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Namecheap is a well-known domain registrar that has been around literally for decades. We’ve been looking forward to an opportunity to review their VPN service for some time.
And now it is time to find out what the Namecheap VPN can do. The VPN has a killer low price, and like Surfshark, allows you to have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
Interestingly, in testing and researching the background of Namecheap VPN, we discovered that it is a rebranded (white label) version of another popular VPN service — with a controversial past. So is Namecheap VPN still worth using, or should you move on to better alternatives?
We’ll answer this and more in this in-depth Namecheap VPN review.
Namecheap VPN overview
Here are the key findings we discovered in our testing and research:
Namecheap VPN PROs:
- Easy to use VPN apps
- Strong encryption and secure VPN protocols
- Support for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Routers
- No IP address or DNS leaks detected
- Support for streaming and torrenting
- Multiple payment methods including Bitcoin
- Very inexpensive
- Unlimited number of simultaneous connections
- 30 day money-back guarantee
Namecheap VPN CONs:
- Slower than leading VPNs
- Buggy VPN apps
- Unclear VPN data collection policies
- Based in the United States (bad privacy jurisdiction)
- Support staff seems anxious to help, but inexperienced
- No browser extensions
- Not very good at defeating geo-blocking
- Lacks advanced features
Namecheap VPN interesting FACTs:
- Namecheap VPN is a white label version of IPVanish
- Moderate-sized network with servers in 50+ countries
Namecheap VPN PROs
Namecheap VPN has a number of good characteristics that you might find appealing, particularly if you are new to using a VPN, or need just the basics.
1. Easy to use VPN apps
While some VPNs expect you to understand encryption algorithms and different VPN protocols, or force you to dig through huge lists of VPN servers to decide which to use, Namecheap VPN is simple and user-friendly. Launch it, click the big red Connect button, and get on with your day.
While you can just hit the big red button and forget about it, as shown above, Namecheap VPN does also allow you to choose a specific VPN server manually, if that makes sense for your current situation.
2. Strong encryption and secure VPN protocols
The Namecheap VPN doesn’t cut corners when it comes to protecting your data. It uses industry-standard AES-256 encryption, and supports both the OpenVPN and IKEv2 VPN protocols. These two VPN protocols offer both strong security and good performance. Below you can see the available protocols in the Namecheap VPN settings area:
Beyond this, the VPN also includes a kill switch to keep your data from leaking onto the internet if the connection to the VPN fails for some reason.
On the topic of VPN protocols, Namecheap VPN does not currently support the WireGuard VPN protocol. WireGuard is a relatively new VPN protocol that offers faster performance and upgraded encryption standards over the legacy VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN and IPSec/IKEv2.
3. Support for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more
The Namecheap VPN provides support for the top desktop and mobile operating systems, as well as many routers.
In our research for this Namecheap VPN review, we discovered that Namecheap VPN is a rebranded version of IPVanish, under the IPVanish white label program. I confirmed with Namecheap that the VPN apps and software actually comes from IPVanish, but with the Namecheap logo, name, and design changes over the top. (We’ll discuss this topic more below.)
In testing out the Namecheap VPN apps on different operating systems, we did discover some bugs, which we’ll cover in the CONs section below. Suffice to say that this is not the best VPN for Windows, Android, or Mac we have encountered.
4. No IP address or DNS leaks detected
We ran our standard set of VPN tests against both the mobile and desktop apps without encountering any leaks of any sort. Here you can see the Namecheap VPN desktop (Windows) client without any leaks.
You can see the IP address in the leak tests matches up with the VPN’s IP address and location in the VPN client on the right. Additionally, you can also see that Namecheap’s DNS servers are handling all DNS requests.
The Namecheap Android app also did not have any leaks in our tests, although we did find some bugs. (Check out these VPNs for Android if you are considering alternative VPNs for your mobile device.)
5. Support for streaming and torrenting
The Namecheap VPN supports both streaming media and torrenting. When it comes to accessing geo-blocked content, the VPN can access some regional Netflix libraries.
However, it’s important to note that Namecheap VPN is using IPVanish infrastructure, which is also shared by other VPN services. Therefore if there’s a problem with Netflix blocking the VPN, there’s not much that Namecheap can do about it, since the server network is controlled by IPVanish. Check out the best VPNs for Netflix that consistently work.
So what about torrenting?
Namecheap VPN allows torrenting on its servers. However, as we’ll show you below, speeds were not very good in our tests. For those who want to torrent large files, this is a serious drawback. Check out the best VPNs for torrenting instead.
6. Multiple payment methods including Bitcoin
You can pay for your Namecheap VPN subscription with major credit cards, PayPal, even Bitcoin. Here’s a screenshot from the Namecheap website showing payment options:
To purchase a VPN subscription from Namecheap, you first need to create an account. Then, you can select the duration of your VPN subscription and continue with the purchase.
You can see that Bitcoin is also a payment option. You can first top your account balance up with Bitcoin, and then pay for the Namecheap services you want, including the VPN subscription. Another VPN that supports Bitcoin payments is ExpressVPN.
