Jun 07, 2023
Domantas G. & Nadia D.
How to Get a Free Domain Name via Registrar, Hosting Provider, and More
Domain registration is an essential step in creating a website. A domain name lets users easily recognize a brand and access its website via the browser address bar or search engine.
While the average domain name cost is $10-15/year, it can be much more expensive, depending on its extension, popularity, and registrar.
New online business owners on a budget may find investing significant money in a domain difficult. Knowing how to buy a domain name and how to get one for free can help reduce overall expenses.
This article will teach you how to get a free domain name for your website using three methods and other alternatives. We will present the advantages and downsides of each method to help you decide.
How to Register Domain Names for Free
In the following sections, we will look at three ways to get a free domain name – through a domain registrar, a web hosting company, and a website builder.
How to Get a Free Domain Name via a Domain Registrar
Getting a free domain name from a registrar is possible, but there may be limitations. For example, Freenom offers free domain names for only five country-code extensions – .ga, .tk, .ml, .cf, .gq.
To register a free domain name with Freenom, first, go to Freenom’s website. Enter your desired domain name using the search bar and click Check Availability. A list of available free domain names will appear.
- Suitable for personal blogs or websites
- A great option when you’re targeting the local market
- Limited extension options
- Less familiar extensions are not ideal for businesses
- The alternative domain extension .tk is associated with spam campaigns
- Less valuable for SEO
How to Get a Free Domain Name Through a Web Hosting Plan
Some web hosts offer hosting plans that include a free domain. Therefore, you don’t need to buy a hosting package and a domain name separately.
Reliable hosting companies will include domain privacy protection in your purchase. For instance, Hostinger has free WHOIS privacy protection for domain names with supported TLDs.
Moreover, getting a free domain name from a web host lets you access tools to manage your site and domain. You can register a free domain name with popular extensions like .com.
We will now explain the steps to get a domain for free with Hostinger.
1. Select a hosting provider
Consider the following factors when choosing a web hosting provider for a free domain:
- Features. Ensure the hosting package covers your website building needs. For example, WordPress hosting offers seamless WordPress website installation and integration.
- Storage and bandwidth. Calculate your required storage capacity for website files and expected traffic.
- Security. Pick a web hosting service with security features like a free SSL certificate and Cloudflare-protected nameservers.
- Pricing. Choose a plan that fits your budget. Consider the plan renewal prices to maintain your hosting subscription.
2. Pick a suitable hosting plan
There are various web hosting options available. Here are the most common types of hosting to choose from:
- Shared hosting. This type of hosting lets multiple users share resources on the same server. Its affordability makes shared hosting suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. However, your site performance may be limited as you share the bandwidth, storage, and CPU.
Hostinger offers Single Web Hosting, Premium Web Hosting, and Business Web Hosting in this category.
- Cloud hosting. It allows you to host websites on a network of servers with dedicated resources. Cloud hosting is popular among big eCommerce and business websites, offering high performance and uptime.
We offer Cloud Startup, Cloud Professional, and Cloud Enterprise hosting plans.
- VPS hosting. This hosting type offers dedicated resources from a server’s virtual partition and root access to your hosting. Hostinger’s VPS servers are in multiple data centers, such as Lithuania, The United Kingdom, The United States, Singapore, and The Netherlands.
Hostinger offers several web hosting plans that include a free domain name. The most affordable option is Premium Web Hosting, starting at ₱109/month.
How to Choose a Hosting Plan?
How to Use Hostinger’s DNS Zone Editor.
3. Choose a memorable domain name
Whether for business or personal blogging, a website represents your brand personality. Therefore, choose a domain name that visitors can quickly identify. For example, use your company title as your business website domain name.
Use domain name generators to brainstorm unique names and check domain name availability.
Consider these factors when choosing the right domain name for your needs:
- Uniqueness. Make sure your custom domain name is memorable. Aside from using your business name, you can include other relevant keywords. For example, if you’re managing a cafe, add ‘cafe’ next to your brand name for the domain.
- Length. Keep the domain name simple and short. It’s best not to exceed 12 characters.
- Simple characters. Avoid including numbers and hyphens for the domain name. Otherwise, it might be challenging to remember and type on the search bar.
Don’t forget to use a domain name checker tool to make sure your chosen domain name is available.
Domain Name Checker
Instantly check domain name availability.
4. Pick a domain extension
A domain extension, or a top-level domain (TLD), is located at the end of a domain. TLD gives more information about a website, so make sure to select the most suitable one for your domain.
The most common TLD categories are:
- Generic TLD (gTLD). Generic domain extensions don’t have specific regulations, so anyone can use them for any website. Some popular generic domain extensions are .com and .net.
- Sponsored TLD (sTLD). Some regulations will apply to the sTLD extension, so not every user can use it. Two popular extensions in this category are .gov and .edu, which refer to government and educational institutions, respectively.
- Country-code TLD (ccTLD). This category of extension points to the location where a website runs. For instance, the .de domain is the country code for the websites operating in Germany, .it stands for Italy and more. Check the full list of country codes in the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) database.
Among the popular domain extensions, .net and .com are more memorable and credible. If these extensions are unavailable, .store and .shop are good alternatives for eCommerce websites. Check the list of TLDs offered by Hostinger to learn more about popular options.
5. Finalize the registration
Once you’ve bought a plan, log in to your hosting account. On hPanel, you will see the hosting setup option.
Click Setup and follow the steps until you see the Name Your Website screen. Then, click Claim a Free Domain → Select.
