Namecheap was founded as a dedicated domain name registrar over a decade ago but has since expanded into other useful online services like web hosting, email hosting and even a dedicated website builder.
So in this guide, I’m going to look at how good Namecheap’s website builder options are when compared to installing WordPress on a shared hosting account and a WordPress theme. I will be looking at different aspects that are important to content creators, bloggers, ecommerce store owners and casual users.
Namcheap Sitemaker and Visual.com
The first thing I want to mention is that Namecheap provides a website builder app integration using Visual.com called “site maker” that will power your website. This is not the same as their own website builder you have access to when purchasing a shared hosting account.
Sitemaker is from Visual.com, a different company and a totally separate service. In this content I’m going to be looking at the website builder but I do need to mention Visual.com as new customers of Namecheap get confused.
The value add that Namecheap provides is easy to use integration with their existing DNS structure to connect your domain and hosting all while being your dedicated support channel. Ideal for beginners as you have one company to go to with any problems.
For the site maker website builder, you can get a plan for $38.88 a year which comes out to $3.24 a month for the price of your hosting account and the content management system. That means for just $3.24 a month you host, design and upload content to your website.
You’ll also need a domain name, which at Namecheap costs $8.88 a year for the introduction rate (which you can lock in for up to 10 years in advanced). So the price point for the site maker option is $47.76 a year. Under $50 for a year for professional, personal website.
Last, you can also get a free domain name if you’re willing to use .contact, .design or .xyz as your domain extension instead of a .com. This is why the site maker option is an ideal choice for professional, personal use because you can get a complete website with a custom domain like myname.contact for just $38.88 a year.
Sitemaker – An easy option with limited control
When purchasing a site maker, website builder account on Namecheap you’ll be given a simple on-boarding process of asking you what the goal of the website is and some broad features you want.
With regards to customizing your website you have three different layouts for the homepage, can easily add in pages to your website, change colors and add in addition sections like testimonials, work experience, projects a contact form and more.
Namecheap shared hosting and their website builder
Confusingly, Namecheap also offers a totally separate, in-house website builder option if you decide to go with a shared hosting account and Namecheap. This website builder experience is a bit similar to what Wix provides and is ideal for static websites that will only be 5-20 pages or simple ecommerce stores.
Namecheap Website Builder Comparison Guide
Namecheap and Visual.com combine into a compelling offer for beginners when compared to their website builder on their shared hosting plans. But how does it stack up to WordPress and when should you go with WordPress and when should you choose Namecheap’s website builder? In this Website Creative Pro breakdown we will be looking at the following:
- What types of websites are ideal?
- Pricing and features
- Design, layout and customizations
- Which has better SEO?
- Do you have control over your data and can you export your content?
- E-commerce features
What types of websites are ideal for each option?
Namecheap’s website builder is ideal for professional use like a small business website where you showcase your services or a small ecommerce website. It’s a terrible choice for a blog and since
I found their CPanel website builder an excellent choice for anyone needing a simple 5-20 page website that’s easy to setup and edit, but you’re not intending on building a high traffic website through organic growth.
As you get access to the website builder by purchasing a shared hosting plan, it is an ideal choice for a static, business oriented websites as well as a simple ecommerce stores. It’s not a good choice for blogging or for a personal website and you should instead use WordPress.
Great for small business, terrible for blogging
WordPress is an open source content management system that you can install on your own hosting account. Once setup properly, you can install any type of theme you want. There are numerous free themes and premium themes, but even free themes now provide an easy to use drag and drop builder via the Gutenberg block editor.
You can also add in additional plugins for even more features. As such, with WordPress you can really build any type of website you like. From a simple resume, about me style website. To a high traffic blog that makes passive income, to a full featured, comprehensive ecommerce store that makes millions of dollars a year.
If you’re wanting to blog, install WordPress and forget the website builder. If you need a good, static website for your small business then Namecheap’s offering may be ideal for you.
Pricing and features
With WordPress vs Namecheap’s website builder and site maker option, the price point depends on the type of hosting you purchase for WordPress as you have some flexibility. With the site maker option, you only have one low cost pricing plan. Let’s get into it.
