Namecheap : Domain Name and Web Hosting Services
Fast, easy to use: perfect hosting for beginners and simple websites
Namecheap is best known for offering inexpensive domain names, but the company has also diversified into hosting, as have many domain name registries. Are their hosting solutions among the best the Internet has to offer? I didn’t hesitate to create a Namecheap account to find out.
Namecheap was founded in 2000 and now lists over 10 million active domains. The company’s web hosting offerings cover most types of hosting and include shared managed WordPress hosting, VPS (virtual dedicated server) machines, dedicated servers, and even a private email address. The services are available only in English.
But don’t get carried away. While it’s very tempting to buy a domain name and opt for a hosting package from the same provider, perhaps you should think twice. Choosing an all-inclusive solution makes your life easier. Less management, less billing… But keep in mind that the one who touches everything (usually) does not master anything.
Laughing at the danger though, I took the risk of opting for a managed WordPress hosting package. I was surprised to find that the managed WordPress platform looked like many others: a similar desgin and a fabulous user experience.
But then again… does this ease of use disguise a lack of functionality? Can this service meet your most advanced needs, or will its limitations hinder your development? To find out, just read on…
Compelling core features, but serious limitations
Namecheap offers a highly efficient VPS system and dedicated servers. But today, we’re going to take a closer look at the shared hosting aspect of the company. Shared hosting is the simplest and cheapest method of hosting. It is also, in my opinion, the best method to get started.
Namecheap offers two sub-categories of hosting: regular shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting.
So I signed up for WordPress hosting, provided by Namecheap’s priority platform, EasyWP. EasyWP is a cloud-based authoring platform running WordPress as its unique CMS (content management system). Shared hosting, on the other hand, allows you to install and work with any CMS through Softaculous.
In terms of storage space and bandwidth, the first offer called EasyWP Starter can store up to 10 GB in SSD and allows up to 50,000 visitors per month. The second offer, Turbo, puts 50 GB of free space at your disposal in SSD for 200 000 visitors per month. And the Supersonic package, the most sophisticated, has no less than 100 GB for a monthly base of 500,000 visitors.
This strange “visitors per month” metric is confusing, isn’t it? Typically, bandwidth capacity is measured in GB. In trying to get more clarification on the subject from technical support, I was told that there is indeed a “visitor counter” running in the background. In any case, your site will have enough room for growth to keep up with your development.
Let’s move on to regular shared hosting. The first Stellar offer has 20GB of SSD space, the second offers unlimited storage and the last is capped at 50GB. None of the three offers indicate the bandwidth metric.
You’re probably thinking it’s strange that the second offer has more space than the third, yet more advanced offer. According to Namecheap, this is due to the “premium support” and additional cache capacity. If you ask me, that’s not the real reason.
But let’s move on. We’ll now take a closer look at the features that make or break your site.
EasyWP is equipped with a fast backup system and SFTP connection
We will examine the EasyWP interface in the Ease of Use section. And there is a lot to say about it. What is important to understand is that EasyWP replaces the cPanel hosting management platform. It’s not as complex or as advanced as the former, but still offers some pretty attractive features.
The first one is its backup functionality. A tool allows you to back up a version of your site instantly and with a single click. It also allows you to restore your site with a previous version, if needed. If you want to download the files and/or the database of your site locally, on your computer, EasyWP also gives you the possibility to do so.
The second most interesting feature is, for me, the database management and SFTP connection. By default, you will not have any account to have these features, but the EasyWP platform allows you to generate permanent or temporary login credentials.
The SFTP option is, in my opinion, the best. You may be used to getting your FTP information directly from cPanel, and then opening the files on your website. But this technique poses a big risk: FTP is neither secure nor encrypted, leaving you vulnerable to hackers roaming the Internet and wanting to access your personal account.
The SFTP protocol, however, is in no way exposed to this risk. Setting up the protocol, however, is much more time-consuming and painstaking, which is why many choose not to do it. With EasyWP, Namecheap goes one step further, providing an SFTP protocol unlike any other. Well done.
EasyWP plug-ins save time and energy
Websites created by WordPress are equipped with many plug-ins, including some of the most sought-after caching and performance optimization plug-ins. The interface offers more than a dozen features, and it’s easy to get lost.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the plug-in that Namecheap has incorporated into EasyWP. This plug-in comes pre-installed with your WordPress installation and includes most of the speed boosting options, which you’d have to search for on your own in other cases.
