Last update: 05.15.2019
Coming from a background of domain hosting, Namecheap VPN is a still-growing network based in the US (5 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: DNS leak protection, over a thousand servers in different 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
- IKEv2 protocol
- DNS leak protection
While the website promises OpenVPN in addition to IKEv2, it seems that it might be a feature not yet implemented, since there’s no option within the Windows software itself to switch from IKEv2 to OpenVPN, and on the Android app there’s no option other than the OpenVPN protocol.
Even though Namecheap VPN loses some points for not being transparent and delivering what they claim, on the security front, it’s still good enough for its use of IKEv2.
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.
The lack of any special features is also a bit of a downside, such as the absence of a kill switch. However, if we’re talking about a kill switch specifically, the need for one is almost made up for by the IKEv2 protocol, as it mitigates some of the risks one typically would need a kill switch to combat.
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 1000+ servers in 40+ 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:
- Windows (beta)
There’s no router support at the moment.
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.
Ironically, the Windows app is the least advanced of the ones offered by Namecheap, still in its Beta stage. While mobile versions usually have fewer features, Namecheap VPN subverts expectations by offering you a change of UDP/TCP and port in the Android and iOS apps, but not on Windows.
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; the capacity of each server, latency, and the ability to see which one would be the best for you.
The current version 2.0 Windows app, in comparison, has literally no Settings or Preferences or Options, allowing you to only 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 other libraries 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 beginners, BitTorrent seems to be allowed overall 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.
Even though Namecheap allows torrenting and offers decent speeds, the lack of a kill switch beats the purpose of paying for such protection. That’s why, for your consideration, we offer these great VPNs for torrenting.
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 Namecheap VPN, our professional opinion would indicate that you could, at least through the Windows app, bypass China’s stringent censorship with Namecheap VPN.
There are reports that China has blocked OpenVPN all across the board – since the Android app only offers that protocol and the Windows app doesn’t at all, you can see why we think so.
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.
You might have picked up on it during the review, but this is where Namecheap VPN’s image takes a sharp nosedive and leaves a bad aftertaste.
Namecheap VPN offers the following customer support options:
- Submitting a ticket
- Live chat
To start with, support is only offered to paying customers, and to get a reply, you must provide the email ID you registered with – meaning you can’t get more information on the service until after you’ve already subscribed to it which, as you can guess, is kind of a stalemate situation.
There’s also an “investigation process” before the Live Chat can even begin. If in the interim, you choose to read up for yourself, you’ll find that the Knowledge Base only offers general and generic information and even then, doesn’t seem to focus too much on the VPN side of things, given that Namecheap offers many other services.
After getting in touch with support, however, you might still not arrive at a solution straight away – in many cases, the representative will “look into it” for you, but you get the impression that there’s not much experience gained as of yet to effectively and quickly troubleshoot, which will definitely get better with time. Hopefully.
One of the places where Namecheap VPN truly shines is the pricing.
Here are the plans Namecheap offers:
- Monthly – $5.88/month
- Annual – $4.88/month
- Tri-annual – $1.88/month
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 by the standard credit card options, or you can pay with Bitcoin and PayPal. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee should you feel like changing your mind.
These are some of the most competitive prices we’ve seen.
However, it’s advisable to sign up through the website and not through in-app options on the Apple 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% more at the least, and even more if you’re in a country outside the US since the App Store prices its app 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, there’s a lot more Namecheap VPN needs to work on when it comes to user support since that can frustrate customers to the point of no return.
If you’re not feeling like waiting for this service to get better and fulfill all the promises, check our list of the best VPNs for 2019 instead.