Starting a new website?
Don’t pay for a .com domain when you can get it for FREE!
The most common advice you read online when starting a new website is to go to one of the big platforms and buy your domain. Don’t believe everything you read.
Many website hosting services offer a completely free .com domain to users on their platform. You just need to choose the right one.
So I’m going to show you exactly how to get a free .com domain for at least a year (and sometimes more).
What Will I Learn?
A free .com domain is just like any other custom .com domain that you buy. The only difference is that you don’t pay anything for it.
Why would anyone give a free .com domain away?
Lots of companies offer free domains for the first 1-2 years if you purchase a hosting subscription with them.
Most domains usually cost $8-$15 for the first year, depending on the registrar you get the domain from.
If you choose the right provider for your new website, you can easily get a completely custom free .com domain.
Short Answer – Yes.
But it depends on the domain you want and what you intend to use the domain for.
Here’s what I mean:
Every website needs a domain and the best domains have the .com extension.
The problem is they tend to be more expensive.
If you are just starting out in the digital world, chances are you’re on a budget. A free domain allows you to build your new website for next to nothing.
It keeps your starting expenses low while you get your website up and running fast.
But there is something you need to think about-
Free .com domains usually come with some limitations. If you are building a website or blog that you expect to surpass the free domain period, it might be worth just paying for it.
This way you have more freedom with the domain in the future.
Free .com domains are worth it if you have a good use case. Generally speaking, if your website will only be live for less than a year a free domain is worth it.
Are you just learning about websites and the online world?
Then a free .com domain is perfect for you.
You’ll be able to create the website and display it online without paying the domain registration fee. That means you get to learn without the need to fork out lots of money.
Free domains are also great for web development.
If you are learning web development and want to test your skills in the real world, you can build fully functional websites on the free domain.
You can even create a dummy site for a potential future project.
This helps you increase your skills while keeping your costs low.
Pop-up websites are usually used for events.
This is a perfect use case for a free .com domain because you can create a professional-looking website for the event and take it down when it’s finished.
There are lots of services that offer free domains with their web hosting packages.
As you will need to host your website somewhere anyway, you pick up an inexpensive hosting for just a few bucks per month and get the domain totally free.
These two are the best services that I can recommend.
Bluehost is one of the biggest web hosting companies around.
They offer a free .com domain when you sign up for one of their hosting packages.
Bluehost is known for providing good quality services at really low prices. It was founded in 2003 and hosts millions of websites from all over the world.
They offer many different services but are best known for their web hosting.
Bluehost is a great place to get a free .com domain because the company caters to beginners. They have a 24/7 live chat to answer any questions you have and they have tons of how-to guides to help get you started.
Building your website on WordPress?
Bluehost has dedicated WordPress hosting plans and an easy step-by-step wizard to help you install WordPress making it easy to connect your free domain.
The advantages of using Bluehost is:
You’ll also get access to their huge library of free tools, which allows you to build a secure website fast.
Follow these steps to get a free .com domain from Bluehost.
Go over to Bluehost and select from their shared hosting plans.
Even the cheapest hosting comes with a free domain. You can always upgrade your hosting in the future if you need it.
Next you need to claim your free domain.
You can have any custom domain name you want as long as it’s available. If the custom domain name isn’t available you will receive an error message.
You can also choose the extension that you want. Bluehost has a list of possible extensions to choose from.
Keep in mind that .com domain extensions are:
Lastly, you need to fill in your customer and billing details to finalise the purchase.
Watch out for the “package extras” that Bluehost offers. By default, some of these will be ticked and you will end up paying for them.
Take a quick look through the list and uncheck any you don’t need.
Your hosting plan will be ready within a few minutes and Bluehost will give you access to your new free .com domain shortly after that.
Hostinger is another trusted website hosting service that provides free domains for every new hosting plan purchase.
When you sign up for a year, they will provide you with a free .com domain for 1 year.
Like Bluehost, it doesn’t have to be a .com domain – you can select from any domain extensions they offer.
Hostinger started back in 2004 and now hosts more than 29 million websites worldwide. They have customers in 178 different countries.
