Do you want a free domain name?
I’m guessing you do because you’re reading this article, but did you know that obtaining a domain name for free is easier than you think?
There are quite a few ways to get them, and some of them are 100% free with no catch or tricks involved. But, at the same time, other methods require you to purchase another service before they give you one for free.
It’s not all bad, mind you, some of the offers are a welcome addition to their services.
The problem you have is determining which free offers are the best and choosing one that won’t come back to bite you on the backside.
You see, some free options look good at first glance, but after reading the fine print or running a little research, you start to smell a rat!
In this article, you’re going to find the best ways to get a domain name and also the risk of getting one. You’ll learn when a free domain name is worth saying yes to and when they are best left alone.
Let’s get to it.
What Is A Domain Name?
Most of you will know what a domain name is, but for those who don’t, here’s a brief explanation:
A domain name is the easy-to-remember online address for your website. For example, the domain name for ‘Google.com’ has an Internet Protocol (IP) address of 184.108.40.206, but instead of using this number string as a method to view a website, you purchase a domain name to use instead — this is then attached to your IP address.
Other examples of popular domain names are:
Both of these are domain names, and every website globally has one.
How Do I Get A Domain Name For Free?
Now that you know about domain names, let’s look at ways to get one free of charge.
Let’s begin with the hosting companies that offer a free domain name to complement their services.
Web Hosting Companies That Include A Free Domain
Some web hosting companies will give you a free domain name when purchasing a web hosting plan. Some will require you to buy a specific plan (usually not the cheapest plan), while others will give you a free domain regardless of the plan you choose.
The important thing to remember here is that all hosting services that give away a free domain name will expect you to pay for your hosting upfront for at least 12 months
Here are nine well-known hosting companies that offer free domains.
HostGator (Free Domain With Certain Plans)
Hostgator is a popular platform for hosting, providing a service that gives away a domain name.
To get a free domain with Hostgator, you will have to sign up for a shared hosting plan and commit to at least a 12-month contract. You can still pay monthly, but the contract you sign is for 12 months.
You can choose from a list of popular domain name extensions, including .com, .net, .org, and many more.
If you take them up on this offer, you will be saving $12.95 for the cost of the domain you choose. However, the only downside to this offer is that the second-year renewal cost is relatively high and will cost you $18.95.
Bluehost is a WordPress-recommended hosting service. As part of their shared and WordPress hosting packages, you can get a domain name for free if you buy a 12-month hosting plan.
You can get a top domain extension, but it doesn’t come with domain privacy. This feature will incur a small additional cost if you want this included.
The cost of a domain without the free offer is $12.99 for new registrations and $18.99 for renewals.
Dreamhost (Free Offer With 12-Month Plans)
Dreamhost has been around for 25 years and offers hosting, domains, email, and other professional services.
They offer a free domain for anyone signing up for a ‘shared’ or ‘DreamPress’ 12- or 36-month hosting plan.
The cost for a domain as of writing is $7.99, and to renew your domain will cost $17.99. Unfortunately, some extensions are not permitted to use with this offer, but the big boys like .com, .net, and .org are available.
Ionos (Free Options Available)
IONOS is a famous hosting company in Europe. The German host provides numerous services and related add-ons with an annual hosting plan.
You can get hosting for less than $2 per month with their always-available special offers, including a free domain name. Of course, you will have to commit to a 12-month contract, but this is a decent deal.
The cost for a domain without a hosting offer is relatively low on IONOS because they are running special deals where you get the first year for less than $2. However, you need to be aware that their renewal costs are considerably higher than most other companies and cost around $22.
Hostinger is another hosting and domain name provider that runs regular promotional offers. One of these offers is a free domain when you sign up for a hosting plan on a 12-month subscription.
To be eligible for the domain offer, you must purchase the WordPress website starter package, the premium shared hosting plan, or any program on the cloud.
