NameCheap Review: a Good Domain Registrar

As domain names are becoming something more and more people are buying since everyone wants to start a website or blog, NameCheap has been there to pick up a lot of domain business over the last couple years offering decent customer service, fair pricing, lots of coupons, and taken stands against SOPA.

NameCheap Review

Here is my NameCheap Review using NameCheap as a domain name registrar.  Hopefully you will find this NameCheap Review useful if you are thinking of registering or transferring any domains to NameCheap.

Disclaimer: I have included affiliate links in this NameCheap Review. However nobody can “buy” my opinions on this blog and this review reflects my honest opinions about NameCheap and their service as a domain name registrar.  If you find this review valuable I'd appreciate it if you considered using these affiliate links as keeping this blog up takes time, effort, and money.

namecheap review

User Interface

I have seen a lot of people on the large admin, webmaster, and hosting forums say they really like the NameCheap user interface and backend for managing domainnames.  Honestly, I am not a big fan of the NameCheap user interface.  I think the typeface is a little too small for my liking and it's not like I am an old person.  (At least I hope not.)  I am a guy in my 20's but font that is too small nobody likes.  Isn't that web design 101?  Usually what I deal with this by hitting [CTRL +] a few times to zoom in.

Additionally the user interface takes getting used too and it does not have the most intuitive layout in my opinion.  If I haven't used the made nameserver changes or been in NameCheaps backend in awhile I tend to comeback and be a little lost on what is going on.  I am used to it now though and don't think about it too much.

Fortunately NameCheap does have good Youtube tutorial videos in their support section showing how to manage and complete tasks in the backend.  The videos have good documentation as well in their knowledgeable base and you can ask questions using Disqus.  I think this is a smart idea and probably one of the reasons people confuse think NamCheap has a good user interface.

Buying Domains

Buying domains through NameCheap is pretty easy and fast.  You can easily lookup and register a domain name and transferring into NameCheap is fairly straightforward.  (If you know how to transfer domains from domain name registrars.)  They don't go for too many upsells but you will see them.

The shopping cart is easily laid out and one nice feature is that you can “Save” a domain.  This keeps the domain in your shopping cart but doesn't mean you are purchasing it right then.  Later you can come back and move any domains in the “Saved” section into the shopping car to buy.

DNS Propagation

DNS propagation I have found for NameCheap usually takes around 30 minutes.  Sometimes your nameservers can update faster and I have had it happen in about 5-7 minutes.  However, I wouldn't necessarily bet that it will only take 5 minutes.  The 30 minute timeframe is what I have found to be an average time for nameservers to propagate.

NameCheap does allow you to do Bulk DNS updates which is convenient if you are switching hosts or moving to a different domain parking company.  Making bulk DNS updates is easy as you select the domains you want to update and click “Edit Selected” in the backend and put in your new nameservers.

Domain Pricing

NameCheap‘s pricing is quite confusing but I am going to try to break it down into simple and an easy-to-understand explanation.

COM – Domain Registration $10.69 (includes Free Whois privacy) – Domain Renewal $10.69 (does not include free privacy)

With Coupons – Registration/Renewal – $9.61 a year

NET/ORG – Domain Registration $11.48 (includes Free Whois privacy) – Domain Renewal $11.48 (does not include free privacy)

With Coupons – Domain Registration/Renewal – $10.16 a year

NameCheap releases monthly coupons every month which they encourage customers to use when buying, transferring, or renewing domain names.  To keep updated with NameCheap's coupons you can check NameCheap Coupons which is a site run by NameCheap.  They also have special registration and transfer deals which I take advantage of a lot.  You can follow them on social media networks or checkout this epic Namepros thread for the latest domain deals.  Obviously go to the last page to find the most recent NameCheap coupons.

FYI NameCheap charges your the 18 cents Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN) fee on COM and NET domains but any other top level domain, such as ORG, is excluded.  Since most people own COM domains the ICANN fee is a bit annoying,  Most registrars do not include it in their domain prices either though.  The prices shown reflect the ICANN charge.

Whois Privacy – NameCheap's Whois Privacy is free only for the first year of domain registration or transfer.  After that you will have to pay for NameCheap's Whois Guard subscriptions if you don't want your info to appear in the Whois database.  Regular pricing for a Whois Guard subscription, what NameCheap Whois privacy service, is $2.88 a year but if you use the coupon code – WGSPECIAL – it will only cost you 99 cents a year.  If you need to order multiple Whois Guard subscriptions for different domains you can use that coupon code to order multiple Whois Guard subscriptions at the same time.

