Namecheap vs. HostGator
HostGator Vs Namecheap, which company offers the best hosting service? Your best mate would probably say either of the two. And then when you ask them why they chose either one, they would probably say something along the lines of “It’s really cheap, durrrh” (concerning Namecheap) or “Gators are like, super cool, man” (concerning HostGator). When you ask us, though, we give you an actual in-depth review of both Web-hosts, buy their plans and test their performance, talk to their customer care, research about their tech, and show you (not tell) why one is better than the other.
So, which Web-host is the best?
Let’s show you.
HostGator is one of the oldest Web-hosts, founded way back in 2002, and one of the most popular Web-hosts on the planet. They are based in Houston, and most of their servers are based in Provo, Utah, and Houston. The Web-host also hosts around 10 million websites on their servers, making it one of the biggest Web-hosts on the planet. Offering services like VPS, dedicated and shared server hosting, HostGator has a lot of plans. A while ago, HostGator was bought by Endurance International Group, a conglomerate that owns almost half of the Web-hosting industry. HostGator’s reputation suffered a bit when its Provo datacenter experienced massive outages after the purchase by EIG. But since then, they’ve started performing at the level of a top Web-host.
Namecheap was founded in 2000 by Richard Kirkendall and since that time they’ve managed to rack up more than two million customers. It gets better for Namecheap though. As a domain registrar, they have over seven million domain names under their control. It appears, to us, that Namecheap has managed to build a name for itself in domain registration. As the name implies, Namecheap’s main selling point is inexpensive plans, but does this mean that they deliver on performance? Let’s find out.
Namecheap and HostGator are pretty big Web-hosts, with both hosting more than a million websites, so In a way, this is the battle of titans of web-hosting. Regardless, we think that HostGator has a bigger name than Namecheap.
But does it matter? Not in the least.
The primary way of judging a Web-host is via performance. How well does the service deliver on its promise of keeping your website accessible? How quickly, on an average, can they deliver that promise? No doubt, the better Web-host delivers on its promise better than the other.
We’ll be measuring the performance of both Web-hosts using uptime and speed.
May the best host win.
Like we said earlier, we got on the HostGator website, paid for a plan, set up our account, and went to work testing uptime. Over our testing period, we experienced 99.99% percent uptime, which is as great as any Web-host can promise anyone. So on account of uptime, HostGator is doing pretty well. Most reviewers end uptime analysis here, but not us. We also like to see whether Web-hosts have an uptime guarantee policy. This just makes sure that if ever uptime with a Web-host gets terrible, users have a claim at some compensation. HostGator is pretty impressive here too, giving a 99.9% uptime guarantee. What’s the best part? If ever you experience an uptime lower than 99.9%, you are entitled to one month of credit on your account. By far, this is one of the best uptime packages we’ve ever reviewed. Almost impeccable uptime plus a great uptime guarantee is almost impossible to beat.
Using the same method we used for HostGator, we checked out Namecheap’s uptime. Over our testing period, Namecheap averaged an uptime of 99.94%, which might sound like amazing numbers on a report card, but translates to about 6 hours of downtime each year. It’s not quite the worst thing in the world, but when compared to HostGator, Namecheap may have to take several seats. We wanted to know whether Namecheap has a great guarantee that can make up for their server performance. Namecheap provides an uptime guarantee of 99.9% and users are eligible for a free day of hosting for each hour of downtime after uptime drops below 99.9%. While this is good news, it doesn’t really do much to reassure us that websites won’t experience reoccurring downtime.
VERDICT; HostGator obviously has better uptime than Namecheap and is consequently the more reliable Web-host.
While it is important that your website is up an OVERWHELMING majority of the time, it is also important that the servers that your website runs on respond quickly to queries. A fast Web-host can be the difference between a high conversion rate and a low one. Faster websites appear higher on search engine queries than slower ones. If your website, for example, doesn’t rank high on search engine queries, you stand a chance of losing a lot of customers to a competitor.
