Domains First, Hosting Second
Founded in 2003 by Bill Mushkin, Name.com is a Denver, U.S.-based business selling a combination of domain names and hosting packages. It’s owned by Donuts Inc, a leading domain name services company. It has versions of its website in eight languages and offers pricing in nine currencies.
First and foremost, Name.com is a domain registrar, with hosting packages a secondary focus. Nevertheless, it sells a decent range of beginner-friendly plans, including shared hosting, email hosting, SSL certificates, and, of course, domain names.
To find out whether Name.com is right for you, I’ve spent a week testing Name.com—purchasing a plan, contacting customer service, canceling and requesting a refund, and so on. Will it measure up to your standards? Is it fast enough for your website? Does Name.com provide support the moment you need it?
If you give me ten minutes of your time, I’ll answer all of your questions so you can decide if it’s the right host for you. If you’re ready, grab a seat, we’re going in.
Standard Features Abound
Name.com offers most of the standard features we’ve come to expect from a regular hosting plan. For example, all plans include a free Encryption Everywhere SSL certificate, automatic backups, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Notably, however, a Cloudflare content delivery network (CDN) is not included, a website building tool is a paid standalone plan, and domain names are only included free if you choose yearly hosting plans. So watch out for extra costs creeping in.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting features Name.com has to offer.
Name.com is clearly aimed at beginners and offers a range of WordPress-specific plans that come with WordPress pre-installed, as well as support for themes and plugins. However, there’s a huge (and odd) problem with this plan. You cannot install an SSL certificate on the WordPress plans.
For some reason, SSL certificates are only available on regular shared hosting plans. This is a major drawback for e-commerce and many other types of online businesses.
These plans aren’t ideal for the most advanced website owners (you’ll want to consider a premium host like Vultr or DigitalOcean), but if you’re just getting started with website development and want some basic coding features, as well as beginner-friendly support, this might do the job. There’s support for PHP up to version 7.2, MySQL databases, along with Cron jobs and Git. Not bad, not bad at all.
Personally, I really like the One-Page Website offering, and I think anyone who runs a side hustle or is a solopreneur or entrepreneur knows the pain. If you’re busy running your business or side hustle, you don’t have time to build yourself a huge website (heck, you don’t have time to make a cup of coffee most days).
Name.com takes care of this by providing a simple, one-page portfolio website available for just a few bucks per year. It also takes less than five minutes to build. Win, win.
If you’re looking to build an e-commerce store, Name.com has a plan for you. Its Website Builder Business packages come with themes that include a ton of e-commerce features. For example, the templates connect to both Stripe and PayPal for payment processing, shipping options are handled for you, and there are even pre-designed product pages.
Ease of use
A Beginner-Friendly Suite of Tools
From the account creation process to the on-screen wizard for setting up a WordPress account, Name.com makes it easy for newer website owners to get started. The main items you’ll have day-to-day contact with (e.g. its website and dashboard) are user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Create an Account
To create an account, I opted for the cheapest WordPress plan, Blogger. The whole process was simple and straightforward with no bugs or issues along the way. All you need to do is create an account by entering your basic personal information, then pay via credit card or PayPal. It was done within two minutes or so.
Connect a Domain and Install WordPress
Again, Name.com makes it straightforward to set up a WordPress website, especially if (like me) you opted for one of the WordPress-specific plans. It took me less than five minutes to complete the process, and it could easily be handled by beginners. My only slight gripe is the lack of live chat. Click here to read more about my experience.
While some customers prefer to keep their domain names and hosting at separate companies for security, others value the convenience of having everything bundled into one location. If you fall into the second group, Name.com has you covered. It sells everything you need to start an online store or business website, from SSL certificates and domain names to e-commerce features and ready-made templates.
If you’re a website owner with multiple domains, you’ll know the cost of domain emails can start to add up. With Name.com, you get 50% off your GSuite account when you sign up. It’s a good deal, but the offer is only valid for new inboxes.
Branded URL Shortener
Do you do any online marketing? Do you find yourself having to use a third party tool like Bit.ly to shorten your URLs? If so, you’re going to like Name.com’s branded URL shortener. It’s a small added cost per month (unless you only need it for one domain and with no analytics, in which case, it’s free) but if you do a lot of marketing, it could be worth it.
Herein Lies the MAJOR Drawback
As always, I ran a Sucuri page load test of my new WordPress website. Name.com has some of the worst results I’ve ever seen. Not only are many of the locations well over two seconds load speed, some of them even score as slow as a whopping four seconds. Goodbye, website visitors.
Even the locations with the best connection speeds (Canada and the U.S.) have poor first byte times. If your customers are in the Netherlands, however, you may just about scrape through with decent load times.
I did try to confirm with customer service where its servers are located, but I was advised that the company cannot give out this information. It’s a shame, as it would help you make an informed decision about how fast your website is likely to load for your customers’ location.
Oddly, reading through other reviews online, speed doesn’t often come up as an issue. This could be because the company targets beginners and speed is less important than ease of use, or because my result was an anomaly.
Good for Sales, Questionable for Support
In terms of do-it-yourself support, Name.com’s website has lots of resources available. There’s a substantial knowledge base stocked full of how-tos, tutorials, and help documents.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to speak to a human being, your options are far better if you live in a North American time zone. If you’re on the other side of the pond, like me, you’ll have to be prepared to wait.
You can send an email 24/7, you can call the team from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Time (GMT-6) Monday to Friday, or you can use live chat from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT weekends. You can also contact the team via its social media channels.
I tested the channels and got a (quite) good response on both Twitter and Facebook when I asked sales-orientated questions. Since I messaged during nighttime in North American, it took between 7 (Facebook) and 11 (Twitter) hours to get a response.
Frustratingly, when I asked a question via the tech support inside my dashboard, I didn’t get a response within 48 hours. It really bugs me when companies are quicker to reply to sales inquiries than tech support.
Paying for Convenience
Name.com prices are okay—you will find cheaper for the same level of resources elsewhere. However, with Name.com, you’re paying for the convenience of an all-in-one solution and a suite of beginner-friendly tools and wizards. For some customers, it’s worth paying the small premium for that kind of ease of use.
In terms of add-ons, a lot of features are included. For example, you won’t be charged for backups and you get a free SSL certificate and domain name (on annual plans), but if you want your content delivered quickly, you’ll have to get a CDN elsewhere. When you’re ready to dive in, you can pay by credit card or PayPal, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Cancellations & Refunds
Canceling an account with Name.com is easy. It can be done entirely from the dashboard and by clicking a few buttons. A beginner could easily handle it, and you don’t need help from customer service.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee on Name.com’s products (minus the cost of the domain) and if you’d like to apply for that, you need to fill out a brief refund form as well. It’s neither complex nor time-consuming.
Once you’ve followed those steps, wait a day or two for the refund to be processed, then check with your payment method that your money has been refunded in full.