While I, and probably others, would prefer if Whois privacy was available for free after the first year of registration I don't think 99 cents is too bad.   A lot of domain registrars charge $10+ bucks for privacy which is as much as renewing a domain.

Bottom line, if you want straightforward pricing you should probably consider another domain registrar.  If you think you have anything to add about NameCheap's pricing leave a comment below.  Please realize I only included COM, NET, and ORG pricing as these are the most popular extensions.  You can check NameCheap's pricing for other domain extensions here.

Support

NameCheap has online chat support that is available 24 hours 7 days a week.  NameCheap also offers email support as well.  NameCheap does not offer phone support.

Honestly for domain names I don't think you will need to contact support too much.  The few times I have contacted NameCheap support they have been pretty helpful in resolving my question or issue.  There was one time they really annoyed since I wasn't able to use some affiliate earnings I had to purchase a domain and the chat support representative didn't seem to understand what I wanted.  Eventually it was worked out but it took a lot of explanation.

NameCheap MarketPlace

For anyone that that is a domain investor or “domainer” I am sure the like the fact that NameCheap has the NameCheap Marketplace.  This is NameCheap's inter-registrar market for buying and selling domain names under $1,000 dollars.  You can also buy premium domains over $1,000 from other places too.

The NameCheap Marketplace has been quite a useful feature for me.  I've used it before and found that it was a easy to sell domains.  All you do is pick a price, category, description, and length you want your domain to be available.  If your domain is bought NameCheap handles the transfer into the other buyer's account and then they automatically put the money in your account.  They take a 10% brokerage fee which is reasonable.

On the flipside if you can't find a good available domain name to buy and you are a NameCheap customer, I think you will find the NameCheap Marketplace useful.  If you want to negotiate a price sometimes you can contact a seller directly.   Just remember to do your research before you buy since you don't want to end up paying for a spam domain.

One issue I encountered is when I sold a domain name in the NameCheap Marketplace I didn't realize NameCheap's money policies.  I sold the domain for $5 since it was near expiration and got $4.50 (this was a domain I was just trying to get rid of before it expired) but that was not enough to pay for a new domain registration.  I noticed when checking out that I couldn't use these  funds along with PayPal or another form of payment.  I talked with NameCheap customer support and they said I need to add money in the account.  The minimum you can add is $5 but I wanted to just $1.68 to add to the $4.50 since they were having $6 registration special.   I just had to wait until I found another available domain I wanted then add that amount of money into the account before making anther purchase.

Just something to be aware of when collecting affiliate revenue or using the NameCheap Marketplace.

Conclusion

Overall I like the features NameCheap provides such as the Marketeplace, free URL forwarding, and chat support.  They also offer a lot of advanced DNS management options which other domain registrars don't of charge for.  I think they are a decent domain name registrar and will continue to use them.

I also like NameCheap due to their political initiatives.  A lot of time their transfer specials will include donations to support groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF),  They were strongly against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which would have made it difficult for people to operate at all online and widely publicized their “Move Your Domain Day” to encourage people to transfer away from GoDaddy.  This was not only good for business but brilliant marketing as it drew a lot of stories and attention.  In addition they had Save the Elephants transfer day when it was revealed that GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson's went on safari to kill elephants.  That's why some bloggers call GoDaddy “NoDaddy!”

However, I don't like the confusing pricing and the fact they don't offer free Whois is bothersome.  Another thing to be aware of is that NameCheap has been an ICANN accredited registrar since 2006 but all domains you register are controlled under their Enom as NameCheap is an Enom Reseller. Considering they have over 3 million domains under management and have had ICANN accreditation for awhile I am surprised they are still using Enom's services.  It seems like they would have started to migrate to their own platform.  Hopefully in the future they will start using their own domain management system as I assume that will mean faster DNS propagation and better pricing for customers.

Also I wish NameCheap would update their backend to be more user friendly and have a cleaner look.  I have been told they will be making changes in the near future though.

