Namecheap review: Snapshot
You shouldn’t expect too many advanced features if you decide to use Namecheap. It does come with a neat website builder, the Softaculous one-click installer, a built-in CDN (content delivery network), and automatic backups, but there’s little else worth noting.
Competitors such as Hostinger, which offers similarly-priced hosting, and GoDaddy—a little more expensive—come with a much greater range of tools. For example, Hostinger is known for its excellent security features, which is something that Namecheap doesn’t really focus on.
As our Namecheap review shows, though, it’s a solid hosting provider that attracts people because of its low prices. Really, you will be doing well to find comparable hosting solutions for a lower price.
Read on for our full and detailed review
|Pros||- Some of the lowest prices we’ve seen - cPanel control panel - Highly configurable VPS solutions||- Excellent security across the board - Neat hPanel control panel - Leading budget hosting solutions||- Wide selection of hosting solutions - Decent live chat and phone support - Linux and Windows options|
|Cons||- Limited advanced tools or features - Very poor shared hosting performance||- High-end options are effectively absent - Storage and bandwidth are limited||- At the expensive end of the spectrum - Performance is average at best|
|Verdict||Namecheap sits right up alongside the cheapest web hosts in the world, but it does fall down on the performance front.||Although it lacks high-end options, Hostinger remains a clear leader in the world of budget web hosting.||Despite offering a wide range of hosting products, GoDaddy’s underpowered plans and fairly high prices are a little concerning.|
|View deals||Visit site||Visit site||Visit site|
Unfortunately, Namecheap is far from the most advanced web hosting provider we’ve used. It lacks certain tools and management features. There are still a few things worth outlining, though.
For one, Namecheap offers the Softaculous one-click installer, which enables you to install a range of scripts with minimal effort. These include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and various other popular apps.
Users will also benefit from the attractive automatic backup tool. This is available with all plans except the cheapest shared hosting option, and it enables you to schedule automatic backups for your website and all of its data and files.
Namecheap: key features and highlights
There’s a free website builder included with all shared hosting plans. This is a little basic, but it features a drag-and-drop editor, more than 200 intuitive templates, and the ability to import your existing website for editing. You can also add ecommerce payment gateways and multi-lingual support, among other things.
The Supersonic content delivery network (CDN) is another neat feature. This is designed to help you deliver your content as fast as possible by loading it from a nearby CDN server rather than your hosting server. All shared plans come with free access to the Supersonic CDN, which includes basic DDoS protection and up to 50GB of traffic per month. Premium plans are also available for those with more traffic.
Namecheap provides basic information about product and software updates via its native blog. Here, you will find a range of different types of content, including the aforementioned updates, informational articles, and eye-catching news from across the web.
Unfortunately, however, the most recent product update is from February 2020, which means that it could be quite outdated already. It also didn’t provide a whole lot of information. Two-factor authentication was added for private email accounts, and .club domains were released via the company’s domain registration portal.
On the whole, Namecheap is a reputable and widely-used hosting provider that we expect to remain at the forefront of the hosting industry going forwards. It doesn’t offer much in the way of advanced tools or features, but it remains a great option for those who want bare-bones hosting without all of the bells and whistles.
Namecheap offers a range of domain registration and web hosting services, including shared, reseller, VPS, WordPress, and dedicated server hosting. There are three shared hosting subscription options, with prices ranging from $1.18 to $4.80 a month for an annual plan ($2.88 to $8.88 with monthly payments).
Reseller plans start from $17.88 a month, WordPress hosting ranges from $3.88 to $11.88 a month (with monthly payments), and VPS solutions begin at $6.88 a month. Or, you may like to go for a high-end dedicated server, with prices here starting at $48.88 a month.
It’s also worth noting that first-time Namecheap users will benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee on selected plans.
|Plan type/feature||Stellar||Stellar Plus||Stellar Business|
|Cost per month||$2.88||$4.88||$8.88|
|Cost per year||$1.18*||$1.98*||$4.80*|
|Storage||20GB||Unmetered||50GB (on Cloud)|
*This price only applies to the first year of your subscription, and renewal prices will be significantly higher.
In order to comprehensively compare Namecheap to the competition, we analyzed a series of its features and tools to see how it performed. This included creating a WordPress website with its built-in website builder, checking its server response times, and seeing how simple it was to set up an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.
How do you create a WordPress website with Namecheap?
After signing up for a new Namecheap subscription, you will be able to start creating a new website. However, this can be a little confusing, especially if you don’t have a lot of web development experience.
