Kirkendall. Namecheap is a budget hosting provider that has 11 million registered users and over 10 million domains.
Although Namecheap has lower prices, Bluehost is the more popular and better known of the two. Seeing as they both offer similar features, let's dig deeper to see the real difference between these two providers.
Performance and Speed
When choosing a web hosting provider, you must know what kind of performance the provider has. The server network of a provider is the backbone on which your website's speed depends, so you should check it out. Furthermore, everyone appreciates a quick-loading website, so make sure the web server you choose can deliver.
Bluehost is a global service network that provides users with quick and dependable web hosting. When it comes to Bluehost's location and quantity of servers, the corporation isn't totally forthcoming. Bluehost is said to have six data centers in Provo, Utah, Orem, Utah, Mumbai, India, London, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, and Shanghai, China, according to credible sources.
Bluehost automatically chooses the optimal server to store your data based on your geographical location, even though the locations of the data centers are not publicly revealed. This ensures that you get the best possible experience and optimization, even if you aren't sure where your data is stored.
Now we'll discuss speed. Bluehost guarantees a 99.9 percent uptime, which means your website should only be unavailable for 43 minutes and 50 seconds every month in principle. This proportion is typical for web hosting and slightly higher than the industry average of 99.59 percent. As a result, it's reasonable to assume that their speed is accurate. So, the 99.9 percent uptime is the best possible outcome you can get, and Bluehost has it.
Furthermore, as previously stated, Bluehost provides a free Content Delivery Network (CDN), specifically the Cloudflare CDN service, ensuring a genuinely high level of performance.
Bluehost's average load time is 361ms, which is considered excellent and fast.
Now for Namecheap. It has three data centers which are located in the USA, UK, and Europe. Its shared hosting servers, VPS carriers, and Dedicated servers are located in the PhoenixNAP data center in Phoenix, Arizona.
The UK servers are housed in Timico's data center in the Midlands, near Nottingham. The European data center is in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Namecheap allows its users to choose where they want their data stored. And if after a while you change your mind, you can change your data center by contacting the Live Chat option or submitting a ticket to Namecheap's Billing team.
Also, Namecheap offers its customers a free CDN. However, it's the same one as Bluehost's. The CDN that Namecheap offers is Supersonic CDN, which is not as widely known and used as Cloudflare.
Now for speed. Namecheap advertises a 100 percent uptime. It also offers its customers a monthly uptime guarantee for its hosted services. For instance, if you do not get a 100 percent uptime, you will be eligible for a cycle extension when the service is unavailable.
This is all in theory. In practice, however, Namecheap's performance is not quite as advertised. The actual uptime of Namecheap is 99.82 percent, which is above the industry average but still relatively slow and lower than Bluehost's.
The average load time for Namecheap is 1.05s, which is significantly slower than the industry average and even more so than Bluehost's.
So, to sum up, when we look at this category overall, Bluehost is the apparent winner. Even though Namecheap allows its users to transfer their data wherever they want, that comes up short compared to Bluehost's speed and response time. So, the winner – Bluehost!
The Safer Choice
Speed is essential, but it's not everything. Another area where you would want your provider to excel is security and backups. It's crucial to know that your provider can keep your data safe and sound if something unexpected happens. So, let's see how our providers of the day handle security and backups.
When it comes to Namecheap, it offers more tools that protect both servers and websites for free. Bluehost, however, puts a price on standard security features—a good thing here, though, is that both providers offer both SSL certificates and DDoS protection.
Although Namecheap offers more tools for free, Bluehost has the upper hand when it comes to SSL installation as it's way easier to activate SSL with Bluehost than with Namecheap. Additionally, Bluehost offers free Cloudflare CDN, which is considered way better than Supersonic, which Namecheap offers.
Let's see the details. Bluehost has SiteLock, which scans your website for malware, spyware, and other threats every day. As a result, you get round-the-clock network monitoring across all business servers, i.e., 24/7 network monitoring. The supplier also includes Anti-Spam Protection and Two-Factor Authentication. The control panel has SSH Access, IP Blocker, SSL/TLS, Manage API Tokens, Hotlink Protection, and SSL/TLS Status.
