Bluehost vs. Namecheap
Choosing a hosting provider is an important decision that should never be rushed. That’s because it’s much easier to carefully consider your options before you commit than to switch providers later after realizing you’ve made a bad decision. You can apply that train of thought to a lot of companies but in this article, we’re going to take a look at the Namecheap vs. Bluehost comparison.
Namecheap and Bluehost are two very popular providers that have excellent reputations so you might be tempted to just pick one at random because they’re both great choices. Well, that would be a mistake in most cases. Even though they both have a lot to offer, one of these companies is overall better than the other when it comes to web hosting and in this article, I’m going to show you why that is.
Bluehost is a better choice for shared, managed and WordPress hosting when compared to Namecheap. While Namecheap offers low initial and renewal pricing, Bluehost's reliability (uptime), performance, speed, and support is far better than anything Namecheap has to offer.
In case you’re not very familiar with these two providers, let me just preface by saying this isn’t a comparison between two wildly different companies. Far from it. Namecheap began as a domain registrar that later started to offer hosting services while Bluehost sort of did the opposite. Nowadays, the two companies offer many of the same products and services, so the goal here is to find out which one of them would be the best choice for regular users. With that out of the way, let’s jump straight into it.
Update October 2020: Before you decide to buy make sure to check out this page to take advantage of the on-going 65% discount; available during the month of February 2020. It would be a shame not to take advantage of it. Whatever your final decision will be after reading our comparison, we want our readers to take maximum advantage of the latest promotions (after clicking, the discount will apply automatically at check-out).
In this article, we are going in-depth with the comparison between the two hosts.
Namecheap has more complex, higher-priced hosting plans. However, if you're looking to step away from a basic hosting plan, then Bluehost is a better choice in our opinion. With Bluehost, you can get support and premium extras at lower prices than any other web hosting provider.
While Bluehost is well known for its cheap hosting, they also provide other features and domain services. Namecheap, on the other hand, is best known for its affordable domain prices.
- Bluehost offers a money-back guarantee of 30 days, while Namecheap a shorter period of 14-30 days.
- Bluehost is incredibly simple to use for the average user, whereas Namecheap has better pricing, but strives for ease-of-use.
- Namecheap offers free Let's Encrypt SSL that makes it simpler to go HTTPS rather than Bluehost certificates.
As mentioned above, Bluehost really trusts their service and their support and they believe that they are the perfect fit for your website. That's why we encourage you to read more about their 30-days money-back guarantee policy and check out what they offer here; At the end of the day, it's a risk-free trial.
Ease of Use
If you’re new to hosting, you’ll probably want to go with a provider that makes things as easy and intuitive as possible. After all, you need to spend the majority of your time building and filling your website with content, not fumbling around trying to figure out your provider’s user interface. Luckily, both Namecheap and Bluehost are very good candidates for people who value simplicity and ease of use.
Regardless of whether you sign up with Bluehost or Namecheap, you will be able to manage pretty much everything related to your account or websites from the cPanel. Both Namecheap and Bluehost offer clutter-free and visually appealing cPanels, however, Namecheap’s panel is a bit more difficult to locate if you don’t know where to look. The same goes for the mailbox. I have to say that I like Bluehost’s system better as you can easily log in to either the cPanel or the mailbox from the same portal.
The cPanel is very helpful but you can make your life even easier by also using a good CMS (Content Management System) in conjunction with your hosting provider. There are a few solid options you can go for but unless you’re running an online store, I recommend sticking with good old WordPress. If you are looking to create an eCommerce platform, Magento would probably be your best bet.
Besides this, Bluehost takes things one step further than Namecheap by offering dedicated support for beginners; support that will help you install your theme, install plugins and launch your website for free. Feel free to read more about this here. Not to mention their 1-click WordPress install that allows you to have a website live in 5 minutes after buying a hosting plan.
You can use any of the aforementioned content management systems, along with many others, with either Bluehost or Namecheap. However, WordPress itself recommends Bluehost as its number 1 choice for web hosting so that’s definitely something to consider.
