Namecheap vs. GoDaddy
We’re trained to believe that a more expensive service is better than a cheap one, but that’s not always the case. And all you need to do is check out this comparison for a good example of the exact opposite being true.
GoDaddy and Namecheap are two of the most important hosting providers around. These companies have operated for well over two decades at this point and have served millions upon millions of users during all this time. Their services extend beyond web hosting into the realms of domain registrations, website design, email hosting, security services, and more.
There’s quite a lot to look forward to regardless of which company you pick, but is one of them overall better than the other for the average user? That’s what we intended to find out when we decided to put together this GoDaddy vs Namecheap comparison.
Don’t have enough time to dive into the full comparison? Here’s a summary of our research:
Namecheap did surprisingly well recently against Bluehost during one of our other comparisons, but how will it fare against the daddy of hosting? There’s only one way to find out so let’s take a look at the results.
Website performance can be a tricky thing to measure because it tends to be impacted by factors that your hosting provider can’t necessarily control. For instance, two websites hosted at the same company can differ wildly in terms of performance if one of them has considerably more content and traffic. In order to keep things fair, we set up a pair of simple WordPress-based websites – one at GoDaddy and one at Namecheap – and ran a number of tests to determine how the two services compare at a base level. I won’t go into too much detail for the sake of brevity but you can read more about our testing process here.
Both companies came out strong right off the bat during our GTMetrix test, which measures the time it takes for a page to load fully. Our websites took around 2.3 seconds to load in both cases, but Namecheap did perform slightly worse in some of the other metrics, earning it an overall lower performance score on GTMetrix. For the most part, though, we were glad to see that neither service has any serious issues in this department.
As far as the mobile performance is concerned, GoDaddy once again did slightly better with a score of 99 compared to Namecheap’s 97 during our PageSpeed Insights test. When we compared GoDaddy to other major players like Weebly and Squarespace they only managed scores of 88 and 64, respectively, so anything over 95 is very solid in our book. Generally speaking, you can expect your GoDaddy or Namecheap website to load in around 3 to 4 seconds on mobile. That’s a bit slower than on desktop but still not too shabby all things considered.
The two companies were fairly evenly matched up to this point but things started to change dramatically once we fired up our load impact test. As we’ve learned from our Bluehost vs GoDaddy comparison, the latter isn’t great at dealing with huge traffic spikes. GoDaddy’s servers perform well when there’s a steady and moderate influx of users but the hosting service quickly buckled under the pressure once we bombarded it with 200 virtual users. Namecheap, by comparison, barely broke a sweat during the same test. Granted, we only ran the tests for a few minutes so things could look significantly different in real-world scenarios. But from our experience, Namecheap seems to be better than GoDaddy under heavy load.
Our final tests involving uptime went about as smooth as we expected. GoDaddy had an uptime of 99.97% during our testing period while Namecheap ended up lagging behind ever so slightly with 99.96%. The difference is pretty negligible in the grand scheme of things. It is worth noting, however, that GoDaddy has an uptime guarantee of 99.99% while Namecheap’s policy only guarantees 99.9% uptime. You will be compensate accordingly by both companies for prolonged downtime but Namecheap is a lot more generous with its form of compensation.
Before we move on to the next section it’s important to note that Namecheap only has two data centers (US and UK) while GoDaddy has several of them spread across three continents – North America, Europe, and Asia. This is something you’ll need to keep in mind because the website performance experienced by your users is affected by the server’s location. So while Namecheap may load quickly for your US and EU users, GoDaddy would be a better choice if the bulk of your audience is located in Asia. If you’re looking for a company that has even better location coverage consider checking out SiteGround.
Pricing and Value
The price difference between Namecheap and GoDaddy is quite staggering. True to its name, Namecheap offers very affordable services, with basic shared hosting plans starting as low as $1.28 per month. At the higher end of things, you can get a Stellar Business package for just $4.80 per month. The renewal costs at Namecheap are quite high so expect to pay around twice as much once the first term expires. That’s a pretty good deal despite the high renewal costs and the company more than earns a spot on our list of top 10 cheapest hosting providers on the market.
GoDaddy is certainly above average in terms of pricing as its cheapest shared hosting plan will cost you no less than $5.99 per month. Most of the GoDaddy alternatives we’ve covered in the past charge far less than that or at least give you plenty of value in exchange for your money. That’s not really the case here as the features are pretty standard. We’re talking free domain name for the first year, 100 GB of HDD storage, support for a single website, 10 MySQL databases, and a few other bits and baubles.
By comparison, Namecheap’s cheapest plan comes with support for 3 websites, free domain name (albeit not applicable to the .com extension), privacy protection, 20 GB of storage but it’s SSD, free site migration, and a free SSL certificate for the first year. All of that for a fraction of the cost and the plan supports monthly billing too, which isn’t available at GoDaddy. GoDaddy is one of the hosts that let you pay on a month-by-month basis, however, this option only becomes available starting with the Deluxe package, which costs $12.99 per month. At Namecheap you can get away with paying as little as $2.88/mo even with monthly billing.
