Formed in 1997, Names.co.uk (also known as Namesco) has long been one of the top domain registrars in the UK. However, it also offers a whole variety of web hosting solutions aimed at all sorts of web-based ventures. Headquartered in Worcester (the UK), the company employs around 180 experts in different fields. Most of them have been with the company from the get-go, meaning they’ve gone through all twists and turns together with the industry.
Nowadays, Names.co.uk exists as a part of the team.blue, a European “tech powerhouse” that originated from the merging of Combell Group, TransIP Group, and Register Group in 2019. team.blue operates in more than 15 European countries and acts under a handful of brand names including Combell, Hosting Ireland, SuperHosting, TransIP, and Simply.com.
Names.co.uk’s data centers can probably be found in the UK, but since the company is stubbornly (and suspiciously) secretive about the exact locations we can’t be sure whether or not they have data centers in the UK.
The official site is designed with simplicity in mind, which makes navigating around as easy as it can be. It also offers plenty of information about its products, although the same can’t be said when it comes to the information about the company itself, its infrastructure in particular. The site features a blog bursting with tips and tricks, but it hasn’t seen any updates or new content since the summer of 2021.
Fans of social networking sites can find Names.co.uk on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Plans and pricing
Names.co.uk goes into overdrive to cover all of its could-be customers by providing a whole variety of hosting solutions including shared hosting, email hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS (managed or self-managed) hosting, reseller hosting, and dedicated server hosting. It also offers domain name registration, Microsoft 365, SSL certificates, SiteLock, site building tools, web design, management, and online marketing services.
All plans are presented in convenient comparison tables, one next to each other, with all their key features listed below. The most pocket-friendly option is a cPanel shared hosting plan called “Starter” and for £5.09 ($6.80) per month (going for an annual or biennial plan will drop the price) it will supply you with a single site, 50GB of storage space, unlimited bandwidth, two 500MB databases, ten email accounts, and a free domain name (with yearly contracts). Unfortunately, if you want an SSL certificate, you’re expected to pay extra for it.
Names.co.uk doesn’t offer an upfront money-back guarantee, but according to the Consumer Contracts Regulations from 2013, you can request a refund within 14 days upon your purchase, and there is a good chance that you might get it.
Names.co.uk accepts payments via credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express), direct debit, check, and BACS. Unfortunately, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay are not supported.
Ease of use
Refusing to focus on a specific customer base, Names.co.uk strives to be a jack-of-all-trades, which has its pros and cons (mostly cons, to be honest). Nevertheless, before coming to any further conclusion we had to check out one of their solutions for ourselves.
After choosing one of the cPanel web hosting packages, we were prompted to choose between Linux and Windows as our OS. Then we needed to decide what to do about the domain name, register a new one, or use an old one. Most domains are reasonably priced and if you go with a yearly hosting plan, you can get one for free for the first year (however, you can choose between .co.uk and .uk).
The domain proxy service will come pre-selected by default, so if you don’t want it, be sure to deselect it. In any case, this service is rather reasonably priced (it’s £5.99) considering that it covers an entire year, and it’s always smart to stay on the safe side. After this, you’ll be offered to include a few extras for an extra price, and when we said “extras” we actually meant “website essentials” since backups and an SSL certificate are something every decent hosting plan should include. Nonetheless, an SSL certificate can cost you anything from £65.99 ($87.80) per year, which drives the total cost so much higher that the plan won’t look pocket-friendly anymore.
To complete the purchase, you’ll have to create an account with Names.co.uk and it is as straightforward as it gets, although you’ll have to give a bit more information than usual (a memorable word included). After the payment has been made, you’ll be transferred to Names.co.uk’s easy-to-use dashboard where you can manage your account, billing, and purchased services, seek customer support, and browse through other services on offer. We should also note that Names.co.uk is implementing some changes to its dashboard as we write, so some parts of it have changed its appearance while others will do so anytime soon.
