We do a lot of comparisons between web hosting companies regarding their hosting services. But what about domain names? While most web hosts now give you a free domain name when you sign up, for those webmasters who purchase multiple domains in bulk it often makes more sense to maintain domain names separately. GoDaddy has long been the big player when it comes to domain name management. I’ve used them for domain names for years and have been very satisfied. There are however other alternatives such as Namecheap—which I also use.
Namecheap (like GoDaddy) provides web hosting services as well. But, they also offer extensive domain name services—also similar to GoDaddy. So how does Namecheap really compare to GoDaddy when it comes to domain names? And, which one should you choose? Let’s take a look at some specific areas and see how they both measure up.
Products and Services
GoDaddy offers one of the most extensive selections of services available. In addition to domain name services, they provide all type of web hosting, website design services, SEO marketing, plus email & business tools. GoDaddy’s domain auction services are also used by many website owners looking to buy and sell domains.
While Namecheap doesn’t offer as many different products and services, they do provide the same wide range of domain name services (such as registrations, transfers, and auctions) that GoDaddy does. And, their web hosting lineup includes all types including shared, VPS, dedicated, and reseller.
Since we’re focusing more on domain name services in this comparison, for the most part I’d have to give it a draw here and say that both of these companies provide an impressive array of domain name management services. GoDaddy gets the edge in this category based on their wider selection of product offerings. If you envision yourself branching out from just domain names with your registrar, then GoDaddy is the better choice.
Website Interface – Placing an Order
Both websites from GoDaddy and Namecheap are fairly similar in design and functionality. You can easily search for the domain names you’d like. Signing up and placing orders is very easy and straight forward.
Domain Name Management
Managing your domains is very convenient at both GoDaddy and Namecheap. You can easily login from their homepages to access your account. After logging into GoDaddy, you’re immediately presented with a tabbed interface which defaults to your domains.
If you have a large number of domain names, you can click on the Launch button to access the full domain manager where you can see all of your domains.
Clicking on one of them will bring up the domain details page where you can edit and make changes.
Similarly, logging into Namecheap will bring up an account page where you can click on a link to access your domain manager. As with GoDaddy, you can edit and modify your domain name options here.
As a nice bonus, both GoDaddy and Namecheap also have smartphone apps that allow you to register and manage your domains while you’re on the go.
Both domain name management interfaces function well. In terms of which is better, it really is a matter of personal preference here. For me, I like GoDaddy’s domain manager a bit better. But, it may just be because I’ve used it longer than the one at Namecheap.
I have to say that I’ve had good experiences dealing with the customer support departments at both GoDaddy and Namecheap. Both companies offer phone, email, and live chat support—as well as extensive knowledge bases. As far as the pros and cons here, GoDaddy’s live chat support is only available 5 a.m. to Midnight MST, while Namecheap’s live chat is available anytime.
On the other hand, GoDaddy’s support staff has been a bit more concise and helpful when I’ve had to contact them. For example, when I contacted Namecheap to inquire why Webalizer was not available in their cPanel, I was simply told (after going back and forth a bit) that they thought another stat tool was better—no real specific reasons were given.
I’ve not had any real problems with either support teams though, so overall I’d give both GoDaddy and Namecheap a thumbs up for customer support.
For most domain name extensions (including the new TLDs), you’ll find Namecheap’s prices to be lower than GoDaddy. For example, a .com name at Namecheap is currently $10.69 for one year as opposed to $12.99 at GoDaddy. In addition, Namecheap provides free Whois protection for the first year. You’ll need to pay extra at GoDaddy for Whois privacy.
I do have to point out that GoDaddy frequently runs special promotions and sales. So, if you’re going to buy domains in bulk or in conjunction with other hosting services, it may be more cost effective to go with them.
Another point to keep in mind is that renewal rates are usually cheaper at Namecheap. So, I would have to give them the edge in this category.
Namecheap and GoDaddy are both quality domain name registrars. Both companies also offer a number of web hosting plans. If you decide to purchase hosting from GoDaddy or Namecheap, you’re probably best off also using them for domain name management.
If you’ll be using Namecheap or GoDaddy strictly for domain names, the better option will depend on how many domains you need, how often you need to contact customer support, which website interface appeals to you, and what type of other services you may need in the future.
Here are some key points to keep in mind.
- Largest Domain Registrar
- More Hosting Options Available
- Design, Marketing, and Business Services Available
- Frequent Sales Promotions
- Streamlined Website Interface
- Smartphone App Available
- Often Lower Prices
- Free Whois Protection for First Year
- 24/7 Live Chat Support
- Streamlined Website Interface
- Smartphone App Available