7. Very inexpensive
Namecheap VPN is one of the least-expensive VPNs you will find, particularly if you are willing to invest in a long-term subscription.
Interestingly, at the time of this Namecheap VPN review, the price for the 3-year subscription was only $67.68, making it cheaper than most VPN one-year subscriptions. It is hard to beat pricing like that.
Namecheap is not the only cheap VPN service, however. There are many others to consider.
8. Unlimited number of simultaneous connections
This is an excellent feature if you are planning to use your VPN in a household with lots of internet users / streaming media fanatics. Most VPN services limit you to 5 or 6 simultaneous connections, which can be a problem when you have multiple people trying to connect through the VPN.
Other VPNs that have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections include IPVanish, Surfshark, and Perfect Privacy.
Note: There is some confusion about the number of simultaneous connections, with several sources insisting that the service is limited to 5 simultaneous connection. We spoke to Namecheap VPN support about this, and they assured us that you do have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, whether or not you install the VPN on your router.
9. 30 day money-back guarantee
Namecheap offers a 30 day money-back guarantee for the VPN. This gives you plenty of time to confirm that it meets your needs before being locked in to a (potentially long-term) subscription.
In the past few years, we have seen more and more VPN services offering a full 30 day refund window. Most of the popular VPNs, such as IPVanish and NordVPN, offers this one-month refund window.
Note that you can basically use the 30 day money-back guarantee as a free trial VPN. Simply test out the service in the firs 30 days, then cancel if you don’t like it for a full refund.
Namecheap VPN CONs
Here are the drawbacks we found for this Namecheap VPN review:
1. Slower than leading VPNs
Many people are looking for a fast VPN with reliable performance. This comes in handy for high-bandwidth activities. Unfortunately, Namecheap VPN does not offer the best speeds. For testing, we ran all speed tests on a 500 Mbps wired (ethernet) connection using the OpenVPN protocol in the Namecheap VPN client. Here are the results:
First, I tested speeds with a Namecheap server in Seattle, getting about 111 Mbps:
Considering my baseline speed of 500 Mbps, this is not a great speed test result from Namecheap VPN.
Next, I tested a server in Los Angeles, which had download speeds of about 80 Mbps:
Another Namecheap VPN server I tested was in New York. Speeds were about the same, and not very fast, at 76 Mbps:
All of the servers I tested for this Namecheap VPN review in the United States had mediocre speeds. This VPN was not horribly slow, but it also was not consistently fast.
Lastly, I tested a Namecheap VPN server in the United Kingdom, and the results were even worse at only 38 Mbps:
While we can expect UK VPN speeds to be slower due to the long distance between me and the server, 38 Mbps is far slower than other VPNs I’ve tested. Overall, these are not good VPN speeds, and I must conclude that Namecheap VPN is not very fast – at least in my tests.
For comparison, the fastest VPN I have tested is NordVPN.
Here was a NordVPN server I tested in Seattle, which gave me 445 Mbps:
One of the main reasons that NordVPN is faster than most other VPNs is because it utilizes the WireGuard VPN protocol. In our WireGuard vs OpenVPN tests, WireGuard outperformed OpenVPN by a large margin with all servers tested.
2. Buggy VPN apps
Another problem we found with Namecheap VPN is that the apps were buggy. In our first round of tests, the Namecheap VPN client on Windows simply did not work. Despite extensive troubleshooting with Namecheap support staff, we still were not able to get the VPN to work on Windows.
Fortunately, we had another Windows laptop to try, and were able to get the VPN client up and running — but we still experienced other problems.
Another issue we found with Namecheap is that sometimes the VPN client could simply not connect to the VPN server. This error/bug affected random servers we tested. Here’s what the error looked like:
This annoying error would occur randomly with different servers I tested around the world.
Suffice to say, Namecheap VPN suffers from a few bugs. If you want a VPN that just works, check out ExpressVPN.
3. Unclear VPN data collection policies
Then there is the following clause in the Terms of Service that gives us pause:
Because the Internet is an inherently open and insecure means of communication, any data or information a user transmits over the Internet may be susceptible to interception and alteration. You should not have an expectation of privacy in any content, including accounts of files transmitted through these VPN services.
We don’t recall ever seeing a VPN state that you should have no expectation of privacy. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Namecheap is based in the United States.
Checking in with support, they did tell me that Namecheap VPN keeps some basic connection logs, but assured me that “no personal identifiable information” is recorded.
Check out these no logs VPNs if this issue with Namecheap VPN gives you pause.
4. Based in the United States (bad privacy jurisdiction)
The United States is generally not considered a good place to base a privacy-oriented business like a VPN. The United States is at the center of most international surveillance organizations, and can legally force companies (even VPNs) to secretly spy on their customers in violation of the company’s own policies and terms of service.
This lack of respect for privacy is a big reason that the top-rated VPN services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN are located in countries that have greater regard for user privacy rights.
And if you think this is just paranoia, consider that there have been a few well-known cases of US VPNs that have been forced to log their users and turn over the data to authorities.
For example, there was the case with IPVanish logging users, all while claiming to be a “zero logs” VPN service. This is particularly noteworthy, since Namecheap VPN is a rebranded version of IPVanish, with the Namecheap logo.
