Thursday, April 14, 2011

Namecheap Is That And More

Namecheap promotes themselves as cheap domain names registration, but they also offer a complete suite of services for anyone who wants to build and host their own website. All of their services are low cost, keeping with the “cheap” moniker.

Save a bundle on domain names and hosting you can use with pride from Namecheap.Namecheap made quite a splash when they stepped up to the plate after the GoDaddy elephant fail. Bob Parsons’ loss was Namecheap’s gain. He made a buffoon of himself and alienated thousands of (former) customers. Namecheap raised over $20,000 to Save the Elephants in Africa, while they helped disgusted domain name owners transfer their names at a discount.

Pretty classy move for a company that bills itself as “cheap.” It’s actually a good title for the organization, as so many people looking to put up and run websites want to minimize their costs. If it’s a personal blog or website, you really can’t afford to be running private dedicated servers or paying outlandish fees for hosting or domains. Those hosting bills come due every month and even domain names renew yearly. The initial expense is just the start of it.

There are also the ups and extras to beware of. Some companies lure you in with a low price and then nickel and dime you to death with services you really need to operate. Namecheap is better than most at give you a feature-rich service for the stated price. For instance, with each domain name you register at the nominal $9.98 per year (.com) fee, you get the expected URL and email forwarding, DNS service and registrar lock. You also get Dynamic DNS support. But Namecheap also includes WhoisGuard Privacy Protect, a feature that many other domain registrars feel justified in charging extra for.

Privacy Protect keeps your personal information from showing up in the public Whois registry. Instead, anyone who tries to check you out in this service will see the address and phone number for Namecheap instead of you. If they want to write you, they must use a coded email that forwards to your real email. They’ll never see your actual email address so they can’t scrape it to send you spam. This services is free for a year with all new domain name purchases and transfers.

If you bought a domain name, then you probably want to do something with it. You could just forward it to refer through to your blog or Twitter account. You don’t need a hosting account to do that or to forward email from your domain name to your current email account. You can do that with the domain name settings. What if you’d like to actually have POP email for your computer using your domain name? Namecheap offers an email only hosting package for just $1.25 a month. You get 10 spam protected email addresses, 2,000 MB of storage, unlimited email aliases and autoresponders, Webmail and both POP3 and IMAP support.

The next step up is to have some actual web page hosting space. For starters you can get a basic $2.55 a month package that includes 5 GB of disk space, 250 GB of bandwidth, the ability to host 2 domains and 30 subdomains, 5 FTP users, 50 POP3 email accounts, 15 MySQL databases and support for PHP and CGI. I remember when that used to be fairly impressive specs for a business account at at least 10x the price. This is quite a bargain for the individual or smaller business.

Namecheap has a variety of basic shared hosting services with progressively more disk space and bandwidth. Their business hosting starts at $24.17 a month and is limited to 50 users per server to improve performance for e-commerce and other demanding applications. This account includes support for unlimited domains, subdomains and email accounts. It’s whatever you can load into 100 GB of disk. The Elite package at $40 per month includes more bandwidth and a free dedicated IP address.

I’m a fan of reseller accounts and Namecheap has an impressive set of packages starting at $16.95 a month. The beauty of reseller hosting is that you can resell hosting accounts to make money or use them all yourself if you have many domains and websites. You get a Web Host Manager to control everything plus each account has its own control panel. That keeps one site from affecting another, just like you’d have with separate hosting services.

For larger companies, Namecheap has both Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting and Dedicated Hosting. VPS is based on virtualization. There are actually many virtual servers running on the actual hardware, but you deal only with one that can be independently rebooted. You get root access, a dedicated IP, DNS hosting, SSH access and free setup. You certainly don’t get that from every hosting company. Namecheap VPS is priced starting at $17.58 a month with choice of operating systems and 24/7 server monitoring.

The ultimate is dedicated hosting, of course. Unless you have a uniquely demanding application or are running a large enterprise operation, you probably won’t be looking in this league. Even so, having a dual core Intel-based server all to yourself starts at just $109 per month with 6 dedicated IP addresses. No long term commitments, either. You can go month to month with a rolling contract.

Are you looking for new domains and hosting or just steamed that you’re paying way more than you need to? You should take a look at all you get from Namecheap domain names and web hosting services.

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