Shared hosting website builder pricing
For creating a website with Namecheap’s website builder that you get with a shared hosting account, you’ll still have the $8.88 price point for the domain, but your options for web hosting are more varied. Namecheap provides their own dedicated shared hosting:
With the Stellar plan you can have up to 3 websites, the popular and stellar business plans allow for unlimited websites. The main difference between the plans is that with the business plan you can get up to 600,00 file limit while the other plans cap out at 300,000 files. You’re also given more SSD storage with the business plan.
As most will be going with the “popular” plan as it is the best seller, the price point is $57.88 a year after the introduction rate. Add in the domain name and the website builder with a shared hosting account will cost $66.76 a year. Just under $70 for a website powered by an unstructured drag and drop builder.
WordPress on a shared hosting account with Namecheap
With WordPress, all the costs are the same as the website builder options. You will have to purchase a domain name and then a shared hosting package. The price depends on what you buy, the stellar, stellar plus or stellar business.
In addition, WordPress can potentially have one added cost depending on the theme you choose to use. Some themes and plugin options like Elementor cost a yearly fee in addition to your hosting and domain price. Alternatively, you could just use a free WordPress theme.
- Site maker and Namecheap – $38.88 a year with a free domain or $47.76 with a .com domain purchase
- Namecheap in-house website builder – $66.76 a year on the stellar plus plan with a domain name.
- WordPress and a Namecheap shared hosting account – $66.76 a year with a domain name. Not including any premium WordPress theme purchase.
All in all, if you’re in need of a professional, personal website for use as a resume, project website or for a local organization the site maker option is very affordable. If you need a static business website then consider the in-house website builder on a shared hosting account and for all other uses go with WordPress.
Design, layout and customization
With the website builder from Namecheap you get a nice selection of various templates, an unstructured editor which means you can click an element and move it around to wherever you want on the page. You also get advanced options for each design element.
From changing the font size of your H1 title tags, to adding in entrance and exit animations to visibility rules (meaning you can hide elements when the visitor is on mobile), you can build a great looking website using Namecheap.
Namecheap website builder – Unstructured editor for static websites
This website builder is a good option for creating any sort of business website. You can open up different themes and edit them with ease. It’s not the most intuitive experience and is a bit dated looking when compared to something like Wix, but once you get an understanding of how it works it’s simple enough to customize your website.
In addition, it also has basic ecommerce functionality built in. Nothing as sophisticated as Shopify, but good enough if you’re looking to sell digital downloads or physical products. Overall, we’re not particularly impressed as WordPress is easier to use and more feature rich.
Is the SEO for Namecheap any good?
The website builder from Namecheap is acceptable as well because it has it’s own dedicated search engine optimization tab where you can adjust the the on-page SEO for each page individually as needed.
As it’s an unstructured editor, it’s on you as the designer to create a page with proper on-page SEO. You can do exactly that with Namecheap, but you can break the rules and do whatever you like as well.
Do you have control over your data?
One thing beginners need to remember is how easy is it to move your website around to different providers. For example, if you build your website with Wix, Wix does not allow you to export your content in any way if you ever want to move your website. That means you’re going to have to slowly and methodically copy and paste your content from Wix to WordPress as an example.
The website builder option from Namecheap also has no option has no export option of your content like Wix and with the site maker option. If you spend a year building your website on Namecheap’s website builder, you’re going to be stuck with it. Not a deal breaker if all you’re building is a 10-20 page small business website.
The ecommerce features between Namecheap’s website builder and WordPress
For ecommerce, the site maker option is not even a choice as they don’t provide any sort of ecommerce functionality. For Namecheap’s in-house website builder you can add products, SKU’s, descriptions and you can generate a report of any sales that need to be fulfilled.
It’s ideal for simple stores that don’t require advanced customization options. For WordPress, you have access to WOO Commerce and various ecommerce centric themes. In addition, you have access to WordPress’s block builder, plugin library and helpful blogging features.
When comparing the two, there is no confusion. WordPress and WOO Commerce is simply a better, easier to use choice. On top of that, you can also blog and engage in content marketing to actually drive traffic to your website.
Namecheap Website Builder Review Conclusion
For the website builder on a shared hosting account, I don’t find it that useful when compared to installing WordPress. WordPress simply does everything better. Better ecommerce, better blogging, easier to design and you can export and move your website.
But I know WordPress is not for everyone, so if you’re looking for an affordable hosting account with a drag and drop unstructured visual editor then tryout the website builder from Namecheap today.