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I've been registering domains names for a very long time. I recall registering my first domain name in 1999. I've used plenty of different registrars, most US based but also some from the UK. Namecheap has become my favourite registrar. In this review, I'll discuss why I recommend Namecheap and why I keep my domain registration and site hosting separate.
What is Namecheap?
Namecheap is a domain name registrar and more recently web host. It was founded in 2000 and it's based in California. They focus on domain registration but also offer a full range of hosting solutions.
Namecheap Review Updated for 2018
Trusted ratings of Namecheap
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Digitally rates Namecheap 4.8/5 in it's 2018 Namecheap review
Upfront and ongoing cost
Namecheap costs vary by product. In this review, I'm specifically looking at the domain registration service. With the purchase of any domain, you have an initial registration price and an annual renewal. A domain is never truly yours. You need to renew it each year to ensure you retain ownership. At the time of writing and excluding all special offers the cost of a .com registration is $11.98 / £8.90, the same again to renew year on year. There are regular special offers so it's worth checking.
Ease of implementation
Buying a new domain with Namecheap is easy. Search for the domain you want and if it's available, you can register it immediately. If it's not, then Namecheap will present you with a variety of alternatives.
Ease of use
Once a domain is registered, you'll need to point it at your web host. The user interface is well thought out and changing your DNS settings is really straightforward. You need to have the right settings from your web host which is the case wherever you register a domain.
When it comes to domains you don't expect or need a lot of functionality. You expect it to work and Namecheap just works. You have a wide range of domains you can register at a reasonable cost, the same can be said of many other domain registrars. What sets Namecheap apart is the speed at which changes are implemented. For example, changing domains to point to a new web host can take 24 to 48 hours to implement (propagate) with most hosts. With Namecheap, the change can happen almost instantly. Across all the registrars I have used, this is the first time I've seen this.
Namecheap support is excellent. They have plenty of documentation and are available on multiple channels including Twitter. I had an issue registering a domain and sent them a message on Twitter. They responded within the hour with a resolution.
The pros and cons of Namecheap as a domain registrar
The negatives of Namecheap as a domain registrar
One thing to know is that if you register your domain on a special offer, the renewal the price you pay is the regular non-special offer price. This is typical across the industry.
Billing is in US Dollars no matter what you use for as your default currency. Changing the currency to Pound Sterling will allow you to see the princes in Pounds but it'll be billed to your credit card in Dollars.
The positives of Namecheap as a domain registrar
Namecheap is great value, especially if you register your domain during a special offer. I picked up dozens of domains for only $1 / £.074 during one sale.
Namecheap is easy to use, this is because of the simplicity of its user interface. Unlike other registrars there aren't dozens of up-sell offers you need to fight past.
You get plenty of warning about an upcoming domain renewal or cancellation.
Namecheap vs other registrars
Below is a table of domain name registrars by market share, last updated in January 2018. It's clear, based on market share alone, Godaddy is the market leader.
Namecheap vs GoDaddy
If you're looking at buying a domain name, you've no doubt come across GoDaddy. They have great marketing and special offers. I've used GoDaddy multiple times myself enticed by one special offer or another. Unfortunately, every experience has been disappointing especially near renewal time. GoDaddy needs to recoup the cost of its special offers and this happens at the end of your initial period. Wherever you register your domain name, special offers only apply to the first registration period, not subsequent renewals. GoDaddy is no different in this respect. There are three areas where I've had massive negative experiences with GoDaddy.
- Renewal notifications - I've never seen a renewal notification from GoDaddy unless the domain is set to don't renew. In most cases, you want to renew your domain, but in some cases, you don't. Renewal will happen without notification and at the full cost of the domain. As a result, you won't have a chance to shop around. A year ago I registered a .co.uk domain for $0.99 / £0.75 and recently renewed without notification for $30 / £21.99. Although the cost is high, my issue is with the renewal without notification. GoDaddy will contact you if your domain is set to expire, but not if a domain is set to renew.
- Challenges with support - GoDaddy support is difficult to reach and inconsistent in their responses. My preferred support channel is live chat. There have been instances where I've received one response from live chat and another from phone support. I've had to resort to maintaining copies of live chat conversations in case I need to refer back to them in the future.
- Difficulty migrating away from GoDaddy - to migrate domains to another registrar need to obtain a code called the EPP code. Getting the EPP code from the GoDaddy dashboard is more challenging than it needs to be and in some cases, users need to call GoDaddy support to obtain the code.
Namecheap vs 123-Reg
If you're in the UK and looking to buy a domain, you're likely to be comparing Namecheap with 123-Reg. 123-Reg is a British company and is the largest domain registrar in the UK. I've bought domain names through 123-Reg in the past. They recently acquired my previous domain name registrar of choice, DomainMonster. I'm now moving my domains away and consolidating them on Namecheap. Why? The cost. Although cost shouldn't be your primary consideration when selecting a domain name registrar, it is something you need to think about if you have more than a dozen domains. Renewing a .com domain on 123-Reg costs twice as much than it does through Namecheap.
NameCheap Review Conclusion
Is Namecheap a Great Buy or Goodbye?
I've been using Namecheap for over a year now and I've finally found a domain name registrar I can happily recommend. Reasonable prices, good service and great technology mean that this is a great domain registrar. If you want to register your first domain or your 100th, Namecheap is a Great Buy.
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