Are you trying to start an online business? Or you are looking to start a blog and monetize it within a year?
Choosing a hosting provider is a big part of having an online presence but once you Google what that even is, it becomes harder to choose the right one.
I went through the trouble of testing both Namecheap and Bluehost which are both popular and cheap website hosting providers.
Because I wanted to help you, duh.
Not exactly true.
I wanted to find out which one is better for my own profit, and then I decided to write this blog post so it would bring more traffic to my website.
Don’t judge me, you are also here because you care about your time and money.
So in this post, I want to help you save your time and money.
I will do that addressing two issues.
First I want to explain what Namecheap and Bluehost are, and why you’d need them.
Then I’ll compare their plans and pricing, support, features, performance, and more.
Stick around until the end, and you will be a bit smarter and hopefully closer to making a decision on the whole Namecheap vs Bluehost topic.
What is Bluehost?
Bluehost is a website hosting provider.
Think you’re with me on that one.
If you check Bluehost‘s website, you’ll notice it’s heavily oriented to:
- Beginners – there’s a lot of “get started fast”, and “expert help for newbies”.
- Blogs and “simple” business websites, like a hair salon website.
So, is Bluehost popular?
Is it great for beginners?
Probably the best.
You’ll get a free domain name (for one year) with most of their pricing plans.
And they offer a free SSL certificate.
What the hell is that? You may ask.
You know how sometimes you go to page two on Google?
You always find everything you need on the first page?
You are awesome!
But the rest of us sometimes go there, and there (and further away in the internet darkness) you can find websites that Google deems insecure.
There are many reasons why that happens, but if you don’t have an SSL certificate, it’s about time you need to acquire one.
Back to Bluehost.
They have a 30-day money-back guarantee and WordPress is their official partner.
And, they are standing behind more than two million websites.
Pretty neat I’d say.
Okay, but I want to know about Namecheap
Namecheap is the same thing as Bluehost, same sauce different packaging (my grandmother always says that).
But different in that it is cheaper, and a few more things.
First of all, Namecheap started as a domain name registrar.
And as far as domain registration goes, they’re pretty good.
Not Bluehost potential but they’re awesome.
At some point, they went “Let’s offer website hosting for really cheap prices”. and they did. And it friggin’ worked!
After all, if you grab them on a discount, their hosting is little above a dollar a month.
Other than that, Namecheap also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, a one-click WordPress set up, and they are beginner-oriented.
I hear you saying: “That is all cool, but I am reading this for the Namecheap vs Bluehost advice you promised to give”
I know, I know, here is the more specific stuff.
Plans and pricing
Let’s dive into how much you have to spend each month.
Bluehost offers three plans:
- Basic for 2.95 $ / month on a special offer
- Choice for 5.45$ / month
- Choice plus for 5.45$ / month on an offer (usually 16.99$!)
Something you don’t see right away, their “monthly” plans are disguised as yearly plans.
The smallest plan you can get for Basic, Choice, and Choice Plus, is a 12-month plan.
And, check this out, the 2.95$ price?
That is only available if you buy the 36-month plan.
Just to be clear, that is quite cheap.
It is difficult, maybe even impossible, for a beginner to find a simple hosting solution, without having to get a yearly plan.
But if you’re just starting out it might be a good idea to get the yearly plan to boost your motivation – since you paid for it and don’t want to waste your money.
Namespace has a bit of a different approach, but regardless of how you look at their options, they are cheaper than Bluehost.
If you take a look at their plans aimed at beginners, they have:
- Stellar for 1.58$/mo
- Stellar Plus for 2.68$/mo
- Stellar Business for $4.80/mo
As far as pricing goes, I believe Namecheap takes the point.
I figure that if you are a real beginner, after pricing you want to know how much help you can get. And not only that.
What if your website picks up a bit of traction, and then it goes down for some unexpected reason.
Downtime can cost you a lot of money. And when it happens (and it will, it always does), you will go crazy on that “contact us” button.
If you read through their customer support pages you’ll see that both Bluehost and Namecheap offer the following:
- Live chat
- 24/7 support, Bluehost via phone, and Namecheap via live chat
- Knowledge base
The way I see it, you value customer support based on two factors.
One, how fast they answer, and two, how much knowledge they have.
I contacted both of their supports a few times and this was my experience:
Namecheap takes slightly longer to respond, and you can’t call them if it is urgent.
But Bluehost’s agents have less knowledge.
You will have to decide which aspect you think is more important.
For me, Namecheap wins the support round.
Simply because I prefer when someone can help me with a highly technical question.
Performance is something often overlooked by beginners.
If you don’t have the technical knowledge, you don’t think about the loading time.
To help you put things into perspective.
If a website takes longer than three seconds to load, more than 50% of users will leave.
Even though hosting providers aren’t the only reason for a slow website, it can be a huge factor.
Also, you have to think about SEO.
A fast website ranks much higher.
Ready for a performance battle, Namecheap vs Bluehost?