In this day and age, we tend to expect websites to load nearly instantly and always be up and running whenever we want to visit them. Considering how far technology has come, I think those expectations are pretty reasonable for the most part. The major hosting providers are well aware of user expectations and are doing their best to offer services that are as reliable and consistent as humanly possible. But which of our two contestants is the best in this area? Let’s find out.
Page loading speed was a bit of a problem for Namecheap before 2018 but nowadays the company is doing pretty well in that department. On average, you can expect speeds of around 625 ms at the moment. There are periods where you will consistently see speeds of under 500 ms but other times they can reach close to 1 second. 625 ms isn’t an amazing result but it’s not horrible either so I’d say the speeds at Namecheap are overall pretty average.
In the case of Bluehost, you’re looking at a much better situation. The company’s average page loading speeds tend to hover at around 406 ms most of the time. As with most companies, you do get some fluctuations here and there but overall the company has been very consistent with its speeds in 2020. With an average speed of 406 ms, Bluehost is currently one of the fastest providers on the market. It's also worth noting that we got similar results when doing tests for our Bluehost vs. iPage comparison, as many of our other articles involving the company, so you can expect good consistency in terms of speed.
Namecheap boldly claims to offer a 100% uptime guarantee with all its hosting plans, however, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The real uptime sits at around 99.92% in 2020, which is still a pretty good result. It’s not really 100% but frankly speaking, there isn’t a company out there that doesn’t experience occasional downtime so Namecheap should probably dial back a bit on its uptime guarantee.
Bluehost performs better than Namecheap in this department and offers a more realistic uptime guarantee. The company promises 99.99% uptime guarantee and its actual uptime does happen to sit at 99.99% on average at the moment. That hasn’t always been the case but Bluehost has gradually been improving its infrastructure over the years to the point where that guarantee can be now taken at face value. We also observed 99.99% uptime when testing SiteGround and a couple of other major providers but, for the most part, this is pretty rare and that makes Bluehost's results even more impressive.
Prices & Plans
Buying a web hosting plan tends to be a long-term investment so it helps to carefully consider the price before signing up with a provider. If you’re worried about the price, I recommend going for a shared hosting plan as this is by far the cheapest option available. And, as it happens, Bluehost and Namecheap have some of the best offers on shared hosting right now so you’re getting a good deal regardless of which option you choose. (If you sign up via their promotional page, you'll get 65% off as mentioned above, this offer is available right now in October 2020. We'll update the article as soon as this changes or if they offer a better promotion).
Namecheap’s basic plan will only set you back $1.44 per month, which is an absolute steal. Meanwhile, the most expensive shared hosting package will set you back $4.44 per month, so you can easily go for the final tier right off the bat given the low cost. That said, these extremely low prices are only available for the first year. After that, you can expect to pay between $2.88 and $8.88 per month moving forward, which is still a very good price.
|Stellar||Stellar Plus||Stellar Business|
|Storage||20 GB SSD||Unmetered SSD||50 GB SSD|
|Backups||2 / Week||AutoBackup Tool||AutoBackup Tool|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days|
Signing up with Bluehost will cost you between $2.95 and $13.95 per month depending on which plan you choose. As mentioned earlier, two of the shared hosting plans – Plus and Choice Plus – cost the same for the first term. Namely, $5.45 per month. The benefit of going for Choice Plus right away is that your first term can be as long as three years at Bluehost so you won’t have to worry about the renewal cost, which is more expensive for Choice Plus, anytime soon. You can read more about the differences between Plus and Choice Plus in our detailed Bluehost pricing guide.
|SSD Storage||50 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Backup||No||No||CodeGuard Basic||CodeGuard Basic|
|Spam Prevention||No||Spam Experts||Spam Experts||2x Spam Experts|
Please note that the above prices are calculated with the on-going 65% Discount from BlueHost. Once the promotion ends, the prices are likely to go up for future customers.
Bluehost is only 7 cents more expensive when compared to Namecheap
As you might expect from a company called Namecheap, its prices are among the cheapest out there. Bluehost is actually considered a very affordable option compared to most other providers but it’s pretty difficult to beat Namecheap in the price department. However, I wouldn’t rule out Bluehost at this stage because I feel like the price is justified considering how much the company has to offer in other areas. Which why it easily took the number one spot on our Namecheap alternatives list.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the standout features these companies include with their shared hosting packages because there are a few interesting differences to note.
