Namecheap Review

Good for Domains, but Not for Hosting...

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Brad Smith  —  · Read user reviews
NameCheap review
NameCheap Homepage

Namecheap was founded all the way back in 2000 by Richard Kirkendall.

Over the past 18 years, they’ve reportedly racked up three million customers.

Domain names are the name of Namecheap’s game (sorry, couldn’t resist), with over seven million under their control.

But here’s the thing:

We’ve seen this story before; Hosting A is good at X, so they leverage their brand name and deep pockets to muscle into new service Y. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re any good at it.

So what’s the deal with Namecheap?

Have they been able to replicate their domain name success in a new arena? Or are they simply trading on their name alone? (Pun definitely intended.)

In November 2017, we decided to find out. We signed up for their hosting service, purchased the least expensive plan, and even set up a test website you can view here.

Then, we used Pingdom to track detailed performance stats like uptime and speed. You can view those here.

We’re going to get into the nitty-gritty, take a deep dive into their plan features.

But first, let’s focus on a few of Namecheap’s best attributes:

Pros of Namecheap Hosting

Namecheap starts strong with a free domain name, migrations, and extra plan features like backups.

Here are the full details:

1. FREE Domain and Migration

Namecheap excels at domain names. So it only makes sense that they’ll happily throw one in if you sign up for their hosting plan.

If you already have a website set up somewhere else, they’ll also help you migrate the service for free.

Kinda, sorta. We’ll come back to this in the Cons section below.

2. 30-day Money-Back Guarantee

Namecheap does offer a rock-solid money-back guarantee. You’ve got a full month to see if their service is right for you. Otherwise, it’s not too late to back out and try something else.

3. Fully-Loaded Value Plan

We’ve reviewed over 30 web hosts to date.

And for each one, we typically sign up for the most basic plan to set up our test website.

The reason is twofold:

  1. We want to be able to base these reviews on real data and performance figures.
  2. Most ‘base-level’ plans at each hosting company are pretty similar.

In other words – this allows us to compare apples to apples (for the most part). Each shared offer is fairly similar, with the same features offered on each.

Namecheap surprised us, though.

First, they offered unmetered bandwidth on their cheapest plan. They also give you access to standard features like cPanel access and apps like WordPress.

Their cheapest plan also includes a free SSL certificate for the first year. (Read: After that year’s up, you’ll have to pay.)

You also get twice-a-week backups, just in case things go haywire while updating your new site.

The best part about their cheapest offer is that you get 50 MySQL databases (which is way more than what most companies offer on a similar tier).

Plus, you can set up three websites on this plan. Most base-level hosting plans only allow you to host one single website. This is a great value if you have several sites, like a business and a personal one.

They also give you up to 50 email addresses right out of the gate, too.

This can add up to huge cost savings over time.

4. Third-Party Reviews Are Excellent

We always like to get a pulse from existing customers to make sure each review isn’t just based on our own isolated experience.

We’ll admit:

We were pleasantly surprised at some of the customer reviews online.

For instance, they have a solid 4.6-star rating on Shopper Reviewed. Supposedly that’s based on almost a million reviews.

Third party reviews

This initial view got us excited.

We already liked seeing the ‘extra’ plan features they threw in for free (that most other companies would charge you for).

So we were excited to get the test site up and running. And see the performance stats roll in.

Unfortunately, the results that did flow in weren’t inspiring.

Cons of Namecheap Hosting

There are three major categories we look at when considering a new web host:

  1. Uptime: Can this host keep my site live the vast majority of the time?
  2. Speed: Can this host deliver a good experience for visitors so they’ll want to come back?
  3. Support: And can this host help me when things spin out of control?

Unfortunately, Namecheap dropped the ball in all three areas.

Take a look for yourself.

1. Poor Uptime – 99.82%

Namecheap delivered a stellar 100% uptime the first month we signed up. That gave us plenty of excitement to see what was to come.

But things only got worse from then on.

The next few months hovered well below the industry average, eventually producing an uptime of only 99.821%. It’s not bad on the surface. Nevertheless, keep in mind that this equates to over an hour of downtime each month.

What if that downtime were to happen during a busy sales season? You’re potentially looking at tons of lost revenue.

