Namecheap vs. SiteGround
Today, we'll be looking at Namecheap vs. SiteGround. Ordinarily, most people will think that this is a classic quality vs. quantity set up, however, our tests turned up something new entirely. Let's just say things aren't always what they seem to be.
SiteGround is a pretty popular host, and with over 1.8 million websites hosted on its servers, there are only a few hosts more popular than them. Namecheap is also quite as popular, and the host has carved a niche for itself by offering, as the name implies, ridiculously cheap hosting plans, something that SiteGround hasn't quite yet managed to master.
Both hosts will be going head to head on performance, customer service, pricing and a whole lot of other important aspects of hosting. After each comparison, we'll declare a winner, and after everything, we'll have a final Victor. However, you do not have to agree with our decision, the most important thing is that you'll have the data to come to your own conclusions yourself.
Update March 2021: After you'll read the review and you'll decide the better hosting for your website, make sure to check out this on-going promotion from our winner as they are currently offering a 60% discount. We are constantly updating our articles with up-to-date information and also with the latest discounts, so our readers can make the best decision when it comes to hosting their website, but also benefit of the best pricing.
Namecheap vs. SiteGround: An Overview
Namecheap offers more expensive shared hosting plans for beginners. However, if you are new to web hosting or if you are just migrating your website, then SiteGround is the better choice. With SiteGround, you get high-quality chat support and many hosting features that would be very pricy elsewhere.
Namecheap is the older host, founded in 2000 by Richard Kirkendall. Both hosts offer roughly the same services which include Shared Hosting, managed WordPress hosting, VPS hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting. However, SiteGround is not a domain registrar, but you can register domains through them.
While Namecheap has earned a reputation of offering extremely cheap service, SiteGround has eyes set on a different kind of customer, offering amazing customer support and performance at rather expensive prices. SiteGround, on the other hand, was founded two years later in Bulgaria by University friends.
|Performance Rating||3.2 / 5||4.4 / 5|
|Support Rating||4.1 / 5||4.9 / 5|
|Our Rating:||3.5 / 5||4.5 / 5|
|Monthly Price:||$3.95||Check Price with Current Discount|
Both hosts have managed to do extremely well for themselves, with Namecheap having over two million customers and having registered over seven million domains as a domain registrar. In fact, Namecheap is first and foremost a domain registrar before anything else. We'd be wise to say that Namecheap is also the best SiteGround alternative when it comes to buying Domain Names.
Basically, this is a comparison between two hosts that sell essentially the same product but target different parts of the market. It ought to be exciting to see how they stack up.
Popularity, is it really that important?
Since we are dealing with two immensely popular hosts, the question of the most popular host may not be really relevant. However, some people still think that popularity has something to do with the quality of hosting offered. Well, that couldn't be any farther from the truth.
Some of the most popular hosts like GoDaddy and HostGator have really shocking stats, while some of the less popular ones like A2 hosting and WP engine have been really impressive. This goes to show that the level of popularity of a host is somewhat irrelevant in the question of how good the host is.
Now that we are done with all that, if popularity is still that important to you, then you should probably go with Namecheap. It is the more popular host. But if you want to base your decision on the quality of hosting provided by both hosts, then you need to continue reading.
We'll be using two important metrics to measure the quality of hosting, and that is uptime and speed. Also, take a look at Siteground's data centers locations, as we tested from different places around the world, if you have a data center close to your audience location, the performance can be increased significantly. If you are interested to see more in-depth Performance Stats we encourage you to read our extensive SiteGround review.
To test uptime, we did the only reasonable thing, really. We bought a Namecheap and SiteGround plan, set up dummy accounts and began testing for uptime over three months. Here is a snapshot of our test results.
While Namecheap has an average uptime of 99.95% over our testing period, SiteGround came in hot with an almost perfect uptime of 99.99%. Off this alone, we ought to be able to say that SiteGround has better uptime.
However, when deciding the quality of a host's uptime, we don't only look at uptime statistics. We also make sure to check if a host offers an uptime guarantee and what compensation is promised if uptime falls below that guarantee.