NameCheap does offer a lot of other services such as SSL certificates and web hosting, I could not answer questions about that in this NameCheap Review since I haven't used these services.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed by NameCheap Review and found it informative.  If you have any question's about NameCheap please leave a comment below.

4 Awesome Tools to find the Perfect Domain Name

As the internet keeps growing and with new sites popping up everyday it is becoming increasingly hard to find the elusive ‘perfect domain name' for you business, blog, service, or product.  While it's becoming harder it is still not impossible to find an available good, great, or perfect domain name to register for only $10 to build your website with.

Here are some tools I use for finding domain names.  Some might use other domain finding tool, but overall I have found these are the sites and tools I always keep coming back to use when I need a new domain name.

LeanDomainSearch – Probably one of the easiest and most helpful tools I have seen on the web for finding a good available domain name.  Lean Domain Search is super easy to use and straightforward.  All you do is type in a word or a few words that you want to use in a domain name.  It will generate a list of available .COM domains using those keywords highlighted in green.  Hover over and click one of the domains and it will tell you if that domain is in fact still available and if the Twitter handle for the domain is available (Twitter handles must be less than 20 words or characters though).  I have used Lean Domain Search many times and have found some great gems through it.  Of course a lot of domains it will spin out may not make sense or will just be plain weird word combinations.  Still this is worth a shot if you have been having trouble searching or narrowing down a perfect domain name.  There is also a new brandable domain generator too, which helps you find short brandable domains.  These are not necessarily grammatically correct but would be good if you are a startup or want a catchy memorable domain name.  You can use Lean Domain Search for free but it does limit your searches to 150.  To see the full list of 5,000 domains you can pay $79 for two months or $199 per year ($16.58 a month).  Probably worth every penny but I have never paid for the service.

UPDATE: Lean Domain Search is now completely free to use.  In addition the developer, Matt Mazur, let Automattic acquire Lean Domain Search.  This means the company behind WordPress now owns the domain generator.  Also something to be aware of is before the Automattic acquisition Matt shutdown the brandable domains and domain name trends section he use to have on the website.

perfect domain name

ExpiredDomains.net – One of the best and most comprehensive domain finding sites out there I have found.  This site searches expiring domains that are in the process of deleting from the domain registry and deleted domains.  You can really narrow down specifics of a domain name like no other tool or site I have seen.  For instance if you want to find a domain with the word “tech” you can select whether you want it in the front, back, or anywhere in the domain.  It lets you select domain extensions, character length, pagerank, , DMOZ entry, different languages, and whole lot more.  One thing you should keep in mind is that it searches expiring domain lists and there are a lot of junk domains that people buy and drop.  The best way to utilize ExpiredDomains.net is to really drill down what words you are looking for and to use specific search criteria to narrow down results.  Get to narrow though and you search won't turn up any domains.  ExpiredDomains.net also lets you search through GoDaddy Auctions, NameJet PreRelease and Auctions, Pool Marketplace and Dynadot.  This makes it very valuable all around domain finding tool.  You will have to sing-up for an account, but considering how useful it is I wouldn't worry about it.

NameChk – This is not technically a domain finding tool, but it is extremely useful.  It lets you see what social media handles are available for certain words.  So if owned the domain “example.com” I could try to see if “example” is available on social media bookmarking and networking sites.  Since consistency is important on the internet it is a good idea to see if that domain name you want to use has a Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. handles locked up or if they are all available.

WhoisRequest.org – My favorite Whois tool.  It will tell you how many times a domain nameservers have been changed, when, and how many times a domain was dropped, if ever.  If the domain was never registered before it will also tell you that. The data goes back to 2002 which should be far enough back for most people.  Most services that let you see a domain's history you have to pay for but WhoisRequest is completely free.  Making it a great tool in my webkit.

FYI Lean Domain Search and ExpiredDomains.net make money when you click through to a domain name registrar and buy a name.  They seem to prefer GoDaddy but I recommend using NameSilo as I have never had a problem with them.  Read my NameSilo Review to get an idea about their services.  They provide free privacy and easy domain registration and management.

If I find any other domain finding tools or sites that lets you zero in on that perfect domain name you are looking for, I will be sure to let all my readers know.  Remember it is possible nowadays to get a that perfect domain name, you are just going to have to spend time finding it.

Know someone who needs to find the “perfect domain name” and can't?  If so, please share this article with them so they don't need to be tearing their hair out.  

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!