Why may you actually need to create a domain name for free? The key reason mainly lies beneath the surface of limited budgets and tight project financing. Website owners try to grab the slightest chance and save a couple of bucks. However, such eagerness may have bad consequences for the project, especially in the long run. Would you rather take that risk when the matter of cost is somewhere between $10 and $15 per year! If yes, have a look at some simple ways explaining how to create a domain name for free.
Best Ways to Create a Domain Name for Free:
Let’s compare and contrast all of the available options and define the best one considering your website needs and goals.
1. Free Domain Name Services
Getting a domain name for your website without investing anything into it seems to be a good idea, especially for beginners. Before looking for the one for your project, you should clearly realize all the pros and cons of this option as well as the pitfalls you may encounter, when deciding on a free domain.
When it comes to getting a free domain name, Freenom proves to be the top solution. To be precise, this is the nearly the only free domain registrar in the world offering such an opportunity. The system lets you pick and use any domain in the location you are interested in. There are multiple options to browse yet mind the downsides of using the service as well.
| ✔ Opportunity to get a free domain name with URL forwarding;|
✔ Free DNS availability;
✔ Nice idea for boosting your skills;
✔ Applicable for small personal projects olike blogs and forums;
✔ Easy to set up for newbies;
✔ Possibility to pick the month of your domain name expiration (3 to 12 months).
| ✘ The system can disable your domain name any time;|
✘ Lack of control over your domain;
✘ The domain requires a particular payment after it reaches the expiration date;
✘ A domain name targets a certain country automatically and you can’t change that manually;
✘ Low traffic flow to your website because of the inability to specify the required location.
Thus, the list of Freenom demerits is longer than that of positive features. The domain registrar can work for small personal projects that makes it inapplicable for large-scale websites. A far more serious problem is that you don’t actually own a domain name and you don’t have full control over it. The system can disable it or refuse from its prolongation any time, thus, putting your website performance/accessibility at risk. These factors are more than enough to realize that Freenom is not the best bet, if you have long-lasting aspirations and expect much from your website.
2. Free Domain on Website Builders
Website builders appear to be a simple all-in-one solution for people who do not want to manage several processes separately. A user only needs to pick a plan and get a fully-featured instrument with ready-made templates, integrated services, hosting, and… a domain, of course.
The problem with free domain names here is that they are only provided in the form of a subdomain. In other words, it will contain the name of the platform right next to your company’s name, which is certainly bad in terms of recognition and search engine optimization.
Many website builders, however, make it possible to get a domain name without paying anything for it after you subscribe for a premium plan. In this case, the feature is offered as a bonus and can be extended for a certain period of time, most often, for a year. If you are right about to pick a website builder that comes with a free domain name, have a look at some of the most popular systems now.
Wix – The Best Free Website Builder
Wix – is the all-in-one SaaS website builder, which works great for running all types of web projects, irrespective of the niche you specialize in. The system does not require deep coding awareness to let its subscribers start and manage feature-rich projects. Whether you are a newbie or a web design expert, you will certainly be able to use the platform. The list of Wix advantages is as follows:
- Hundreds of free mobile-ready niche-specific templates;
- Two editing options targeting divers user categories Wix ADI and Standard Editor;
- Multilanguage support;
- Rich selection of widgets in the App Market.
Wix offers quite an affordable pricing policy. Users can test the integrated features and tools of the system on its free plan for the required period of time. Your website will be published on the subdomain of the platform in this case and will, correspondingly, come with a number of restrictions. To connect your own domain name or to get a free one, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions. Combo Plan is the cheapest option to go for. Its cost currently constitutes $13/mo.
Weebly – SaaS Website Builder Powered by Square
Weebly – is a popular cloud website builder, which was initially created with blogging courses in mind. The system has acquired a strong eCommerce focus after it was purchased by Square in 2018. It is now extensively used to launch personal and business projects, including digital stores. The system is quite easy to use, regardless of your web design background. Have a look at its merits now:
- Powerful eCommerce engine;
- App Center with a rich choice of widgets;
- Weebly Promote tool;
- Responsive designs and opportunity to get a third-party template.
Weebly charges affordable fees for its services, offering a free subscription to test the platform and five premium plans to choose from. The cheapest subscription that allows connecting a free domain name is Professional Plan, which costs $12/mo.
Squarespace – All-in-One Web-Building Service
Squarespace – is a free renowned website builder that empowers millions of websites across the globe and features distinctive integrated functionality. The platform allows launching various personal and business websites without requiring programming skills to get started. The system stands out from the crowd due to its high end image editing options, availability of advanced design customization tools and useful integrations. Other Squarespace merits encompass:
- Powerful blogging and eCommerce engines;
- Multiple free, responsive, customizable themes;
- Unfold App and Logo Maker;
- Advanced image editor.
Squarespace is a moderately-priced website builder that doesn’t have a free plan yet lets users test the system features on a free trial. To get access to high end options, the platform allows choosing from one of premium subscriptions. The cheapest plan that allows connecting a free domain name to your project is a Personal Plan, which costs $12/mo.
3. Free Domain on Web-Hosting Services
Modern web hosting services offer multiple advantages included into their subscriptions. The list of merits depends upon the cost of palms, needs of users, type of web hosting and functionality of the platform. Most web hosts include the opportunity of free domain name connection into their subscriptions. Let’s review the top three web hosts that provide such an option.
