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Namecheap Hosting Review

What is Namecheap?

Namecheap started as a domain name registration company, and it specialized in offering domain names at a low price. That explains the name. However, over the years, the company has moved on to provide additional services that include hosting. There are various types of hosting available with Namecheap.

When it comes to domain name registration, Namecheap is a highly recommended option. However, when it comes to hosting, the company leaves a lot to desire. They need to improve on their uptime, and of course, their customer support team needs to do better.

QUICK VERDICT: RECOMMENDED

Namecheap offers fast SSD storage and websites hosted on their shared hosting servers have excellent speed in Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom test. They hosting solutions are cheap and come with free SSL and free site migration. Their customer support could have been slightly better, but that’s not a big deterrent.

Namecheap is a brilliant company when it comes to buying a domain name. They are among one of the cheapest domain name registration companies you can find today. What’s interesting is that when other domain registrars charge money for WhoisGuard (privacy protection), they offer that feature for free.

Not a long time ago, they started offering web hosting services, too! That turned some eyes and people flocked towards the company considering that it is one of the oldest companies and had an established name.

The company offers various types of hosting solutions that include the most famous Shared Hosting. They also offer Managed WordPress Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, and Reseller Hosting.

I went out to test the shared hosting service of Namecheap because that is the one that people starting out their website journey usually prefer. A few interesting things came to my notice when I started reviewing Namecheap hosting.

The first thing I noted is that there are many people and review websites that have repeatedly complained about slow website speed and poor uptime. Well, those that claim about poor uptime barely show any data. They give a set of numbers with not proof whatsoever. So, I don’t believe them.

Even I don’t give uptime data and neither do I speak about it in my reviews. The reason is simple! Be reasonable! Reviewing a hosting’s uptime requires months of study, which in turn translates into a long-term subscription, and hence, a lot of money. Who does that?

I usually prefer going by what the company says and often use Jetpack to get notified about any downtime. In last 40 days of usage, I didn’t receive a single email from Jetpack warning me of a downtime. So, I cannot say for sure whether Namecheap fails to offer 99.9% uptime or not.

However, I was definitely able to test their website load time and it was very acceptable, scoring well over 90 for both mobile and desktop using Google PageSpeed Insights.

In this review, I will start with website load speed and then move on to speak about it the features available with Namecheap share hosting and finally conclude after talking about the pros and cons. Sounds good?

Let’s start!

Website Speed Test

Before I start with the load speed results, here is quick look at the domain registered with Namecheap and the hosting package in use:

The domain in question is acasualaffiliate.com and the hosting package in question is Stellar, which is their lowest shared hosting package. I installed WordPress on the domain using Softaculous installer through the cPanel.

The current configuration of the website includes:

  • GeneratePress theme.
  • GeneratePress Premium plugin.
  • Loginizer plugin to limit the login attempts.

There are no ads running on the website. There’s no SEO plugin installed. The content on the website is imported demo content provided by GeneratePress site library. I didn’t even install or add Google Analytics code on the website. There is no CDN either!

Typically, with this kind of setup, your website should be loading super-fast because there shouldn’t be anything to slow down your website.

So, here are my test results…

Google PageSpeed Insights [MOBILE]

This could have improved if I added a CDN. However, without CDN, the speed looks impressive. What you should know that the moment you add things like Google Analytics, SEO plugin, caching plugin, etc. the results will change.

However, I did notice that the server response time was not up to the mark. Usually, your server should respond in less than 500 milliseconds. In this case, the story was different. Here is what I found:

The server took 690 milliseconds to respond, which is more than what google recommends.

Now, I went on to add a couple of more plugins. This is how the results change after adding SEO plugin (Yoast) and a cache plugin (WP Fastest Cache):

There was only a one-point improvement in speed. Not so significant improvement, but still some improvement. This could further improve by adding a CDN. However, I don’t intend to do so as my target is to find out how fast the website loads under normal circumstances.