Is Bluehost Better than Namecheap?
Both companies offer unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificates, and a free domain name for the first year. You can also expect support for an unlimited number of websites with most of the packages. The only exceptions are the cheapest plans offered by each company – Bluehost has support for 1 website while Namecheap can support up to three. Bluehost also includes unlimited SSD storage with every package except the cheapest one, which only comes with 50 GB. In the case of Namecheap, the storage situation is a bit strange. You get 20 GB with the first tier, unlimited storage with the middle tier, and then just 50 GB with the most expensive one.
|Namecheap Stellar Plan||Bluehost Basic Plan|
|SSD Storage:||20 GB||50 GB|
|Our Rating:||3.5 / 5||4.5 / 5|
|GET 50% OFF||GET 65% OFF|
There aren’t many differences between Namecheap’s plans aside from the ones I just covered. The only other one worth mentioning is that the two most expensive packages also include a website backup tool while the cheapest one doesn’t. In the case of Bluehost, you get a couple of additional features at every new tier. Once you upgrade to the second package you get a free month of Office 365 mailbox along with a spam expert to help you manage it. The third tier also comes with domain privacy and a site backup tool while the final tier includes all of the above along with a dedicated IP and an additional spam expert.
Before we move on to the next section there are a couple of other things I wanted to mention about each of the two companies. Bluehost only works with yearly payments in the case of shared hosting so you won’t be able to pay on a monthly basis. However, you can pay for several years in advance and get better discounts in the process. If you're adamant about paying for your hosting on a month-by-month basis, you may want to take a look at our list of best providers that support monthly billing.
The thing I wanted to mention about Namecheap is that all the prices discussed earlier are targeted at US customers. If you live in Europe and want to pick the company’s UK-based data center in order to get better performance, it will cost you an extra $1 per month regardless of which tier you choose.
Knowing a little bit about how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works will help you grow your website a lot faster. Many experienced webmasters can optimize their content without having to rely on third-party tools but having a bit of help regardless certainly doesn’t hurt. So can you expect any sort of help in this area from Bluehost or Namecheap? Yes, but it’s more of a help-yourself type of situation.
The best way of making sure that your content optimization is up to par is by building your website using WordPress and installing a free SEO plugin. I recommend going with Yoast and maybe upgrading it at a later time if you want to take advantage of all its features. Both Bluehost and Namecheap offer 1-click installs for WordPress so you can set everything up in no time. (Update: Bluehost also offers some extra SEO tools no matter what CMS you chose. Read more about this on their website here).
If you don’t want to work with WordPress, you can get SEO tools directly from Bluehost. They’re not free but they only cost $2 per month and you can add them to any of the hosting packages offered by the company. Namecheap doesn’t offer any SEO tools, paid or otherwise. I’d still go with WordPress + Yoast myself but if you’re not into that combo, Bluehost’s own SEO tools are your best bet as far as these two companies are concerned.
Additional Hosting Plans
Shared hosting tends to be very cheap and that makes it a great option for small and medium-sized websites. If your website starts to attract more and more visitors, however, you’ll soon find that shared hosting will only get you so far before you site crashes due to a large amount of traffic. Luckily, there are other types of hosting plans you can get that will prevent that from happening.
This first option is pretty much exactly what you would expect – a type of hosting specifically designed for WordPress users. Plans like these come with automatic installers for WordPress so you don’t even have to worry about the setup because the provider will take care of everything for you. Some providers also offer premium themes, plugins, or other nice features in order to sweeten the deal. Interestingly enough, Bluehost offers more benefits than WordPress' own hosting service, and for a better price, too.
Bluehost offers three unmanaged WordPress packages that are almost identical to its shared hosting plans both in terms of price and features. However, there is no fourth tier here and you get $200 worth of marketing credit along with features like automatic WordPress updates and WordPress staging environment with every package.
