As some of you may know, Toptut.com has been hosted on MediaTemple’s account for many years, and up until recently, we were very, very happy there. However, things went wrong after Godaddy (crappies hosting provider) acquired MetaTemple (top-notch hosting provider) a few years ago.
Since then, the hosting experience gradually worsened, and I sadly learned that even with a mid-priced hosting account, you still need to pay $150 for restoring a backup and $30 for having mySQL on your account. Service scan is not available on request even if you have been hacked and it’s not your fault, which is exactly what happened to me.
So after a two-week downtime, I decided that moving my websites to another host would be way, way, WAY cheaper than requesting restore for 9 websites that were down ($150 x 9, just for one single backup restore, yes…)
So, I searched the web and spent three tormenting days looking for a decent host. I considered HostGator since I used to have a dedicated server with them, back in the days when my forum had 5 million visitors a month, it seemed that unless I paid way in advance, the price was too high for shared hosting. Instead of taking one expensive account, I decided that I would just take a few shared ones and won’t keep all my eggs in one basket anymore because of the bitter experience with website hacking. After a long search and reading tons of reviews, I finally decided in favor of NameCheap, because:
- Price: starting from $9/YEAR (the first year)
- Server scan and backup restores FREE in your cPanel
- SSD disk + unlimited bandwidth
Namecheap currently offers 4 shared hosting plans:
- Value – Limited to 3 domains, 20GB in disk space, 50 databases and 50 email accounts.
- Professional – Limited to 10 domains, 50GB in disk space, 100 databases and 100 email accounts.
- Ultimate – Limited to 50 domains.
- Business Pro – Limited to 20GB in disk space & 5000GB in bandwidth.
NameCheap ‘s Value Plan and Professional Plan — Great introductory pricing
The two primary Namecheap plans are all identical apart from the amount of disk space and the number of websites allowed. The Value plan is excellent value, especially with the initial discount. If you only have a couple of websites to host, then the Value Plan should be sufficient. With resources limited on a per-account basis, rather than a per-website basis, it may be more beneficial to buy two Value Plans rather than upgrade to the Professional Plan, as this gives you twice the amount of resources.
- Maximum number of concurrent web server requests: 20
- Maximum amount of RAM all client’s processes can use: 4Gb Virtual Memory (1GB Physical) (we comment on this below)
- Maximum percentage of CPU time: 100% Burstable (20% sustained)
- Shared Hosting for less than the cost of a domain name
- Accelerated SSD Technology (caching of frequently accessed files on SSD storage)
- 100% Uptime SLA
- cPanel Control Panel
- One-Click Installs of WordPress and other popular apps via Softaculous
- Live Chat and Ticket Support
- Daily backups
I took one Value plan and two “Professional” plans and tried to spread my websites equally among them. I didn’t take 3 “Value” plans because it didn’t offer an IP blocking option, and although you can block IPs in the .htaccess file, I still find it a lot easier to just use the cPanel’s option. Mainly because I had a flood of bot traffic due to the last attack, which eventually put me offline and forced me to fork out $100 for 1 day of traffic outrage (because MediaTemple’s GPUs are freaking expensive). PSwish.com went on to the value plan since it doesn’t have as much traffic.
I really love the cPanel, after 10 years on managed/dedicated server, I totally forgot how convenient cPanel is, and how many FREE options the shared host actually has.
Customer support is notoriously hard to judge. It’s hard to know what is really going on behind the scenes, and whether a company will be helpful when you contact them. So many user-supplied online reviews (of any company) are either naively positive or exaggerated negative experiences. Besides, you never know if you are reading about a one-off or a true trend with anecdotes.
NameCheap‘s CPU Usage Policy
With Namecheap, it is tough to see exactly what resources you have at your disposal, as on first look they appear to be extremely generous, but their knowledge base and Acceptable Use Policy indicate a slightly differing story. For instance, we don’t know of any other shared hosting plan for around $40 per year that offers 4GB RAM. As you will see from our commentary on their Control Panels below, it is very clear that Namecheap does not distinguish between Virtual Memory and Physical Memory in their advertising, nor do they point out the terms of their Acceptable Use Policy that only allow max CPU usage for limited periods, and that sustained usage is just 20% of that. That being said, even after looking beyond the artistic advertising, they still have very respectable resource allowances, especially on their Ultimate and Business SSD plans.
Namecheap uses CloudLinux to manage their hosting resources between accounts. CloudLinux not only isolates each cPanel account for greater security, but it allows a host to set usage limits on RAM and CPU. This ensures that no one account can bring the server to a standstill due to a bad script or overuse.
With regard to the CPU time, we suspect each 100% relates to one core of CPU. When an account reaches the limit of its CPU usages, the server throttles the usage. A higher CPU setting can make larger or busier websites feel more responsive. Of course, this is a shared hosting server, so you won’t be entitled to use that amount of CPU all the time, and the acceptable usage policy should be read.
SSD Hosting for Just $1/month?
For this tiny ridiculous price, you get SSD hosting, which you don’t get with every host, at least not for less than $1 a month.
SSD vs HDD – What’s the Difference?
HDD stands for “hard disk drive”.
