Research and The Background Story
R ecently I had to buy a few domain names with hosting plans as I planned for separate Domains and websites for my e-learning website – Xero To Millions, my upcoming book and a few other additional sites which are to be launched in the first quarter of 2016.
I had been researching Hosting plans, pricing and specifications of the top Hosting Providers for a long time and wasn’t able to decide. So I made my own key points list of Specifications I needed and the price I was willing to pay. For my websites, I finalized Namecheap as the best hosting provider. At last, I decided to take advantage of the discounts offered on Black Friday and it was greatly rewarding. I was able to buy a good chunk of plans on their Black Friday Flash Sales and has been my best purchase for this year.
A Word Of Caution:
Most so-called experts Bloggers blindly recommend Web Hosting companies without knowing or researching about the background or the team that runs the company. I’ve seen celebrated Bloggers recommend Web Hosting companies like Bluehost v/s Hostgator or Hostmonster explaining how one is better than the other, without even realising that all the three are owned by a single company (EIG), operating out of the same Datacenter and sharing the same support system. I’ve explained this and many other factors that are relevant while deciding the right Hosting provider for your Blog or Website.
This post is not sponsored by any company or works for promoting a certain brand. The post contains Affiliate Links and we may earn a commission if you buy products using the links incorporated in the post. We request using the links in this post to make your purchase as a token of appreciation for all the hard work put into crafting the content.
The Company and The Team
Namecheap was was founded in the year 2000, by a man named Richard Kirkendall with the idea that the average people of the internet deserved value-priced domains and stellar service. As of writing this post, Namecheap is a leading ICANN-accredited domain name registrar and web hosting company. Namecheap has over a million customers and more than three million domains under management.
In 2014, Namecheap started to offer Hosting for less than the price of a Domain Name revolutionizing the entire Hosting industries pricing approach.
The company takes its Corporate Social Responsibilities seriously and had joined the likes of Wikipedia, Reddit, etc. against the PIPA -SOPA Legislation. In 2012, Namecheap started “Move Your Domain Day” initiative for raising funds for the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). The very first MYDD led to more than 27000 domains being transferred to Namecheap from SOPA supporting Hosting Companies. Namecheap wholly supports the internet freedom and its latest January 2015: MYDD raised $50845.50 for the EFF
Tip: Knowing about the Hosting Company may seem irrelevant for some, but shouldn’t be ignored. The Company’s Management and culture speak a lot about its services and support. In the process of buying your Hosting or Domain Name, you would be getting into a relationship for a long duration and it’s always advisable to know whom you’re associating with. The company’s ethics and culture flow through the entire organisation and reflects in its services.
Infrastructure and Hardware
Namecheap operates from a number of Data-centers across North America and Europe. Each Data-center has fully redundant key systems, including network, power, climate control and security.
The domain registration infrastructure is served by multiple fully redundant VMware-based private clouds incorporating HP SAN storage. Namecheap maintains a significant amount of capacity to cover special offers, promotions and peak traffic events. The architecture spans 2 redundant Data-centers and allows to deliver you a fast, seamless domain registration process.
Namecheap’s OX Cloud Email platform is based on a redundant Supermicro powered front-end connected to a NetApp storage in the backend.
Namecheap has its Primary Data-Centers at Atlanta in GA, Phoenix – AZ and Dallas -TX while the secondary Data-Centers are located at Clifton -NJ, Chicago -IL and Los Angeles – CA.
Hosting Plans and Pricing
The biggest advantage Namecheap offers over it’s competitors are the Hosting Plans. With most web Hosting Companies the problem is finding the right mix of resources that you need for your website and match the budget accordingly. Namecheap wins on this.
At Namecheap, you can find the right balance of resources and pricing. And as the name suggests the prices are cheap compared to other Web Hosting companies. The affordable pricing along with top of the line Hardware made Namecheap my top choice for my e-Learning website and 5 other Blogs.
Shared Hosting Plans
Shared Hosting plans at Namecheap beat the competition in a long way. With the lowest of prices, the great mix of resources and latest Hardware – no Hosting provider even comes close.