The company also offers managed WordPress hosting that starts at $19.95 per month. Quite a bit more expensive but you do get a lot of advanced features in return. A few of the highlights include Jetpack Premium, Jetpack Ads integration, marketing center, SEO tools, business review tools, PayPal integration, unlimited video compression, daily backups, unlimited storage, and more.
|Namecheap WordPress||Bluehost WordPress|
|Number of websites||1||1|
|SSD Storage||10 GB||50 GB|
|February Promo||GET 23% OFF||GET 65% OFF|
Namecheap only offers managed WordPress hosting but doesn’t include a whole lot of interesting features with any of its plans, at least not when compared to other hosts such as HostGator and Bluehost. There are three tiers to choose from and the only real difference between them is that you get more storage if you pay extra. At most, you can get up to 100 GB of storage, which is not bad, however, Bluehost includes unlimited storage with all of its managed plans.
Having said all that, the main appeal of Namecheap’s packages is once again the price. Signing up with Namecheap will only set you back between $3.88 and $11.88 per month depending on which plan you choose. That's roughly the same price range you can expect from some of the other cheap hosting providers out there like Hostinger, iPage, or DreamHost.
Subscribing to a VPS hosting plan will give you access to your own virtual private machine that you won’t have to share with anyone. If you’re worried about performance and reliability, you should definitely consider upgrading to a VPS if your site starts slowing down. Of, even better, do it before that happens to continue ensuring a smooth browsing experience for your audience. You can find more detailed explanations regarding virtual private servers in our VPS hosting explained article.
Bluehost has three VPS plans on offer, with the cheapest one starting at $18.99 per month. The scalability here is pretty straightforward. The second tier costs almost twice as much and gets you a machine that’s almost twice as powerful as the previous one. Likewise, the price for the third tier is twice as much as the previous one and the machine is twice as powerful.
Regardless of which plan you choose, you also get a lot of nice features along with the ability to add additional resources further down the line should you need them. More information regarding these features can be found in our detailed Bluehost VPS review.
Prices at Namecheap start at $8.88 per month and there is only one other package after that, which is priced at $15.88 per month. Unlike a lot of other hosting providers, Namecheap offers fixed-price renewals so there’s no need to worry about having to pay extra after your first term expires. The two machines are more or less similar to what you would get with Bluehost’s Standard and Ultimate packages but quite a bit cheaper.
|Namecheap VPS||Bluehost VPS|
|CPU||2 Cores||2 Cores|
|Storage||40 GB SSD||30 GB SSD|
|RAM||2 GB||2 GB|
|Bandwidth||1 TB||1 TB|
|Deember Promo||GET 20% OFF||GET 40% OFF|
In spite of the bargain prices, however, I’m not a big fan of Namecheap’s Server Management system. The company offers three levels of management – Free, Basic ($10/mo) and Complete ($25). In order to get access to many of the advanced features, you’ll need to subscribe to the Basic or Complete plans. Moreover, Free users need to pay $10 each time they want to restore their server while both Free and Basic users have to pay an hourly fee for core software changes and server failure fixes. Depending on how many issues you encounter, it’s entirely possible to actually end up paying more per month than what Bluehost charges.
A dedicated server is fairly identical to a virtual private server in the sense that you pay for a machine that you don’t have to share with anyone. However, dedicated servers run on much more powerful machines which means you’ll pretty much never have to worry about things slowing down regardless of how much traffic you’re getting.
Prices at Namecheap start at $62.88 per month and can reach up to $199.88 per month. The company doesn’t work with the standard tiered model when it comes to dedicated servers. Instead, Namecheap offers a few dozen different machines with varying specifications. The benefit of this system is that you can generally find a server that has the exact specs you need. The bad news is that Namecheap only has a handful of each type of server in stock, so the machine you want may not always be available. Sadly, the Server Management system is present here as well and the paid plans cost even more.
Bluehost works with a more traditional three-tier system that’s similar to the one I’ve covered in the VPS section. Prices range between $79.99 and $119.99 per month and you can expect the same wide range of features you would get by buying a VPS. The machines offered by Bluehost are a bit more expensive than those of Namecheap if you were to only take the specs into consideration. However, the fact that 24/7 technical support and almost all features (with a couple of exceptions like domain privacy and SiteLock) are included for free adds a huge amount of value. Instead of paying for bits and pieces, you pay a flat rate for the whole package.
