Are Names.co.uk right for you? Find out with our review below
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Names.co.uk (aka Namesco) provide a wide variety of domain name and web hosting related products, putting them in direct competition with the likes of 123 Reg, Fasthosts and GoDaddy.
Namesco is currently the fourth largest UK provider of domain names and shared hosting services.
Originally founded in 1997, Namesco was bought by Register Group in 2007. Register Group is one of Europe’s largest hosting companies, with a wide range of hosting-elated brands dotted across the continent.
The group currently manages 2,100,000 domain names with 700,000 websites.
Namesco’s services include:
Namesco essentially has two control panels for customers to manage their products. The first control panel is for account management and purchasing additional products.
The second control panel is cPanel and this is where you manage your shared web hosting package. They have the same approach for VPS and dedicated servers.
Their in-house control panel is starting to look very dated and is split over different sub-domains and folders – this suggests an attempt to hack on old control panel in to looking more modern.
Namesco are clearly very proud of their “Award winning web hosting”, however a quick look on their hosting awards page shows their glory days are behind them. Namesco’s most recent awards were in 2011.
Namesco seem to have avoided falling in to the trap we often see with older web hosts, namely underinvesting in their technology and products.
Nameso offer a healthy number of additional features, including a free domain name. However, they currently don’t offer any free SSL Certificates which I’d expect with a modern shared hosting product (especially the top tier plan).
Namesco are one of the few older UK web hosts to use cPanel for their web hosting control panel. The majority developed their own many years ago and have stuck with them.
This is by no means a criticism, and means they don’t have an outdated hosting control panel they have to maintain (see 123 Reg).
Namesco’s shared hosting plans are on the expensive side for the specifications on offer.
The prices above exclude VAT
Each plan comes with a free .uk domain name if you choose to pay annually. The monthly payment plans can be cancelled at any time.
A note about ‘unlimited hosting’. Like Namesco, you’ll sometimes see web hosts claiming to offer shared web hosting packages with unlimited web space, bandwidth/traffic, emails etc.
Obviously nothing can literally be limited, but what they are saying is, they have so many resources that you can’t possible max them out.
Now, for 95% of customers who choose shared web hosting this is true. Problems arise when a website starts to outgrow shared web hosting, or a customer who should use a server takes the ‘unlimited’ claim literally and sees this as a cheaper way of getting the same thing.
If you are a shared web hosting customer with a small to medium sized website, and little in the way of database requirements (e.g. a blog), don’t get put off by an unlimited claim, it really just means you get a lot of resources and you’ll never have to think about using them up.
That said, Namesco have very specific limits on their unlimited hosting:
Namesco have information about 99.9% uptime on their website, but it is not an SLA or guarantee.
It also does not promise any money or credits if they do experience downtime outside on that. 99.9% uptime works out at nearly 9 hours downtime a year.
Namesco do offer a standalone WordPress hosting plan, however there’s not much to it beyond automatic core WordPress updates.
Namesco’s WordPress hosting is £8.99 per month, and comes with…
Compare that to 20i’s WordPress hosting, which comes with Free Wildcard SSL Certificate, StackCache Optimisation Plugin, WordPress Staging Site, WordPress Management Tools, and Free CDN.
>> Click here to read our 20i review.
If you are new to building a website, Namesco have you covered with two options…
a) Website Builder: A tool that let’s you point, click, drag and drop pre-designed components on to a page
b) Build me a website: One of their designers will build a website site for you
Namesco’s website builder tool claims you can “Build a professional website without any coding experience or technical knowledge.”
Having used tools like this in the past, I’d question how good anyone could ever make it look in comparison to a site using a good WordPress theme.
One positive is your website will be responsive. this means it will work seamlessly across all desktops, mobiles and tablets.
Their Website Builder is available in two plans:
Each plan come with a year’s free .uk domain name, free email and a free SSL certificate.
The Starter plan is really weak, and you’ll be better off learning the basics of WordPress than using that.
If you don’t want to do any of the work, you can ask Namesco to do it for you. I would note that they will use the same software as the ‘Website Builder’ plans, meaning your website will not be truly bespoke.
The rapid website plan is difficult to stomach. One page for £250 using a template based tool is shocking.
Namesco only offer managed server hosting, and there aren’t any bare metal options. These plans don’t have any prices advertised, and they are only available if you call them up.
They have a sister brand that specialises in traditional server hosting here https://www.simplyhosting.com/, but it does seem strange they wouldn’t list more info about these on their site.
Much like 123 Reg, Namesco have a nasty habit of adding products to you basket you haven’t asked for.
The first instance of this is after you’ve searched for a co.uk domain name, they automatically add email and the .uk version as well.
At the next stage, they take another punt at forcing you to buy something else, opting you in to their whois privacy service for each domain.
I’d point out, this costs the registrar nothing to do. They are charging you for a service that is zero cost to them.
I started the order process buying a co.uk domain name for under a fiver and now I’ve got over £20 of add-ons bolted on I didn’t ask for.
Namesco offer both ticket-based and telephone-based support. The ticket-based support is available 24×7, and their lines for shared hosting are open 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Friday and 10:00am to 6:00pm Saturday and Sunday.
Dedicated server and VPS support is only available on weekdays. Considering that these are the most expensive plans on offer this is very surprising.
You can check Namesco’s uptime and server status here https://status.names.co.uk/. The status site is hosted with another web host (https://www.acquia.com/ to be exact), so any Namesco server issues won’t affect your access to this website.
Namesco don’t commit themselves to any formal money back guarantee.
In their own words… “Refunds are discretionary unless stated otherwise in our terms of business. All requests for a refund will be considered on their merits, so please ensure you submit all relevant information and copies of correspondence and other documents when making your request.”
This does put them outside of the norm for many web hosts, with the majority offering between 14 to 30 days MBG on their hosting plans.