It also provides three levels of advanced caching: a technique used to create temporary copies of your website data. The result: your server is more efficient and visitors to your site enjoy better loading times. If you wish to delete existing cache files, click on :
The strange thing is that Namecheap blocks some plug-ins that it considers “useless” or “threatening”. So if you want to add a different caching plug-in, you won’t be able to do so.
I guess it’s ease at the expense of freedom. In any case, the regular shared hosting offer does not include any plug-ins or restrictions, and you are free to select any options that you find interesting.
EasyWP is “compatible” with SSL included in shared hosting
Let me tell you something: there’s always a catch when it comes to SSL. For those who are not familiar with the term, SSL refers to the security certificate that proves the authenticity of a website and protects the data of its visitors. It is indicated by this little padlock to the left of your URL.
If you want to appear among the first results in Google, reassure visitors to your site or accept payments from your platform, the implementation of an SSL is essential.
Some hosting companies will charge you extra to get it. Everything is sold, isn’t it? But, at least at first glance, Namecheap isn’t one of those who make it an extra service and the SSL certificate is directly included in the EasyWP package.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. If you pay a little more attention, you can read that SSL “gives another layer of security to your site”. This does not necessarily mean that this option is included in the offer. Namecheap is mischievously playing with words to hide the fact that SSL is not included in any of the EasyWP packages. I learned this the hard way after signing up for one of their packages.
You can decide to add an SSL certificate from your customer area. Their proposal is not very expensive, but I simply cannot approve such a deal. Take a hint: don’t think that an SSL certificate is included in your EasyWP package.
For some reason, Namecheap still provides an SSL certificate in their shared hosting package. You get the picture… If you choose the more expensive EasyWP platform, you’ll still have less security than if you choose the more affordable package… unless of course you pay even more!
EasyWP is only compatible with Namecheap domains
Oh, that’s completely unjustified. EasyWP only supports domains listed in Namecheap. What is the difference between a Namecheap domain and a GoDaddy domain, you may ask? Well… Namecheap doesn’t make a profit on the domains you buy from GoDaddy, that’s what!
I had no idea this restriction existed before I signed up. This “feature” is finely defined as “Your Namecheap domains will appear directly on your EasyWP space”. It had occurred to me that it would be less easy to connect to domains other than Namecheap. Not that it was simply impossible.
Luckily for me, the domain I was using was a Namecheap domain. If it wasn’t, I would have had to use one of their ugly subdomains or transfer one of my existing domains to Namecheap, at an additional cost. That’s not exactly legit.
The shared hosting package has none of these restrictions and you can simply point your existing domain to the DNS servers.
The features offered are easy to use
As mentioned above, EasyWP is extremely easy to use. In fact, I’d say that’s an understatement. The whole process from creating your account to using WordPress is stunningly easy and requires no effort at all. The management area couldn’t be clearer and everything is just a click away.
But… it doesn’t offer much. The platform has, in fact, only a few actions that are indeed accessible with a single click and allow you to navigate through the limited choice of features. You can delete your website, connect a Namecheap domain, download an SSL certificate, create backup files, establish an SFTP connection and access databases.
But what about all the options that are so easily accessible from cPanel: setting up a DNS (Domain Name System), opening an e-mail box, creating subdomains, managing site data and log files, viewing timed tasks… On EasyWP, these options simply do not exist.
For me, this is the biggest drawback of EasyWP. What you can do is impressively easy. The rest is simply impossible.
But let’s see how things look.
Create an account and install WordPress
To create an account, you need to select the offer you want, log in and enter your payment information. You will then be asked to enter your personal information (nothing special there) and once the payment is done, you will be directly redirected to the website creation platform.
If you have a Namecheap domain, you can connect it now. If you haven’t purchased a Namecheap domain yet, you can simply use an EasyWP subdomain and change your domain later.
After choosing your dream domain name, you will need to provide a username and password. And that’s it: the WordPress installation is ready to go.
And that’s it! Once the installation is complete, you will be redirected directly to your EasyWP dashboard. You can view the detailed process of installing WordPress and your domain (e.g., to learn more about problems encountered) with Namecheap by clicking here.
Using the EasyWP dashboard
To navigate through the options offered by the platform, simply click on the different tabs. If you want to access the WordPress admin area, for example, click on WP Admin in the top right corner.
To activate the SFTP connection, go to Files & Database and activate the associated option.
