Tuesday 11th December 2018

Namecheap Review

Good uptime, features and value for money but no free domain and response time is average to poor;

  • Their annual prices are excellent value for money; unlike most hosts, we’re informed their packages renew for the same price they’re purchased for;
  • Uptime is average however response time is poor;
  • They offer a 30 day money back guarantee and the best uptime guarantee of any host we’ve reviewed (100%); their I/O restriction is also the best we’ve reviewed (6.5MB/s);
  • They offer a free domain but it must be a .website registration; they also offer SSD drives as well as free backups (but only on a twice weekly, not daily, basis).

Namecheap Review

Good uptime, features and value for money but no free domain and response time is average to poor;

  • Their annual prices are excellent value for money; unlike most hosts, we’re informed their packages renew for the same price they’re purchased for;
  • Uptime is average however response time is poor;
  • They offer a 30 day money back guarantee and the best uptime guarantee of any host we’ve reviewed (100%); their I/O restriction is also the best we’ve reviewed (6.5MB/s);
  • They offer a free domain but it must be a .website registration; they also offer SSD drives as well as free backups (but only on a twice weekly, not daily, basis).

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Latest rankings

We performance test the world's biggests hosts on a second-by-second basis. The top 3 performers for July 2018 are listed below.

Host Uptime Response time
HostGator 100% 390
Bluehost 100% 502
Hostinger 100% 513

Overview

As implied by the name, Namecheap leads on price. They are one of the cheapest web hosts we’ve reviewed and offer a great set of features for the price. It’s also evident, based on their features, they’re trying, as a relatively new web host, really hard to win your custom.

However, like with all hosts, there are limitations.

Uptime is good but not great – other web hosts we’ve reviewed perform better (e.g. HostGator and Bluehost, but both of these have their downsides too). That said, the hosts that perform better are also upwards of double the price.

Its response time is also poor (it’s typically more than 1 second).

Namecheap claims to host fewer customers per server than other web hosts and, based on their usage restrictions, we believe them. There CPU usage restrictions appear broadly on par with other hosts and their I/O restriction is the best of any host we’ve reviewed.

However, the downsides: you can only host 3 websites, entry processes are restricted to 20 (some hosts set this to 100), the lack of a free domain from a popular TLD adds $10 to the price and they don’t provide free SSL.

Latest uptime

Month Uptime Response time
January 2018 99.88% 1368ms
February 2018 99.88% 1751ms
March 2018 99.96% 1754ms
April 2018 99.96% 1568ms
May 2018 99.99% 1533ms
June 2018 100% 1305ms
July 2018 99.94% 632ms

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Monthly price1

$2.88

Annual price2

$24.88

Free domain4

Yes, but only .website

Bandwidth/data transfer

Unmetered

The not-so-small small print

1Many web hosts advertise monthly prices but don't allow you to pay monthly. If you can't actually pay monthly we don't display a monthly price.

2This metric lists the annual price for packages paid 12 months in advance. It doesn't calculate the cost of packages paid monthly for 12 months.

3This is what it costs to renew a package paid annually in the second year. Most hosts increase prices for the second and each subsequent year.

4A "free domain" may sound like an enticing offer but keep in mind its costs will often be subtracted from a refund and some web hosts charge significantly more for renewals than registrations.

5Most web hosts display their uptime guarantees to one decimal point e.g. 99.9% is actually 99.90%. While some uptime guarantees look more attractive e.g. 100%, it's the compensation terms - how much they pay you if they fail to honor it - that matter.

Namecheap alternatives

Excellent uptime and response time but offers poor customer service and lacks essential features.

Annual price

$59.88

Uptime

99.99%

Nothing spectacular, nothing truly terrible. They're expensive relative to other web hosts.

Annual price

£94.99

Uptime

99.93%

1&1

Solid uptime but limited customer service, excessive legalese and overbearing restrictions.

Annual price

$11.88

Uptime

99.97%

Variable but often good uptime; very good response time; excellent value but lacking core features.

Annual price

$39.00

Uptime

99.94%

Pricing

They advertise their Stellar hosting package for $2.88 per month and they confused us slightly because:

  1. Unlike most hosts, they actually allow you to pay $2.88 per month for hosting; and
  2. They don’t appear to ramp up the price in subsequent months.

The same hosting package paid 12 months in advance is $24.88.

Again, they’ve confused us slightly with their annual pricing because, unlike most hosts, they claim they don’t increase the price upon renewal i.e. they aren’t offering an introductory rate – the annual rate advertised is the rate you pay for the first year and all subsequent years.

This is excellent and compares favourably to other web hosts who increase their prices by upwards of 150% when it comes to renewing for a second year.

Moreover, the same web hosts advertise monthly fees without either allowing you to pay monthly or informing you, once you’ve progressed through checkout, that you only qualify for the advertised monthly rate if you pay x number of months in advance.

It isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, however. They offer a free domain however it’s a .website i.e. an extension nobody wants (or should want). .com registrations are priced at $10.69.

That said, unlike many hosts domains appear to renew at the same price and, best of all, Namecheap offers free domain privacy (a number of web hosts charge up to $15 for domain privacy).

Another downside is their money back guarantee, which is only 30 days (HostGator offers 45 days, Dreamhost offers 97 days and A2 Hosting claims “anytime”).

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Annual price

$24.88

Free domain?

Yes, but only .website

Compare web hosts

We compare 17 web hosts against 56 metrics, including monthly and annual pricing and bandwidth, CPU, read/write, storage and database restrictions.

Technical

We’re trying really hard to fault their technical restrictions however, when compared relative to other hosts and in particular consideration of the price of their Stellar package, we’re struggling (kind of).

I/O is capped at 6.5MB/s (it’s listed as 50Mb/s) and they hand you 20GB of SSD storage. The 2nd best I/O restriction is GreenGeeks, which caps it at 4MB/s (and charges nearly three times as much as Namecheap).

Entry processes (the maximum number of simultaneous script executions) are restricted to 20 – GreenGeeks and other web hosts restrict this at 100. Likewise, Namecheap’s CPU limit is set at 20% and other, more expensive hosts, set it at 25%.

One downside is they don’t offer free SSL (unlike a lot of other web hosts). This is problematic in an age when Google Chrome, which has a marketshare of 60%, is marking all non-HTTPS websites as “not secure” in its address bar.

Likewise, without free SSL you won’t be able to take advantage of HTTP/2.

Overall, we’re impressed.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

CPU usage restriction?

Yes

CPU usage restriction

20%

Number of CPU cores

NS

I/O restriction

6.5MB/s

Bandwidth

Unmetered

Storage restriction

50GB

RAM restriction

1,024MB

Database size restriction

NS

No. of websites restriction

10

Compare features

Annual price

Compare all 18 hosts by what it costs if you pay 12 months in advance.

Host Annual price
SiteGround $47.40
Bluehost $59.40
Hostinger $39.00

Free domain?

Compare all 18 hosts by whether they offer a free domain with new hosting subscriptions.

Host Free domain?
FatCow Yes
A2 Hosting No
HostGator Yes

Offers HTTP/2?

HTTP/2 was the first update to the HTTP protocol in 20 years. See which hosts support it.

Host Supports HTTP/2?
Just Host No
GoDaddy No
SiteGround Yes

Entry processes

Learn more about, and compare 18 hosts by, limitations placed on entry processes.

Host Entry processes
InMotion 20
GreenGeeks 100
Namecheap 20

Service

Namecheap offers a 100% uptime guarantee. This is unusual relative to other web hosts, which tend to offer guarantees between 99.00% and 99.90%. They claim they’ll provide 1 day of additional service for each hour of downtime experience (up to a maximum of one month).

This contrasts with hosts like HostGator, which offers one month of compensation in the event they fail to meet their uptime guarantee (HostGator’s uptime guarantee is 99.90%).

The lowest Namecheap’s uptime has fallen in our testing so far is 99.94%.

Unlike a number of hosts (InMotion in particular) their uptime guarantee also applies to ALL shared hosting accounts, however they are very careful to define what specifically qualifies as ‘downtime’ e.g., a DDoS attack doesn’t qualify).

Again, unlike a number of hosts, e.g. Bluehost, Namecheap also offers free website migrations; however, to take advantage of the offer your previous web host must be utilizing cPanel.

They also offer free twice weekly backups; however, these are predominantly for server restoration purposes though they do state you can contact them about restoring your website if required. They also offer a standalone daily backup service for $2.50 per month.

Lastly, they’re fairly strong on customer service.

Namecheap’s ticketing support is responsive; a number of hosting providers can take hours – if not days – to respond, however Namecheap got back to us within an hour (42 minutes).

This said, it can be a bit confusing to submit a ticket. Their support platform is on a different subdomain to their main web hosting control panel, and when you access it you have to login again to submit a ticket.

 

They also ask for a lot of irrelevant information before they allow you to submit your ticket (e.g. your domain name, your username and your hosting package; we’re not sure why this information isn’t automatically available to them after we authenticate).

We tested their live chat earlier this year, and they responded to us within 2 minutes.

Their admin panel overall is slightly mishmash and perhaps characterizes their transition from a domain registrar into a web host and a domain registrar, e.g., it can be a bit of a challenge finding an interface to manage your hosting package as everything is categorized by domain name.

The labels they use inside their admin panel aren’t particularly intuitive either e.g. in the primary navigation from the dashboard they have a label “products,” which leads to pages about SSL certificates.

Hostinger provides by far the most intuitive admin panel we’ve used to date.

Key data

Click on a metric to compare the performance of all 18 hosts, or learn more.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Uptime guarantee

100%

Live chat support

Yes

Ticket/email support

Yes

Phone support

No