Coming from a background of domain hosting, Namecheap VPN is a still-growing network based in the US (Five Eyes alliance) that has sometimes been marred by inconsistent support and service, leading users to frustration despite its fast and reliable speeds, low pricing, and robust security.
With a minimalistic approach to app design, Namecheap VPN offers the essentials: strong encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, over 1,000 servers in 50 countries, and storied past of online activism to further the cause of freedom and put a stop to censorship.
Read our Namecheap VPN review and see why this option might be great for beginners.
Security and privacy
Namecheap VPN offers quite a bare-bones range of security features:
- Military-grade AES-256 encryption
- OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols
- DNS leak protection
The primary tunneling protocols offered by Namecheap VPN are IKEv2 and OpenVPN (TCP/UDP). Both are secure and efficient protocols, widely used across the VPN industry.
While the website doesn’t go into detail on how the AES-256 is deployed, this is more for the technically-inclined and ultimately, not a matter of concern as Namecheap seems to pass all the checks necessary, including DNS leak tests.
Namecheap VPN also has a kill switch to protect from unexpected connection issues. Combining all these features what you get is a fully secure service for an overwhelming proportion of the user base.
Does Namecheap VPN log your data?
Short answer: probably not
The Terms of Service state that Namecheap VPN does not log (track and store) any user activity, including sites visited, DNS lookups, emails addresses, and such.
That being said, since Namecheap’s own jurisdiction falls in the United States, a country not too friendly with online freedom and anonymity and known for its data surveillance, this may be something to consider.
Speed and performance
Speed is the second most important feature of a VPN and often the most important one for users. After all, if your connection is slow, you can say goodbye to torrenting, gaming, and streaming. While there’s no objective way to measure speeds, our Namecheap VPN review will try its best to give you an idea of what to expect from this tool.
Namecheap VPN has 1,000+ servers in 50 countries, which looks good on paper. What’s more, it works in tandem with IPVanish through shared resources. Since IPVanish is known for their great speeds and server flexibility, this is a good sign for Namecheap.
We did our test from Europe using the IKEv2 protocol on Windows. The baseline speeds were 275 Mbps download and 260 Mbps upload. We used these numbers to count the drop-off when connecting with a VPN.
- Download: 90 Mbps (67% drop-off)
- Upload: 11 Mbps (96% drop-off)
- Download: 43 Mbps (84% drop-off)
- Upload: 33 Mbps (83% drop-off)
- Download: 7 Mbps (97% drop-off)
- Upload: 1 Mbps (99% drop-off)
- Download: 6 Mbps (97% drop-off)
- Upload: 2 Mbps (99% drop-off)
To conclude, Namecheap offers average if not good speeds in North America and Europe but struggles mightily with locations on the other side of the globe.
There’s also one issue – enabled IPv6 in combination with your network router might lead to sites loading slowly and the network going through multiple checks just to connect to a service or server.
Nevertheless, when you factor in how affordable the service is, with VPNs on this sort of budget usually being considered a scam, finding something faster in the same price range would be as hard as folding an A4 paper eight times.
Ease of use and multi-platform support
Namecheap has apps for the following platforms:
At the moment, no other devices, routers included, are supported.
Downloading and installing Namecheap is really easy. While you can’t use the app without signing up and logging in first, there’s no account activation whatsoever.
Clicking on the footer area will open you a list of protocols to select from. The default option for Windows client is IKEv2, but you can also choose either UDP or TCP version of OpenVPN. Finally, there’s a Scramble feature that works as a stealth protocol.
There’s also a virtual map of locations to be found on the mobile apps, and a very helpful feature we haven’t seen in many VPNs, especially not at this price. It also shows the capacity of each server, latency, and the one server that would be the best for you.
The current version 18.104.22.168 Windows app, in comparison, has literally no Settings or Preferences or Options, allowing you only to change your location and connect/disconnect.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
Namecheap VPN managed to unblock Netflix US for us, even though our connection was strangled on the first try.
We were persistent and managed to get a decent connection. Below is the image of a Spider-Man trying to pull away Namecheap VPN client from the screen.
All attempts to get into libraries other than the US failed.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and a VPN that can break Netflix’s geo-restrictions like this is also recommendable for a service such as Kodi, wherein users find it difficult to use certain repositories or add-ons.
However, while this might change after the time of writing, we also found that Amazon Prime was still region-blocked on no matter which server we tried – but since we tested this only on the Android app, leave a comment down below if you found something else to be the case!
P2P and torrenting
For starters, P2P seems to be allowed on all servers unlike a lot of other VPNs, which not only don’t stop your ISP from throttling your data but might even throttle your data themselves, rendering the use of a VPN ineffective.
But in the end, even though Namecheap allows torrenting and offers decent speeds, there are much better VPNs for torrenting to choose from.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
While it’s hard to say without physically traveling to China and trying to climb over the Great Firewall with this service, our professional opinion would indicate that you could bypass China’s stringent censorship with Namecheap VPN using its Scramble mode for OpenVPN connection.
There’s also a list of servers in relatively small countries in Europe (Romania and Slovakia, for example), where there’s more room to breathe on the Internet surveillance and censorship front. But if you’re going to spend more time in a country where using the internet is restricted, we advise choosing one of the top VPNs for China.
Namecheap VPN offers the following 24/7 customer support options:
- Submitting a ticket
- Live chat
The Live Chat support option, which is the fastest way to resolve issues. However, if you’re not getting the information you want, you can read for yourself on the Knowledgebase. It has some relevant information, but much of it concerns other Namecheap products.
Overall, the customer support options offered by Namecheap are decent, albeit they suffer from the same issues other companies with many different products encounter. Namely, a lack of dedicated customer service staff. For example, we’ve asked whether Namecheap VPN allows torrenting on all servers but the customer service representative didn’t understand the question.
One of the places where Namecheap VPN truly shines is the pricing.
Here are the plans Namecheap offers:
- Monthly – $5.88/month
- 1-year plan – $2.88/month
- 3-year plan – $1.88/month
These are some of the most competitive prices we’ve seen.
You get unlimited data and no restriction on bandwidth whichever plan you choose. This is always a wonderful thing. Especially when you also add in the fact that Namecheap VPN offers up to five simultaneous connections.
You can pay using credit card, Bitcoin, or PayPal. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee should you feel like changing your mind. Finally, if you sign up via Google Play Store or App Store, you’ll get a 14-day free trial.
However, it’s advisable to sign up through the website and not through in-app options on the App Store, as their prices aren’t reduced to match the mark-up that the App Store includes on in-app purchases. This means you could end up paying 30% or even more if you’re outside the US since the App Store prices its apps relative to the exchange rate.
Namecheap VPN is a welcome addition to the world of VPNs, particularly given its bang-for-the-buck ratio. However, it is quite simplistic at the end of the day – if you want something with more features, check our list of the best VPNs for 2020 instead.