SiteGround offers an uptime guarantee of 99.9% on an annual basis. That means if uptime goes below 99.9%, users will be eligible for some compensation. The agreement states that for uptime below 99.9% but above 99%, users will be entitled to a month of free hosting. For every 1% of hosting below 99%, customers are also entitled to a free month of hosting (you can check out their refund policy here).
Namecheap also has an uptime guarantee, although it isn't structured like SiteGround's and, in our opinion, is a bit more straightforward. Namecheap offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee and users are eligible for a free day of hosting for each hour of downtime after uptime drops below 99.9%.
It's clear that even in uptime guarantees, SiteGround absolutely floors Namecheap.
SiteGround makes easy work of uptime, towering above Namecheap easily. It is hardly a contest. In fact, SiteGround is right up there with some of the best hosts in uptime like Bluehost.
Hopefully, this will be more of a contest. Since we already had sites on the servers of both hosts, we started checking server speed (we first checked response times, that is time to the first byte) and our results were… something. Before testing, we made sure to disable all speed optimization plugins in order to be as fair as possible. We tested from different locations and here's a snapshot of our results:
|SiteGround Speed||Namecheap Speed|
SiteGround came in the fastest in our test, with an average response time of 421ms. Namecheap came in a distant second though, with 708ms. Not particularly inspiring from Namecheap, but it is what it is.
To gauge stability and check whether speed gets worse when traffic spikes (as it sometimes often does), we sent over a hundred virtual users to our sites and checked whether speed remained stable or not. As you can see below, SiteGround's speed was relatively stable, while the same cannot be said of Namecheap.
SiteGround has Datacenters scattered all over the globe in places like America, The United Kingdom Netherlands and Singapore (find the full list here, and see if you manage to find one close to your main audience's location).
Namecheap, on the other hand, has Datacenters in only two countries, that is the US and the UK.
CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Content Delivery Systems keep caches of your website on servers all over the world, hence making it easier for visitors to load your page as quickly as possible. Obviously, a server with CDN installed will be faster than one without CDN installed.
Unfortunately, Namecheap doesn't have CDN integration on Shared Hosting plans which kind of sucks because most hosts, especially high ranking ones like BlueHost and even those lower on the to them like DreamHost, offer at least Cloudflare CDN integration.
SiteGround, on the other hand, offers CDN (Cloudflare) integration on all hosting plans. That means we have a clear winner there.
It is clear as daylight. SiteGround is a significantly faster host, and it is not even close.
Ease of Use
There are two things that we are absolutely certain of. The first is that no one wants to spend valuable time fumbling over a user interface that is cluttered and needlessly complex. The second is that every webmaster, regardless of skill level, wants all the help that they can get from their hosts. Hosts that fulfil that qualification are immensely better than those that do not.
What better place to start? When it comes to interface design, only two answers are acceptable to us: Plesk and cPanel. SiteGround answers that question fairly easily by offering cPanel on all hosting plans. Namecheap offers cPanel on Shared Hosting plans too, so no problems there.
The sign-up process was quite easy with both hosts. We only had to click through about three pages of forms before signing up. However, one thing we found interesting is that Namecheap allows payment in bitcoin, which is pretty great.
App Integration, Installation and Marketplace
Both hosts are great for multiple Content Management Systems and offer access to the MOJO marketplace. Through the marketplace, a lot of things, including professional services, plug-ins, themes, templates and add-ons can be purchased easily. Both hosts also offer WordPress one-click installation support, so that you can set up a WordPress site as soon as you have access to your work area.
Free Site Migration
To us, it makes precisely zero sense that some hosts still don't offer at least one free site migration, we are looking at you, GoDaddy, or as Matt down at accounting says, MovingPatriachicalFigure. But it is what it is, and some hosts still do not offer it. While SiteGround does offer free site migration, it is only available on select plans, and they are the higher-tier plans. You know what? We'll be specific. If you're purchasing SiteGround's Startup plan, you aren't eligible for the single site migration service offered by SiteGround.