It represents the older style hard drive where an actual physical disk spins around inside and stores your data. That means that in order to access data, there’s always a slight delay while the physical disk spins. They’ve been around forever, and up until a few years ago were used in pretty much every computer. But, with the invention of more affordable and larger capacity SSDs, that trend has started to shift.
SSD stands for “solid-state drive”.
Unlike an HDD, there’s no physical disk spinning inside. The data is all stored on microchips. Because there are no moving parts, an SSD can load data much faster than an HDD.
What are the advantages of Solid State Drive (SSD Hosting)
When it comes to comparing SSD Vs. HDD hosting it’s not much of a battle. Solid-state drives offer significant benefits & advantages when compared with hard disk drives. The only real area where hard disk drives are superior is the price per GB of storage, but even that gap is decreasing every day.
Faster Hosting Speed
Because solid-state drives are just generally faster than hard-disk drives, the major benefit of SSD hosting is faster site speed. Because your drive can serve up data faster, your site will consequently load faster (as long as there aren’t any external bottlenecks like slow internet speeds).
Better Data Security
Because hard disk drives rely on physical spinning, they’re far more prone to mechanical failure than solid-state drives. And if a drive fails, you’re at risk for data loss. Hosting providers try to mitigate this flaw with HDDs by using a RAID backup system (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks), but the risk still remains to an extent. And while an effective backup strategy can further mitigate your risk, it’s still much nicer to not have to worry about your primary drive. In addition to generally having longer lifespans, SSDs are also more resistant to physical damage like bumps or drops. Selecting a hosting company that offers SSD is a smart choice for anyone who cares about their data and website.
Lower Power Usage – More Friendly to the Environment
Solid-state drives typically only use about 20% of the power needed for spinning hard disk drives. When scaled up over hundreds of servers, this is a huge saving in power. So, if you care about the environment and lowering electricity consumption, you’ll definitely want to choose SSD hosting.
Better For Database Intensive Uses Like eCommerce or Forums
If you’re running a database-intensive site (which many WordPress & eCommerce sites are), you’ll experience some of the best performance improvements by choosing SSD hosting over HDD. Because the hard drive is typically the limiting factor on a database or I/O intensive site, any improvements to hard drive speed will massively improve the website’s performance.
Executes Requests Faster
Unlike hard disk drives, solid-state drives can read and write data at the same time. This means they can execute web requests faster than hard disk drives, leading to better hosting performance, especially for request-heavy sites. Faster read/write times can also lessen your server’s CPU reliance, which frees up server resources.
More Reliable Performance Because No Fragmentation
Because solid-state drives don’t experience data fragmentation like hard disk drives, they’re able to offer more reliable performance. SSDs always know exactly where the needed data is, unlike HDDs.
Well… $9.88 for a year of hosting is an incredible value.
Of course, make sure you check the renewal prices, as the introductory pricing is only for one year. But, what we particularly like about them is the upsell (it feels odd to applaud upselling) of their SSL certificates when you purchase either hosting or domain. They always seem to have an offer for SSL for just $1.99, and of course, their domain prices are some of the lowest around (with free Whois for one year). Unlike other hosts, they won’t charge you a fortune for helping you install your SSL on their hosting either!
Namecheap Hosting Review — Summary
- Reliable web hosting services — As far as we can see when problems occur they work hard to resolve the issues and are very proactive in reaching out to people in the community who are experiencing issues.
- CPanel — They use the standard cPanel, which is extremely user-friendly, and has all the tools and features that make managing your website very easy.
- Great Upsells — Fantastic pricing on SSL certificates and domains.
- Excellent customer support — Their support staff know what they are doing. They have been around for a while, and you won’t find much bad about them precisely because their support is so good.
- Experienced Domain Registrar — This used to be their core business (and we guess still is). They have developed a comprehensive interface to manage your domains that you will find easy to use. After using them, you won’t ever want to leave.
- Integrated CloudFlare — We are a big fan of CloudFlare in combination with shared hosting. CloudFlare can increase your site’s performance, while reducing the strain on your server, which for shared hosting matters. We particularly like it when CloudFlare can be setup via a one-click install solution via the cPanel. CloudFlare is one of the first things we recommend to implement when hosting providers try to get you to upgrade to a VPS due to CPU over usage.
- CloudLinux — Added security and stability due to isolation and limiting of hosting accounts.
- XCache — On their Business plan you can use xCache for Opcode Caching, which if you see our example W3 Total Cache settings and guide will make your WordPress installation fly.
- SSD’s with Business Plan — Again, their Premium Business plan is where it is all at, and why they got such a high recommendation from us. You can read about the benefits of SSD Web Hosting here.
- Short Money Back Guarantee — They only offer a 14-day money back guarantee which is far less than many other hosts. We don’t think that you can honestly evaluate a host in just 14 days, and if this were a less well-known brand, we would certainly advise you to proceed with caution. They are, however, are well established, and extremely well known for their domain registration services, so we don’t think you need to be overly worried about this. We have used them for domain registration for years.
- Value Plan limitations — Be sure to check all the specifications of each shared hosting plan to ensure to get all the features you might expect from a cPanel host. Their Value plan has several limitations that are worth checking.
They are a well-renowned company with a rock solid reputation. You cannot go wrong hosting with this company, and we even use them ourselves for domain name registration. They don’t offer anything spectacular, or innovative, but, they seem to be fairly reliable, and they offer superb value.