This guide will show you how to get free domain names if you’re starting a personal website, blog, online portfolio, or business site.
Do you have everything you need to start a new website? The first step in this process is to find and register a domain name.
It can be overwhelming for those of you who haven’t done anything like this before. You may be unsure where to begin, and you’re probably wary of spending money.
You don’t have to necessarily spend money to register the domain. There are several options to obtain a free domain for website creation.
How To Get Free Domain Names Using BlueHost
The easiest way to get a free domain for website building is via Bluehost. You’ll still have to host your site online in addition to registering a domain name. Bluehost is on my list of the best web hosting sites.
You’ll receive a free domain when you sign up for Bluehost hosting. You’re basically getting two steps completed in one shot, one of them being free.
Here’s the step-by-step method on how to get free domain names using Bluehost.
The first step is to go to Bluehost’s official website. When you arrive, you’ll notice a variety of menu options.
“Domains” is one of the menus.
Don’t select this menu option.
This is a rather common mistake. It would appear to be the logical place to get a domain name if you’re looking for one. However, you will not receive a free domain for website creation if you go this path.
Instead, choose the “Hosting” option from the menu.
Bluehost provides three separate web hosting options:
- Hosting on a shared server
- Virtual Private Server (VPS)
- Dedicated servers
All of them come with a one-year free domain.
For most people, shared hosting is the best choice. This is particularly true if you’re starting from scratch with a website. Other hosting options cost more and offer services that you are most likely not going to need right now.
2. Pick A Web Hosting Package
We must now choose a hosting package.
There are 4 different shared hosting packages offered by Bluehost.
I’ll provide a brief rundown of each package’s benefits and features to help you determine which is right for your website.
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Host a single website with a storage capacity of 50 GB
- 5 registered domains plus 25 subdomains
- Free SSL
- You can have as many domains, parked domains, and subdomains as you want
- Host an infinite number of websites with an unlimited amount of storage
- Get a 30-day free trial of Office 365 Mailbox
- Spam specialists
- You can create as many websites as you want and store as much data as you want
- Domain security and privacy
- CodeGuard basic site backup
- High level of performance
- Sites and storage are unlimited
- Dedicated IP address
- Two spam specialists
For the most part, the Basic package would suffice. As your website grows, you can always upgrade to a different package.
Regardless of the package you choose, you’ll get a free domain for website building for a year.
3. Decide The Name For The Domain
You’ll be routed to a page with domain options after choosing the hosting plan.
You have three choices from here:
- Make use of an existing domain (if you own one already)
- Register a new domain name
- You can set up a domain later
Do you have a domain name in mind? Using the box on the left side of the page, look for it.
Bluehost provides a variety of domain extensions, including:
In the vast majority of cases, a.com domain is the one that is recommended. However, there are a couple of reasons to choose a different domain extension: cost and availability.
A .tech or .site domain is less expensive than a.com domain. However, you would get a year for free in this situation.
Aside from the cost, .com domains are better for your website’s long-term operation and success.
If the .com domain is not available, you can consider using an alternative extension. If you try to use a domain name that is already being used, Bluehost will show you a warning message.
Instead of using one of the alternative extensions mentioned above, it would be a better idea to create a brand new .com domain.
4. Create An Account
Select a domain that is available. After that, you’ll be asked to create an account with Bluehost.
As pointed out earlier, you can also skip the registration of the domain for now and go straight to this step. When you finally register it, you’ll still receive a free domain.
The creation of the account is quite straightforward. Simply fill in the necessary details in the form fields.
This process is quite standard. On virtually every website’s checkout page, you’ll be asked to fill out similar details.
Without creating an account with Bluehost, you won’t be able to get a free domain.
5. Select The Payment Terms
Now is the time to select the package.
Bluehost provides 1-year, 2-year and 4-year web hosting contracts. The cost varies depending on the duration of your term.
The following are the prices for Bluehost’s entry-level shared package:
- 1-year Basic — $5.95/month
- 2-year Basic — $4.95/month
- 4-year Basic — $3.95/month
These prices are valid only for the first term of the contract. Bluehost Basic renewal rate is at $7.99/ month.
The 4-year contract offers the best average rate, but it also needs the highest upfront payment to sign up. This is simply a matter of individual preference. Some folks would rather pay a higher price for not getting locked into a longer-term. Others are willing to pay a little more now in order to get the best deal for the next three years.
6. Choose Your Add-Ons
Bluehost offers a few extras that you may want to consider before entering your payment information and signing the contract.
Domain privacy + protection to secure your domain. Your personal details would be shown on a public database if you don’t have them.
Your name, mailing address, phone number, and email are all included. As a result, everyone can see it, including spammers. This information can be concealed using domain privacy and protection.
