How to Get Free Website Domain Names

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Overall, there are an estimated 1.13 billion websites actively operated today, and they all have a critical thing in common: a domain name. Also referred to as a domain, a domain name is a label that’s readable by people and directly associated with a specific IP address. Typically, it represents the webpage address connected to a company’s homepage. For example, is a domain name.

If you’re building a website, having a domain name is a must. Fortunately, getting one isn’t challenging, and there are ways to secure a domain name for free, though doing so often comes with some caveats. If you’re interested in low-cost options, here’s a look at how to get free website domain names.

Things to Consider

Before you begin the process of getting a free website domain name, there are a few points to consider. First, a domain name is never yours indefinitely. Instead, it’s subject to a renewal process.

In most cases, a free website domain name is a perk for paying for a specific service, but that bonus is only available for one or two years. After that, paying for the domain name is usually required, or you risk losing it. However, there are some free domain registrars that may never come with a cost, though you never assume full ownership, and the extension isn’t conventional, so you won’t find .com or .org options among them.

The registrar that registers the domain name you’re using can also have requirements regarding how a site is used. For example, if the provider detects illegal activity, it may end your right to use the domain name.

Finally, domain name registration doesn’t inherently come with privacy protection. Details about you – such as your name – are usually connected to the domain and publicly available. If you want privacy protection, that generally comes with a fee, albeit a relatively low one.

Free Domain Registrars

If you’re open to an untraditional domain name, Dot TK and Freenom have options available. However, they’re limited to .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf, and .gq extensions. As a result, they may not work well for companies. These extensions aren’t overly familiar to the general public, which can cause doubts about a site’s legitimacy or security. Additionally, while you do get a right to use a domain, it isn’t yours to transfer to another party or sell, so keep that in mind.

Website Builder Services

Many website builder platforms do offer free domain names, at least for a period. Usually, you can keep the domain name without paying for it directly for a year, though some platforms may offer them for free for longer. However, the free domain name is typically a perk included with a paid service package. After the initial free period passes, it’s common to pay a fee for the domain name if you want to maintain it.

There are several well-known website-builder platforms that offer free domain names as a short-term perk. Examples include Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix, though they aren’t the only ones.

If you don’t need a website builder, there are web-hosting services that also include free domains for a period. Again, you do have to secure a hosting package – which usually comes at a cost – but you typically won’t have to pay for the domain itself for at least a year. Bluehost, Hostgator, and Hostinger all fall into this category.

Top Free Services

Generally, Dot TK and Freenom are the best fully free options for a domain name, suggesting you are open to an unconventional extension. Otherwise, the website builder or hosting companies above are solid choices for avoiding the cost of a domain name for about a year. Just remember that the free domain name with service options will have domain name fees after the free period expires.