Shared Hosting Plans start at an incredibly low $9.88/yr for the basic plan. The basic plan is cheaper than buying a Domain Name and is a great choice for individual Bloggers and small landing websites. I would suggest going for the Ultimate or Pro Plans if you plan to host a resource intensive website. The Pro, Ultimate and Business SSD plans are priced lower than what most Hosting providers like BlueHost or Hostgator advertise. Most Hosting providers promote their Shared hosting plans at $3.95 per month which ends up at more than $50 per year. This is way more than what you would be paying for the best Shared Hosting plan at Namecheap.
All Shared hosting plans come with a Free Domain Name and Free Annual WhoIsGaurd Domain Privacy. You also have the choice of Location to serve your content from US or UK data-center helping you to keep your content closest to your Audience. Namecheap uses top of the line M1000 blade infrastructure and high-speed SAN. Every component from the power supply to network cards are fully redundant. The servers are secured to the highest possible standards, using hardware and software firewalls alongside our own in-house security package.
Every shared hosting plan is backed up by a superb 24/7 support team and includes an incredible software package. Cpanel and Softaculous come as standard helping you with one click installs of most required CMS app’s. Installing anything from WordPress, Joomla to Drupal becomes a child’s play with Softaculous. The Cpanel has integrated CloudFlare CDN making your website blazing fast.
Namecheap offers Reseller hosting powered by cPanel / WebHostManager with high-performance SSD reseller servers. You can Host multiple websites or become your own hosting reseller with Namecheap’s best-in-class reseller hosting. You can create and modify unlimited hosting accounts with WebHostManager, then manage each individual account with cPanel. These browser-based applications make life easier than ever for resellers.
As a hosting reseller, you can design your own hosting packages from the resources Namecheap allocates to your account. Each account you create is separate from your own accounts – this is ideal for creating hosting packages for your clients.
Namecheap runs special high-power reseller servers with the latest hardware – Dell PowerEdge with 24 core Xeon CPUs, 32GB+ RAM and RAID 10 hard drives. The servers are connected to a Juniper/Cisco network, that delivers fast, reliable, secure hosting for resellers. Reseller hosting plans offer WHMCS billing platform, access to the Namecheap SSL reseller program, white label marketing tools and more
Plans start from $14.95/month for basic plans to a maximum of $45/month for the best if purchased annually. The pricing for Namecheap Reseller Hosting is in line with the industry’s best when compared to Reseller Hosting plans from Inmotion and A Small Orange. The pricing for comparable plans at Hostgator is relatively on the higher side starting from $21/month.
Virtual Private Server
Namecheap ofers around 4 VPS hoosting plans. Each plans is priced according to the RAM, CPU Cores, Storage and Bandwidth. The most basic plan VPS Lite – Xen comes with 1 CPU Core, 512MB RAM, 15GB SAS Storage, 100GB bandwidth and starts at $17
/month. While the RAM, Staorage and other resources are very limited in the Lite- Xen plan but seem to be right for the price. The VPS Lite plan is enough for limited requirements, but if you need more resources you can opt for VPS – 2, 3 or 4 plans which offer more fire power at your disposal.
You can also buy additional storage, RAM or Bandwidth with any plan /for an extra charge. The VPS Lite- XEN plan comes with one dedicated IP while all other plans offer 2 Dedicated IP addresses. You can also buy additional dedicated IP addresses for a mere $2 /month.
Namecheap gives you the option of choosing from 5 different OS for your server and also offers managed, and fully managed VPS Hosting services. You get ROOT access with every plan and can use your server for streaming audio/video files. All VPS plans are hosted on high-performance networks out of Atlanta/Phoenix. The redundant Tier 1-powered network provides lightning-fast download and site loading speeds around the globe.
For Hosting my upcoming Online Education Platform Xero To Millions I did lots of research on the various aspects of VPS hosting like hardware, bandwidth, price etc. After looking at all the various options, I finalized on Namecheap as they have the latest hardware, good security, bandwidth, and the least pricing. The second in the list was A Small Orange, InMotion Hosting, and SiteGround but they seemed a bit costly.