Let’s see how HostGator and Namecheap perform in regards to page speed.
HostGator, even with great uptime, has questionable page speed. Over our testing period, we recorded an average speed of 765ms, which is just a bit above average. Were we impressed? It is difficult to be impressed by something like that. As expected, full load speed was even slower, with our dummy website taking more than a second to load most times. This is very dangerous because 40% of visitors will leave a site if it takes too long to load. Usually, the limit is 2 seconds and, although not regularly, we saw our page take more than two seconds to load. So if speed is a necessity for you (and it should be), HostGator hasn’t really got you covered.
Over our testing period, Namecheap averaged a page speed of 708ms, pretty much sat squarely in the average zone. We’ve seen worse, yes, but we’ve seen much better. While the TTFB (Time To First Byte) wasn’t disappointing most of the time, there were also periods where it was decidedly terrible. Thankfully, our dummy website loaded in a little under a second and we rarely had to wait up to two seconds to view our website either
VERDICT; Both Web-hosts are decidedly average with respect to speed, but we have to choose a winner. Namecheap might have had the worse uptime, but they have servers that are definitely faster than HostGator. They take this one for us.
Ease of Use
Let’s face it, web-hosting is a pretty technical (we don’t want to use words like difficult) thing to grasp. So technical that some people would rather have an IT guy to set up their account rather than do it themselves. But there are people, especially small business owners, who don’t have that luxury. For these set of people, and for even advanced users, it is important that the backend interface is simple and efficient. Sounds easy right? Not really.
Let’s look at how great the experience of managing a website is with these two Web-hosts.
The first thing to talk about would be the signup process of HostGator. While the sign-up itself was a breeze and our payment was cleared as quickly as possible, it took over thirty minutes for the services paid for to be available to us. Whatever the problem is, it doesn’t look good. While it is unlikely to be a sticking point, it’s one aspect of the service that we didn’t appreciate.
HostGator’s user interface is pretty great, with most things, like billing, domain name management, plan details, and support usually a click away most times. The interface is not cluttered and quite efficient. Users manage their site through the standard cPanel. This means that users crossing over from other Web-hosts don’t need to go through a process of getting used to a new interface. Because of cPanel’s structure, you cannot change the theme of the interface, but you can customize the layout to an extent.
All of HostGator’s plans come with Google analytics, MOJO marketplace, and one-click installations. The Marketplace, if used well, can add a lot of quality to your website. This means that users get to install whatever apps they want, whenever they want, and easily too. There is also the vanish server caching which comes pre-installed and delivers really great speed. Google Analytics is also immediately ready to use— this means no setup or anything. To make the work of users even easier, all plans come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. For a new website, visibility is probably one of the most important things to get right. To this effect, HostGator offers $100 ad credits for the first $25 of ad credits spent. Coupled with great SEO practices, these ad credits can take a website from the dark corners of the internet to the first page on a Google search.
For users transferring from a previous Web-host, HostGator offers a single free site transfer— which is one more than most Web-hosts offer. To make the deal sweeter, HostGator includes a free cPanel transfer plan as well so if you have a large site with multiple subdomains, HostGator has got you covered. For newbies with no websites, HostGator has a website builder called Gator by HostGator (very captain obvious-y, that). It is one of the best proprietary website builders that we’ve seen and is tailor-made for beginners. It comes with a free domain name, so all you need to do is to purchase a plan and get on with building your website. Gator by HostGator also comes with an eCommerce plan so even newbies can set up a fully functioning online store without worrying about plugins, payment gateways and all of that technical stuff.
Advanced users also have access to advanced Programming and Databases – PHP, MySQL, SSH access and more.
All in all, using HostGator is super easy, barely an inconvenience.
We don’t pay Web-hosts with Bitcoin— mostly because most Web-hosts do not accept it. That’s where Namecheap is different, though. You can pay via bitcoin if you want to. We found that to be pretty neat and innovative.