Connecting to your domain
To connect to your domain, you will of course need to go to the Domains tab. Remember one thing though, you need to connect a Namecheap domain… period! As the owner of a Namecheap domain myself, it appeared directly in the drop-down menu.
Select your domain and press Change to start the connection process. It shouldn’t take you more than half an hour. For me, it took less than five minutes to set up everything.
I want to repeat: EasyWP is the simplest WordPress platform I’ve ever tried. You can’t go wrong and the few advanced features are within reach of everyone.
If this is enough for you, you have my green light. If, on the other hand, you need even one option that is not part of those offered by EasyWP, I suggest you opt for the shared hosting offer instead. The offer works with cPanel, and although it is slightly more complex, it still provides a much better hosting experience.
Amazing speed, great reliability
All in all, it was really easy for me to install EasyWP, and the platform offers very interesting features, although it also has some annoying restrictions, for those who want to go further. It’s not a big deal. In the end, I still managed to get a WordPress website running in just one minute and thirty seconds. Now it was time to give it a spin!
To start, I used the Sucuri load time tester, to evaluate the speed of my site across the globe.
And it’s got it! Without even using an optimization system, I was able to give my site an A+ performance. And, look at that, the performance ratings are in green almost everywhere in the world.
A simple WordPress installation, a Twenty Ninteen theme among the simplest and an efficient caching service provided by EasyWP… the result is impressive. From the United States to Latin America, from Europe to Singapore… Green is everywhere!
Of course, by adding photos and more content to your site, the speed will be somewhat reduced. But it’s a good start for shared hosting. Unless your target audience is in East Asia, I’d say you won’t do too badly with Namecheap.
I don’t have much to say. The Namecheap team does a great job. All possible optimizations were configured before use, the caching plug-in works perfectly over time and the only negative point is the lack of CDN (content delivery network).
If it were possible to simply add a CDN, we would get a perfect score. But… we can’t. EasyWP is simply not compatible with CDNs.
Even so! Such a performance deserves applause. I searched for the infrastructure Namecheap uses to run its servers but only managed to find some very evasive references to “the Cloud”. Still a nebulous term. After asking around, I found that there is indeed a Cloud system hovering over Phoenix, Arizona (USA).
I couldn’t tell you what servers are used in Pheonix, but it’s information worth sharing. I tested my site for over two weeks and was pleasantly surprised to see a 99.92% result
After analysis, I found that Namecheap guarantees 99.90% availability in its shared hosting offering. In addition, the host promises you a free share of hosting for downtime (to be determined by the company). The problem is that I didn’t see any mention of an availability guarantee for the EasyWP offer. The homepage does state 99.90% availability, but the terms and conditions do not promise such a high score.
Affordable offers and free extras
Namecheap means “a name for cheap”. And the least we can say is that the web host lives up to its name. The shared hosting as well as the EasyWP platform are really cheap. Even the more sophisticated offers, including a VPS service or dedicated servers are relatively affordable.
All offers use servers hosted in the US, even you can use servers in the UK for an additional cost.
In terms of subscription periods, Namecheap offers monthly or yearly deals. This is a real plus for me, as Hostinger, for example, only offers attractive prices for subscription periods between 3 and 4 years. Namecheap, on the other hand, combines affordable prices with great flexibility.
The last page of the EasyWP subscription does not have any automatically checked surcharges or questionable business practices. So you don’t have to worry about accidentally opting for a service you didn’t want. Remember, though, that SSL certificates are not included. You’ll need to purchase one separately afterwards.
Namecheap does provide a free domain for all monthly shared hosting packages (but not for the EasyWP package). In addition, your domain is equipped with WhoisGuard functionality, which keeps your personal information hidden and away from prying eyes.
All offers have a 30-day money back guarantee. This gives you the time you need to analyze in detail which services are best for you.
You can sign up for Namecheap using your Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards. You can also affiliate your Namecheap account with your PayPal account or pay with other cryptocurrencies.
The ability to pay with cryptocurrency is particularly interesting. In fact, Namecheap is, for the time being, one of the only hosting companies to accept cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
If data protection is an important issue for you, paying in Bitcoin and using WhoisGuard will allow you to work in total anonymity.
A Managed Hosting Company for Beginners
Although I had some doubts at first, I finally liked EasyWP, the managed WordPress hosting created by Namecheap. Some advanced options are missing and the descriptions are not as honest as they could be, however, this host is very suitable for beginners and one-time users who will appreciate its speed and ease of use.