Here is the month-by-month comparison:

Last 16-month average uptime:

  • March 2019 average uptime: 99.87%
  • February 2019 average uptime: 99.97%
  • January 2019 average uptime: 99.56%
  • December 2018 average uptime: 99.53%
  • November 2018 average uptime: 99.61%
  • October 2018 average uptime: 99.84%
  • September 2018 average uptime: 99.95%
  • August 2018 average uptime: 99.80%
  • July 2018 average uptime: 99.84%
  • June 2018 average uptime: 99.89%
  • May 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
  • April 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
  • March 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
  • February 2018 average uptime: 99.78%
  • January 2018 average uptime: 99.85%
  • December 2017 average uptime: 99.83%
NameCheap last 16-month statistics
NameCheap average uptime 2017-2019 | See stats

2. Slow Load Time

After the uptime, the second most important criteria is speed. The reason it’s so important is that speed has been directly correlated with visitor happiness.

Google recently found that the probability of someone bouncing increases over 100% if your pages take up to six seconds to load.

page load time is important

So yes, you need your site to stay alive. If that site is slow, then it’s almost as bad. Your site might as well be down because people will be leaving in droves.

Namecheap has only been able to post an average page speed of 830ms over the past sixteen months. This number is more than twice as slow as our other favorite hosts like A2 Hosting and HostGator Cloud.

If they had one bad month that dragged the average down, we could overlook it. That’s not the case here.

Namecheap started out slow when we signed up and have only recently gotten better. The past year has been promising, but it is still slower than the top class.

Here are the details:

Last 16-month average speed:

NameCheap last 16-month detailed statistics
NameCheap average speed 2017-2019 | See stats

3. Lackluster Customer Support

Namecheap has a pretty good Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) platform. It contains detailed answers that should help solve the most common problems you run into.

NameCheap customer support

We also like to try out live chats to get a feel for their service.

Things started well enough, with a quick connection from a friendly support rep.

When she was unable to help us, she even transferred us to the ‘Concierge’ department.

NameCheap Live Chat support

Overall, we love the idea of a ‘Concierge’ department at a company. You know – like a higher manager at a hotel who’s able to personally help you with almost any request.

But that’s not exactly what happened during this conversation.

Instead, the second ‘Concierge’ rep basically copy-pasted a knowledge base article for us: https://www.namecheap.com/support/knowledgebase/article.aspx/876/83/how-to-transfer-a-domain-from-godaddy

This was annoying for a few reasons:

For starters, we weren’t asking for an explanation of the process. We were asking if they’d do the service for us. That’s a pretty common perk that most web hosts will be happy to assist you with.

Secondly, how is this remotely close to a “Concierge Service”? They’re just throwing us a link and telling us to figure it out for ourselves.

And thirdly – why did it take multiple reps and 10 minutes of our life for this solution?

The entire experience left us underwhelmed, to be honest.

This exchange didn’t leave us with a lot of confidence – if our site went down and we did have to rely on their customer support team to bail us out, where should we turn to?

Namecheap Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts

Here’s a quick overview of the hosting plans offered by Namecheap:

NameCheap pricing and plans

Stellar: The initial plan gives you unmetered bandwidth for up to three websites for $2.88/month in the first year.

Stellar Plus: The second plan increases disk space to Unmetered, for $4.88/month in the first year.

Business SSD: Namecheap’s biggest plan has an SSD disk space of 50GB, which is good enough for 10 websites and all that comes with only $8.88/month.

  • Free domain?: Yes, the first year is free.
  • Ease of Signup: Easy signup process.
  • Payment Methods: Credit cards, PayPal, Dwolla, and Bitcoin.
  • Hidden Fees and Clauses: There are two important disclaimers to keep in mind:
    • “This offer is available for new hosting purchases only. The promotional price is valid for the first 12 months on annual payments, after which the hosting service will renew at the regular rate as indicated in the package specs. Upgrades/downgrades will be performed at the full renewal price.”
    • “Unmetered disk space is offered with our Ultimate package. This disk space is solely intended for your website and not for other storage purposes. This space must be used in accordance with our AUP, particularly paragraph 10.2.”
  • Upsells: A few upsells along the way.
  • Account Activation: Fast account activation.
  • Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
  • Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): 1-click installation tool to easily install popular apps and CMSs.

Do We Recommend Namecheap?

Not really…

Look:

They started out pretty well. Existing customers seem to like them, and the fact that their cheapest plan compares favorably to most other company’s upper-tier ones looked promising.

Despite that, the fact that your renewal rates will rise over 300% is tough to stomach. Especially, when you consider the poor uptime, consistently slow speeds, and borderline lazy customer support.

There are so many better options out there that deliver better service for the same price (or less after the first year).

P.S. Take a look at our best performing hosts here to find a Namecheap alternative.