Namecheap’s user interface is clean, uncluttered and unsurprisingly efficient at displaying a tonne of information. Other Web-hosts like A2 could probably learn a thing or two from Namecheap’s space management. From the interface, you get access to everything worth getting access to— billing information, domain management and hosting management. Namecheap makes use of cPanel too, so if you’re moving over from another Web-host you do not have to worry about getting used to another site management interface. It’s easy to use and, if you ever run out of ideas or get stuck, there are a lot of tutorials available to help you through.
Namecheap also offers free site migration. That’s great news if you’re moving from another Web-host to Namecheap. The steps are easy and actually require only the minimum involvement on your path. You only need to provide access to the cPanel of the site you want to be migrated. While there’s no promise that your website won’t experience downtime, there’s a promise that even if your site does experience downtime, it won’t exceed fifteen minutes. It gets even better. If your site experiences downtime longer than 15 minutes, you get a period of hosting equal to your initial purchase free. EVEN THOUGH, we think that it is very unlikely that Namecheap botches up your website migration in such a mega way, it’s good to know that they are so confident in their ability.
Namecheap started business as a domain registrar and has built up a reputation of being a pretty amazing one too, so if you want a domain registered, there is hardly a better choice. Namecheap has no inbuilt cache, but the cPanel interface has easy to use support for Cloudflare caching. Namecheap makes things easier for businesses by offering direct access to an online-based advertising service called Business promoter which runs ads for you when you feed it information. There’s also access, to people on shared plans, to Softaculous, a feature that allows users to install software that upgrades website features and functionality.
VERDICT; We used both Web-hosts and take it from us when we say that HostGator is easier to use than Namecheap. They win this one for us.
False advertising is one of the banes of modern-day capitalism. Too often we purchase something and discover that it isn’t quite what we thought it’d be, but by then it’s too late. Our money is gone, and we’ve been handed a dud. Thankfully, money-back policies ensure that this doesn’t happen often.
Even Web-hosts have different money-back policies, and it goes without saying that the Web-host with the longer testing period is the better Web-host in this regard. So which Web-host gives a longer period of testing?
Namecheap offers the basic, industry-standard 30-days money-back policy. This means that you get a thirty days period to try out your Web-hosting service and decide whether it is for you or not.
HostGator, on the other hand, adds fifteen days to Namecheap’s thirty days and provides a significantly longer 45 days money back policy.
Are there any hidden fees? Just the basic ones— your refunds don’t cover any service received for free, for example, if you received a free domain name from both Web-hosts, a fee of $15 or thereabouts will be deducted.
VERDICT; Forty-five is longer than thirty. This is pretty much as straightforward as it can get— HostGator takes this one for us.
If there’s one thing you should test carefully before picking a Web-host, it the quality of their Tech-support. All kinds of issues can come up during hosting, and you need to be sure that you can count on the Tech-support of your Web-host to help you solve problems quickly and efficiently.
You can contact HostGator’s customer support through phone, live chat, and email channels. We tried connecting to their live chat channel a few times and got confused. Why? The first few times we tried to get a hold of live rep, we were connected in about a minute or two, but on one occasion we were forced to wait for 35 minutes. So, it’s not impossible to get a hold of HostGator’s live rep, but depending on luck and whether or not the force is with you, you might be forced to wait for more than an hour. The reps we connected to were just as erratic— all were really friendly, but only a few seemed to be really knowledgeable. When we asked them the same kind of questions, only a few were able to give us answers on the spot. We had to wait for as long as fifteen minutes for others to give us an answer. Generally, HostGator’s customer support gave us the feeling of gambling; the chances of getting reliable support is about fifty-fifty.
We’d read and heard a lot of really interesting things about Namecheap’s customer support. But we decided to try it out for ourselves and see if things were really as people said they were.
To a large extent, they were.
