Namecheap Review: Best Place to Buy a Domain Name

by Kelsey Clubb — Updated: August 8, 2019
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One of the first things you need to do to launch a profitable blog is to come up with a name for your blog.

For example, the name of this blog is Achieve Your Daydream.

Once you know how to choose the best name for your blog, you’ll need to buy the matching domain name from a reputable domain registrar (a company that sells domain names).

For example, the domain name of this blog is AchieveYourDaydream.com (capitalization doesn’t matter).

In this Namecheap review, I’ll cover why Namecheap is currently the best domain registrar and why you should use it to buy your domain name.

Note: If you use a link below to make a purchase, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more about affiliate links

What is Namecheap?

Namecheap is a well-established and reliable domain registrar based in the United States.

The company was founded in 2000 and is currently the second-largest domain registrar with over 11 million domains registered.

It also sells WordPress hosting and some other things, but I only recommend Namecheap for buying domains.

Why Do You Need Namecheap?

A domain name is one of the 3 things you need to start a blog with WordPress, and Namecheap is currently the best place to buy a domain name.

Why You Shouldn't Buy a Domain From Your Hosting Provider (Even if it's "Free")

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cancellation Fee

Make sure you always read the fine print.

All reputable hosting companies should offer a money-back guarantee if you decide their hosting isn’t right for you.

Be aware that, even if you get a domain for free when you sign up for your hosting plan, domain costs are usually non-refundable.

For example, Bluehost will deduct a non-refundable domain fee of $15.99 from your refund. That’s $6.93 more than a .com domain at Namecheap!

๐Ÿ’ฐ Outrageous Privacy Protection Cost

All three of the most popular shared hosting providers (Bluehost, HostGator, and SiteGround) will charge you for WhoisGuard Privacy Protection.

SiteGround charges $12 for the first year, HostGator charges $14.95 for the first year, and Bluehost charges $11.88 for the first year.

First Year .com Domain Cost

RegistrarDomainPrivacyTotal
Namecheap$9.06FREE$9.06
BluehostFREE$11.88$11.88
HostGator$12.95$14.95$27.90
SiteGround$15.95$12.00$27.95

So, even if you get a “free” domain for one year from Bluehost, you’d still have to pay $11.88 for the recommended privacy protection, which is $2.82 more than the $9.06 that you’d pay for the first year of a domain at Namecheap with privacy protection included!

๐Ÿ’ฐ Outrageous Renewal Cost

You might be able to get a domain name for free for the first year, if you buy it along with a cheap shared hosting plan. However, I guarantee you will make up for it when you have to pay the renewal cost starting the second year.

For example, a .com domain renewal at Bluehost is currently $17.99, and that doesn’t include optional โ€” but strongly recommended โ€” WhoisGuard Privacy Protection for an extra $14.88.

Over the course of 3 years, you’d end up paying over twice as much for a .com domain with WhoisGuard from Bluehost than with Namecheap:

Bluehost .com Domain Cost

YearDomainWhoisGuardTotal
1FREE$11.88$11.88
2$17.99$14.88$32.87
3$17.99$14.88$32.87
$35.98$77.62

Namecheap .com Domain Cost

YearDomainWhoisGuardTotal
1$9.06FREE$9.06
2$13.16FREE$13.16
3$13.16FREE$13.16
$35.38$35.38

And even if you opted out of WhoisGuard Privacy Protection, you’d still end up paying more for a .com domain with Bluehost by the 3rd year.

๐Ÿ”’ Security

If your hosting account were to get hacked, and you bought your domain from your host, then the hacker would have access to both your domain and your hosting.

Why I Use and Recommend Namecheap

๐Ÿ“… Established and Reliable Brand

Namecheap has provided domain registration services since 2001 and they are the 2nd largest domain registrar based on number of registered domains.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Competitive Initial Pricing

Namecheap has some of the lowest prices you can find, especially for .com domains.

