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Free domain, SSL, dedicated IP, and automatic backups for all sites
Reliable uptime with state-of-the-art hardware and technology
Full-featured Linux cPanel packed with tools
Free website migration and website builder
Set up process is cumbersome with too many steps during checkout
Speed tests show lower-than-average speeds
Skimpy dashboard with confusing navigation
Customer support is hit or miss
The results of our Namecheap hosting review can be summed up in two words: great value! Not only do they offer inexpensive web hosting, but they also throw in a ton of valuable extras which tipped the scales for us in terms of a good product versus a great one.
Namecheap has been in business for almost twenty years, and they are best known for their cheap domains and SSLs. In addition to acting as a domain registrar, they also offer a slew of hosting packages that include shared web hosting, WordPress, VPS, reseller hosting, and dedicated servers. They even have clearance servers for sale.
Each of their hosting products is tiered with allocations for specific resources. However, all their hosting packages come standard with the Linux cPanel, a free website builder which is actually quite good, a free domain, and a PositiveSSL certificate. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, free backups, and free migration of your old site.
Keep reading to see more of our full-review and find out how Namecheap stacked up.
The results of our Namecheap hosting review can be summed up in two words: great value!
Namecheap offers tiered plans for all types of web hosting needs. We tested their shared hosting plans, but they also provide WordPress managed hosting, VPS and dedicated servers, and reseller hosting. To date, they do not yet offer any cloud hosting options.
Here are the tiers of shared hosting you can get from Namecheap:
Stellar: This entry-level plan provides 20 GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, 30 email addresses, and allows you to host up to three domains. It costs $2.88 per month if you pay monthly, or $1.44 per month if you commit to a year in advance.
Stellar Plus: The next step up provides unlimited storage, unmetered bandwidth, unlimited email addresses, and allows you to host an unlimited number of domains. This plan will set you back $4.88 per month if you pay monthly, or $2.44 per month if you pay for a year in advance.
Stellar Business: This business-oriented plan drops your storage back to 50 GB, but it provides necessary business features like PCI compliance, accelerators to speed your site up, and priority support. This plan costs $8.88 if you pay monthly or $4.44 if you commit to a year in advance.
In addition to tiered shared hosting, Namecheap also offers managed and shared WordPress hosting, tiered virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and tiered dedicated server hosting. Namecheap also offers reseller hosting if you want to set up your own hosting business or sell hosting to clients.
All of Namecheap’s hosting products use an Apache Linux server running version 2.X. You will find the following preinstalled when you sign up and first access your account:
In addition, some plans have access to:
Each server uses state-of-the-art hardware employing Dell PowerEdge M1000e Blade Enclosure technology with complete redundancy for all systems in case of malfunction or failure.
Depending on the plan you choose, storage may be limited. The lowest tier shared hosting, and the top tier are both limited respectively to 20 GB and 50 GB. However, the mid-range plan is unmetered for storage.
The 20 GB offered with the lowest tier should be enough for most small-medium sized businesses and blogs. They do allow you to host three websites on that plan and provide unlimited parked domains along with thirty subdomains.
Namecheap wants your business, and it shows!
One of the nice features of the tiered hosting plans offered by Namecheap is that they offer unlimited bandwidth with all of their plans. As with any shared web hosting environment, speeds will vary. However, business plans to have access to some options that can speed things up.
The only real disappointment with Namecheap was the registration process. We had to fill out three forms before we could checkout and pay for our new hosting plan. We feel strongly that this process could be simplified and streamlined to just one page like other web hosts.
The first step is creating an account; then you have to fill in your name, address, email, and phone number before entering payment information. The process was over and done with fast enough, but it was too complicated.
Namecheap’s dashboard is very basic and fairly easy to navigate, although we did get lost a couple of times trying to find the website cPanel. Your purchased products show in a handy list with drop-down links to manage things like domain DNS and SSL certificates. Once you click Manage on the hosting server, there are buttons everywhere linking you to the Linux cPanel. The control panel is also beefed up with some extras that we were very excited about.