The Problem With Namecheap's Migration Service
Namecheap, on the other hand, comes with a few pieces of baggage. While in principle, Namecheap does offer free site migration, as published on their website, it gets a bit more complicated along the way. First off, we were impressed with Namecheap's free site migration policy which even promises that if your cPanel isn't transferred in 24 hours or less, and if you experience more than 15 minutes downtime, you are eligible for a free year of hosting.
Sweet, right? But when we tried to contact customer support to understand how this service works, we were hit, squarely in the face, by a brick wall of knowledgebase articles that were mostly irrelevant to the question we were asking. Which sucks. We searched online and we found that many people had this same sort of problem. This brings us to the question, does Namecheap offer free site migration, or do they not? Literally, no one knows.
Like free site migrations, we feel that free domains should also be a given. Our experience with SiteGround, for example, showed us that it was not. Unlike, other hosts like GoDaddy and Bluehost, SiteGround isn't into such philanthropic exercises that require donating free domains to mere customers.
So, no, you do not get a free domain with SiteGround. However, since Namecheap made their name through registering domains, they throw in a free domain with all their plans. In fact, we would be extra disappointed if they didn't. But they do, so no disappointment for us. Praise the Lord of hosts.
If you don't want to use a Content management system like WordPress to build your site, you could employ the services of a site builder to build your own site. Many hosts offer the services of Weebly, a third-party website builder and SiteGround does too. Weebly is free to use, with SiteGround anyway.
Namecheap, on the other hand, recently developed a DIY Sitebuilder. So, when trying to come up with a catchy and cool name (presumably, there was a meeting about this) some smart fellow came up with the name Website Builder, which is definitely not generic or ordinary in any sort of way. Also, we assume, other smart fellows in the room agreed.
We tested Namecheap Website Builder and it was easy to use. Despite the fact that the website builder is sort of built like a separate service aside from your normal cPanel, which was sort of confusing as we had to input passwords all over again, the experience didn't make us wish like applying our foot to an iron container. Which means that it went reasonably well.
For new users, a staging environment is probably one of the most important things to have. It allows you to test out your ideas on a dummy version of your site, and if you make any mistake, it stops that mistake from going online. SiteGround offers a staging environment on select plans (read that as ‘absolutely not the StartUp plan') and Namecheap offers a separate staging environment called Sandbox. However, you have to sign up for it separately.
Free domain or no free domain, SiteGround wins this one for us because we experienced an absolute lack of drama, something that Namecheap was missing dearly.
SiteGround offers a basic thirty-day money-back guarantee for Shared Hosting plans and a fifteen-day money-back guarantee for Cloud hosting plans. Namecheap money-back guarantee is pretty short too, with the host only offering a thirty-day money-back guarantee for VPS, Shared Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting plans. Reseller plans have only a 14 days money-back guarantee. The usual terms of refunds apply to both hosts, as the price of add-ons such as free domains will be deducted from your refund.
This was a really poor showing, especially as we have seen hosts like A2 hosting and BlueHost offer incredible money-back guarantees. There has to be a winner and our pick is SiteGround.
SiteGround vs. Namecheap: Customer Support and Reliability
If no one has ever told you this, permit us to be the first to break the news to you. Hosting can be mind-breaking work. And since it can be so technical, even the best and most experienced webmasters habitually get in a bind. When in that bind, your saving grace is usually the customer support of your host. That's why it is important that customer support is easily reachable and very helpful.
Customer Support Tests
Both SiteGround and Namecheap make use of roughly the same customer support channels and they are both open 24/7. SiteGround offers ticketing, phone and live chat support, which is the industry standard, no complaints there. Namecheap offers all these too, except phone support.
Since both hosts are so popular, we didn't expect great things from either host. That's because, in our experience, the most popular hosts don't usually have the best customer service. However, we weren't sure if that rule would apply to SiteGround and Namecheap, many people, on and offline, seem to rate the customer service of both hosts quite highly. All in all, we were excited to begin testing.
Live Chat Test
We first tried connecting to a Namecheap live rep through their live chat channel. We connected quickly enough (under five minutes or so). That's when the problem started. While the reps were friendly enough, they could only answer our most basic questions, and for others, we were either transferred to another live rep (who, unsurprisingly, we might add, was unable to answer our questions) or we were mesmerized (for lack of a better word) by mostly irrelevant knowledge base articles. Were we disappointed? Yes.