For this part of the post I reviewed the pricing and specs in the Dedicated Servers segment offered by some of the top Web Hosting Providers. While the Hardware specs are almost equivalent throughout all of them, Namecheap wins on the pricing front. The lowest Dedicated Server plan from Namecheap is priced at $58 while with most Hosting providers like SiteGround, Inmotion and A Small Orange start from $99 and above. Hostgator comes at a distant far with prices exceeding $150. If pricing is not an issue you can also checkout Siteground or Inmotion.
Most Web Hosting Companies offer 3-4 different pricing plans with various Hardware combinations. Namecheap comes with a big difference with almost 18 different plans to select from. This gives you a great choice to select the right combination of hardware for your needs. You can also upgrade or downgrade anytime to a plan that perfectly suits your requirements. So you’re not overpaying for resources you don’t need or need in future. Plans at Namecheap start from $58 for the most Basic and to $380/month for a multiple CPU Intel Xeon E5-2620 v2 12 Cores x 2.1 GHz, 64GB memory, 1TB SSD storage plan. Dedicated Server plans are available with semi managed and fully managed packages at an additional cost of $30-$50.
On the Hardware front, while most of them use Intel Xeon powered processors, you can find the latest Intel Xeon E3- 1220 V3 being used at Namecheap. The dedicated servers at Namecheap are hosted at the Tier IV Phoenix datacenter. The datacenter features fully redundant power, network, climate and security system. Namecheap Dedicated Server facility also boasts of a Supermicro rackmount-based servers which are designed for continuous high performance in a datacenter environment. They feature energy-efficient Intel processors, hot swap drive bays, enterprise-edition hard drives and ECC RAM. The servers are connected on a separate Cisco/Brocade-powered network with connectivity to Level3, Highwinds, HE, Cogent and Integra. They also have their own private peering making it blazing fast.
Tip:I recommend Namecheap as they have the most modern Hardware at the cheapest pricing combined with a superb support staff that is willing to go out of the way to help you. You can also try InMotion Hosting and A Small Orange for Dedicated Server offerings they have great Hardware and support, but the plans are pricey. Other providers like Site Ground are also good.
Domain Name Registration, Privacy and Trasfers
Namecheap is an ICANN accredited Domain registrar and offers the most common .com, .net, .in, as well as all the new TLD opened by ICANN. You can opt for the new Country specific TLD’s or the generic TLD’s like .com, .net,.biz, etc for a price of $1.00/yr. All domains also include free URL/email forwarding. Every eligible domain registered at Namecheap comes with one free year of WhoisGuard privacy protection service ($2.88 value) and a one-year Comodo PositiveSSL certificate for just $1.99. Also included are: Registrar lock, grant modification rights and security notifications via email.
Name Servers and FreeDNS
Namecheap offers Robust and reliable DNS performance delivered across a global network of DNS servers, provided in partnership with Verisign. Namecheap also offers FreeDNS, which is an advanced DNS hosting service, for people whose registrars don’t provide DNS hosting with domain registration. The FreeDNS supports A/AAAA/CNAME/NS/MX/TXT/SRV DNS record types. Namecheap also provide DNS updates with DynamicDNS option. Email/URL forwarding and DynamicDNS are also included free of charge.
Domain management is easy with the collection of useful features on the Dashboard. You’ll be able to make quick, straightforward changes with the advanced control panel. You can also avail the customizable parking page, nameserver registration and domain push feature that are included with every domain registration.
Namecheap provides WhoisGuard privacy protection with every domain registration or transfer. WhoisGuard replaces your contact info with Namecheap contact info in the Whois database, so your personal information does not go on public record. WhoisGuard is very affordable, and it’s FREE for the first year. Most Web Hosting providers offer Domain privacy to their customers, but at an addon price.
NameCheap is the only provider that offers FREE Domain privacy features using WhoIsGaurd Domain privacy.
Domain Name Transfers
I recently transferred a few of my domain names to Name Cheap and was very much pleased with the way they handled the transfers. NameCheap offers superb assistance in Domain Name Transfers minimizing any downtime of your Website. You’ll retain all remaining time on your domain’s registration, and, in most cases, add another year. The process is risk-free and comes with our money-back guarantee.
