Namecheap has been around since 2000, founded by Richard Kirkendall whose vision was to provide people with low priced domains. It originally started out as a registrar but is now also offering services such as web hosting, web security (SSL certificates), and website-building, among others. The Los Angeles, California-based company has been recently known for having an anti-SOPA position and has used that to advertise to potential customers who didn't agree with the Stop Online Piracy Act.
On December 29, 2011, Namecheap held a "Move Your Domain Day" with a coupon for reduced prices on their domain services. One of the company’s notable actions was donating $1 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for every domain transfer made to Namecheap.com from another registrar.
How does being a cheap domain name provider stack up against thousands of domain registrars and web hosting companies?
- Free WhoisGuard for the first year
- Extremely competitive pricing structure
- Provides Whois lookup tool – not typically offered in most domain registrars
- Cheap domains and even cheaper domain privacy services, with a payment tool that allows users to easily change currencies in purchase cart
- Offers a wide range of hosting and add-on services that are relevant to domain registration and website building
Judging by its name, Namecheap’s main selling point seems to be its competitive pricing, but its clean user dashboard and easy to navigate menus are also pretty sellable. The simplest transaction could involve quickly searching for your desired domain, ‘taking out’ your cart, verifying your details, and paying for your purchase. When checking out, extras are offered but they are all presented below your main transaction and don’t appear to be ‘hard sell’ which is a vast departure from domain registrars that have way too aggressive sales interface. Of course, selling and buying a domain name is the point of all domain registrations but in terms of usability, sometimes, functional is more than enough.
Namecheap’s dashboard looks modern, with big fonts and a very clean-looking lay-out. Going over your list of domains is the easiest thing to do; just go through each tab on the left-hand side with separate sections for about-to-expire websites, domain list, product list, and profile page, which lists your personal info, security, billing, and tools. Also very easy to do here is transferring a domain as the process is similar to doing a plain domain search.
A user experience such as Namecheap provides may not be its best feature nor is its most important characteristic but this is an essential element that takes some of the more bothersome aspects of searching for a number of domains, managing said domains, transferring domains from one registrar to another, and performing any number of tasks.
Namecheap.com is one of the very few registrars that offers free domain privacy service, at least for the first year of registration. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s indispensable. And for that, Namecheap partners with WhoisGuard which provides spam filter for unwanted mails as well as flexibility in activating the service. After the first year, WhoisGuard is renewable for $2.88 a year.
As certain users – whether small business, medium-to-large businesses to personal website owners – will come to realize, availing a domain privacy for their website might prove to be one of the smartest add-on purchase they could make. A domain privacy protects a registrant’s name, address, email address and phone numbers – information that, surely, not most people would be okay to be available in a public domain. It’s not only that having these information available to a public database such as Whois can result to insistent spam mails ending up on one’s inbox, it is also that there is a significant security risk.
Also worth noting is that Namecheap offers a WhoIs lookup tool which is convenient for those who are looking at domains that are already taken. Where this features gets useful in particular is when a registrant wants to register another domain which he couldn’t because it’s taken, among several other reasons.
Aside from the aforementioned Whois lookup tool, Namecheap also has most of the features that one would come to expect from a domain registrar: URL forwarding, DNS servers, SSL certificates and others. As is customary with most registrars, you will be asked to avail of an SSL certificate which comes with a promotional price of ‘just $1.99 for the first year’. A certificate comes with a site seal, browser ubiquity, top-tier support and encryption level. Each feature’s function is explained and it helps that all validation levels – domain, organization and extended validation – have product and price comparison data.
Namecheap also offers a number of hosting packages: shared, reseller hosting, and VPS hosting, with three options for server management including self-managed, managed or fully-managed. As far as top level domains go, Namecheap has all of the popular extensions (.com, .org, and .net) and a few of the more obscure ones, too. You can check some of these obscure extensions when you opt to do bulk search using the extension filter.
