Moved to Namecheap’s EasyWP WordPress Hosting

Before diving into the topic, let me reassure you.

This is not a sponsored post, so you are guaranteed to get a real feedback.

Current hosting

With my current Siteground.com 2 year hosting package reaching its renewal point, it was time for me to move to a new hosting company. As I posted on Facebook some time back, I usually change host after some time for a main reason : The renewal fee. Normally, new customers benefit from very good prices when subscribing for the first time. And if you take a 2 or 3 years subscription, the monthly fee is very competitive and interesting.

Renewing it again for another year will now cost me $240!

Additionally, I have been recently getting way too many warnings about exceeded usage CPU limit warnings although there is barely traffic to my blog. They then take the blog down for some hours.

So, personally, it makes sense for me to move somewhere else.

The hunt for a new hosting

After several days of browsing, comparing and reading reviews, I was nearly going to purchase a wordpress.com paid service at around $4 monthly but removed that one from my list because you can’t run Google Adsense to make some money. At the end, I finally opted to go for Namecheap’s managed wordpress hosting solution at $30 annually :

To summarize, it is a cloud hosting package allowing up to 50k visits monthly to a unique wordpress installation with a storage of 10GB capacity.

Before you ask questions :

  • No, you can’t use sub domains to the main installation.
  • No, you don’t have a CPanel (or other panel) interface.
  • No, you don’t have a database access. (Update 21 March 2019 : PhpMyAdmin access is now available. Read last section of this post)
  • No, you can’t do many things that you can normally on a shared hosting or a server you can manage.
  • No, you can’t connect via shell etc
  • No, you can’t use any other domain registrar except Namecheap

So, you have a customized Namecheap panel from which you can only

  • Host one active wordpress at a time
  • Get SFTP access to upload files
  • Launch backups and restores

The hidden advantages

Hide your name from online prying eyes

A free WhoisGuard to protect your real identity to avoid having to display your real phone number or email address.

Simple control panel

Anyone without technical knowledge can run a wordpress blog from scratch, without ever having to think about it again in the future. The built in Namecheap administration panel is very simple and barely has buttons to get you confused.

Performance

Being a managed wordpress service hosted on the clouds above your head, EasyWP is described as being 3 times faster than a shared hosting. Only time will tell if we can rely on the advertised words. But one thing for sure, your hosting site should not be affected by any other greedy web sites since everything is hosted separately.

The hidden costs

Namecheap as domain registrar

If you read the section above very carefully, you probably noticed the thing about the registrar. No? Scroll up and read again. To be able to use your domain on this easyWP package, you are compelled to transfer your domain to Namecheap. You can of course use the temporary secure url they offer you during your initial tests but sooner or later, you will need to move to your own domain. Hence the need to save aside an additional $10 as the transfer fee from your current registrar to Namecheap.

From their own control panel, you can manage your domains, certificates, packages and etc, just like any other domain registrar.

SSL Certificates

The second hidden cost concerns the purchase of a SSL certificate. Popular browsers, for example Google Chrome, now flag any non-https url as non secure. If you wish to move to a more secure https environment, you need to add a SSL certificate.

You can of course, generate your own certificate but you will need to do that very often (probably every 3 months) and it gets quite technical. To simplify things, I decided to invest another $10 for a ssl certificate. As a pure Mauritian, I managed to grab a discounted price of $2 for the first year! However, I can’t guarantee that you can get the same deal at some other time. To benefit from best deals, you should directly buy the SSL certificate when you are either putting the easyWP package or domain transfer in your cart.

So, adding up the costs, you should most probably invest $30 + 10 + 10 = $50 yearly

Configuring your blog

If you are starting a blog from scratch, running Namecheap’s EasyWP should be very smooth. Now, if you already have a blog, things can get a bit more complex. As long as the existing blog is quite small, you can export and import the wordpress files quite easily.

However, if you have quite a bulky blog with a large database, it can get quite complicated. I ran in a lot of issues during the configuration period but finally got the blog running as you can see.

Files can be transferred via SFTP easily and the database needs to be exported via wordpress plugins from your old blog and then imported again using the same (or other) plugins on the new hosting.

Now, since you won’t probably want any downtime, things get bad here because you will be testing using that temporary namecheap url. On top of that, the namecheap servers did get some problems just at the same time, hence making the process a bit longer.

Based on my personal experience, I will advise to follow the steps:

  • Transfer your domain to Namecheap
  • Launch a new wordpress install
  • Choose your freshly transferred domain when configuring the wordpress installation
  • Run a database import process via plugins
  • Once the blog runs on your own domain and blog posts are displayed correctly, open the SFTP access and upload the missing media (photos / videos etc) from the wp-contents/uploads/ directory. If you have a huge number of files, I recommend doing this step as a final step as this will avoid losing time and resources uploading files if you have to scrap the wordpress installation and start over again.

Using the above process, you will probably complete everything in a few hours, without any hassles but your existing blog will probably be down during this period. If you can’t afford putting your existing blog down for a few hours, then, use the temporary namecheap url during the installation and switch over to the correct one after setup. However, good to know that I got many issues when doing this specific setup.

EasyWP? Not so easy at the end of the day

Being a beta version product, the EasyWP has lots of potential, especially at this price. If this hosting formula works like a charm, there is no doubt that Namecheap will probably improve it and add new features at a competitive price.

I personally spent quite some time configuring the new wordpress installation because I mainly lost time switching from the temporary url to my yashvinblogs.com domain and vice versa. Also, as mentionned earlier, the easy wp servers experienced some technical issues just during this period. So, some functionalities were not accessible but once the issues were resolved, everything is running fine. I sincerely think that a (free?) migration service from an existing hosting to Namecheap’s EasyWP servers will definitely improve user experience

Moving away to another hosting server later should not be a big problem if ever things do not work as expected on Namecheap since files can be downloaded again via SFTP and the database backup can be easily generated through plugins.

And lastly, I can see only one problem which might not happen very soon :

So, let’s cross fingers and hope that things run smoothly for yashvinblogs.

Update : 08 November 2018 : 

Namecheap have finally introduced new packages of 50 GB and 100 GB but the renew prices are quite high :

Update : 21 March 2019

After having left comments on Namecheap’s blog post about EasyWP and on their Facebook page, I got a very good surprise in my mailbox on the 13th March 2019 :

As you can read from the screenshot above from the Product Manager :

  • Namecheap is reimbursing my hosting charges I paid for the current year.
    Woooooo! That’s nice!
  • EasyWP is now providing PHPMyAdmin for all users.
    This is a great news, as I have written previously on this same post, it was quite a problem for geeks when they need to set up their blog or migrate an existing post.

Thanks again for reading.

Cheers!

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