Namecheap is once again unbeatable in the price department, however, I actually have to recommend Bluehost in this case. Bluehost has the best WordPress integration on the market and you don t have to pay extra for technical support or certain features for VPS and dedicated servers. Namecheap offers better value only as long as nothing goes wrong, but that s not really something you can count on. On the contrary.
A lot of people choose a hosting provider based solely on which company offers better prices, which is understandable. However, I recommend always checking out the features before you make a final decision. That way, you can make sure that you’re actually getting good value for your money. The features I’m going to cover in this next section are pretty essential so don’t ignore them.
Despite offering some pretty decent hosting packages, Namecheap is primarily known as a domain registrar. The company is right up there with the likes of GoDaddy in terms of popularity and offers unbeatable prices for registrations. You can get a domain name from Namecheap for just $8.88 for the first year and then renew it for $12.98 per year. You also have the option of getting a personal domain for $8.99/year and there are plenty of great filtering options that will allow you to find the perfect name and extension for your website. Namecheap offers a free domain for 1-year and free privacy protection with all its hosting plans.
Bluehost’s bread and butter is web hosting but the company offers domain registrations as well. Domains here cost $11.99 for the first year and then $17.99 per year upon renewal. Domain privacy usually costs $11.88/year at Bluehost, however, there are certain hosting packages where it is included for free. Just like Namecheap, Bluehost offers a free domain name for the first year with all its hosting plans. For stand-alone Domains, Namecheap is for sure one of the best Bluehost alternatives, but this only if you are not interested in hosting at all.
Namecheap has a sleek website builder that comes with a drag-and-drop interface and over 200 templates to choose from. The builder is available in dozens of different languages, features a responsive design, and comes with social media integration, among other things. The builder also includes presets for various niches like business, entertainment or technology. Namecheap’s website builder is free to use, however, it only supports shared hosting plans. If you go for a different type of hosting, you’ll need to build your site using a different platform, such as WordPress for example.
Bluehost doesn’t have its own website builder but it doesn’t really need one anyway if you ask me. Bluehost has fantastic WordPress integration so you can just use the CMS as your site builder. WordPress comes with a huge amount of amazing templates that can be customized to your heart’s content. If you want to tweak things further, you can use a plugin like Visual Composer to make everything look exactly like you want. Bluehost also offers integration with the Weebly site builder but I would just stick with WordPress instead because you only get the basic version of Weebly for free.
Namecheap offers 50 MySQL databases with its basic shared hosting plan and unlimited databases with all the other packages. Meanwhile, Bluehost includes unlimited MySQL databases with all its hosting plans. You can create, delete, and manage databases directly from the cPanel with both Namecheap and Bluehost, and each company has detailed tutorials on how to do it.
Bluehost offers free webmail along with access to the Microsoft Office 365 mailbox and spam experts with certain hosting plans. You can get a free month of Office 365 with most hosting plans and then continue to use it by paying a monthly fee. Bluehost doesn’t impose a limit on how many email accounts you can create.
Namecheap also has free webmail as well as private email hosting, which costs anywhere between $9.88 and $49.88 per year depending on plan. If you want to just stick with the webmail instead, you can create up to 30 email accounts with the basic shared hosting plan and an unlimited number of accounts with the other packages.
Both Bluehost and Namecheap offer very reliable website backup tools. Bluehost customers can benefit from automatic backups courtesy of CodeGuard Basic, which is included for free with the pricier hosting plans and available as an optional paid service ($3/mo) with the others. Namecheap also offers a free automatic backup tool with the more expensive plans but users who go for the cheapest package can also benefit from free bi-weekly backups. Bluehost and Namecheap also allow you to manually back up your data.
Namecheap doesn’t have a dedicated eCommerce platform but it does include a few basic features that will help you manage an online store. If you want to create a solid store, though, you’ll need to look somewhere else. The company recommends going for a WordPress hosting plan and installing a plugin like WooCommerce to kickstart your store. Alternatively, you can register a domain with Namecheap and connect it to Shopify or one of its alternatives, such as BigCommerce or Volusion. Either way, you won’t be able to get much direct help from Namecheap regardless.