Namecheap has supplemented the standard Linux cPanel with some great additional features. First off, we love the two-factor authentication to keep things safe. Next, they provide a free website builder that was surprisingly robust with over 200 professional themes, and they provide a high-end SSL which you can easily set-up from inside your cPanel.
Namecheap offers one-click installs for dozens of CMS platforms like Magento, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, PrestaShop, and many others. They also have a link to Google Apps in the cPanel, which allows you to use Gmail and other integrated apps without having to leave the cPanel. We also loved the automatic backups feature. With other web hosting providers we have reviewed you generally pay extra for this feature.
Namecheap has supplemented the standard Linux cPanel with some great additional features.
The main Namecheap account dashboard does not offer any option for setting up multiple users or profiles. However, they do use the Linux cPanel which allows you to set up unlimited users with restricted permissions for access to some or all parts of your hosting server.
The cPanel administration feature is handy when you hire a web developer and need to provide them with access but don’t want them to be able to log into your main account, which may host other products and services. Additionally, they supplement the cPanel with two-factor authentication for enhanced security, which is another nice feature to keep things safe.
We were impressed by the fact that Namecheap includes a robust email package in their lowest-tier plan. Additionally, they provide email forwarding service, autoresponders, SpamAssassin, SPF, domain keys, and Spam Experts to keep your email safe from hacking and unwanted spam.
Another huge bonus when you host with Namecheap is the automatic backups feature. We have found this to be an upsell with most other hosting vendors. It is really nice to see a company include that as part of their base package. You can also perform manual backups at any time from the integrated cPanel.
Namecheap throws in a lot of free extras that make their hosting packages a superior value.For example, everyone is required to have an SSL for their website. So, when Namecheap included a PositiveSSL for no extra charge, it went a long way with us.
Namecheap provides a support center with a large knowledge base that you can use to try and solve your own problems, but they also have agents standing by to help you in real time through their web chat system. There are no guaranteed hours for the web chat, but we found responses to be timely during our testing.
In addition to live web chat, Namecheap also has a ticket based system for problems that don't require real-time assistance. This allows you to fill out a ticket and receive a solution later without having to wait around.
Namecheap provides an explicit uptime guarantee that's codified in writing. They promise an uptime of 100% for all shared hosting, all business hosting, and all dedicated servers. Reseller and VPS accounts receive a slightly lower 99.9% uptime guarantee.
If your server goes down, you have to contact Namecheap so that a representative can confirm the outage. If they do, you'll receive one extra day added to your subscription for each hour that the server is down. This is one of the better guarantees that we've seen.
Namecheap’s shared hosting prices fall on the low end of the scale, and they also toss in a bunch of freebies like an SSL, dedicated IP address, free domain, automatic backups, and a great website builder.
They offer tiered packages across all types of web hosting. For their shared hosting, prices range from a couple dollars for a plan that's perfectly adequate most small sites up to $8.88/mo for a really robust package. The best bang for your buck though is the mid-range plan at $4.88/mo if you don't need business-specific features.
Both Namecheap and Hostgator offer similar hosting plans for similar tiered pricing schedules. Namecheap really comes out ahead on their monthly pricing through, making this one of the better choices if you can't afford to pay for a big chunk of time all at once.
For example, the entry-level Stellar plan costs $1.44 per month if you pay for 12 months in advance, but it's still just $2.88 per month if you pay monthly. Hostgator's entry level Hatchling plan is $2.75 per month if you pay for three years in advance, but it's a massive hike to $10.95 per month if you pay monthly.
The Hatchling plan is a little more robust than the Stellar plan, but the difference in pricing is quite obvious.
We also found Namecheap to be much easier to dig into. The back-end interface was so smooth, and we never encountered any issues. Namecheap does stumble a bit in the area of customer service, which is an area where we found Hostgator to excel.
Namecheap surprised us. Overall, we were thrilled with Namecheap’s shared hosting packages, simple, yet intuitive interface and bucketload of extras to enhance the value. Our only disappointments were the registration process was lengthy, and customer service via chat was hit or miss at times. Other than that, we found the speeds and uptime to be more than adequate, the pricing to be excellent, and we highly recommend either the Stellar or Stellar Plus packaged for small- medium sized business customers.