The Dynamic DNS takes care of a dynamically changing IP address and keeps your site running with no downtime. With every transfer, you’ll receive one year’s free subscription to WhoisGuard privacy protection service ($2.88 value). WhoisGuard keeps your contact information out of the publicly accessible Whois database, so your private information stays private.
Even GoDaddy offers a free domain name with a Hosting account, but I’ve no experience regarding transfers with them. Also, do check out A Small Orange – offers a free domain and two extra months of Hosting when you buy an annual plan.
Dedicated IP Address and SSL Securtiy
If you plan to Host an eCommerce website and will be processing payments on your site, then you hve to be worried about having a Dedicated IP address and an SSL Certificate. SSL locks down your site visitors’ sensitive data against fraud and identity theft. An SSL certificate provides encryption (scrambling of data to prevent tampering during transmission) and validation (verification of the business behind the website), and the end result is customer trust. Namecheap offers Dedicated IP adress as default with some Hosting Plans, but you can still buy one if your chosen plan doesn’t have one.
Namecheap offers SSL encrytion and Certificates from a host of brands and at reasonable prices. The problem with most Web Hosting Companies is, they will provide you with a Dedicated IP only on request and offer SSL only from one of the Brands. This gives you little choice and limited possiblities. Namecheap also has SSL activation integrated with a Cpanel App for easier SSL implementation. You can choose from a host of packages that offer Domain validation, Organisation Validation and Extended Validation to your Website.
I just bought a Comodo SSL from Namecheap for my E-Learning website Xero To Millions at a real bargain on the Black Friday sale. They also offer SSL certificates from Thawte, Geo Trust and Symantec with plans starting at as low as $9. Another good provider for SSL is Godaddy, but the plans are a way bit costly and offer very few options.
Tip: One thing I learnt while implementing SSL on my E-learning website – Look for how much support and integration tools the provider is offering to help you. Activating SSL Certificates isn’t that tough, but getting the Green Lock and securing the Transaction pages requires a lot of editing to your .htaccess, php.ini and other PHP files in your WordPress installation. I’m pretty happy with NameCheap Support as they help me implement the whole thing in a few hours – they have a great tool in the C-panel for implementing and activating SSL on the desired installation. Their support team helped me in editing the necessary files within minutes of my request.
Support, Documentation and Forums
Being a Customer having multiple Web Hosting and Domain Names with Namecheap, I have a very first-hand experience about Namecheap Support. Namecheap doesn’t have phone support, and rely’s on Live Chat and Support Ticket system. While this may seem problematic, but believe me, this has been the most fantastic support system I’ve experienced till now. If you ask about what I feel about Namecheap’s support – I would say I am mesmerised.
I loved the Live Chat System as I had a very bad experience with GoDaddy. I used to call up GoDaddy Support numbers (which were no toll-free) and hear to annoying marketing scripts waiting for the Customer Rep to appear, and again if he puts me on hold to check something. Once I had to bear this for an entire hour and a half. With Namecheap, you get with a customer rep within the first few minutes on the Chat and get back to your work till they resolve your problem. Also, the ticket system is fantastic and the response times are quick. And you can print the entire chat or mail it to yourself for future reference.
Other than the Live Chat and Ticket based support there is a very active Forum which can resolve pretty complex problems with some minutes. Another thing I found good about is the Knowledgebase. It’s well organised and solutions to most common issues are well documented.
Other than the excellent Support mechanism developed by Namecheap, there is one more thing which you can only find at Namecheap. Namecheap is the only company that has a publicly available System status page here they update about System issues, downtime and resolved issues. I very much appreciate this as it shows the Company’s honesty and ethics.
Even NASA’s Space Missions have problems and if they hide it we won’t feel good. After reviewing almost all of the Top Web Hosting Companies, Namecheap was the only one that declares its system issues. This also helps in planning major events and I thank Namecheap for sharing this information with its customers.
In the entire Web Hosting circuit, Namecheap is an all-around winner. Name cheap wins on all fronts, whether it is the Company’s management, Team, ethics or Plans, pricing infrestructure and support. No other web host has so much to offer at such bargain price. From my side, I give 5 Stars to NAMECHEAP, and you can judge it yourself.
For more info on selecting the right Web Hosting, Provider and Plans refer the Ultimate Guide To Web Hosting.