Bluehost also recommends going the WordPress + WooCommerce route, however, the company also offers its own eCommerce hosting plans. These plans are based on the WordPress packages and will cost you anywhere between $6.95 and $12.95 per month. In return, the company makes things very simple by providing you with a site that has WooCommerce and a storefront theme installed right off the bat. You also get most of the other features found in the regular hosting packages, including a free SSL certificate, domain name, domain privacy, dedicated IP, and more.
Bluehost and Namecheap both have a 30-day money-back guarantee refund policy so you can’t go wrong with either of these guys.
Customer support is one of those things that people don’t think about too much until something goes wrong. I know this because I used to do the same thing before I learned my lesson. That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend you check out the support options before signing up with any provider in order to avoid unpleasant surprises further down the road.
Namecheap’s customer support isn’t anything to write home about. The company provides 24/7 support via live chat and offers a ticket system but doesn't have any phone support. Purchasing one of the more expensive hosting plans will get you priority support but you’ll still need to pay for certain services, as mentioned earlier in this article. Even worse, you’ll have to pay by the hour, which is not exactly a customer-friendly system in my opinion.
Bluehost, on the other hand, has a very good customer support system in place. You can contact support agents 24/7 via live chat, ticket or phone, which is a big plus for customers who require urgent assistance. The company also has a team of professional agents that specialize exclusively in WordPress support. Bluehost support agents are renowned for being extremely responsible and knowledgeable so you can usually expect your issue to be resolved in no time.
Nobody wants to pay top dollar when they’re creating their first website so it helps if you can start off cheap and work your way up from there. The cheapest plans won’t be able to handle a lot of traffic but that’s not really a big concern because you’re unlikely to get a lot of visitors right off the bat anyway. Once the traffic starts flowing at a constant rate, it’s great to be able to upgrade to a better hosting plan and then gradually repeat the process when you reach certain thresholds.
You can expect very cheap entry prices from both Bluehost and Namecheap if you’re signing up for a shared hosting plan. Upgrading to the next tier will only set you back a few extra bucks at every step with Namecheap, however, there are only three tiers to choose from and then you’ll need to start thinking about upgrading to a VPS.
Meanwhile, Bluehost scales a bit better because there are four tiers, two of which are priced the same for the first term so you can actually get a nice upgrade at no extra cost. The only caveat is that there is a more significant difference between the final two tiers. Still, it’s nice to be able to scale up one additional level in my opinion despite that little price bump at the end.
Another thing to consider is that Bluehost has three tiers of VPS hosting while Namecheap only has two. Once again, Bluehost makes it a bit easier to take things step-by-step and upgrade gradually before having to switch to a completely new type of hosting.
Bluehost vs. Namecheap – Our Pick
Namecheap is remarkably good jack-of-all-trades considering that the company is primarily known as a domain registrar. The prices here are some of the cheapest on the market and you can expect pretty good value in return for your money. That said, certain types of hosting like VPS and dedicated can end up costing you more than you bargained for due to how the company’s Management system works.
Bluehost is a more straightforward provider where you can tell right off the bat what you’re getting yourself into. There are a handful of paid optional services but they only cost between $1 and $3 per month so you don’t have to worry about paying a premium for anything extra that’s not advertised up front. Bluehost’s hosting packages are more expensive compared to those of Namecheap but you generally get more value in return.
Where Namecheap really falls flat is in the customer support department. Having to pay extra for technical assistance with certain types of hosting is a real bummer. The fact that the company doesn’t have a phone number you can call them at doesn’t help either. Bluehost, on the other hand, offers stellar support that you can always rely on and can be contacted via all the usual channels.
At the end of the day, I would recommend Bluehost over Namecheap to most people. Unless you’re just considering the price and nothing else, Bluehost is a better alternative that offers excellent bang for the buck, impressive performance, and world-renowned customer support. Namecheap is great if you want to register a domain and get a shared hosting plan at a bargain price but its downsides make it an overall worse when compared to Bluehost.
If you want to learn more about Bluehost make sure to check out our extensive review right here. Don't hesitate to look into some of our other web hosting reviews either, just in case you want to do some more research before settling on a provider.
Namecheap is surprisingly solid as both a domain registrar and as a hosting provider. However, the average performance and subpar customer support make it very hard to recommend over Bluehost. Frankly speaking, Bluehost is a very well-rounded provider that offers a better bang for your buck.