One of the most surprising things you’ll notice about GoDaddy is that the provider doesn’t give you a free SSL certificate (which is a must these days) unless you’re willing to pay at least $12.99/mo for your hosting plan. GoDaddy is one of the only major hosting providers that do this. Even smaller companies like 1&1 IONOS give you this feature with their cheapest plan without batting an eye. The lack of a free backup & restore tool is another important red flag. Overall, GoDaddy does include more features than Namecheap but many of the essential ones are locked behind an additional paywall.
As far as other types of hosting are concerned, Namecheap offers an irresistible deal for managed WordPress hosting starting at $3.88/mo, with the first month being priced at only $0.01. So essentially free. Meanwhile, GoDaddy has a pretty incredible offer for VPS hosting. You can get your own configurable private server for just $4.99 per month. as long as you don’t mind managing it yourself. The company also offers managed VPS solutions but, similar to the shared hosting plans, their prices are pretty egregious, with the cheapest one going for no less than $99.99 per month. For that price, you’re better off getting an entire dedicated server to yourself from one of the other top hosting providers out there.
You would expect a company as large and experienced as GoDaddy to have outstanding customer support. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the truth. The provider can be reached via all the usual channels – phone, live chat, email – but it generally takes a very long time until you actually get a reply. Especially when using the live chat system.
One bit of good news is that GoDaddy offers support in many different languages, however, the work hours vary from region to region. You can expect 24/7 customer support (sans the potentially long waiting times) if you’re in the US or UK, but for a lot of other countries, you’ll need to consult a list to find out the best time to call.
Even though Namecheap doesn’t offer phone support at this time, the company still manages to be overall better than GoDaddy in terms of customer service. Agents here are generally quicker to reply to live chat messages and tickets while also being more knowledgeable. You also don’t have to worry as much about agents trying to convince you to buy additional services, which is a rather common occurrence at GoDaddy.
Ease of Use
There aren’t many differences between GoDaddy and Namecheap when it comes to ease of use. Both companies provide you with an intuitive and easy to use management interface via cPanel and have 1-click installers for various applications. Both services of course support popular CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and more, but Namecheap also has its own site builder.
The drag-and-drop website builder offered by Namecheap isn’t anything to write home, though it can still come in handy. The big content management systems mentioned earlier are more powerful but they do have a learning curve. GoDaddy’s website builder is as simple as they come and works similar to something like Squarespace, so not a bad choice if you’re an absolute beginner.
GoDaddy includes a number of interesting security options with its plans, such as email protection with 256-bit encryption, virus, fraud and spam protection, SSH access, password protected directories, and a database backup & restore tool. But as previously mentioned, SSL certificates aren’t available to everyone for free and users also have to pay for file backups. Moreover, there is no free dedicated IP included with any of the shared hosting plans, which is pretty unheard of.
In stark contrast to GoDaddy, Namecheap doesn’t have impressive security features for the most part, but the company did make sure to include the essentials with most plans. As such, you can expect free SSL certificates, domain privacy + protection, and a website backup & restore tool with all plans past the cheapest one. That’s pretty much the holy trinity when it comes to basic security features.
Speaking of features, here’s a quick breakdown of everything you can expect if you sign up with GoDaddy:
- Free domain name with yearly plans
- Unlimited storage with all plans except shared basic
- Data centers on three continents
- Unlimited email addresses
- Database backups
- Linux and Windows hosting
- WordPress hosting, VPS, dedicated servers
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Meanwhile, at Namecheap you can expect the following important features:
- Free domain name with yearly plans
- SSD storage (unlimited with Stellar Plus)
- Data centers on two continents
- Free SSL certificates
- Unlimited email addresses with all plans except shared basic
- Free website backup & restore tool with all plans except shared basic
- Custom website builder
- WordPress hosting, VPS, dedicated servers
- 30-day money-back guarantee
GoDaddy vs. Namecheap – Our Pick
GoDaddy may be larger and more renowned but there’s no doubt in our minds that Namecheap is the winner of this competition. Sure, the company does have its fair share of drawbacks but its price-to-value ratio is truly outstanding. Here are a few more reasons why we think Namecheap is the better hosting provider overall:
- Performance: GoDaddy performed better in our first couple of tests but Namecheap turned out to be much more reliable while under heavy load.
- Pricing and Value: Absolutely no contest. Namecheap gives you a much better bang for your buck.
- Customer support: Even though you can’t contact its support agents via phone, you can expect better and faster help from Namecheap.
- Ease of Use: Both services are very easy to use thanks to cPanel, but Namecheap can potentially make things even easier with its custom website builder.
- SEO: Namecheap has various guides on how to improve your SEO but GoDaddy has a toolkit that can do it for you. Unfortunately, the toolkit isn’t included for free with most plans.
- Security: GoDaddy has some solid security features but its shared hosting plans are missing the most important ones, strangely enough. This one goes to Namecheap.
- Scalability: GoDaddy has more packages to choose from regardless of which type of hosting you want to use. In addition, many of the company’s plans are customizable and give you the option of adding extra resources automatically. GoDaddy takes the win here.
GoDaddy may be the world’s leading domain registrar but the company can’t hold a candle to rival Namecheap in terms of web hosting. Namecheap somehow manages to keep its prices ridiculously low without skimping out on features or sacrificing performance. Truly one of the best services around in terms of value for money.