They have a live chat and ticketing channel with a great knowledge base but no phone support (we weren’t really disappointed by that as we don’t really appreciate phone support in the first place). There’s also a really smooth FAQ section that answers most of the questions that beginners would have. So we decided to reach out to a live rep through their live chat channel. While wait time was relatively stable under ten minutes, the live reps we spoke weren’t exactly helpful. When we asked questions, we were either sent links to articles or were quoted some paragraphs from the service agreement. Half the time, we were transferred to another customer service rep who seemed to be just as clueless as the first customer service rep. All in all, Namecheap’s customer support is relatively easy to contact, but getting them to help you is something else entirely.
VERDICT; We are usually wary of the customer support structure of large companies, and most of the time we are right to be. This is another case in point. Both HostGator and Namecheap are pretty big Web-hosts, and they offer pretty uninspiring customer support. Who is surprised? Not us, that’s for sure. No matter how long HostGator’s customer support wait time can be, though, we found more assistance talking to them than with talking to Namecheap’s customer support. HostGator, again, takes this one.
An important thing to consider when choosing a Web-host is the level of security provided. How secure is the information hosted on their servers? Do they provide backups? Do users have to pay extra?
Well, HostGator only offers free SSL certificates. The other security features provided for having to be bought separately at checkout. HostGator provides CodeGuard Automatic Backups and the price for this feature starts at $2 per month and it comes with 1GB automatic daily backups for a maximum of five websites, databases and files. There is also a limit to restores too, with only three restores allowed per month. The tool also acts as a malware scanner and protects websites from hackers and viruses. HostGator is protected from DDOS attacks via “flood” and there’s an extensive firewall put in place to protect servers from different kinds of attacks. If heavy flooding is experienced, HostGator’s servers have network level flood protection. HostGator also provides Sitelock security. Sitelock scans the website of users, discovers malware or viruses and alerts users. However, this service is not free and starts from $1.94 per month.
HostGator has pretty basic security features, but most of them have to be purchased separately and only come free with higher-tier plans. The real work of security has to be done at the end of the user. Actions like using a safe password, updating all installed applications, ensuring that you scan your account regularly and installing only safe plugins can help users protect their servers further.
Namecheap offers free backups. These backups are done twice a week and only the higher tier plans have access to free daily backups. However, seeing that most Web-hosts do not even offer free backups at all, bi-weekly guaranteed backups are quite respectable. In the event that your website gets attacked and all your data is lost, Namecheap can attempt to recover all your lost files for a fee of $15. All Namecheap plans come with free SSL certificates so the minimum level of protection is offered free of charge. If you want to add additional certificates to your site, you can add them through cPanel. There’s a two-factor authentication feature available to users, and WhoIsGuard privacy protection, free of charge. Namecheap also has a VPN service that keeps the location of users safe on public Wi-Fi networks. There is also a brute attack mechanism that makes sure brute attacks can’t be used to gain access to a website. After two or three trials of a wrong password, users are forced to verify their identity using reCAPTCHA. This basically makes it impossible for a brute attack to be successfully carried out. There’s an extra level of protection called the Leech protect feature that allows users to set the limit on logins. The feature also allows users to detect any unusual activities on password-restricted areas of your account.
VERDICT; Both Web-hosts have pretty decent security infrastructure— not really great, but certainly not bad either. In addition, the fact that neither Web-host has been involved in large breaches of security in recent times tells us that whatever they’re doing, it’s working. This is a tie for us, as both Web-hosts are great but not outstanding.
HostGator vs. Namecheap – Pricing
Even terrible service can be forgiven if you’re paying exactly what it’s worth. It is important to get the best deal, and that’s why the pricing structure of web-hosting plans is important. We believe that there is always an optimum deal— the perfect marriage between price and value, and we are always on the lookout for such deals because, while they might be rare, they do exist (You can check out HostGator vs Bluehost’s pricing comparison, for example). Let’s see how close either of these two Web-hosts get to this perfect marriage of value and price. To make it easier, and more relevant to you, we’ll only be looking at shared hosting plans because they are more popular and a better yardstick for price behavior on other plans.