Bulk Registrations and Management
Searching and registering domain names in bulk can easily be done in Namecheap.com. You can search and enter up to 50 domain names on registration and the results are presented just as fast and efficiently as when searching for a single domain. Bulk domain searching can be done in two ways: by entering fully qualified or complete domains or by filtering search through selected extensions, which is offered in great variety here.
The recently updated Account Panel allows for a more convenient bulk domain management. Bulk actions can be performed for the following functions: DNS/Host records, Email Redirect, Renew Expiring, Domain Contacts, Auto-Renew, WhoisGuard, Add Category, Transfer Out, and Verify Contacts. Domains can be managed through Domain List or Product List, and are arranged in neat columns: domain list, products and expiration.
Access Level and Delegating
Namecheap.com allows account holders or primary users to grant manager rights to another user through its Domain List tab where sharing and transferring access can be done. Under its Sharing & Transfer tab, you can select the settings your designated manager or owner can control and edit. The user needs to have a Namecheap user account which is pretty easy to create as the site does not require a purchase to activate or create an account, unlike other registrars.
Functions that can be delegated include WhoisGuard management, email forwarding, customizing parking page, renewing domain, and managing auto-renewal, under ‘Services’; managing domain lock under ‘Sharing & Transfer’; and Advanced DNS functions such as changing DNS type, managing host records, managing dynamic DNS, and managing private nameservers.
So you know the extent of authority you’re granting, a brief explanation of each access function is provided. But basically, you can easily customize settings for the level of access your designated user will have. One of the best things about its permission granting functionality is that while it allows the primary user to give access to someone, it also allows said user to be as restrictive to rights being granted, therefore avoiding potentially hazardous access and/or other account security issues.
Pricing and Coupons
Competitive pricing is indeed one of its main strengths. Namecheap's main goal is to be the most affordable and simple domain name registrar in the industry and they do this by offering a select few services at a decent price. Additionally, they frequently have coupons that allow customers to score discounts on their purchases. Coupons are provided and change after 30 days. A dedicated site for its coupons, namecheapcoupons.com/ has updates on its most recent promotional offers which may include one-time discount on certain registrations or transfers.
A basic domain registration is priced for $3.98 a year, that is, if you avail of any of the cheaper extensions such as .us, .info, .biz, or .co, while a domain transfer could go for $9.87 a year. Namecheap supports all common payment methods.
Contacting customer service is fairly convenient. Chatting with a specialist requires no more than your complete name and email, and in less than a minute you’re talking to a someone who would assist you. Customer service representatives occasionally tend to do a bit of soft-selling but they do so under appropriate circumstances. For instance, when inquiring about web security options, you won’t receive suggestions for the most expensive product available, but instead get well thought out recommendations based on your requirements. Other instances might involve nothing more than being given a link to information you’re looking for which is also efficient as it is often easier to refer to a well laid out guide than a chat room.
A somehow unique feature of their live chat is that when typing your question, a few recommendations, ie, web pages from its knowledgebase will be offered up to you before you get connected to a representative. This may sound like an inconvenience, however, it actually is pretty useful and can sometimes eliminate the need to talk to someone when everything is available on their knowledgebase page.
In addition to domain name registration, Namecheap also offers cloud e-mail hosting, different types of web hosting, and an API to allow users to make customized domain name registration applications using Namecheap to make the transaction. A customer can also buy and sell domains on Namecheap if they make a free account first. It currently has over a million clients and three million domains and, with these figures, is considered a medium-sized domain registrar.
Namecheap's continued focus on providing simple services at affordable prices has led to them quickly becoming a force in the domain industry. Their attention to detail and focus on the basics have also led to them winning multiple customer service and best registrar awards over the years. With everything that you can do on a single site, choosing another registrar over Namecheap.com will be just a matter of preference.
Available Top Level Domains and Prices
Namecheap Promo Codes and Coupons
Domain Raccoon frequently monitors Namecheap for the latest coupons, discounts and limited-time offers on a regular basis. However there are currently no special offers available at the moment. Feel free to sign up for our newsletter to be notified of upcoming Namecheap coupons when they are available.