The rest of the add-ons are optional. You may also enrol in CodeGuard Basic. It takes care of items like regular backups, automated monitoring, and single-click version restores.
Other methods, like using WordPress plugins, also makes it possible to use these features. So, don’t feel obligated to purchase it right away.
Another common add-on is SiteLock Security Essential. It includes features such as additional malware security, file-level scanning, blacklist tracking, automatic malware removal, and more.
Again, you could use another service or a plugin to add this extra layer of protection.
The last step is to enter your payment information. Bluehost accepts credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover) as well as PayPal.
Your hosting account will be set up once you review the terms of service, and you’ll get a free domain for website creation for a year.
Bluehost offers a money-back guarantee within 30 days. If you are dissatisfied with the service during that period, you can get a complete refund on your hosting expenses.
How To Get Free Domain Names Using Other Options
Premium Website Builder
Along the same lines as above, you can create a website with Wix (or Zyro, Squarespace, or any of the other website builders).
What’s the catch? Your website builder will require you to upgrade to a paid plan.
The other snag? It would be free only during the first year.
For certain people, this might not be a viable option. Subscribing for a premium website builder is not only going to take up the savings of a free domain, but it will most likely end up costing more. Additionally, all savings are lost after a year.
However, if you’re launching an online store or anything else that requires the added features of a premium Squarespace or Wix package, this will help you save money during the first year.
Fortunately, both Wix’s ($14/month) and Squarespace’s ($12/month) entry-level paid plans provide this benefit. If you are using Zyro, you’ll have to go with the Unleashed (second-tier) or higher plan. Zyro’s paid plans are usually discounted for the first year as well.
However, do your homework on how much these domains would cost to renew. You don’t want to be locked into a bad deal that eats up your first year’s savings and ends up costing more than just buying a domain from the start.
Subdomains are available from several website builders.
A subdomain is a unique domain that is contained within a live domain name. It is a domain name within a domain name (i.e subdomain.domain.com).
For instance, if you build your website with a free site builder like Wix, you won’t have to pay for a domain. Your site would, however, have a subdomain in the following format:
If the Wix username was “kissinvestments” and the domain being used was “blog” this is what it would look like.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal. A reputable website would not get a domain name like this. The only time I’d recommend using this approach for a free domain is if you’re just trying out the website builder’s free features. However, this is not a sustainable approach in the long term.
What is the reason for this? The domain name should be short and easy to remember. That’s not the case with a subdomain. Another complex domain with a long list of letters for the customer to recall (or, in fact, forget). Furthermore, it shows your visitors that you are not willing to invest in a legitimate domain name. It’s such a turn-off.
Another common choice for a free subdomain is using WordPress. It isn’t as intrusive as Wix.
The following is the format for a free subdomain from WordPress:
If you’re using WordPress to run a personal blog or a small website, you can manage with it for a while. However, if you want to build credibility and establish yourself as an authority, getting rid of the subdomain is inevitable.
Services With Free ccTLD
There are several free TLD (top-level domain) services available on the internet for various country codes (cc). This is the suffix that follows your domain name.
As a result, you can register a domain with country codes such as:
- .ml — Mali
- .tk — Tokelau
- .gq — Equatorial Guinea
- .cf — Central African Republic
- .ga — Gabon
These can be obtained through services such as Dok.tk or Freenom.
However, I strongly advise against it.
Not only does this make the website seem shady, but it is also frowned upon. If you look up reviews of these programs on the internet, you’ll just find negative feedback. You won’t be comfortable, with misleading advertising, adult content, and the possibility of the domain being removed at random.
Advertisement Programs At Domain Registrars
Some domain registrars will offer you a free domain in return for running advertisements on your site.
This is not recommended.
There is nothing bad about having advertisements on your site. This method, however, gives you little control over the advertisements and their positioning. This will not only degrade your website’s user experience but is also detrimental to your SEO rankings.
What if the website had a million visitors? Those ads wouldn’t get you any money. You just get a free domain.
If you want to run advertisements on your site, use a reputable advertising network like Google. Don’t trade advertisements to get free domains for websites.
The above guide summarizes how to get free domain names if you’re working on your websites.
The easiest way to get a free domain name is via Bluehost. Simply register for a web hosting package and you’ll get a one-year free domain for website creation.
Making use of a free subdomain, being part of an affiliate network, or using shady ccTLD services are all options for avoiding paying for a domain. However, these options are not recommended.
If you’ve considered having a free domain with a random country code, think twice. The expense of running a spammy website isn’t worth saving a few bucks.
Go with Bluehost or look for paid options offered by some of the best domain registrars. They’ll add a professional touch to your brand and website. The importance of first impressions cannot be overstated. You don’t want a poor domain name to ruin your reputation.