5. Support staff seems anxious to help, but inexperienced
While the support staff for Namecheap VPN is very responsive and clearly anxious to help, we were not impressed with the results.
In our first two interactions with support, the first-line person wasn’t able to help and handed us off to someone who they said could help. In one case, the second-line support was able to answer our question, while in the other, even third-line support was unable to resolve the issue with the failed Namecheap Windows VPN client.
Hopefully these issues will get ironed out, but remember, Namecheap is not building the software behind the VPN, but rather relying on a third party.
6. No browser extensions
At the time of this review, Namecheap VPN does not offer any browser extensions.
Browser extensions are a good feature that come in many forms. Some VPN browser extensions function as an additional proxy for the browser, while others basically extend the functionality and features of the VPN to the browser.
Many VPN browser extensions include extra features. For example, the best VPN for Chrome is ExpressVPN, which offers a browser extension that spoofs geolocation data, blocks WebRTC leaks, and also supports HTTPS Everywhere for additional encryption.
7. Not very good at defeating geo-blocking
Namecheap VPN does support streaming, and can unblock at least some Netflix regional libraries. However, it does not seem to be able to defeat the geo-blocking on services such as Hulu or Amazon Prime. If unblocking websites and streaming media channels is important to you, this is not the right VPN service for you.
8. Lacks advanced features
Namecheap VPN offers basic VPN services. Whether this is actually a drawback or not depends on how you plan to use a VPN. If you just want connect-and-go protection, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you need more than basic VPN functionality, Namecheap is not a good choice.
Our favorite fully-featured VPN right now is NordVPN because it offers:
- Full WireGuard support for faster speeds and more security
- Double-VPN servers to encrypt traffic across two locations at the same time
- Tor-over-VPN servers to encrypt VPN traffic again with the Tor network
- CyberSec, a feature that blocks ads, trackers, malware, and phishing domains
- Obfuscated servers to conceal your VPN traffic as regular HTTPS encryption (a great feature if you need a good VPN for China)
Namecheap VPN interesting FACTs
Here are some interesting bits of information about Namecheap VPN that didn’t easily fit into the Pros or Cons section.
1. Namecheap VPN is a white label version of IPVanish
Namecheap VPN is a product of Namecheap, an ICANN-accredited domain registrar and technology company. Richard Kirkendall founded the company in 2000, and serves as the CEO. In 2018, it was listed in the Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing companies in America.
The company’s long-time focus was domain registration (they have over 10 million domains under management). Recently they have been expanding their product line, with the Namecheap VPN just one of their offerings in the Security category. As a domain registrar and hosting service, we think Namecheap does a great job and we’d recommend their services.
When we began examining the Namecheap VPN IP addresses, we noticed something strange. Some of the IPs were pointing to IPVanish hostnames and were coming up under the ownership of IPVanish. Here’s just one example we found:
At this point I decided to dig deeper.
Sure enough, IPVanish has a white label program that they market under “WLVPN” – a reseller program.
For final confirmation, I checked with a Namecheap VPN support representative. I explained my findings, then he researched the issue and confirmed that Namecheap VPN is using:
- IPVanish servers
- IPVanish IP addresses
- IPVanish software (VPN apps)
Why is this important?
Well, perhaps people want to avoid IPVanish due to its past history and the logging scandal. If they went with Namecheap, they’d still be using IPVanish, but a rebranded (white-label) version.
This is also significant due to third-party privacy issues. With IPVanish running the infrastructure behind Namecheap VPN, how certain can Namecheap be that user data is not being logged or collected by its business partner? After all, IPVanish has logged user data before.
2. Moderate-sized network with servers in 50+ countries
The Namecheap VPN network of servers is of moderate size. The company reports that there are over 1,000 servers in the network, which is a respectable number. Likewise, their presence in 50+ countries is respectable.
However, when the leaders in the VPN space have between 3,000 and 6,000 servers in as many as 94 countries, Namecheap has some catching up to do here.
Namecheap VPN review conclusion
The Namecheap VPN service is clearly improving as time goes along. The price is also noteworthy, although there are other low-priced VPN services, such as Surfshark and NordVPN.
However, keep in mind, you are basically just using IPVanish when you sign up for Namecheap VPN. Sure, it may say Namecheap and you might chat with a Namecheap customer support rep, but the VPN apps and all infrastructure is IPVanish. If this doesn’t bother you, and you don’t mind the other drawbacks, you could give it a try.
However we cannot recommend Namecheap VPN at this time. Of particular concern to us is the double trouble of a stated lack of privacy for your VPN data in conjunction with the company being located in the United States. Our belief is that job 1 of any VPN is to protect your privacy, so explicitly stating that they don’t do so is a deal killer.
The fact that Namecheap is IPVanish with a different name is also concerning. This is due to the troubling history of IPVanish logging its users for US authorities.
Add in the current weak state of technical support and limited feature set, and we think you can get a lot more VPN for only a little more money.
To see other options that would probably be better for you, check out our best VPN services list.
Namecheap VPN Review