Enter your preferred domain name and extension, and click Search. If the domain is taken, consider choosing another extension.
To finish the free domain name registration, click Continue.
How to Get a Domain Name for Free With a Site Builder
Another way to obtain free domain names is through a website maker. Hostinger Website Builder offers a Website Builder & Web Hosting plan with a free domain name and email. Users can also access unlimited SSL certificates and features like marketing and AI toolkits.
You will need to pay the standard domain renewal price after a year. Nonetheless, this method is an excellent option to save on the first year’s budget without compromising website-building features.
However, this method is not the best if you want advanced features and complete control over your site.
- A premium site builder plan usually comes with web hosting and free features
- It comes with pre-built templates to quickly design your site
- Affordable prices compared to buying separate hosting and domain
- Setting up a totally free domain name is quick and easy
- Limited customization options
- Little control over site configuration
I Bought a Domain, Now What? 7 Steps to Have a Successful Website
Alternative Ways to Register a Free Domain Name
Aside from the methods we’ve explained, there are alternative ways to obtain free domains for websites. However, the following methods are less recommended.
We will guide you through the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
1. Use a Free Subdomain
A subdomain is an additional part of an existing domain name that typically belongs to a registrar or a hosting company. Thus, subdomain owners generally don’t need to buy a hosting service.
A free subdomain is excellent for those just starting a business or a basic website.
For instance, all WordPress.com sites come with a free subdomain. With the base plan, your site will have a free WordPress subdomain, like www.yourdomain.wordpress.com.
However, we can’t fully recommend using a free subdomain for a business website as it looks unprofessional or less credible. Also, getting a subdomain usually comes with limited features and customization tools for your site.
That said, follow these steps if you’re still interested in getting a free subdomain name at Hostinger:
- Open our free hosting page and choose Get free hosting. Then, sign up or log in with your Google account.
- Select which type of site you want to create.
- Provide more detail about your website.
- Name your subdomain and choose a password, then click Submit.
- Choose a website creation platform – use our website builder, install WordPress, or upload your site.
Once your business grows, you can upgrade from the free hosting service to get extensive features for your site.
2. Buy a Premium Email Service
Using this method, you can create a custom email address for a more professional look and improve your company’s trustworthiness.
Check for email hosting providers offering free domain names, like Zoho. Unfortunately, most dedicated email service providers don’t offer a hosting service. You must purchase a separate hosting plan, which may lead to higher website expenses.
On the other hand, many Hostinger web hosting plans give you custom emails and let you register a domain name for free.
3. Join an Affiliate Marketing Program
You can join a domain registrar’s affiliate marketing program and receive commission credit to register a new domain name. This involves running ads on your page and referring visitors to the domain registrar using affiliate links. Domain registrars offering this program include NameSilo and Domain.com.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to control how the ads appear on your website, and they can make your website look spammy. Besides affecting user experience, it also impacts search engine optimization (SEO), especially if the ads are not from a legitimate advertising network.
Also, you will only get a free domain and no other tools and resources to create a website. Therefore, we can’t recommend this method for those seeking a free domain to build a strong online presence.
Getting a domain name for free will help you save money when starting a business site or a personal blog. There are three recommended methods to get a free domain name:
- Registering one through a domain name registrar. This method is more suitable for personal blogs or websites due to limited extension options.
- Buying a hosting plan. Most hosting providers offer hosting packages that come with a free domain name.
- Subscribing to a premium site builder plan. Site builders typically offer a domain name and web hosting in a single package. For online stores, we recommend choosing a site builder that provides eCommerce features.
Although less recommended, you can register a domain with these alternative ways:
- Using a subdomain. This method is more suitable for learning purposes. For example, you want to create a free personal site and don’t mind a branded WordPress.com subdomain.
- Buying an email hosting plan. A professional email address can improve your online presence. However, you need to buy a separate hosting plan to run a website.
- Becoming an affiliate. You will need to run ads on your site to use this method. This may make for a poor user experience.
We’ve covered methods to get a free domain name, along with their advantages and disadvantages. We hope this article has helped you decide which way is right for you.
How to Get a Free Domain Name FAQ
Check these frequently asked questions about domain names before getting one for your website.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Domain Name?
Without a domain name, visitors can only access a website using its IP address. It is much easier to access a website by typing in a domain name like hostinger.com than a series of numbers.
Custom domains increase brand recognition and awareness, SEO, and control over your URL. For example, domains containing relevant keywords can drive high organic traffic to your website.
Can I Get a Free Domain Name Without Hosting?
To get a free domain name without purchasing hosting plans, use a subdomain, subscribe to email services, or join an affiliate program. However, these methods are less recommended. Generally, they offer limited features and control and are less SEO-friendly.
How to Get a Free .com Domain Name?
You can get a free .com domain name for a year by purchasing an eligible hosting plan. Many hosting providers offer this benefit along with other website management features. Another way is to buy a premium plan from site builders that include a free domain.
How to Get a Free Domain Name Forever?
You can’t get a free domain name forever. Typically, hosting providers only offer a free domain for a year. You must pay annual renewal fees to maintain ownership of the domain.
Can I Buy a Registered Domain?
Yes. You can buy registered domain names from marketplaces or directly from the owners. Use the WHOIS Lookup Tool to check domain status and find information about the owner and registrar.
August 11 2021
i cant find my free domain in premium web hosting free help me to find my free domain please
September 17 2021
Hi, in case you're not able to redeem your free domain name, please contact our Customer Success team to assist you.