Considering that Names.co.uk offers several control panels (cPanel and Plesk included) if you are at least somewhat familiar with any of them you’ll be able to manage all areas of your newly created website without a hitch. All plans come with the 1-click installer that supports over 100 handy apps including WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla, Drupal, and OpenCart. However, if you’ve purchased a WordPress hosting plan, then WordPress will come pre-installed.
Alternatively, you can use Names.co.uk’s simple drag-and-drop website builder, and if you’re short on time, you can purchase the “Build Me a Website” service.
After putting the speed of Names.co.uk’s official site to the test, we were pleasantly surprised with pretty close to perfect results. According to our tool of choice GTmetrix, the site fully loaded in mere 2.0 seconds requiring a total of 72 requests at the same time, both of which are worthy of applause. In addition to this, all other vital speed-measuring metrics (largest contentful paint, total blocking time, and cumulative layout shift) were well above the average resulting in an exemplary A (95%) as a final GTmetrix grade.
When it comes to uptime, Names.co.uk guarantees 99.99% of it with all its shared hosting and managed dedicated server solutions, and 99.9% of it with unmanaged and cloud servers. If Names.co.uk fails to achieve the guaranteed uptime, users can claim 10% to 50% free credit, depending on the amount of downtime their sites have suffered in a given month. However, the 99.99% guarantee excludes outages caused by scheduled maintenance, and doesn’t cover downtime due to hardware failure, network attacks, account suspension, or mistakes made by users themselves.
In league with UptimeRobot, we monitored Names.co.uk’s official site for two weeks and found that the results, although not perfect, weren’t bad either. There were two instances of downtime on our record (each of them lasting for four minutes) leading to 99.95% of total uptime.
Whether you’ve encountered a problem with Names.co.uk’s products or you simply want to get yourself informed, the first thing to do is to visit the support center. There, you’ll find a knowledgebase chock full of how-tos, a network status page, a link to the official blog, and an option to submit a support ticket. The how-tos themselves are written in a step-by-step style and usually include suitable screenshots. We should also mention the Names.co.uk’s YouTube channel because it features a few novice-friendly guides that cover some common issues and concerns.
However, if you would rather get in touch with Names.co.uk’s support agent, you can do it via UK-based telephone and ticket-based support system. No, live chat is still not an option with Names.co.uk. Another thing to note is that users can access customer/technical support straight from their control panel, which can be a time-saver.
You’re also welcome to get in touch with Names.co.uk’s team via Facebook and Twitter, but the support you can get there is limited which is why we wouldn’t advise you to go there if you seek technical assistance.
Fasthosts and Names.co.uk are UK-based hosts that offer a wide array of hosting types, options, features, and some user-friendly site-building tools for a reasonable price. On the downside, with Names.co.uk you’ll have to purchase an SSL certificate separately, while you’ll have to do the same with Fasthosts’ entry-level packages, which can significantly drive up the cost. That being said, Fasthosts’ simpler hosting solutions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee at least, meaning you can check them out without risking blowing your budget.
Easyspace is another UK-based old-timer that refuses to provide a free trial or any refund policy, which may turn away some of their potential users, particularly new kids on the block. However, since Names.co.uk provides a novice-friendly cPanel and lots of one-click installs with its entry-level packages (unlike Easyspace), it will more likely attract newcomers.
If having a host from the UK is not vital for your vision, US-based HostGator and Bluehost are both top choices. They offer a wide variety of feature-packed hosting packages geared at rookies and webmasters alike, and with a budget-friendly price tag to boot. The only downside is the significant price spike that happens after the promo period, so don’t let it catch you unaware. Although you won’t have to worry about this when dealing with Names.co.uk, their pricing is a bit higher, to begin with.
Although Names.co.uk is not a bad pick for UK-based business owners in need of all-in-one solutions to help them run everything without a hitch, there are a few drawbacks to consider before making a final decision. The lack of SSL certificates and automatic backups with shared hosting solutions are likely to make newcomers think twice before giving them a go, and the company’s failure to provide an upfront money-back guarantee might put off everyone else.
There are more attractive hosts from the UK (such as UK2 and A2 Hosting), and if you could feel at home with a US-based host, you’ll have a bigger payoff with HostGator and Bluehost.