Connecting to a SiteGround live took little or no time at all, with a live rep speaking to us within seconds. Once we connected to a live rep, we could see their picture, a short bio, their hobbies and even an introductory paragraph from the host. That heightened our expectations, and we are glad to say that SiteGround met those expectations easily enough. The reps we spoke to understood our questions easily, and we able to give concise and straightforward answers to them all. The live chat experience we had was certainly better than what we experienced with Namecheap.
SiteGround continued a stellar performance by giving us great phone support.
Tickets are returned by both hosts and within 24 hours too! Answers are concise and straightforward and we found it easy to follow the instructions set there. The ticketing channel, in our opinion, is the best way to get advice from customer service, especially when it is not a pressing need.
Both hosts maintain an up to date knowledge base and an extensive and nicely coordinated FAQ section is maintained by HostGator.
The winner, from the onset, was always going to be SiteGround. The customer support structure offered is far superior to that of Namecheap. In fact, in terms of customer support, only hosts with small customer bases like WP engine and BlueHost can even attempt to rival SiteGround customer support. You can check how well SiteGround stacks up to A2 Hosting if you want.
The internet is a dangerous place, and while all hosts at least offer some level of standard security, the quality is rarely ever the same. Simply put, some hosts are more reliable than others and some offer more for free than others do.
If you're working on the internet, one of the first things that you must figure out is your Backup Policy. And trust us, great backup is often the difference between a sigh of relief and a lot of tears and gnashing of teeth. SiteGround offers a free limited daily backup and restores service of thirty days for Shared hosting plans and seven days for Cloud hosting plans. The backup tool offered by SiteGround allows users to create backups and restore old versions of your site with no trouble and you get access to 30 backup copies of your site for each day of the last month. However, StartUp plan subscribers do not have access to this tool, they can add it to their account by purchasing it, though.
Namecheap has a backup tool called Auto backup that comes free with premium Shared Hosting plans and automatically backups data. For other lower-tier plans, though, users have to pay around $2.44 to $4.44 for the service. Asides that, Namecheap offers a standard weekly backup service. However, if your site gets bigger than 25 GB and/or contains more than 20 000 inodes, it will be automatically excluded from weekly backups.
Most hosts offer free SSL certificates, for the first term at least and SiteGround and Namecheap are no different. New plans come with free SSL certificates for both hosts.
SiteGround offers firewall protection with ModSecurity, an open-source firewall Web Application Firewall. This technology offers blanket protection for sites hosted on SiteGround's servers and protects websites from hackers who try to gain access to databases stored on the servers. For firewall protection, Namecheap also makes use of ModSecurity which is configured to protect against cross-website scripting, session hijacking, bad user agents, SQL injection, Trojans and other like threats. ModSecurity supports flexible rule engine and this allows it to perform both simple and complex operations. Basically, SiteGround and Namecheap make use of the same level of firewall protection.
For Site Security, SiteGround offers access to an application called the SG Site Scanner. Which, as you probably guessed, stands for SiteGround scanner. The application was developed by Sucuri, one of the leading experts on Site Security services and it helps to detect malware and prevent attacks on your site. SiteGround also manages to isolate accounts on servers with an exciting piece of technology called Hive.
Hive was developed in-house and has now grown into its own brand and now goes by the name 1H.com. With Hive, SiteGround has succeeded in bringing down the chances of one site compromising the entire server down to zero. A powerful Intrusion system called 1H hawk will also recognize brute force attempts and stop them in real-time by disabling IP access to your site which is more than a lot of hosts can say. For domain privacy, SiteGround charges 1$ per month, which isn't great, as Namecheap offers it for free, but isn't bad either, as most hosts do not offer it for free and offer it at a higher price.