There is a simple way to test performance, and if you don’t believe me, try it out yourself.
I built a new “dummy” WordPress website with each provider, and then I used a tool called Pingdom to test their performance.
Namecheap outperformed Bluehost by a lot.
But there is another important fact.
And this wasn’t my experience, but I discovered it is happening by scouring the web (farther than page one Google search results).
It seems Bluehost often has downtime.
They won’t admit it, but I’d advise you to consider that.
Also, Namecheap guarantees 100% uptime. Bluehost doesn’t.
Namecheap wins again.
Namecheap vs Bluehost – round 4, features
Namecheap is leading 3 to null.
Namecheap covers all the basics as far as hosting a website goes.
And even though Bluehost is more expensive, you will get a lot of value for those few (or one) dollars more per month.
Here is what you get with Namecheap:
- Unlimited websites and bandwidth
- A free domain, but only for the first year
- Free SSL, also only for the first year
- Cloud storage (available only for Stellar business)
- Domain privacy
- Proprietary website builder
And now for the winner of this round, Bluehost:
- Unlimited websites, bandwidth, and storage space (not on Basic)
- A free domain, also only for the first year
- A free SSL
- Office 365 trial (on most plans)
- Website launch checklist (user experience is everything these days)
- Free Email hosting
- Weebly website builder
- A few cool features for Choice Plus and Pro:
- Automatic backups
- Optimized servers for high-traffic
- Domain Privacy
Yup, Bluehost wins.
Security is an important aspect of every online business.
You have to be able to encrypt the data your users send to the server and receive back.
A great start for both providers is that they offer free SSL certificates.
Namecheap offers basic DDoS protection and domain privacy, but counting the SSL, that is all.
Bluehost however, also offers basic DDoS, domain privacy, and SSL.
But you can also get the SiteLock add-on.
With SiteLock you can scan and remove malware.
Namecheap doesn’t offer that.
Another issue with Namecheap is that, after the first year, your SSL isn’t free anymore.
And it’s expensive to reactivate it.
This last fact is enough for me to give the point to Bluehost.
The result is 3:2 in favor of Namecheap.
SEO: Which is better?
I won’t get too much into specifics, but if you don’t know what SEO is, you should learn about it. I have a blog post about how to get organic traffic to your blog.
Google has a ranking algorithm, and there are many rules that (if followed correctly) will help you rank your website in those few magical spots in the search results.
Which, judging by the average attention span of the humans today, are the first two results.
Other than optimizing your content, and a lot more stuff to rank higher, choosing the right website hosting provider plays a big role in attracting traffic to your website.
Here is the round 5 of Namecheap vs Bluehost.
Namecheap doesn’t do anything for your SEO.
Yes, they have a bunch of “do it yourself” articles that provide guidance, but that is all.
Bluehost however, has an SEO toolkit.
For a monthly fee, of course, but at least you can get it.
And it isn’t that expensive, only 1.99$ a month, billed annually.
This round also goes to Bluehost and with this point, we have a tie.
In the next section, we will declare a winner of the Namecheap vs Bluehost competition.
Ease of use
Getting started with either is almost effortless.
Especially if you buy domains from them.
The whole process, from sign-up to have your website live is fast and created with beginners in mind.
Both providers offer a one-click WordPress set up.
However, that doesn’t include a website builder.
You don’t need a website builder, but it makes building a website easier than a 4+ Lego set.
There are a few website builders to choose from.
You can download Elementor, BoldGrid, or something similar and have your website up and running in no time.
You could also forget about WordPress and use their website builders.
Both providers offer one.
Bluehost has a free version of Weebly, and Namecheap has its proprietary builder.
There is one slight difference, and while some might think it isn’t much, I think it can make a huge difference if you are a beginner.
Because let’s be honest, not everyone was born with a smartphone in their hands.
Younger generations set-up websites for fun and sell them on Fiverr before they can even open a bank account.
Not everyone can learn that fast, and if you are running a business or you just want to make money blogging, you probably don’t have the time or interest to learn it.
You want a quick and easy guide, something that goes from “do this” to “bravo, your website is live” in a few easy clicks.
Bluehost has a website launch checklist.
It is a list of all the little steps to build, optimize, and launch your first website.
And because of that, Bluehost gets another point.
In this Namecheap vs Bluehost battle, Bluehost won!
However, it is hard to say which one you should use.
Simply because only you know what you need.
I would suggest something like this.
If you are looking for ease-of-use, you are a true beginner, and you think your business might branch out, go for Bluehost.
It is easier to set up, offers more security, and has unlimited hosting resources (for more expensive plans).
On the other hand, if you are looking for a cheap option, and you need just a simple website to represent your business, go with Namecheap.
Namecheap is true to its name, plus they offer a free website migration service.
In addition to a 100% uptime guarantee, which Bluehost doesn’t have.
In my opinion, I’d choose Bluehost.
For me, security, user experience, and features outweigh the benefits Namecheap offers.