Google PageSpeed Insights [DESKTOP]

This is what I found on desktop before adding those two plugins:

That was an impressive speed. Once I added the two plugins, this is what I found:

Again, there was a slight improvement in speed after the caching plugin was added and I enabled options like combining CSS, JS, and HTML files.

That’s quite some speed for a shared hosting server.

Now, what will GTmetrix say? Since GTmetrix actually incorporated Lighthouse (Google PageSpeed Insights) recently, it is worth taking a look at the website performance on GTmetrix.

GTmetrix Test Result

Here is what I found on GTmetrix:

That’s incredible speed on GTmetrix!

Pingdom Test Result

Okay, what about Pingdom test? I don’t really trust Pingdom anyway, but still, here are the results for your convenience:

Pingdom results are also quite impressive, to say the least.

Like it or not, those who have been claiming of slow website loading times were wrong. They failed to not only show true test results, but also failed to mention anything about the website configuration that they tested.

You need to remember a few things if you want to gain fast loading times on all three platforms, especially Google PageSpeed Insights:

  • Use the only and only the plugins that are absolutely necessary.
  • Use a proper caching plugin that will allow you to cache your website’s static resources.
  • If you are adding scripts like Google Analytics, put them on your website footer (not the header).
  • Use ads wisely. I will suggest that you use asynchronously loading ads or ads that have lazy loading feature.
  • Make sure that you are using optimized images (especially WebP version).
  • Use a proper CDN. I will recommend Cloudflare which will not only provide you with CDN for free, but will also provide DDoS protection. If possible, get a premium subscription to add features like Web Application Firewall, advanced caching (including Rocket Loader), etc.
  • Use a very well-coded and lightweight theme. I recommend GeneratePress to anyone who is looking for a very fast and user-friendly theme. Even this website (Cloudzat) uses GeneratePress theme.

Alright, now that I have shown you that Namecheap shared hosting is not really slow as claimed by others, it is time to move on to the features available with Namecheap.

Namecheap Shared Hosting Features

Namecheap offers some exciting features for its shared hosting plans. Let’s go through those features.

SSD Storage

Though it is rare, some shared hosting providers do offer SSD storage. Namecheap is one of them. SSD storage is faster than the traditional spinning drives. SSD drives to help to improve the website load speed.

However, looking at the server response time, I figured out that Namecheap doesn’t offer NVMe SSD. Instead they offer SATA SSD. NVMe SSDs are six times faster than SATA SSDs. The Stellar Business plan that they offer has cloud-based SSD storage.

Free SSL

The company offers 50 free Positive SSL certificates against every shared hosting plan. The free SSL is good enough for simple blogs and websites. In case you are trying to build an e-commerce store on Namecheap hosting, I will suggest that you opt for a premium SSL certificate.

The bad part of Namecheap’s free SSL is that you will get it for one year only. After one year, you have to pay for it. I had a notion that like the free SSL from Let’s Encrypt that requires renewal every 3 months, the free SSL from Namecheap will also require frequent renewals.

Because of the confusion, I decided to ask their support team. This is the conversation I had:

In case you are wondering about the price of the SSL certificate, here is the complete list:

Unmetered Bandwidth

The company also offers unmetered bandwidth, but you have to stay within their Acceptable Usage Policy for server resources. Those restrictions imply that you will be allowed to use up to a certain limit of their total server resources.

In case you want to know the resource usage restrictions, here is the full list:

Backups

Backup feature is available for all shared hosting plans. For the lowest plan (Stellar), you will get to take two backups every week. However, for the Stellar Plus and Stellar Business plans, you will get to take two backups every week and there will be provisions for automatic backups.

cPanel

Purchasing a shared hosting plan will give you access to the famous cPanel that will allow you to manage your website directly from your browser. There is nothing different in how their cPanel looks from other shared hosting providers. In case you want to take a look at the cPanel, here is how it looks like:

The cPanel is a great addition because it allows to perform numerous tasks that include things like one-click WordPress installation, email account creation and management, FTP account creation and management, access phpMyAdmin, PHP version selection, subdomain addition, leech and hotlink protection, etc.

cPanel is an incredibly powerful tool and it even has a file manager that allows accessing your website files with ease.