Namecheap offers tools that are a bit more advanced. Namecheap has the most advanced hardware and software firewalls, as well as a sophisticated in-house security system. Leech Protect, CodeGuard, Virus scanners, Hotlink protection, WhoisGuard, and SSL Certificates are included.
Also, with Namecheap, two-factor authentication, VPN service, personal privacy, and internet security are all available. You can also take advantage of the TOTP (Time-based One-Time Password) capability. It allows you to protect your account with one-time passwords produced by an app, such as Google Authenticator. Another excellent feature is PremiumDNS. This protection moves your domain to a PremiumDNS platform with 100% DNS uptime and DNS-level DDoS protection.
So, when it comes to security, Namecheap takes it a step further.
Our next stop is backups. The backup policy for Bluehost is a bit different than the rest of the providers and different than Namecheap's. Bluehost offers daily, weekly, and monthly backups for free. It also provides a one-click restore option for data from backups. These backups, on the other hand, aren't guaranteed. Bluehost advises users to create manual backups to ensure that their data is safe.
Another thing that is good to know about Bluehost's backup policy is that you must purchase at least Choice Plus to receive automatic backup options. Alternatively, Bluehost would charge you to do backups for you.
Namecheap is a bit better in the backup sector. They are available for free at Namecheap. The provider, to be more specific, performs two backups per week. You can always ask for a copy of this information. You can, of course, choose to complete one on your own.
However, it should be noted that only the more expensive plans like Stellar Plus and Stellar business come with automatic guaranteed backups. Other Namecheap plans have the same policy as Bluehost, i.e., it does not ensure that it will backup your data more than two times per week.
So, overall, both providers offer good security and backup for their users. If you want to be extra safe with your online presence for a lower price, Namecheap is the safer choice. However, Bluehost's security features are more transparent and of better quality. The only disadvantage is that you have to pay for them.
Who's Better for Beginners?
Now that we know the basic and more advanced features that today's competitors offer, let's see which one is easier for beginners. This category is definitely one of the most important on our list as not every web hosting user is an expert with prior experience. So, it's vital that when you choose a provider, it is a beginner and user-friendly one that won't cause you a headache each time you use it.
Bluehost's cPanel is incredibly user-friendly. It's well-organized and straightforward to operate. Everything is clearly labeled and has an associated icon; all you have to do is choose the icon you want to use. Bluehost is responsible for the rest.
Additionally, Bluehost integrates its cPanel smoothly and has a custom dashboard for beginners with additional features that help with website and business management.
Namecheap also uses cPanel as its primary management tool, and it's pretty easy to use. It also offers a free logo maker. However, its cPanel is not as well organized as Bluehost's, as Namecheap's cPanel has more clutter. Namecheap's numerous ads make it harder for beginners to locate and use the cPanel. Other than this, Namecheap is pretty straightforward to use.
I have to declare Bluehost as the winner for this category, mainly because its cPanel integration is much smoother and easier to navigate than Namecheap's.
Customer support is essential to any business. And when it comes to companies with advanced features that not everyone can understand, it is imperative to have excellent customer service.
When it comes to our two contenders, they both offer good customer support.
Bluehost provides chat support, phone support, forum support, email support, video guides, and a knowledge base software. It has a toll-free number for phone support, and the response time is instant, as you can see from the picture below, and is available 24/7. However, it does not provide an option for support tickets.
When it comes to Namecheap, it also offers 24/7 customer support, live chat support, email, and ticketing. However, it does not have phone support. Namecheap has a very well-organized knowledge base that is easier to navigate than Bluehost's.
This is a very close call as both providers offer good customer support. However, even though Namecheap's knowledge is better organized, Bluehost has more support channels that customers can use. Also, the phone support option is an excellent support tool to have, as it makes solving problems simpler. So, the overall winner has to be Bluehost.
|24/7 Support||via Phone||via Live Chat|
Financial Analysis - Who's Cheaper?
The last and arguably the most important category for some users is the two providers' prices, refunds, and affiliate programs. The time has come to take a closer look at how Namecheap and Bluehost manage in this category.
Seeing as the two providers offer different amounts of plans and different subscription lengths, I will be looking at their entry-level shared hosting plans as a basis for the comparison.
