Namecheap is one of my favorite web companies. I’ve been using them as my domain registrar since 2007 and they’ve been nothing short of awesome. If someone asked me which registrar I think is the best, I would say “Namecheap, no doubt.” But there’s so much more to Namecheap than just domains; they also offer hosting services. I’ve always wondered how good they were in this aspect, so I gave their web hosting services a shot!
I’m a speed freak when it comes to all sorts of things. I love racing, I like getting work done quickly, and I absolutely want my websites to load extremely fast!
Namecheap is a great company and all but they also have faults. In my opinion, server speed is what they have to work on the most. Sites hosted on their servers don’t load that fast and this fact makes me not want to use their hosting platform for my serious projects.
I use my Namecheap hosting account for a show resource site which I update every so often. I have a few images on the homepage and some embedded YouTube videos. It’s a small site with nothing too fancy in it so it should load fast. This isn’t the case, unfortunately. Just take a look at the Pingdom results below.
Site on Namecheap (Datacenter in Atlanta, GA)
A page that’s less than 300 kilobytes needs 2.53 seconds to completely load? Definitely not happy about that!
For comparison purposes, I put the exact same site on another server with a different host (same server location though). The difference in load time is HUGE:
Site on another host (Datacenter in Atlanta, GA)
598ms. Blazing fast! The same site on Namecheap is almost 5 times slower. If you’ve got the need for speed like I do, you might not be happy with your site’s performance on Namecheap’s servers.
Speed Update: Namecheap upgraded their hardware and is now using SSD technology on all their shared hosting plans.
We know how valuable data speed can be, both for your sensitive business info as well as your personal peace of mind. That’s why we use only top-of-the-line Dell hardware in conjunction with the industry’s most advanced SSD drives, to give you rocket-powered site performance, making Namecheap hosting technology up to 50% faster than the competition. It’s not exactly rocket science, just rocket-fast. — From Namecheap blog post on January 22, 2016
Insane 100% Uptime Guarantee
There aren’t many hosts who guarantee that your site will be up all the time. Namecheap is one of those rare hosts who are so confident that their service level agreement (SLA) says you’d be eligible for hosting credits if your site’s uptime is less than 100%!
A few days ago, my site went down because the server my site was on had hardware-related problems. My site was down for 1 hour and 50 minutes. I contacted Namecheap about this and here’s their response:
Thank you for using our services.
We understand your indignation and will do our best in order to avoid such issues in future.
Please accept a free week of using your hosting package as a compensation for the inconvenience you faced.
Having your site down for almost two hours is never good, but I can’t deny the fact that what they offered as compensation is pretty damn sweet!
Namecheap Hosting Support Has Ups and Downs
Namecheap offers support through different mediums. They have 24/7 live chat and they also utilize a support ticket system. I’ve used their live chat many times primarily for domain issues and they’ve been great! The support seems to be outsourced to some Ukrainian company but that doesn’t matter because they are doing their job well.
Their support for hosting isn’t much different. Live chat is always available but there were times I had to wait 10 minutes to get a response. Not a very pleasant experience because live chat is supposed to be instant. Nevertheless, I always get minor issues resolved pretty quickly through live chat so it’s all good.
Their ticketing system is fairly efficient too. On average, my tickets have been responded to within 4-5 hours. This isn’t something I’d rave about, especially when I can compare it to the likes of MDDHosting where tickets are answered — and sometimes issues are resolved — literally within minutes.
Despite being slower than a few other hosts I’ve used, I can say Namecheap’s support is pretty good. All my issues have been resolved in a day and all their support technicians have been very polite. Those are two things I’d never fail to appreciate.
Ninja WordPress Installs
One last thing before I move on to the next section of this review… I’d like to share a peculiar experience which happened very recently. A few days ago, I received an email saying that a WordPress instance was installed on my Namecheap account through Softaculous. I was surprised because I never installed WordPress and no one else has access to my Namecheap hosting account!
I immediately contacted Namecheap about this, and literally 10 minutes after submitting that ticket, I received an email notification:
An installation of WordPress has been removed.
Then a support tech replied to my ticket:
We are sorry for confusion, it was installed for testing purpose to make sure everything is working. We have removed it.
Why are they installing stuff on people’s accounts without asking permission? No biggie since it was a fresh install and my site wasn’t affected in any way, but I think it would be better if they inform their customers when they do tests such as this.
Crazy Cheap Rates
Their name says it all. Namecheap’s web hosting rates are one of the cheapest I’ve seen. I know, I know, there are kiddie hosts who offer unlimited everything for $5 a year but we’re talking about real companies here.
Namecheap has a wide variety of hosting plans that can suit different needs. Their cheapest shared hosting plan is $9.88 for the first year then $38.88 per year after that. This translates to $0.82 per month for the first year, $3.24 per month after. Very, very affordable!
A couple things I don’t like about their plans/rates:
- Their regular shared hosting plans are strictly annual plans (no monthly payments).
- They have restrictive limits on the number of addon domains, subdomains, FTP accounts, and databases.
I would have given them a Price score of 5 out of 5 if they didn’t have limits and if their billing periods were more flexible.
Namecheap is a reputable web host and you can be sure they’ll be here for many more years. If you’re just starting out and would like to keep hosting costs to a minimum, Namecheap would be a solid choice. Their shared hosting plans are damn CHEAP — prices start at $9.88 per year (renewal rate: $38.88 per year). Couple that with the fact that they’re a trustworthy domain registrar and you’ll find yourself working with a solid company to help you get started with your very first website.
Performance and support aren’t as stellar as what I’ve experienced with some other hosts (StableHost, MDDHosting, A2 Hosting) but they’re decent enough if you’re just going to host a small hobbyist site or similar. If you’re going to host a business site or any other serious project, I would suggest you choose a web host that’s capable of delivering much better server performance and customer support.