Softaculous

Softaculous is a part of cPanel and it allows one-click installation of various web applications including WordPress. However, I will not suggest using any random web application, because most of the options you get there ill-coded. Certain options like WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart, etc. are fine.

Website Builder

Namecheap has its own version of a drag-and-drop website builder that allows you to create simple websites quickly. If you want a simple blog and you are not comfortable using codes, you can use this website builder. I will, however, never recommend it for building complex sites or if you are extremely serious about your website.

Assuming that you will be installing WordPress on Namecheap hosting, you don’t have to worry about codes anyway. WordPress is extremely user-friendly, and you can purchase premium themes that will provide extreme amounts of flexibility in website layout design without making you touch codes!

Email and Webmail

You can create personalized domain-based email accounts with Namecheap shared hosting without any additional cost. This is a great feature because it lets you create professional business emails.

You can access your emails from their webmail or you can configure and email client of your choice to use the email accounts you create.

SpamAssassin

They will throw in a tool called SpamAssassin for all their shared hosting plans. This tool helps to protect your website against spam. It is a server-side tool, which means that you don’t have to install it on your website, which can lead to website slowdown. You can install it directly on your server through cPanel.

PHP Version Selection

The cPanel you get with your hosting package will provide you the option of selecting the PHP version with ease. The company provides support for up to version 7.3. The latest version is 7.4, but 7.3 is just fine, because WordPress and most of its plugins support require PHP version 6 and above. So, as long as you are using PHP version 7.3, you should not run into any trouble.

Moreover, you need to know that the latest PHP versions are faster and helps in faster database queries, which eventually translate into faster load times.

Free Migration

Free website migration is a standard practice among shared hosting providers. The reason why they offer this service is that they are getting a new customer while some other host is losing one. So, it makes sense that they provide free migration in return of the money they are going to earn from the incoming customer.

In the case of Namecheap, they offer a free migration with expert help. This means that you will not be using an automated migration plugin. Automated migration plugins can return errors due to many technical reasons. Human-based migrations eliminate such errors.

Namecheap offers human-based migrations and they promise to offer a zero-downtime migration within 24 hours. However, you need to make sure that the site you are trying to migrate is hosted on a platform where you use cPanel.

Money-Back Guarantee

Namecheap offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with their services. However, you need to make sure that you are asking for a refund within 30 days from the date of purchase. If, for some reason, the 30-day period is over, you will not get any refund.

Also, if you receive a free domain (available with Stellar Business) and you want to get a refund within the first 30 days, Namecheap will deduct the price of that domain if you want to keep it.

Pricing Structure of Namecheap

There are only three different shared hosting plans to select from. Here is a quick list of different plans, their prices and the major features available:

Stellar Plan

  • Price: $1.44 per month (2-year plan) | $1.58 per month (1-year plan) | 2.88 per month (monthly billing).
  • Storage: 20 GB SSD.
  • Websites: 3.
  • MySQL Databases Allowed: 50.
  • Email Accounts: 30.
  • Mailing Lists: 10
  • Bandwidth: Unmetered.
  • Inode: 300,000
  • SSL: Free for one year.
  • Migration: Free.
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30 days.
  • US Data Center: Free.
  • UK Data Center: $1 per month.
  • Dedicated IP: $2 per month.
  • PCI Compliance: No.
  • Personal Nameservers: No.
  • Uptime Guarantee: 100%.

