Namecheap is a US-based ICANN-accredited domain registrar that has been around for more than a decade. They started as a reseller of the registrar eNom and used eNom’s ICANN-accreditation. During 2018 all new and existing domain registrations are now under their own ICANN-accreditation. Over the years they have generally received positive reviews and are often recommended by customers. I have used Namecheap for many years and used to have most of my domains with them. Besides domain registrations Namecheap also offers different hosting plans. This review is solely about Namecheap as a domain registrar.
Namecheap offers domain registration under more than 400 top level domains (TLD’s). Price wise Namecheap is an affordable option charging in the 10-15$ range for major TLD’s such as .com, .net, .org, .info etc. It is certainly possible to find cheaper registrars out there, but often it will be worth it to spend a bit extra by using a solid well-established registrar, Namecheap is in that league. They often have attractive promotions, but be aware that these prices most often only cover the first year of registration.
The purchasing process is pretty straightforward and simple, and Namecheap accepts most major credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin. While Namecheap does show several upsell options during purchasing, they are not as aggressive as many other registrars, and it’s easy to skip upselling by clicking “View Chart” when you have selected the domain you want. If you need free whois privacy, you need to add it from the list of upsell options. Don’t worry if you forget it during check-out. You can add whois privacy afterward.
During my time as a customer at Namecheap, I have had one bad purchasing experience. During a promotion, I was given free e-mail accounts for a year. I didn’t need them and never used. Unfortunately, auto-renew was on by default, and I ended up paying for yet a year of service and was unable to receive a refund. It seems Namecheap has since turned auto-renew off by default for such promotions. Anyway, I will recommend checking the auto-renew settings on both domains and add-on services to make sure they align with your needs.
Namecheap’s control panel has improved over the years, and the current version is quite simple and easy to learn. Most users with experience from other registrars will be able to manage registered domains quickly. The control panel provides self-service for most domain configuration options. Only some special configurations are unavailable such as adding an IPv6 glue record. Changes, for example, changing DNS are processed quite fast, typically within minutes. My only concern with the control panel is that it can be a bit slow at times.
I have been quite pleased with the process of both transferring domains in and out of Namecheap. Over the years I have transferred quite a few domains, and so far I have had no issues. I once needed to transfer out an expired domain. This was not possible through the control panel, but after contacting support, the transfer was initiated and went through. If the domain in question only recently expired it is technically still possible to transfer the domain to another registrar, but not all registrars will allow this. I was happy to discover that Namecheap will.
Namecheap offers 24/7 support through their knowledge base, support tickets, and live chat. My few encounters with NameCheap support has been positive. Overall the support staff seems to be competent and interested in solving problems.
- Affordable pricing, typical in the 10-14$ range for major TLD’s. Namecheap often runs attractive promotions.
- Offering domain registration under more than 400 TLD’s.
- Satisfying and fast support through 24/7 tickets and live chat.
- Decent and fairly easy to learn control panel.
- Free whois privacy (if allowed by the TLD registry.)
- Free DNS service (with some limitations), this service is even free for domains not registered with Namecheap.
- Trustworthy, Namecheap has proved to be trustworthy and rock solid over the years.
- Easy to transfer domains in and out of Namecheap.
- Accepts PayPal and Bitcoin besides major credit cards.
- No phone support. Support is provided through a 24/7 ticket system and live chat.
- Some special configurations are not supported, for example, adding DNS glue records for IPv6 addresses, and DNSSEC is not yet supported for all domains. Other special configurations require a support ticket.
- Free add-ons such as e-mail account, SSL certificates, etc. provided as part of a domain registration sometimes have auto-renew enabled. It’s easy to accidentally end up paying for unwanted extra services initial free during domain registration.
- Namecheap claims that domains previously transferred out of Namecheap cannot be transferred back using promotional offers. In reality, this does not seem to be true. I have transferred several domains back to Namecheap using promo codes without problems.
Namecheap will continue to be on my list of preferred domain name registrars. It is possible to find slightly cheaper alternative registrars, but Namecheap is affordable, and they are a long-term player that has proved to be stable and trustworthy. The Namecheap website and control panel is simple and straightforward with a simple interface. Over the years they have continued to improve their interface and self-service. Overall, I recommend Namecheap as an option for a primary or secondary registrar.