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Namecheap built its foundations on domain name registration, but it also offers a modest range of web hosting plans. Founded in 2000, the company is keen to emphasise its ethos: it says it has a strong commitment to support and a commitment not to bombard customers with marketing messages.
Namecheap is based in Los Angeles, and its founder, Richard Kirkendall, still acts as CEO. Matthew Russell is the vice president of hosting and was responsible for setting up the hosting division of the company in 2006. Its hosting department is therefore considerably newer than its domain name arm, and it’s therefore fairly small; it doesn’t offer telephone support, for example.
Namecheap Hosting Plans
Namecheap has a small range of hosting plans; like many other companies, it emphasises its shared hosting and offers convenient paths to upgrades. Since the company’s primary service is domain name registration, it’s not surprising that some hosting is quite limited in scope.
● Business hosting is basically shared hosting - Namecheap says that there are fewer customers per server, so you can expect better performance. Customers on these hosting plans also get priority support.
● Resellers can purchase one of three reseller hosting packages, each with cPanel 11 and WHM. The top account, Level 3, comes with a merchant account.
● There are six VPS hosting plans, three on Xen and three that use Open VZ. Clients can choose their operating system. Note that cPanel is not available on the cheapest packages and is chargeable on the others.
● Customers have a choice of different Linux operating systems on dedicated servers, but there are no Windows options. Namecheap offers just three dedicated server hosting plans, which is fewer than you may expect if you’ve been researching other hosts’ services.
● There’s also a site builder plan, Onepager, available for a monthly fee. Onepager apparently creates ‘mobile friendly’ websites and offers the user analytics and stats about visitors.
Namehcheap says that its customers can expect 99.9% uptime, measured per calendar month. I did try to find out what happens if uptime falls below this level, but I couldn’t find anything in the Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy. The host doesn’t publish any uptime statistics.
All of the company’s data centres are based in the USA, according to its knowledgebase, but it was difficult to ascertain exactly where. The topic I found said ‘most’ are located in Atlanta, Georgia, and there are two others in Phoenix, Arizona. I also found a blog post that mentions a data centre in Dallas and another in New Jersey. It doesn’t look like Namecheap owns its own data centre, and it should probably publish a definitive list of locations at some stage.
Namecheap’s knowledgebase states that servers are backed up once every 3-7 days, which isn’t really that often. Backups are not available to customers.
Support is provided via live chat and a ticketing system. I couldn’t find a telephone number, so it looks like there is no phone support. Its Twitter feed is a one-way announcement feed, and customers seeking help on the Namecheap Facebook page are redirected back to the ticket system.
Additionally, there are some other help resources, such as some fairly basic videos, community forums and a knowledgebase. Although the knowledgebase is large, some of the articles were quite difficult to understand.
Above all, if you’re thinking of signing up with Namecheap, remember that some customers are given priority support - for example, business shared hosting customers get priority over ordinary shared hosting customers.
Namecheap in the News
I found a handful of press reports relating to Namecheap’s domain name registration services, but nothing relating to its web hosting.
Namecheap Control Panel
All of Namecheap’s packages are set up with cPanel except for the VPS hosting plans and its dedicated servers. On most of these, cPanel can be added as an optional extra.
Looking at the demo, it seems Namecheap offers the most recent versions of cPanel and WHM (for resellers).
Namecheap doesn’t really offer any extra goodies on signup. Customers get access to Softaculous for one-click installs of some popular scripts, as you might expect. However, there are no advertising credits or free domain names on offer.
Namecheap Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
Namecheap customers get a 14-day money-back guarantee on all products assuming they’re cancelled within 14 days. Dedicated servers are exempt, as are software licences (such as WHM and cPanel licences).
To cancel an account midterm, customers must submit a support ticket to the Hosting Billing team. I couldn’t see any information regarding refunds for mid-term cancellations, so we’ll have to assume there aren’t any.
Many people find it easy to purchase their domain name and hosting from the same provider. If you’re one of those people, Namecheap offer competitive packages with all of the features you’ll need to get started - it’s good to see cPanel being offered, and the company is well-established.
I did find that technical information was fairly thin on the ground, and many important terms and conditions were only covered in the knowledgebase, when they probably should have had their own section on the site. The lack of phone support and infrequent backups did disappoint.
Regardless, if you’re primarily looking for an affordable domain name with convenient hosting, Namecheap could be ideal for you.
Fast growing shared hosting provider, BlueHost, offers a plan with plenty of features and unlimited domains.
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