In the world of online property and Internet marketing, domain names and the abilities that come with them have become quite the commodity.
Whether you’re a business just starting or an organization that has deep roots and established credibility, your online presence is something that cannot and should not be taken lightly.
Your domain is your company’s face to the cyberspace community. It shows who you are, what you do, and the trust people place with you as a company.
The thing is, domain names are not always the cheapest or easiest-to-find when it comes to the business world.
In fact, if you are looking for a domain name that is both simple and conveys exactly what you want it to say, the costs you will incur begin to rise alarmingly fast.
With this being the case, one might ask the question,
Is it possible to get a free domain?
You would not be the first to ask this, and you surely won’t be the last.
So, for the remainder of this article, we are going to dive into that exact question and see just how many possibilities there are when it comes to domain registration with little to no cost.
Instead of registering domain names through traditional domain name registrars, there are a few alternatives to registration.
The thing is, some of these options are much more viable to you as a business. There are several options, but few would be in your actual benefit and/or worth the risk.
Free Domain Registration Methods to Avoid
To begin, let’s start off by talking about some of the avenues that you don’t want to take when trying to find free domain registration.
Nothing In Life Is Truly Free
#1 Cheap TLDs
The first option that is not really worth the risk is one in which the service gives you a free ccTLD.
These domains are country code Top Level Domains, such as .mm (Myanmar) or .pr (Puerto Rico).
The reason why you would want to avoid services that offer this is due to the fact that credibility tends to be more difficult to garner when using them.
For many online users, having your domain ending in something such as that immediately raises a red flag.
Also, some SEO specialists claim that having your domain end in a specific country’s TLD indexes the domain to be geared toward that country.
Another avenue that should be avoided when looking for free domains is that of subdomains.
Subdomains are similar to domains in that they do allow you to control the name of your website and the message that you convey but differ in that they require an extension to your domain name and are technically not owned by you.
For example, WordPress.com is a service that sets you up with a subdomain, such as onlinerockershub.wordpress.com.
The drawback to this avenue is that the domain is ultimately not under your control, but rather WordPress’.
If for any reason you broke regulations or WordPress unexpectedly shut down, you would have no case for maintaining your website, leading to you losing it.
Also, another reason why subdomains tend to not be the best choice is that they are limiting how much creative freedom you have in designing your website.
Under subdomains, the website builder is maintained by the service provider themselves, so they are the ones who decide the freedom you have and the tools you can use when putting together your website.
The Recommended method to get Free Domain
Now that we’ve discussed opportunities for free domains that may not be the best course of action, let’s dive into the ways in which you can get a free domain while still maintaining your freedom and credibility.
The thing about this is, if you are wanting to avoid the options previously discussed in the article, one way or another, a small amount of cost might come into play.
While some specific companies may let you have a free domain in exchange for posting advertisements on your site or if you assist in recommending others, your best option in this whole scenario of domain registration is the way of website hosting.
Free Domain with Eligible Hosting Plan
Website hosting is a service provided by a company that allows a user to “host” their website on their company’s platform.
This is different from services like WordPress in that web hosting gives you a free domain name that is all your own.
The only drawback is that while the domain name might be free, there is still a hosting fee that comes with the whole process.
Essentially, you are buying a subscription to their service and they throw in a free domain name included in the package.
For example, 101domain is currently offering a free .com domain with an eligible hosting package:
While the more reliable website hosting services do cost a small amount of money, there are web hosting providers that may offer you a domain name without a hosting fee.
With that said, it is best that you avoid these providers when selecting a service.
The user experience tends to come with advertisements, your site will tend to lack adequate SEO (meaning Google is less likely to recognize and recommend you), and reliability is not always at its prime.
Overall, when it comes to website hosting, your best bet is to bite the bullet and pay the minimal hosting fee, though you still do get a reliable and independent domain name through it.
Do we recommend any other method to get Free Domain?
Other than web hosting and avenues that may put your business in a jeopardizing position, there’s not a long list of practical ways to get your hands on a free domain, especially when the market is already as competitive as it is.
If you feel as though you want to take the risk, there are companies that allow you the option of acquiring a free domain but with specific drawbacks, whether it be ccTLDs or posting advertisements on your website page.
While they may not directly hurt your business at the beginning, in the long run, you will want to have the ability to both fully control your website and have the independence to not have to bow to the regulations of specific companies.
That being said, through the avenue of web hosting and its inexpensive hosting fee, acquiring a domain can be more cost-efficient than simply buying one through a registrar or provider.
Overall, when it comes to answering the question of free domains, there are quite a few options that you have in front of you.
That said, regardless of which one you choose, some element of cost will come into play either through monetary means or website credibility.
Note: This guide on Free Domain is contributed by True Tamplin. If you have an interesting topic to contribute then do check our Guest Blogging Guidelines.