Is It Possible To Get a Free Domain Name in 2021? (3 Methods)

guy with hands up with a computer and a blog name

The majority of bloggers didn’t start their online business just to pass the time.

They either needed to escape from a job or lifestyle they hated, or maybe needed to raise money to buy a house or pay for medical bills.

So the reality is that most bloggers have to start their business for as little money as possible.

That’s why they look to leverage free services, like free domain names.

We totally understand that approach.

This is why we’re going to look at 3 different ways to get a free domain name for your website or blog.

How to Get a Free Domain

Here are three easy ways to get a free domain.

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1. With paid hosting

WEB HOSTING IN BLUE LETTERS
Some web hosting providers offer free domains as part of their service.

The first way for you to get a free domain name is when signing up for web hosting.

In fact, many of the more popular shared hosting services make this the first step of their account setup process:

But the thing is that you’re not actually getting anything for free because you’re paying for web hosting and your new domain name is included as part of the deal.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch – there’s always a catch.

And you have to be realistic about the fact that web hosting companies are in the business of making money.

So the web host is either going to ask you to sign up for an annual contract and/or find another way they can contractually recoup some of the costs of giving you a freebie.

For example, some web hosting companies won’t allow you to transfer your free domain away from them for a specific number of months after you terminate your account.

“Get a free domain through your web host” is also the approach you’ll find recommended most often on most affiliate marketing or “how to make money” blogs.

But that’s not because it’s good advice.

It’s because the blogger wants you to sign up with a web host so they can get their $50 – $150 commission.

They’d only make $2 in commission for correctly sending you to a domain registrar.

So, we’re not saying they deliberately misinform you, but there does seem to be an ulterior motive behind many such recommendations.

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2. With free domain registrarsfinger pushing an orange keyboard

There are several domain registrars that will give you a 100% free domain name.

It’ll never cost you a cent.

But there’s a catch – you don’t get to choose from the more common or popular domain extensions e.g. .com.

Instead, you’ll have to choose from one of the following:

  • .TK (Tokelau)
  • .ML (Mali)
  • .GA (Gabon)
  • .CF (Central African Republic)
  • .GQ (Equatorial Guinea)

These are actually ccTLDs (country code specific domains) and not top-level domains

So, while these domains are completely free for you to register, they’re actually of limited use.

The first issue is that when the average person lands on a website with a weird domain extension they’ll assume the site is a scam or phishing portal and leave immediately.

The next potential issue is that these domains are likely in common use by actual scammers, so you’re going to end up being guilty by association.

And finally, Google has no reason to rank a ccTLD in its index for commercial terms like “How to make money online”.

Why do companies like Freenom and others offer free domain names like those listed above?

Because they also sell paid domains, but at higher prices than either Namecheap or GoDaddy.

So offering you a free domain is nothing more than a lead generation strategy for their business.

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3. With free hosting

Free hosting on a blue keyboard button
Free hosting is another option for landing a free domain name.

Free web hosting might sound like it’s too good to be true but there are several companies that offer it.

Some of the better free web hosting services are Wix and Weebly.

And yes, they even include a free domain name.

But there’s also a catch here.

The first of these is that the domain name you get is not a TLD (Top Level Domain) e.g. Yourbusiness.com.

What you get instead is a sub-domain, so your website URL would be yourbusiness.freehosting.com.

You don’t need us to tell you that a business sited hosted on a subdomain looks unprofessional because you already know it does.

The bigger concern for you though should be that Google doesn’t like ranking sites hosted on these types of subdomains.

There are exceptions to this, but Google knows that web spammers actively use these free hosting/domain services, so they simply filter them from the search results.

You can upgrade to a full domain name, but that comes at a cost, so that means the “free domain” you get is not actually free at all.

So again, this is just a marketing ploy on the part of these companies.

They lure you in with a free sub-domain and then why you ask why your site isn’t getting any traffic they offer you a paid upgrade path to register a full domain.

Often at 2x – 3x what you’d have paid at a domain registrar.

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Cost-benefit Analysis

hand writing benefit and costs on a screen with a triangle
Depending on the goals of your site, a free domain might not actually be worth it.

It’s time to look at a valuable business skill you need to develop as early as possible, and it is understanding how much your time is worth.

A domain name costs no more than $10 when registered through a domain registrar.

In fact, they often cost as little as $5 during one of the many sales run by companies like Namecheap or GoDaddy.

$5 doesn’t buy you a whole lot these days – maybe a soda and some snacks, so it’s not a huge investment for even the average person.

And the actual domain registration process will require no more than 5 minutes of your time.

But for some strange reason, people will invest hours of their time searching for a way to get a free domain name… because they want to save money.

This is actually a really bad business decision for you to make – allow us to explain why that is.

Why free domains are bad for business

Let’s assume you estimate your time to be worth around $15 per hour.

And that you spent at least 2 hours online looking for a free domain name, which represents a total cost of $30 to pay for your time.

This means you just spent $30 to avoid paying no more than $10 for a domain name, which means your business is now running at a net loss of $20.

The two hours you wasted searching for a free domain would have been much more wisely spent on either creating content, coming up with a marketing strategy, or any other activity that moves your business forward.

Basically, do your best to work on your business and not in it, whenever that is possible.

Wrapping Things Up

So as you can see, while the idea of getting a free domain name might be very appealing, there really isn’t any way to get a truly free domain that has any commercial use or value.

Sure, you can get a .TK domain and waste months of your time trying to build an online business around a domain that:

  • You don’t really like.
  • Looks unprofessional
  • Could disappear without warning

Or you can just head over to Namecheap or GoDaddy instead and get a domain name that you’re proud of.

We’ve also got you covered with our guide that covers how to come up with a great domain name – just in case you’re worried about how to do that.

Spend the $10 on a domain name.

You won’t regret it.

Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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About Matt Collins

With a rapidly growing team of readers, my mission is to teach hungry professionals how to maximize their net worth with scalable side hustles and responsible financial management practices.

My reputation is of the utmost importance to me, which is why I only provide completely honest, 100% true, unbiased recommendations for systems and software I know and trust.

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