Stellar Plus Plan

  • Price: $2.44 per month (2-year plan) | $2.68 per month (1-year plan) | $4.88 per month (monthly billing).
  • Storage: Unmetered SSD.
  • Websites: Unlimited.
  • MySQL Databases Allowed: Unlimited.
  • Email Accounts: Unlimited.
  • Mailing Lists: Unlimited.
  • Bandwidth: Unmetered.
  • Inode: 300,000
  • SSL: Free for one year.
  • Migration: Free.
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30 days.
  • US Data Center: Free.
  • UK Data Center: $1 per month.
  • Dedicated IP: $2 per month.
  • PCI Compliance: No.
  • Personal Nameservers: No.
  • Uptime Guarantee: 100%.

Stellar Business Plan

  • Price: $4.44 per month (2-year plan) | $4.80 per month (1-year plan) | $8.88 per month (monthly billing).
  • Storage: 50 GB SSD (Cloud-based).
  • Websites: Unlimited.
  • MySQL Databases Allowed: Unlimited.
  • Email Accounts: Unlimited.
  • Mailing Lists: Unlimited.
  • Bandwidth: Unmetered.
  • Inode: 600,000
  • SSL: Free for one year.
  • Migration: Free.
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30 days.
  • US Data Center: Free.
  • UK Data Center: $1 per month.
  • Dedicated IP: $2 per month.
  • PCI Compliance: Yes.
  • Personal Nameservers: Yes.
  • Uptime Guarantee: 100%.

Pros and Cons of Namecheap

Like every hosting provider in this world Namecheap has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. In this segment of Namecheap review, I am going to give you quick lists of those strengths and weaknesses. Read on…

The Pros

  • Cheap hosting solution.
  • Easy domain management interface.
  • Clean and fast cPanel.
  • Fast website loading times.
  • SSD storage for all shared hosting plans. Cloud-based SSD storage for the Stellar Business plan.
  • Free SSL certificate for a year.
  • Free email accounts with all shared hosting plan.
  • Multiple PHP versions available.
  • MySQL database.
  • Unmetered bandwidth with some limitations.
  • Free website builder tool.
  • One-click WordPress installation.
  • Free website migration.
  • 24 x 7 chat support.
  • 24 x 7 email support.
  • Knowledge base available.
  • Free backups.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Cons

  • Server response time could have been better.
  • Doesn’t offer NVMe SSD.
  • Has a file limit of 300,000 files for both Stellar and Stellar Plus plans. For Stellar Business plan, the file limit is set at 600,000.
  • SSL has to be purchased after one year.
  • Very high renewal prices (almost 200% hike).

Namecheap Customer Service

As I mentioned earlier, they have 24 x 7 customer service available through both chat and email support. I have tested their live chat support, and they have responded pretty quickly.

However, the people sitting on the other side of your computer will appear to be less-knowledgeable, and they almost always respond in a way where it appears that you are talking to some robot or someone who has been trained to answer the way they do.

Of course, the customer service area is a grey area where Namecheap can improve a bit.

Conclusion and Verdict

Do I recommend Namecheap? Yes, I do!

Unlike what other review websites say, I found that the page loading time for a website hosted with Namecheap is incredible. In fact, that’s the type of speed that every webmaster wants to achieve. You can further improve your website speed by adding a reputed CDN provider like Cloudflare.

The features available are also decent and at par with some of the industry leaders like GreenGeeks, Bluehost, etc. In short, I found Namecheap to be a reliable hosting provider. However, I have been testing Namecheap for only 40 days now, and commenting on its uptime or downtime is not a wise thing to do. I have never faced a downtime in last 40 days of usage. People out there have reported downtimes. I cannot refute their claims.

Overall, I will recommend using Namecheap. It is reliable, user-friendly, and feature-rich. Just make sure that the website you are building is a simple blog or a very basic online store (if that is what you want to build).

In general, shared hosting services are not great for big or complex websites. They aren’t suitable for sites with large user base (that’s heavy traffic). If you are thinking of migrating a popular site to Namecheap, you better settle for their VPS solution or one of their powerful managed WordPress hosting solutions.