Namecheap also offers security features of its own, which includes free Domain protection via WhoIsGuard. What's exciting about this feature is that it is free for everyone, regardless of plan, and forever. In addition, Namecheap has a VPN service that is “an ultra-reliable and secure solution” for everyday internet use. However, this service isn't free and costs upwards of $1.88 per month. There is also access to a premium DNS service that is secure and globally available. The service leverages anycast technology and is built for superior resiliency. In addition, the service can be used with any domain name that is registered with any registrar. Users only have to pay about $5 per to have access to this service.
We have rarely come across hosts with the sort of comprehensive security coverage offered by SiteGround. Coupled with a great and free (for the most part, at least) backup service, SiteGround has managed to triumph yet again.
Namecheap vs. SiteGround: Pricing analysis, how much should you really pay?
If you're a cheap kinda guy (like we sometimes are), one of the things you'll consider before buying anything is the price. It's the same with hosting. Like we usually say, even bad hosting can be forgiven if it's at the right price. So we won't just be looking for the cheapest web host, we'll be looking at the one that offers the best value for money.
To start, we'll only be comparing Shared Hosting and managed WordPress hosting plans. Why you may ask. Well, the answer is simple enough, most sites on the internet are hosted on shared servers, and we are a democratic kinda guy.
Shared Hosting Price Comparison
SiteGround has three tiers of shared hosting plans and they are the StartUp, GrowBig and the GoGeek plans. Namecheap also has three Shared Hosting plans and they are the Stellar, Stellar Plus and Stellar business plans.
Basic Plan Comparison
SiteGround's basic plan is the StartUp plan and it comes with one website, 10GB of space, unlimited bandwidth, free Cloudflare CDN, free SSL certificate, free daily backups, and unlimited emails. The plan costs $3.95 and renews at $11.95. Namecheap cheapest plan (yes, that was also intentional. Sue us) is the Stellar plan and it comes with three websites, 20GB SSD and unmetered bandwidth at $1.44 per month (normally $2.88 per month), which is immense.
First off, Namecheap's basic plan comes with three websites. That's something that you rarely ever see, and the fact that even at renewal, it costs less than SiteGround's initial price tells you all you need to know about this comparison. Namecheap might not have the best performance when it comes to raw hosting data, but at a price like this and with such specs, not even SiteGround holds a candle.
Medium Range Plans
Namecheap medium-range plan is the Stellar Plus plan and it comes with unmetered SSDs, unlimited websites, and auto backup. The plan costs an introductory price of $2.44 and renews at $4.88. SiteGround's medium-range plan is the GrowBig plan and it comes with all the features of the StartUp plan plus unlimited websites, free SSL wildcard for one year, 20GB space, all 3 levels of the super cacher, staging environments for WordPress and Joomla, 30 backup copies and free restore. The plan costs $5.95 per month while renewal costs $19.95
Namecheap's plan completely maxes out at this point with unlimited everything while SiteGround still keeps caps on space available. Again, SiteGround's plan and prices do not even come close to Namecheap's in terms of value per dollar. Again, even Namecheap's renewal price is lower than the promotional price for SiteGround's service.
High Range Plans
SiteGround's most expensive plan is the GoGeek plan (we have it on reasonable authority that this plan isn't, in fact, for only Geeks) and it comes with all the features of the GrowBig plan plus unlimited websites, 30GB space with a traffic capacity of 100,000 per month, priority support, one-click Git repo creation, and PCI compliance. It comes at a $11.95 promotional price while renewal costs $34.95. Namecheap's most expensive plan is the Stellar Business plan and it costs $3.88 per month and comes with unlimited websites, auto backup and cloud storage. Renewal costs $7.88.
For context, the promotional price of Namecheap's most expensive plan is lower than the promotional price of SiteGround's cheapest plan. Of course, it could be argued that SiteGround offers better in terms of performance, but was the difference in performance so great to excuse this sort of gap in pricing? It's a very debatable question.
Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
Both hosts offer three levels of managed WordPress hosting. While SiteGround retains, for the most part, the names and prices of the Shared hosting plans, Namecheap switches it up totally, offering three tiers called EasyWp starter, EasyWp turbo, and EasyWp Supersonic.