HostGator has three shared hosting plans and they are the Hatchling Plan, the Baby Plan, and the Business plan. The Hatchling plan comes with a single domain, one-click installations, unlimited disk space, unlimited email accounts, unmetered bandwidth and subdomains, and a free SSL certificate all at a price of $2.75 per month. However, this price is only available if you’re paying 36 months in advance. If you’re paying for lower, you have to pay the regular price which is $10.95. So, basically, the plan is great value for the first three years. After that, though, you might wish you hadn’t bought the plan.
The second plan is the Baby plan and it comes with unlimited domains, and a free domain plus all the features of the Hatchling plan. It costs a promotional price of $3.95 per month but the same conditions as the Hatchling plan applies and the normal price per month is $11.95. Renewals cost $9.95, as well. The business plan comes with all the features of the Baby plus a free dedicated IP and free SEO tools. The plan costs $5.95 per month, but renewal costs $14.95 per month.
HostGator’s introductory prices are really enticing but with renewal, the prices quoted give us pause. After enjoying great prices for three years, how annoying would it be to start paying the real cost of a Web-hosting plan? Great deal, but it could be better.
Namecheap is supposed, like the name implies, to be really cheap. Let’s see if they live up to their name.
Namecheap has three shared hosting plans and they are the Stellar, Stellar Plus and Stellar business plans. The Stellar plan provides for three websites, 20GB SSD and unmetered bandwidth at $1.44 per month (normally $2.88 per month). The Stellar plus plan comes with unmetered SSDs, unlimited websites, and auto backup. The plan costs an introductory price of $2.44 and renews at $4.88. The last plan is the Stellar Business plan and it costs $3.88 per month and comes with unlimited websites auto backup and cloud storage. Renewal of the plan costs $7.88
VERDICT; Without a doubt, Namecheap’s plan costs less and in some cases, especially with their basic plan, packs more value. The quality of the hosting experience itself may be suspect, but you really cannot fault the pricing structure of Namecheap— by far one of the best we’ve ever reviewed.
There are so many aspects of hosting— so many that some don’t even have the right subheadings to cover them. Let’s see how many extra features these Web hosts have and how useful they are (yes, some extra features can be quite utterly useless).
HostGator has several extra features like;
- Better performance with Opteron 6000 series CPU combined with DDR3 ECC RAM
- Support of multiple languages including Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, and Perl.
- HostGator has only one database— MySQL
- Unlimited FTP and email accounts.
- $100 in free advertising credits
- Access to Google analytics and Mojo marketplace
- Generally, HostGator has a nice crop of extra features, but nothing really stands out for us.
Namecheap also has some really cool extra features like;
- Better performance with Dell M1000 Blade server technology
- Namecheap plans can be paid for using Bitcoin
- Access to marketplace
- Namecheap has an auto backup tool
- free website domain on all plans
- multiple websites on the cheapest plans
VERDICT; This can be somewhat subjective, but we feel that Namecheap’s extra features are more useful, overall, to the running of your website so they win this one again
Let’s have a quick recap. What are the major differences between HostGator and Namecheap?
- Namecheap is cheaper (no one is surprised) than HostGator
- HostGator has a 45-day money-back guarantee, while Namecheap has a 30-days money-back guarantee
- HostGator has better performance than Namecheap
- Namecheap allows payments in Bitcoin, HostGator doesn’t
Namecheap vs. HostGator – Our Pick
This article has been considerably longer than the reply that your mate would have given you had you asked them, which Web-host is better? HostGator or Namecheap?
It has also been less funny too, but the price of information can be quite steep.
So to our answer. HostGator has everything important— except for the lowest prices. But quality comes at a cost, and that is what HostGator represents— quality. (At least when put side by side Namecheap).
So, HostGator Vs Namecheap?
Gators are like really cool, man.