Namecheap Review 2020: Hosting Test Results (Not Bad at All)

Namecheap is one of those large companies that provide a full range of hosting, domain name registration and web security services (SSL and VPN) and excel at all of them. More than that, Namecheap manages to keep its prices low without sacrificing quality and features. Astonishingly, Namecheap, one of the oldest registrars and web hosts, remains an independently owned and managed company.

Starting at $33.88 a year, Namecheap’s hosting plans have a generous storage allocation and allow unmetered bandwidth. What we like about Namecheap is its helpful tech support, including live chat, and insanely fast website load times. Read our in-depth Namecheap review below.

Table of Contents

Namecheap Review at a Glance

Performance
95%
Features
85%
Transparency
100%

Namecheap Performance

We regularly test Namecheap using HetrixTools to monitor both the uptime and load times of our website. For our most recent results we tested Namecheap for a year between November 2018 and October 2019. The performance of our website hosted in Phoenix was monitored from three locations: New York, Dallas and San Francisco.

Namecheap’s monthly uptime is generally above 99.9%. However, due to scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, the uptime sometimes dropped below 99.9% (for example, in September & May 2019). The load times are nonetheless very impressive, normally under 300 ms.

Below is a summary of the uptime and average load times for 2019. You can see also the actual test results and the test site setup in detail for yourself.

Namecheap Uptime 2019
Namecheap Uptime 2018

2019 Uptime:

99.90%

Average Load Time:

262 ms

Namecheap Features

Namecheap has three very affordable shared hosting plans. 

Even its most expensive Stellar Business plan costs under $100 a year. This Business plan is essential for those ecommerce websites that require PCI compliance. Additionally it comes with personal nameservers, server caching and priority support. 

For the majority of websites, Stellar Plus would be the best choice. Unlike the cheapest Stellar plan, Stellar Plus most importantly includes free daily backups. Plus, it allows unlimited domains, disk space and emails.

The Stellar plan is, nonetheless, great for those who wish to get started quickly and like to be in full control of their own data backups. Namecheap still takes server backups twice a week but these are for internal purposes. Even the cheapest plan comes with an incredible 20 GB of cached SSD storage and unmetered bandwidth.

Namecheap Shared Hosting Plans

All three plans have quite small resource limits in terms of CPU and RAM. They do include generous burst allowances in case of irregular traffic spikes. If your website outgrows shared hosting, Namecheap offers affordable managed KVM VPS hosting.

Plan Specs

We have been testing the Stellar plan. Here are the plan specs in detail.

Name of the planStellar
Monthly price$2.88
Annual price$17.28
Recurring price$2.88/m | $33.88/y
Domains3
SSD storage20 GB
Bandwidthunlimited
Email accounts30
Databases50
CloudLinuxyes
CPU Cores20% / 100% burst
RAM Memory1 GB / 4 GB burst

Technical

The hardware used by Namecheap is key to its excellent performance. Our website is hosted on the server that runs on Intel Xeon E5-2630 and includes 32 cores, 125 GB RAM and 2.2 TB storage.

Namecheap puts a strong emphasis on security. It deploys hardware and OS-level firewalls and uses two-factor authentication with all its products.

Unlike many shared hosting providers, Namecheap does not deploy LiteSpeed Web Server, although it uses LiteSpeed PHP handler on its shared infrastructure. And while it does not have server caching, our website loads faster with Namecheap than with many other hosts we have tested.

An important point to take into account is that Namecheap, like many other large hosts, does not support Let’s Encrypt auto-SSL certificates. What it offers to its shared hosting customers instead is a free year of Comodo PositiveSSL and 50% off the second year renewal. The regular PositiveSSL price is $8.88/year which may not be much but will add up for multiple websites.

See other software features below.

Control panelcPanel
Script librarySoftaculous
Web serverApache (with LSPHP)
Cacheno (eAccelerator & xCache on Business plan)
MariaDB database serveryes
PHP 7.xyes
HTTP/2yes
SSH (advanced)yes
Let's Encrypt SSLno
Securityhardware/software firewalls
Backup softwareAutoBackup Tool (Stellar Plus & Business plans)
Backupsno (yes on Stellar Plus & Business plans)

Essential

Namecheap provides dedicated 24/7 support. The tickets that we opened were answered within two hours. Tech support is very helpful and to the point, friendly if a bit impersonal. Namecheap also has a live chat which is great if you have a quick question rather than a technical issue. It is worth noting that Namecheap has a thorough knowledge base and a blog.

In addition to the 30-day money back guarantee, Namecheap also has a 100% uptime guarantee. From our experience, our website hosted with Namecheap typically has an industry-standard uptime above 99.9% in any given month.

24/7 supportyes
Knowledge baseyes
Instant setupyes
Free migrationsyes
Uptime guarantee100%
Money back guarantee30 days

Open Source

Although Namecheap does not support Let’s Encrypt, it has been one of the fiercest advocates of net neutrality and has donated to several non-profit digital rights groups.

Namecheap also embraces open-source software, in particular WordPress. In fact, it has developed a simple platform for Managed WordPress hosting called EasyWP. Namecheap’s Managed WordPress hosting has similar pricing to that of its shared hosting but for each individual WordPress install. EasyWP includes three levels of caching and WordPress-specific support. 

However, Namecheap’s Managed WordPress hosting does not integrate with domains from other registrars, does not support WordPress Multisite, bans a handful of WP plugins and disables several important PHP functions. Moreover, EasyWP does not provide auto-backups, email accounts, free SSL certificates and free migrations. We therefore generally recommend Namecheap’s shared hosting. That said, if you are planning to buy domains from Namecheap and need simple WordPress hosting, EasyWP may be a good option for you.

Transparency

Whether you are looking for web hosting for personal or business projects, you need a host that you can rely on. This is why we always examine the transparency of the company and its practices.

Company

Namecheap is perfectly transparent about its history and operations. Founded in 2000, Namecheap is based in Phoenix, AZ. The company is privately owned. The key person is Richard Kirkendall. Namecheap is one of the largest hosting companies. It has about a thousand employees. Much of its support staff is located in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Namecheap offers web hosting in two data centers: PhoenixNAP in the USA and Timico close to Nottingham in the UK. UK hosting costs $1/month more than US hosting.

Pricing

The pricing is generally transparent. Namecheap’s billing system is perfect for those who love discounts on their first year of hosting ($17.28) but don’t mind paying the full price after that ($33.88). Payment methods include credit card and PayPal.

Namecheap Review in a Nutshell

4.7/5

We are absolutely impressed with how fast our website loads thanks to Namecheap’s powerful infrastructure. While better known as a domain name registrar, Namecheap provides also reliable and affordable web hosting, backed by professional 24/7 support.

There are just a couple of things that we have an issue with – and none of them is a deal breaker really. One is that Namecheap does not support free Let’s Encrypt SSL. For most personal websites, LE SSL certificates would be sufficient and essential. Namecheap does, however, provide cheap commercial SSL certificates free for the first year. What we make of this is that Namecheap is a great hosting option for those who are planning to use a commercial certificate for their business website. Another concern we have is that the cheapest hosting plan does not include free daily backups. Namecheap allows, nonetheless, manual cPanel backups and includes automated daily backups in its Stellar Plus and Business plans.

Otherwise, we are quite fond of Namecheap. What we love about Namecheap is competitive prices, 30-day refunds, cutting-edge technology and a strong emphasis on security, including firewalls and two-factor authentication.

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