Basic managed WordPress Hosting Plan
Namecheap's cheapest plan is the EasyWp Starter plan and it comes with 10GB of storage, a capacity for 50 000 monthly visits and costs $0.01 for the first month and renews at $3.88 per month. If you'd rather be billed yearly, you can pay $22.88 for the first year and then renew at $29.88. This plan compares directly to SiteGround's cheapest WordPress plan which is the StartUp plan, which has the same specs as the Shared hosting Plan and that costs $3.95 (renews at $11.95). The StartUp plan has a capacity for about 10 000 visits.
The prices offered by both hosts for this plan is now a bit comparable, and since SiteGround’s performance is far superior, we would go with SiteGround.
Medium Range Managed WordPress hosting Plan
Namecheap's medium-range WordPress hosting plan is the EasyWP turbo plan and it comes with 50GB SSD storage, 200 000 visitors/month, 1.5x more CPU, and 1.5x more RAM. The first month, if you're paying monthly, costs an astonishing $0.02 and the next month renews at $7.88. If you'd like to be billed yearly, the first-year costs $44.88 and the next year's renews at $68.88. SiteGround's medium-range plan is still the same as the Shared Hosting medium Range GrowBig plan which costs $5.95 per month while renewal costs $19.95. It has a capacity of 25 000 visitors per month.
Welp. The immense price gap that we spoke about earlier has shown itself again. Turns out SiteGround's prices can simply not stay as low as Namecheap's. There's that familiar question, again. Is SiteGround worth it?
High Range Managed WordPress Hosting Plan
Namecheap's highest WordPress hosting plan is the EasyWp Supersonic plan and it comes with 100GB SSD storage, 500 000 visitors/month, 2x more CPU, 2x more RAM, 99.99% uptime guarantee. And yes, you guessed it. The first month comes at a giveaway price at $0.03 (at this point it's basically free to start). After the first month, though, you will be asked to pay $11.88 per month. If you'd prefer to be billed per year, it costs $49.88 for the first year and $98.88 after that. SiteGround's most expensive plan is the GoGeek plan and it has the capacity for a hundred thousand visits per month and costs $11.95 for the initial purchase and $34.95 for renewal.
Even with a capacity five times the capacity of SiteGround's plan, Namecheap's plan costs less than SiteGround's plan overall. And that is a fitting way to end this section.
Before we began, we said that even terrible hosting can be forgiven if it comes at the right price, and Namecheap's plans come at the right price.
Despite the fact that SiteGround offers more overall, we cannot deny that Namecheap prices and value offered simply blows SiteGround away. Even more popular and cheaper hosts like GoDaddy and HostGator will have a tough time defeating Namecheap prices.
Namecheap vs. SiteGround: Extra Features Comparisons
SiteGround has the following extra features:
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- SiteGround is optimized for WordPress and Joomla
- One-click staging servers
- SiteGround has reseller hosting options
- Unfortunately, SiteGround doesn't offer a free domain name.
- SiteGround supports Weebly website builder
- A free WordPress Migration Plugin.
- SiteGround offers SSH access with all their plans
Namecheap has the following extra features:
- 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
This might be a little bit subjective, but we feel that SiteGround features are overall more important to the running of a site than Namecheap.
Namecheap vs. SiteGround: Major Differences
- Namecheap has a free domain policy, while Sites doesn't
- SiteGround is way faster than Namecheap
- Namecheap is way cheaper than SiteGround (no surprises there)
- SiteGround has superior customer support
- SiteGround offers free site migration on select plans while Namecheap also does (or not, at this point, who knows?)
- SiteGround offers an overall better backup policy than Namecheap's
Namecheap vs. SiteGround: Our Pick
For SiteGround, this was easy as you like. Overall, SiteGround comes out the winner, taking only one loss in a vital aspect, and that is pricing. However, if you're low on funds and aren't particularly concerned about the general quality of hosting you're paying for, Namecheap is probably the best host for you. On the other hand, if, like us, you are concerned about things like speed, uptime, and customer support, you should choose SiteGround.
For us, though, the answer to Namecheap vs. SiteGround is simple enough, SiteGround wipes the ground with Namecheap.