The one thing that jumped at me right off the bat is that Namecheap is significantly cheaper than Bluehost. The plans that Namecheap offers are more inclusive and comprise more features for an affordable price. Also, Namecheap has flexible payment methods and low renewal prices.
The most recommended shared hosting plan out of the three that Namecheap provides and the one that has the best value for money is the Stellar Plus plan.
Namecheap offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is standard for this industry.
Bluehost is a bit on the more expensive side. Bluehost offers four different shared hosting plans with a 12-month and a 36-month billing period. The plan that is recommended and has the best value for money is the Choice Plus plan.
However, when it comes to paying, Bluehost is not quite as flexible as Namecheap, and its renewal prices are considered a bit expensive. Also, the features that Bluehost offers are not entirely worth it, as Namecheap also provides them and for a lower price.
The money-back guarantee for Bluehost is 30 days, the same as Namecheap.
So, Namecheap is the cheaper alternative here. However, the price is not the only important thing here. The features also matter. Both providers offer a free domain for a year and a free SSL certificate in their entry plans. There are differences in the features that these two providers offer in their entry plans, though. Bluehost provides more SSD storage, while Namecheap allows up to three website connections for its entry plan. Also, both providers offer sound promotional prices and deals to attract more customers.
So, it depends on what you need. However, Namecheap's entry plans are cheaper and are also more inclusive than Bluehost's. Moreover, even though Bluehost offers attractive promos and discounts, the fact that Namecheap is cheaper, to begin with automatically makes its deals more affordable than Bluehost's.
Now let's talk about the affiliate programs these providers have.
For each qualified hosting sale that their affiliates make, Bluehost pays a hefty commission to their new affiliates. The signup process is simple and completely free. In just a few minutes, you can sign up for an affiliate program and begin making money. Bluehost typically accepts 95 percent of all applications. After you've been approved, Bluehost will send you a unique affiliate link, which you can use to promote Bluehost on social media and your site. The best part is that you can earn as much as you want in commissions. Bluehost will make the process even easier for you by providing personalized campaigns, promotional resources, and precise tracking. Payments are made via PayPal 45-60 days following the end of the month in which the sales were made.
Bluehost also pays a higher commission than usual per transaction to well-known and well-established bloggers and affiliates.
With Namecheap, you can sign up for one of the three affiliate programs it offers. After it approves your applications, you get access to text links and banners with your affiliate ID. Then, you use your ID to refer to Namecheap pages or choose one of Namecheap's banners. You show the link or banner you chose on your website, email, or social media. You get a commission for each order a customer makes based on your sharing of the link or banner. Namecheap has different commissions for different products.
Both providers have very different but great affiliate programs. However, most customers usually go with Bluehost's program first and then become an affiliate with Namecheap. So, based on customer reviews, Bluehost is the winner here.
Now, let's briefly go over the main features that our competitors offer to their customers.
Overall Summary of Categories
|Ease of use||Smoothly integrated cPanel with a custom dashboard||Original cPanel integration|
|Uptime||99.9 %||99.82 %|
|Security||Anti-Spam Protection, Two-Factor Authentication, SiteLock||Leech Protect, CodeGuard, Virus scanners, Hotlink protection, WhoisGuard,two-factor authentication, TOTP|
|Support||24/7 live chat and Phone||24/7 live chat and ticketing system|
And the Crown Goes To – Bluehost!
This article is an example that cheaper is not always the way to go. While Namecheap is the most affordable web hosting provider available today, Bluehost offers much higher quality to its customers. It's easier to use, and it has superior performance and higher quality security. Also, its dashboard is better organized than Namecheap's.
Namecheap does come on top in a few categories, such as lower prices and a better knowledge base. It also does an excellent job where domain registration is concerned. However, these categories cannot compete against all Bluehost does better. So, overall, the winner is Bluehost!
However, when it comes to these providers, each is good for different things. So, if you are looking for cheap, affordable web hosting and are more concentrated on domains, Namecheap is the one for you.
But if you are looking for a web hosting provider with unlimited resources, a more beginner-friendly dashboard, and seamless WordPress integration, then you should pick Bluehost.