If you want your blog to look professional and gain respect, you need to get your own domain name and hosting. You can get started blogging for free if your budget is $0, but spending just a small amount of money is worth it if you can. Investing in your own domain name and hosting make your site far more professional than a free blogging site.
Not only that, but it becomes much easier to talk about your blog when you host it yourself. Imagine if the name of this site were “startablog123.wordpress.com.” That’s quite a mouthful to pronounce, right?
Lucky for you, it’s now cheaper than ever to purchase a domain and get hosting for it. This is due in large part to the amount of competition between the many web hosting and domain registration companies. While this amount of competition is great for keeping prices low, it can make it overwhelming to choose as a beginner. How are you supposed to know which host is best for your needs?
To take the guesswork out of the process, we’ve been creating guides comparing every popular web hosting company and domain registrar out there. In this installment, we’re going to compare Namecheap and GoDaddy, two companies that offer domain name registration and web hosting services. We’ll take a look at what each company does best in the following key areas:
Using this information, you’ll be able to decide which hosting provider is best for your needs.
To start with, let’s look at the features that each company offers. When choosing web hosting, you want to make sure that you have the necessary tools to set up your site and keep it running smoothly, all without having to do a lot of technical work that takes you away from writing and promoting content for your blog.
Namecheap has all the features you would expect in a modern web host. Here’s an overview of what you get when you use their “Stellar” plan, which is currently their cheapest shared hosting offering and best suited for people creating their first blog:
- Free “.website” domain name — This is an offering exclusive to Namecheap. When you buy one of their hosting plans, they’ll throw in a free “.website” domain. This means that your URL would follow the pattern of “example.website.” You’ll have to decide whether or not this is the presence you want to have. We suggest sticking with more common extensions such as “.com” or “.net” instead.
- Up to three websites — You can host three different websites. Just pay separate registration fees for each as you would regardless of where you host them.
- Included website builder — Use Namecheap’s intuitive website creation tool to build your site without having to know any code.
- Up to 30 email accounts — Create professional email addresses using your website domain.
- Free SSL certificates included — Make sure your site appears trustworthy to visitors and search engines. An SSL certificate ensures that all data passing between site visitors and your server remains encrypted and secure. The first year of SSL is free when you purchase a hosting plan.
- Free WhoisGuard privacy protection — When you register a domain, ICANN (the group that coordinates and manages all domain names in existence) requires you to provide contact information for your domain. If you don’t have Whois privacy enabled, then anyone can look up your domain name and find the contact information associated with it. This could be problematic, as it could allow someone to send you mail or even find your physical address (which is probably your home address if you’re just starting your blog). With Namecheap, however, you don’t have to worry about this. They protect your information for free (GoDaddy, in contrast, charges $7.99 per year, per domain, for this service).
- One-click installations — Install a WordPress website and other popular blogging platforms for free with just one click.
GoDaddy has been selling web hosting and domains since 1997, and they have a substantial market share (the largest domain registrar on the internet, in fact). They have the features to match such a long history, offering the following to customers on their cheapest “Economy” plan:
- Hosting for one website
- Free domain — Choose from .COM, .CO, .ORG, .CLUB, .CN, .NET, or .XYZ domains.
- One-click installations — Install WordPress website and other popular blogging platforms for free with just one click.
- Free business email for the first year — Get one Office 365 Outlook mailbox with 5 GB of dedicated storage for email, contacts, and shared online calendar free for the first year.
Overall, Namecheap wins in terms of the features they offer on their cheapest plan. In particular, it’s nice not to have to pay any extra for SSL certificates to start with. This helps you give your site a trusted, professional look from the very beginning. Furthermore, GoDaddy is limited in that it only allows you to host one website (as opposed to Namecheap’s three). The lack of free Whois privacy protection is also a downside.
Now that we’ve examined features, let’s look at how these two companies compare on price.
Namecheap, as their name implies, is cheap. Their cheapest plan, “Stellar,” starts at $2.88 per month. You can also pay annually and get the same plan for $24.88 (a savings of 28 percent compared to paying monthly). You get a lot of value with this cheap price, including things like free SSL and Whois privacy, which could both cost a good bit extra on other hosting providers.
GoDaddy is affordable as well. Their site advertises a price of $2.49 per month, but note that you’ll need to pay for three years of hosting in advance to get that deal. For one year of hosting, you’ll pay $59.88; there is no option to pay monthly.
Namecheap is the clear winner here on price. Even on the base price, they beat out GoDaddy if you just want to pay for a year of hosting. And when you consider that Namecheap also includes free SSL and Whois protection (which GoDaddy does not), the deal is even better.
Price and features are very important when choosing a web host. They’re not the only things that matter, however. It’s also important to evaluate the service’s ease of use. After all, the best web host is the one that gets you to finally create and launch your blog (instead of just talking about it).
Between Namecheap and GoDaddy, which is more user-friendly? In terms of site navigation, we found Namecheap easier to use. You have to click through fewer menus to see their hosting options and go through the checkout process. They also offer a straightforward set of options for adding (or transferring) your domain to their servers. Once you’ve paid, it’s easier to set up your site than with GoDaddy, especially since they include a free website builder.
This isn’t to say GoDaddy is difficult to use, of course. It’s still fairly intuitive and will get you on the path to launching your site. It just isn’t quite as easy a user experience as Namecheap.
Once you’ve purchased your Namecheap or GoDaddy domain and hosting, what kind of support can you expect from each of the companies?
Namecheap offers 24/7 live chat support, email support, and an extensive online database where you can search for answers to common questions. These are all the support options you would expect from a reputable hosting company. Furthermore, the company claims that all support inquiries will receive a response within two hours at the most, which is a comforting thing to know as a potential customer.
GoDaddy also offers 24/7 live chat, email support, and a knowledge database where you can search for answers to questions. However, they also take customer service even further with their 24/7 phone support line. If you’re having technical problems, it can be very comforting to know that you can speak with a live person about your concerns.
Therefore, we think that GoDaddy wins when it comes to customer support based on the greater range of contact methods they offer.
Namecheap vs GoDaddy: Who Wins?
Overall, Namecheap is the winner when compared to GoDaddy. It beats GoDaddy based on its features, price, and ease of use. GoDaddy does have better customer support offerings, however. Ultimately, either would still be a good choice for a beginner, since one of the hardest parts of starting a blog is simply getting it online to begin with. You can fine tune other details later.
Namecheap and GoDaddy are just a few of the many web hosting options out there. You should also check out Bluehost and Hostgator, as well as the following guides comparing popular web hosts:
We wish you the very best in creating your site!