Do you have any positive or negative experience with Namecheap’s hosting? If so, please leave us an honest, transparent review!

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14 user reviews for Namecheap

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4 — 

Don't agree with the review

I've used Namecheap hosting in 2013-2014 or so for a medium sized WordPress website and left them because I thought it kinda sucked. The site was slow and clunky. Cancellation was not as hassle free and finally I decided to just ignore them and move on. However, over the years I kept using NC for my domains (I have about 10 registered via NC) which has always been great. So in 2018 I decided to try their Stellar hosting package again for a simpler HTML website (www.arnan.me).

This experience has been much better. I renewed a couple of months back and didn't even think to look elsewhere. The site is fast and, as far as I can tell, always online and everything just works as it should. Renewing didn't see a 300% price hike as the review says it would. And even my SSL certificate, which could be easier to install, renewed fine and installed within hours from ordering - Though THAT process could be improved and simplified a lot... But it works, so no real issue there.

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2 — 

Stay away!

I am not a tech guru but I have websites hosted by GoDaddy and Wix for over 5 years now. On both NEVER have my sites been hacked, BUT! I have a very important website hosted by Namecheap for about 2 years and it is currently down and has been down for almost a year, they keep saying it is fixed and it keeps getting infected again with malware to the point where I have to probably pay to have malware removed and move to another host company as they do not seem to have a permanent fix for the site. Customer support is friendly but sadly quite useless as they never fix the issue and keep sending me "articles" on their site for me to fix the issues myself. How can my "Local PC" have issues from a site that is cloud based? Also malware checks show there is malware on the site when I sent the link to them, they sent me a link to another self help article. Never had similar issues with GoDaddy or Wix. So I am looking for a new host now. I'd pay more money for better website security and tech help.

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1 — 

Worst provider so far

Having registered a few domains at namecheap, I know it's often a miss. Always something goes wrong. When I had my domain up and running, I bought their email service. As part of that, they wiped out all my DNS settings. Yesterday, I set up a new domain, and changed the DNS. None of the DNS settings got propagated, and, according to their abysmal support, it was my browser. After talking to a few support people, I'm still not 100% convinced their support aren't bots.

Overall, namecheap is incredibly bad, and not worth the effort. Better spend 2 dollars more, it will save you a lot of time.

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5 — 

Much better than the review indicates!

I'm unsure if Namecheap has significantly improved since the time of writing of this article, but most of the cons seem to not have applied to me. The pricing is presently much cheaper than mentioned in this article and the customer service I received in the past year with multiple conversations with their support staff was stellar. I never once needed to reach out to them twice for any one issue.. it was always resolved right away. Sure their support staff takes time and you have to be patient, but they seem to get the job done! Not sure about uptime (which may still be a valid con), but in terms of speed, my website seems lightning fast compared to my old (and pricier) host, Godaddy. Gtmetrix scored my website 99 percentile for load time. So basically namecheap has been cheap, helpful and very efficient!

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5 — 

Namecheap ROCKS!

I've had my Wordpress websites on four different hosts and just moved to NC three months ago, and I've discovered they are the best hosting company I've been with so far. Their site load times are fast (three times faster than iPage and faster even than my friend's WP site on Hostgator, their Softalicious Installer works perfectly, and they have an astounding amount of help files available if you run into trouble.. and if you can't find what you need their chat personnel have been great so far, even following up via email after I got cut off. They also offer free SSL certificates, and if you need a "verified" one you can get them at a reasonable rate.. and best of all, their unlimited hosting cost less than half what other web hosting companies are charging.

Dr. John Michael Christian

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5 — 

Namecheap hosting

They proclaim their company goals from the start... They offer cheap domains and bare bones hosting. What you get for $30 a year with them you have to spend almost $100 dollars with anyone else. I've hosted 10+ sites with them over the past 5+ years... They aren't going to hold your hand on your side of the site because their cpanel does almost everything for you already. And any larger problem I've ever had they fixed on their side in a timely manner. You can either get the cuddles from the competitors for 300% more than what you pay with Namecheap or go and get a free site where they can carry you all the way. This one I've found for the price and features is a gold mine for those not scared to work and get to work... Best of luck to you all...

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2 — 

Your Review was Spot On for Me

Your review was spot on for me. Namecheap service started out fine, then got worse.

For example, uptime was good for awhile. Then came problems. I had to purchase "Premium DNS" for key sites. Not much, maybe $5/YEAR x number of sites, but that's what I thought I was paying for with my VPS in the first place.