Inmotion Hosting (free For Certain Plans)
You can get a free domain name registration with Inmotion if you buy a plan from their shared hosting “launch” and more expensive packages. You can also get one if you purchase any WordPress hosting package on a 6- or 12-month commitment.
The cost to buy a domain separately on Inmotion is $17.99, which is relatively high, so you’re saving quite a bit of money going with their free offer.
One.com offers a free domain name for one year on all their hosting plans. The typical cost otherwise would be around $12.99.
However, you need to be aware that although they are marketing this as a free domain, they will charge you a $1.24 DNS fee, so technically speaking, this offer isn’t as good as it seems.
I included this option to educate you on some of the offers that are not as good as they seem.
Green Geeks offers a free domain name for the first 12-months on their ‘Pro’ plan and above for shared hosting and their WordPress plans.
You need to sign up for one year. If you want Whois privacy, you will need to spend a further $9.85. The savings on the domain name is $13.95.
You can choose from .com, .org, .net, .info, .eu, and .biz.
Namecheap is arguably the most famous domain registrar in the world. They sell domain names, hosting, and other related services.
If you purchased a 12-month hosting plan with their ‘Stellar Plus’ and above plans, you will receive a free domain name registration.
There are regular promotions at Namecheap, but you will typically save around $9 per year if you take them up on a free domain special offer.
Website Builders That Come With A Free Domain
I will now list a few website builders who offer a free domain with their packages. These are three of the most popular website builders around.
Wix is an online presence that allows users to build HTML websites using their website builder.
Their plans come with a free domain name for the first year. Not every extension is allowed, but the main ones are available, including:
Free domain names are available for those who sign up for a paid plan.
Weebly (Free Branding Domain)
Weebly is another website builder that will give you a domain name if you sign up for their premium plans. You can get a free branded domain if you use their free web hosting plans, but to get a .com or similar, you will need to sign up to the ‘pro’ plan or above.
The offer will save you $20.
The final website builder is Squarespace. Again, you need to commit to 12 months to get the freebie.
The domain name would typically cost you $12.95, and Squarespace keeps the same prices for renewals.
Other Methods To Get A Free Domain
In addition to hosting and website builders, there are also a few other ways to get a free domain. Some include an extra cost, while others are entirely free.
Let’s take a look.
Buy A Website
And if you buy a well-established website, you will be getting a domain with a high authority score, which is good for SEO.
To buy a domain with a high DA score would generally cost you quite a bit of money, so purchasing a website could save you money and net you a good website.
Buy One Get One Free
Some domain name registrars offer promotions such as ‘buy one, get one free.’ Looking out for these offers is a great way to snag a free domain for your website.
Use A Subdomain
This method won’t suit everyone, but did you know that most hosting plans will allow you to create a free subdomain within your account?
It’s true, and depending on your project, it could be perfect for you to use and save you money.
You can learn more about subdomains here.
100% Free Domains (Be Careful)
The following three options will give you a free domain name with no hidden cost. The only issue is that the domain extensions aren’t widely used and are not recommended for professional or important projects.
That being said, some people will find them suitable over a paid domain, so here they are:
- Dot.tk: You can get a free .tk domain name with no hidden costs. The domains will work but are best used for non-important websites.
- Get Free Domain: This is another free domain name with no cost or ads. In addition, you get a .name extension for free.
- Freenom: The final free option is Freeenom. You can get a .tk, .ml, .ga, or a .cf extension for free.
Final Thoughts On Getting A Free Domain
If you want a free domain name for a fun project that’s not part of a business or personal project, you can snag a free one with no adverts at “get a free domain.” However, if you want a free option for a professional matter or influential blog, you will be better off using the other methods.
If you need hosting and the domain, choosing a host like Bluehost will get you a cheap hosting plan and a professional domain name included.
Alternatively, you could opt for a website builder like Wix if you want an easy-to-use site builder that comes with a domain name.
The critical thing to remember is to be careful with the completely free options and always look at the fine print when getting a free domain name.
That way, you won’t get any surprises when renewing them.