Being an independently run website (as of August 2020, this site has one owner, writer and maintenance guy – me) reliable hosting is of paramount importance, as I can’t be paying an IT maintenance company to manage my server as that would not be cost effective at all and it wouldn’t exactly be “necessary” as this website is not mission critical. But, I would like it to be up and running 24/7 without a hiccup. This is why I moved from hosting the website myself to Namecheap hosting. I did this for three reasons: the first reason is that Namecheap hosting would be a lot faster for people to access my website, while my connection to the internet at home is very good (Virgin Media 300) its nowhere near as good as a professional datacentre, and I get unlimited bandwidth with Namecheap, so that isn’t a limitation. The second reason I moved to Namecheap hosting is reliability; while hosting a website from your own personal Linux server is an interesting project, and does give you a lot of technological knowhow, the reliability simply isn’t there. For example, I live in an area that gets fairly frequent power outages, and although my server is plugged into a UPS. The UPS software is setup so that it shuts down the server immediately to protect the server, as I don’t have a large network of uninterruptible power supplies, so my single unit wouldn’t be able to sustain powering the server for more than about a couple of hours, if that. The third reason is price, yes, Namecheap hosting comes with exceptionally competitive pricing for their ‘Stellar’ range of hosting services. My initial cost was £1.36, thanks to the free browser extension “Honey”, and my monthly cost after this will be £2.20 per month, which I think is more than worth it!
- £2 per month – cheap
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Lots and lots of features
- 20GB SSD (although upgrading to unlimited doesn’t cost much more)
- File limit of 300,000
- Can be hard to use for a first time user
Being cPanel based, with lots of preloaded applets, the hosting from Namecheap is excellent. You have access to the softaculous app installer, which allows you to easily implement CMS systems such as WordPress and Joomla, it also allows you to use webmail clients, calendars and much more, all from the click of a button. Far easier than installing from a terminal like you would on your own Linux system. You also get access to free webmail, which is setup out of the box. You can add up to 30 email accounts on your hosting and you can use one of the two built in webmail clients right away. Personally, I’m a fan of Horde Groupware, so I just used that as it was already installed. However, you can easily add other webmail clients like Squirrelmail or Rainloop if you wish, using the softaculous app installer. The other built in webmail client is Roundcube, however I think Horde is better due to its advanced functionality.
Another feature you get is add-on domains. This means that you can buy hosting for one domain and add two more, free of charge. However, we think this could be done better as you have to put a subdomain on your root domain to add a secondary or tertiary domain. On the other hand, though, Namecheap hosting is so cheap that you could just buy hosting for another domain, and while it would cost double, that’s still only £4 per month, so it’s pretty much a non-issue anyway.
With Namecheap, you get access to all the advanced management tools that you’d ever want, thanks to it being cPanel based. You get access to the likes of phpMyAdmin, and the admin consoles of all your added extras, such as WordPress or Joomla. You also get advanced management for domain redirects, email server settings, domain rules, add-on domains, SQL and so much more. The best thing to do is to keep playing with the features to see what you can come across.
As with lots of cheap services, while Namecheap is very good, it does come with some limitations. These include a 20GB SSD in the most basic plan (not much of an issue as its fairly cheap to upgrade) but the bigger one is that there is a limit of 300,000 files on each disk. So although you have unlimited storage space, you don’t have unlimited files. I believe this is an attempt to stop people using the cPanel Hosting as some kind of a cloud solution. Personally, I don’t think this is bad because if you are wanting a cloud solution that isn’t self hosted, you may as well go for OneDrive or Google Drive anyway, you don’t even have to pay anything near full price if you get a OneDrive key from the likes of eBay. The other alternative is to host a cloud solution yourself, using a solution such as Owncloud or Nextcloud, most people use these based on privacy concerns with external providers, so there’s no guarantee that hosting your own cloud solution on Namecheap cPanel would be any more private than OneDrive or Google Drive for example.
The other limitation is that you can only have 3 domains per hosting “slot”. What this means is you can buy Namecheap hosting for one domain, and add two more, but if you need more than this you will have to buy an additional hosting plan on a different cPanel. This will double your monthly cost as you will have two of the same plan. This is not a deal-breaker though as Namecheap is so cost effective you’d only be paying around £4.40 per month if you needed more than three domains which is still very competitive pricing. In fact, I actually recommend getting a separate cPanel for each domain you have. Higher monthly cost, yes, but the limitation of having three domains on one cPanel is that you have to put the two additional domains on a subdomain of the original domain that was setup. So, if I had already setup example.com, I could setup test.com, but you would also have to be able to get to it from subdomain.test.com, for example. It works, but it isn’t the cleanest solution and it is practically unusable if you need true separation between your websites.
Overall, since switching to Namecheap for my web hosting, I have been very impressed, the service works quickly, you get free SSL, free webmail and up to 3 domains on each package you buy. It would’ve been nice to see Namecheap remove the 300,000 files limit, for those with perhaps not large files, but a significant amount of small files, however I believe the higher grade packages may allow you to overcome this limit somewhat, but the Stellar package doesn’t.
Apart from a few limitations, I doubt you’d be able to find value as good as this anywhere else and I highly recommend it. Please note that this post is not in any way endorsed or sponsored by Namecheap, it is an honest review of the service that has been delivered to me since I have started using it.
Namecheap was recommended to me by Jake Sammon, check his site out here.
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