Your description of customer service is spot on as well. Lots of links to the Knowledge Base (some relevant, some not), but no real direct answer. The reps are certainly not in the USA, maybe Russia, not sure. They only seem to understand key words, but nothing complex. I have spent days, and have gone through 5 or 6 reps (and different Knowledge Base articles) before I get one who seems to actually comprehend the issue.

In sum, not the worst web hosting I have experienced, but not one I would recommend either.

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1 — 

SSL Certifying Issues Ahead

Shopify does not allow the certifying of third party domains from Namecheap. Before buying any domain. Namecheap should have a pop up for each customer to ask them who their Host is and Notify them accordingly if the SSL certification would be applicable or not. ... Since late 2017 I've had two domains from Namecheap connected to my website and they Decreased my organic reach right after I added them to my google search console for Crawling ... Besides slowing my website upload time to 11 - 15 seconds when marketing campaigns started.

Which I believe is due to a mixed up Google bots about these Namecheap Domains being none certified http ( Shopify will not give CSR code ), and being again Certified within Shopify under the shop's Primary domain in whole , as an https ... Resulting in Many Warnings to my links when checking my primary domain in google search console reaching the thousands of warnings, and a dead organic reach.

Besides that, Namecheap still does not have TLS certification which is the most updated certification process with Servers.

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1 — 

Worst WordPress hosting hands down

My hosting service was up, decided to try NameCheaps EasyWP for my three sites (blogs, forums, testing) and they have failed in every way possible. Uptime of around 60%, I'm constantly kicked from my admin account do to server caching errors. Support is quick to respond but fixes aren't taken care of for days. The server security needs improvements. The equipment used for EasyWP is not disclosed and I couldn't get anyone in support to list them. Not a CPU, not any RAM, nothing. NameCheap support is also very wrong on many things and it's hard sometimes finding someone who actually has any knowledge. The price was so cheap it brought me in, but the headache is not worth it. I am a content creator, YouTuber, and avid tech lover. I review and test out the best and worst products in the field every day, and I can definitely say that NameCheap is the worst WordPress hosting service out there I have ever used. Better stick with HostGator, GoDaddy, Kinsta, etc. because you will regret it. EasyWP is not in Beta, it is in Alpha.

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4 — 

I like their service

I use namecheap for my 7 websites. They are not complex sites, couple of them wordpress, others are just HTML CSS and I am happy with my choice. Actually over the years I have seen the worst. A lot of company that are just trying to catch new customers while they charge a lot of money for old customers. So I am happy actually that I found this company. Affordable prices, service is same with many others. I am using the europe server.

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2 — 

Absurd requirements

I thought I'd try their managed Wordpress accounts, so I signed up for the EasyWP Turbo package. After submitting my financial info (and charging my card), it asks for a domain name and I used one of many I have registered with a company other than namecheap. AFTER TAKING MY MONEY, I find out that you can not buy a EasyWP Turbo account UNLESS the domain name is registered with them. Absurd. I contacted support and here's what they told me: "Unfortunately, the use of the Easy WP service is currently limited to domain names registered with ourselves..." I've been building web sites since 1996 and this is the FIRST time someone tried to force me to buy a certain product before they would sell me a hosting package. I told them I'd take my business elsewhere.

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2 — 

Avoid NameCheap Email Hosting

If you think their web hosting is bad -- wait until you try their email hosting. I've been with them a year and I should have switched after a month. Email is constantly down for an hour here or there. I'm talking 30 times a year. Load times are extremely SLOW. I cannot tell you how many times I thought I "sent" an email, but forgot to keep the browser window open the requisite 10 seconds afterwards to allow the email to actually send. Then the email is lost, and I have to retype the whole thing. And currently they are running a push to sign up MORE email accounts? This will likely make things WORSE.

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5 — 

Awesome Webhosting

I have only one complaint and this is APACHE SERVER BASED, they use a module which is there for security reasons, but it also creates problems when running Drupal 7/8 in an advanced way, limiting communications and functions.

However the support was quick to resolve the problems and whitelisting what I needed, so I really can't complain about anything.

Despite the price in % being upped, I still think they are really cheap for the quality they give compared to HostGator, where everything worked 100% right away, but later some hiccups occurred.

All in all, I like both of these hosting company's, but for different reasons.

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4 — 

Namecheap review

So I use namecheap (not listed), and I must say, it's pretty great! I get unlimited bandwidth, great customer support I don't even mind contacting, and pay a mere 20$ a year for hosting and domain. All in all, it's a great service.