Hostinger offers really competitive pricing for their hosting plans.
And just because they are cheaper doesn’t mean that they don’t offer quality.
Hostinger has 7 data centres located worldwide. That means your website should load quickly no matter what country the visitors are coming from.
To say that Hostinger is committed to hosting performance would be putting it mildly.
They have a number of tools that are designed to increase hosting speeds and performance. Hostinger has a dedicated support team that is available 24/7.
One of the big reasons to get your free .com domain through Hostinger is because of how user-friendly their platform is. They have simplified the platform to make it as easy to navigate as possible.
The advantage that Hosting offers are:
Hostinger also has dedicated WordPress hosting which makes your website #1 stable, #2 fast, #3 secure.
This is how you get a free domain name with Hostinger.
Go over to Hostinger and select their shared hosting plan.
Typically the longer you choose the cheaper it will be.
They often run huge discounts for the first time hosting plan buyers so take advantage of what they are offering.
Once you have selected a plan, you need to add your customer and billing details. This includes creating an account.
Click Submit Secure Payment and wait until you receive your confirmation by email.
Now log in to your account and click the Setup button next to your hosting plan.
Follow the wizard setup and select the setting for your new website.
After this, you will see an area that says Claim a Free Domain.
Type in the custom domain name that you want and choose the extension.
.com extensions are more valuable, but you can choose whatever extension you like.
If the custom domain name you want isn’t available, it will give you an error message and you will need to search for something else.
After selecting your new free domain name Hostinger will start the activation process. This typically takes up to 2 hours.
You can connect your new domain name to your website once activated.
Before you jump in and get your free domain there are a couple of things you need to know. Getting a free domain from a trusted company like Bluehost or Hostinger while purchasing a hosting plan is safe.
But many other services offer completely free domains ending with extensions like:
This can be risky so consider these six warnings before selecting a free domain.
Here’s the truth:
Hackers try to target domain owners using free domains.
Because you are starting your website on a budget. That’s the attraction to getting a free domain in the first place.
This means you don’t bother to get the necessary protection for your website. You might choose NOT to get an:
This can leave you open to malicious attacks from spammers and hackers.
If they are able to break into your website, they will likely steal some of your information.
This doesn’t mean you will get attacked if you have a free domain, but you need to be aware of this risk.
Some free domains look really bad.
But other free domains are very limited in what their extension is. This is because the company “giving” it to you probably gets it really cheap (or free themselves).
If you are getting a domain for your business, either pay for it or get it from a trusted provider like Bluehost or Hostinger.
Look at the terms before getting your free domain.
You will often see that companies reserve the right to:
It’s true that most of them won’t because they want to keep their customers happy. But dodgy companies can decide to shut down your domain and pack up whenever they see fit. What happens if your domain is shut down?
Your website will go down as well. And most likely you will lose all of your data.
For real businesses or bloggers, the risk of losing it all to get a free domain isn’t worth it.
Having to start from scratch will be painful and you may never be able to recover the data from your old website.
Check the terms and conditions before getting your free domain.
The service you got the free domain may restrict you from moving it to a new domain registrar. If that happens you are stuck with them.
If you want to keep your domain past year 1, you have to pay to re-register that domain. These fees vary from $15 – $20 per year.
That means you will be paying the registration fee to them.
A free domain is usually only worth it if:
Otherwise, it might be better to pay for the domain.
There is no guarantee that your website will be indexed in search engines.
Search engines like Google solely focus on providing a quality experience to their users. They will only show good websites that are trustworthy.
In some cases, Google has been known to go after free domains.
Google has banned the .co .cc domain extension in the past. If you get an extension that isn’t widely used, there’s a chance history repeats itself again and your website could be removed from the search index.
This is unlikely but there is always that risk.
Use a trusted provider and stick to the common domain extensions like .com or .net to avoid this issue altogether.
It’s easy to get a free .com domain.
My recommendation for beginners is to go with Bluehost. They are a trusted company and offer good support services to go with the free .com domain.
Free .com domains are attractive but you need to know what you are getting. Ensure that you can trust the provider you are getting it from.
This helps you avoid potential domain issues in the future.