Bluehost – The Best Web Hosting in the World
Bluehost – is one of the most popular and full-featured hosting providers that holds a leading position in the modern web design market. The system was created with WordPress users in mind as it is officially recommended by the CMS to its subscribers. The host is quite understandable both to non-techies as well as to web design experts, offering a set of highlights. These include:
- Several types of server solutions to come up to any hosting requirements;
- One-click WordPress integration;
- Availability of third-party extensions and plugins;
- A set of plans for blogging, business and eCommerce projects.
Bluehost pricing policy is affordable to everyone. In fact, the system is considered the most cost-effective host out there. All the plans it offers include an opportunity of free domain name connection for one year. Upon the end of this term, the system will require a particular payment depending upon the type of subscription you go fior. The cheapest Bluehost plan costs $2.95/mo.
HostGator – The Easiest Hosting + Website Builder Solution
HostGator – is another credible web hosting solution, which is included into the list of top services in the world. The system differs from its multiple competitors due to its cloud-based nature, which contributes to more effective and secure performance of your website. The thing is that HostGator uses several servers within the same ecosystem. This eliminates the risk of server overloads and frequent traffic leaps that may threaten your project functionality. Here is the list of HostGator advantages:
- WordPress-optimized server solution;
- Gators website builder included;
- Extensive security toolkit (CodeGuard, SiteLock, Domain Privacy tool and G Suite included);
- Integrated caching configurations.
HostGator offers several pricing options for different user needs and requirements. All the subscriptions the system has include free domain name connection opportunity for one year. As soon as the period comes to the end, you’ll have to pay for the website domain name chosen. The cost of the cheapest plan constitutes $2.75/mo.
HostPapa – The Most Suitable Hosting for US and Canada
HostPapa – is a platform that is included into the list of top hosting providers in the world. This is also the best host based in North America. What’s more, this is a full-cycle company, which makes it possible to launch, manage and promote all types of websites along with hosting them on its servers. The system offers several server solutions, which differ in tools, terms and services provided. Some of the features worth user attention include:
- Free website/domain name migration;
- WP-optimized subscriptions;
- Integrated eCommerce hosting solution;
- Full-cycle company with integrated website builder.
The host offers an opportunity of free domain registration on all its plans. It has several types of plans to choose from that are divided into Standard and eCommerce packages. The most affordable subscription, which implies free domain registration is Starter Plan, which costs $3.95/mo.
4. Traditional Domain Name Registrars
With so many domain registration services, getting a unique domain will never be a hassle. It does not matter if you only have the idea of creating a website or already need to launch the building process this option might be the right pick.
For example, you only plan to launch a website in the nearest future but still need to take your time. Traditional registrars make it easy to register the domain for the future project and keep it for as long as users might need it. The good news here is that you act as the licensee and have full control over your intellectual property.
In other words, it is up to you whether to keep the domain or sell it in case you do not use it anymore. Buying domains from such services provide full freedom. The key benefits include:
- Privacy. You are the only owner of the domain. It belongs to you and is protected under the domain regulation.
- Flexibility. You may choose any name to create an exclusive, unique, and capturing domain, which is vital for the business. You may benefit from TLD (top-level domains) that are more appreciated by search engines.
- Ease of Use. The purchasing process is very easy and fast. Most registrars offer a handful set of tutorials. installation guides and articles that describe how to link your domain to a chose website builder or CMS.
- Control. You get full access to additional services including domain auctions, customer support, domain transfer, etc. Moreover, it is possible to connect the domain with the CMS or website builder with just a couple of clicks as well as switch the platform any time. No special skills are required.
- Affordability. As a rule, you buy a domain for 1 year with the right to renew it. The annual price varies from $10 to $15 for a TLD with the .com, .net or .org extension depending on your project specialization and niche.
The key downside here is that you will need to find hosting separately while some extra settings might be necessary. For example, you may need to change server names, IP addresses, etc. Those terms may sound a bit confusing for newbies. However, there is nothing challenging. Moreover, you can always opt for professional assistance delivered by customer support.
Some may say, “the option is not free”. Well, it is not. On the other hand, you get the full control as well as legal rights over the domain name for only $10 per year. Would it really be such a huge challenge?
The verdict: yet the best solution for any website type and goal. You get your own exclusive domain name with full freedom, flexibility, and control with no need to stick to a single platform for good.
The Bottom Line
A domain name is hardly the matter to save money on, especially considering the affordable annual registration price. If you plan to create a reputable, long-running, and well operating online business, you shouldn’t go for free domain name services. They are insecure and they may put the entire website performance as well as its accessibility at risk.
Traditional domain name registrars will hardly be a nice option as well. Even though, they provide legal domain ownership rights and are quite safe for your web project, they are not altogether free. The systems may require extra domain settings/investment to work well and you will also have to get a domain separately, which will take your effort and time.
If you really need a free domain name, it makes sense to get the one with a website builder or hosting provider. This is convenient, quick and affordable for everyone. You won’t have to look for a third-party host elsewhere and you will be able to use quality hosting without investing into it during a particular period of time or even forever. When using a website builder, you will additionally get an opportunity to start and promote your project within the same system. That’s a notable advantage for many business owners as well. So, take your time to analyze the available options and to pick a service that will comply with your project requirements.