There are no automatic site creation processes or prompts, and you will need to head to your cPanel control panel to get started. WordPress or another content management system (CMS) can be installed through the Softaculous one-click installer.
Here, you’ll have access to a number of configuration options. You can set your website’s name, description, and admin login details. Add a theme, if you would like, and hit the "Install" button. Installation took no more than a few seconds for us, and we were then able to start building our new site through the WordPress.org CMS.
Of course, you could use an alternative CMS if WordPress doesn’t suit your needs. Popular options such as Joomla and Drupal are available, along with various niche and lesser-known choices.
How does Namecheap perform?
To test the performance of Namecheap’s basic shared hosting plans, we used Uptime.com to monitor a test site for a week. This delivered an uptime figure of 100%, which is excellent. However, the average server response times were concerning.
For our Namecheap site, these ranged from a high 625ms to a very high 1.55s, with an average of 718ms. This is approximately double what we would consider competitive, as most shared hosts sit in the 200ms to 400ms range.
We also tested the speed of our simple site built on Namecheap’s shared hosting. According to Dotcom-Tools’ Website Speed Test, the average page load speed was 1.9s, which is terrible.
However, Namecheap may still be fast enough for those who are looking for a budget hosting provider. You will struggle to find anyone cheaper, and the performance metrics will be acceptable for some.
How easy is it to set up an SSL certificate?
The native Namecheap SSL tool can be used to install a new SSL certificate on your domain. This can be accessed via your cPanel control panel, and is intuitive and beginner-friendly.
However, the Namecheap SSL tool can only be used to add an SSL certificate that’s been purchased via Namecheap. Third-party certificates aren’t supported, which can make things a little difficult if you want to add one.
To use a third-party certificate, you will need to install it manually. This isn’t an easy process, but at least Namecheap offers decent documentation to help you out.
Alternatives to Namecheap
Namecheap offers some of the cheapest shared hosting solutions in the world, but don’t expect anything too fancy if you decide to use it. It does come with a cPanel control panel, which has become the industry standard, along with a free domain and a suite of streamlined one-click installations.
Prices for a Namecheap hosting plan start from an industry-leading $1.18 a month. And 24/7 live chat and online ticket support are available for those with issues.
Hostinger offers similarly priced hosting solutions, with its cheapest shared plan coming in at just $1.39 a month. However, this price is only available with a four-year subscription, and it will increase significantly for shorter subscription terms and on renewal.
On top of this, Hostinger boasts an intuitive, beginner-friendly hPanel control panel, which is arguably better than the popular cPanel. Both live chat and online ticketing are available when you need technical support, and one-click installations can be used for more than 100 different applications. Read our comprehensive Hostinger review to learn more.
Meanwhile, GoDaddy is slightly more expensive, but it offers a great selection of different hosting options. Its cheapest shared hosting comes in at $5.95 a month, but its higher-end options are quite competitively priced.
Like Namecheap, GoDaddy offers a cPanel control panel and a free domain. Take advantage of the Installatron one-click installer, and reach out to the support team via live chat or phone when you need help. Our GoDaddy web hosting review gives more detail on what we made of the web host's services.
|Free domain||Yes, with limitations||Yes, with an upgrade||Yes|
|One-click installation||Yes, more than 100 applications||Yes, more than 100 applications||Yes, more than 150 applications|
|Support||24/7/365 live chat and online ticketing||24/7/365 live chat and online ticketing||Live chat and 24/7 phone|
|Basic plan||$1.18 a month||$1.39 a month||$5.95 a month|
At the end of the day, the main thing that Namecheap is known for is its rock-bottom prices. If budget is your main concern, it sits alongside Hostinger as one of the best hosting providers in the world.
For less than a couple of dollars per month, you will have access to a basic website builder, automatic backups, a built-in CDN, and the Softaculous one-click installer. Unfortunately, though, many advanced features are lacking or completely absent.
On top of this, Namecheap’s performance is a concern. The 100% uptime figure was excellent, but the slow page load speeds and long server response times will be deal-breakers for many people.
Installing a new SSL certificate is also quite difficult if you don’t purchase a premium option from Namecheap itself. Starting a new WordPress website was quite easy, though, which was nice to see. And if you have trouble, the 24/7 live chat and online ticketing support is more than adequate.
If you’re on a tight budget and price is your priority, Namecheap should be right up there with your top choices. For many, though, the company’s poor performance and limited features will simply be too much to overlook.
Further reading on web hosting
Our buying guides advise which providers to choose from in specific hosting areas, from the best web hosting through to the best cloud hosting, the best unlimited hosting, and the best WordPress hosting, as well as the best free web hosting and the best cheap web hosting.