For example, a .com domain at Namecheap is $9.06 for the first year, compared to $12.17 at GoDaddy. That’s a savings of $3.11 โ€” per domain!

๐Ÿ’ฐ Competitive Renewal Pricing

Getting a significant discount on the first year of your domain is great, but not if you make up for it (and then some) with the yearly renewal prices.

I transferred all my old domains from another provider to Namecheap in order to take advantage of the lower renewal prices, especially for .com domains.

For example, a .com domain renewal at Namecheap is currently $13.16, compared to $18.17 at GoDaddy. That’s a savings of $5.01 โ€” per domain!

๐Ÿ”’ Free WhoisGuard Privacy Protection

Did you know that the name, phone number, email address, and physical address you use to buy your domain is publicly available online?

There is a service named WhoisGuard that will replace your information with other information in order to protect your privacy.

All reputable domain registrars offer WhoisGuard Privacy Protection as an option, but only the best offer it for free.

For example, WhoisGuard Privacy Protection at Namecheap is free forever, compared to $9.99/year at GoDaddy. That’s a savings of $9.99 โ€” per year, per domain!

๐Ÿ‘ Ease of Use

Namecheap has a modern user interface that is both aesthetically pleasing and very easy to use.

Buying and managing domains (including transferring them from another domain provider or even another Namecheap account) is straightforward and efficient.

๐Ÿ”’ Two-Factor Authentication

A must-have security feature these days is two-factor authentication.

To log in to your Namecheap account โ€” or any other typical account โ€” you usually only need to enter your username and password.

This means if someone is able to find out both your username and your password, they could get into your account and potentially delete your domain name from your account or even transfer it to someone else.

With two-factor authentication enabled, after submitting your username and password, you’ll be asked to enter a 6-digit code that is sent to your phone via a text message.

For added protection, the code expires after a few minutes, after which you can request a new code if needed.

This means a hacker would not only need to know your username and your password, but also have access to your phone or text messages โ€” which is much less likely.

For this reason, I strongly recommending using Namecheap or another domain registrar that provides two-factor authentication.

Things I Don't Like About Namecheap

๐Ÿ‘Ž Their Renewal Pricing Should be More Transparent

One important thing I look for when buying a domain name is the renewal cost.

For some domain extensions, Namecheap lists the yearly renewal price directly under the first year price (labeled as “Renews at $14.98/yr” for example).

For other domain extensions, Namecheap only lists a retail price directly under the first year price (labeled as “Retail $10.98/yr” for example).

I mistakenly believed the retail price was going to be the renewal price for my .com domain and it was not.

To find the current renewal price for any domain extension, you’ll need to:

  1. Visit this page
  2. Scroll down to the “Domain Pricing” section
  3. Find the domain extension you’re interested in listed in the first column (“TLD”)
  4. See the current yearly renewal price listed in the third column (“Renew”)

Note: You can save a few dollars by paying for up to 10 years at a time โ€” either when you initially purchase your domain, or when you renew it โ€” but, unless you’re absolutely certain you’ll still be using the domain several years from now, it’s likely a better idea to just pay for one year at a time.

๐Ÿ‘Ž I Can't Use PayPal for Automatic Renewal Payments

The only other thing I don’t like about Namecheap is that they don’t have PayPal as an option for setting up automatic renewal payments.

You can use PayPal to initially buy your domain, and you can use PayPal to manually renew your domain, so I’m not sure why it’s not possible to use PayPal to automatically renew your domain.

It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, but hopefully this will be an option soon.

Namecheap Review Summary

Best Domain Name Registrar

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Namecheap is the best domain registrar to buy your domain name from.

I use and highly recommend Namecheap for buying domains because it is a well-established and reliable domain registrar with competitive pricing and free WhoisGuard Privacy Protection.

Pros:

  • 2nd Largest Domain Registrar
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Free WhoisGuard Privacy
  • Automatic Renewal
  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Easy to Use Interface
Cons:
  • Renewal pricing should be more transparent
  • Can't use PayPal for automatic renewal payment method