June 1, 2023

How to Get Free Domain Name

Read more about Business

100% free domains are a thing. But there's a catch. Read on to learn where to get them, if you should get them, and some providers you can trust.

Building a website can get pricey, so you might plan to save money with a free domain.

It's a good thing some providers offer free domains. However, there are options that are unsafe or unprofessional.

It's important to know how each one works so you don't end up with something sketchy. Read on.

5 Ways to Get a Domain Name for Free

Free domains often only last a year or two. After that, you'll have to pay for the subscription. Otherwise, other people can end up registering that domain as theirs.

Here's how you can get a domain for free, even if it's only for a while.

1. Free Domain Name with a Website Builder Plan

All-in-one website builders often come with free domains. But usually, you have to subscribe to their year-long plans.

The good thing about using a website builder is that you get additional features. You can edit your site without needing to know how to code. Some even provide marketing features (such as posting on social media).

Your domain will also look legit. And it's easy to renew it on the platform itself.

  • Comes with the website builder
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Trustworthy domain extensions
  • Only available for annual or multi-year plans
  • Gets pricey with the other features

Here's an example to help you get started:

What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your website. It works like the physical address of your brick-and-mortar store. It's a way for your customers to find you on the Internet. And it's usually the name of your business.

Wix Free Domain

Wix is a popular website builder, and it's popular for a reason. It works great for branding your business.

It tops our list of the best website builders for small businesses. And its free domain name registration for a year is available for ALL plans.

If you plan to build a simple website, it'll cost you $4.50/mo to $24.50/mo (billed annually). But an eCommerce site costs $17/mo to $35/mo.[1]

Keep in mind that you can only choose from the following domain extensions: .com, .org, .net, .biz, .info, .pictures, .rocks, .co.uk, .club, .space, .xyz

How to Set Up a Free Domain Name with Wix: [2]
Wix's 1 year of a free domain comes as a gift voucher. You have 2 months to claim it from the date of purchase. Otherwise, you lose the freebie. Here's how you claim it:

  1. Go to your Vouchers page to claim it.
  2. Next, search if the domain you want is available. Click "Get It" if you find one you like.
  3. Select the registration period.
  4. Enter your contact information.
  5. Select Private or Public Registration, depending on your privacy preference.
  6. Select the payment method. When you apply the voucher, it should total $0.
  7. Submit your purchase.
  8. Assign the domain to your site, then you're done!

WHOIS contains the records of all domains and contact information related to each. If you choose public registration, your information will be public. If you have private registration, the WHOIS database won't reveal your contact info.

Website builders often come with hosting services. But you can also get a free domain with web hosting providers.

2. Free Domain Name with Web Hosting

Web hosting providers offer free domain registration, typically for the first year. But sometimes, they're only available on higher-tiered plans. You also won't get the offer with month-to-month contracts.

The good news is that these providers have website builders as well. That means you get the same benefit of a Website Builder Plan with more affordable pricing. Just don't expect the same level of flexibility and the number of features.

Aside from your own domain name, you also get a free SSL certificate. This shows website visitors that your site is trustworthy.

  • Packaged with the hosting plan
  • Free SSL certificate
  • More affordable than website builders
  • Limited website builder features
  • Price increase after the intro period

Here's one provider you can check out:

Hostinger Free Domain

Hostinger is a great web hosting provider with a website builder. You'll get a custom domain name for a year if you subscribe to their Premium or Business shared hosting plans if you pick year-long billing cycles.

Some domain extensions to choose from are .com, .net, .online, and .website. After the first year, you'll have to pay the regular rate, depending on your chosen domain.

Hosting prices for the Shared Hosting plans cost $2.99 - $4.99/mo for the first year. It'll renew at $11.99 - $15.99/mo.[3]

How to Set Up a Free Domain Name with Hostinger: [4]

  1. Select an eligible plan (Premium or Business). You should see that your free domain is already included in your cart at checkout.

  2. You'll be taken to the setup process after purchase. On the third page, where you're prompted to name your site, click "Select" on the "Claim a Free Domain" option. If you skip the setup, you can still claim your free domain from your dashboard.

  3. Input your desired domain name upon claiming. Click "Check Availability." Then, you can click on "Claim Domain" if it's available. It'll show you that it costs $0.00. The price for the renewal will display below your chosen domain.

  4. Fill out the info for domain registration. You'll be asked for your primary details and contact details. Click "Continue." Your domain will be pending review.

  5. On the Domains tab, click on the right arrow of your pending domain. Then hit "Finish Registration." A verification email will be sent to you.

  6. Click on the link sent to your email to verify. Then you're done!

Sometimes, web hosting providers offer email hosting. And email hosting plans also come with free domains.

What is the best way to get a domain name for free?
The best way to get a free domain name is to subscribe to a year-long website builder or web hosting plan. They typically offer free domain registration for a year, which can help your budget big time. After that, you'll have to pay for renewal to keep using the domain. Otherwise, the registrar can "lease" it to someone else. We don't recommend free domain registrars.

3. Free Domain Name with Email Hosting

Not only do you need a professional-looking domain, but you'll also want a professional email address that your clients or customers can trust. It's a good thing you can have both on some platforms.

You can typically get them with web hosting companies. Apps focused on email hosting alone often don't offer free domains. But you can purchase custom domains from them.

GoDaddy, for example, has an email hosting service separate from its site builder and hosting plans. But you won't get a free custom domain from it. The same goes for Zoho Mail, where you can create professional emails but you need to already have your own domain.

  • Can include a website builder and web hosting
  • Introductory rates
  • Send ad-free email
  • Limited site builder features
  • Only available through web hosts

Here's a web hosting company that does offer free domains with a professional email:

IONOS Free Domain

IONOS is one of the best website builders and web hosting providers out there. Having said that, they also provide email hosting as part of their services.

IONOS Email ranges from $1/mo to $5/mo.[5] You can even save more with more users — talk about affordable! You can get from 2GB to 50GB of storage, depending on your chosen plan.

You can set your custom domain name in all three plans. Choose from .com, .us, .net, .online, .org, .info, .ca, .me, and .biz. You'll also get spam filters and premium virus protection.

How to Set Up a Free Domain Name with IONOS:

  1. Select a plan.

  2. Input your preferred domain name, and click "Check".

  3. Choose from the available domains. Just add it to your cart. You can also purchase Domain Guard for added protection. Just add it to your cart as well.

  4. Click "Continue." You'll be able to review your shopping cart, which now includes your plan (i.e., Mail Basic 1) and your free custom domain. You can check or uncheck "Private Registration."

  5. You'll then be asked about your payment method. You can Continue to Checkout or Check Out with PayPal.

  6. Complete the order, and you're done!

Let's say you don't really want to pay for anything. And you JUST want a free domain. Registrars can help with that. But … it can cost you more in the long run.

4. Free Domain Name through Registrar (Not Recommended)

Now, if you're looking for a standalone 100% free domain, it's possible with some domain registrars. But it's not the smartest nor the safest thing to do.

You also can't get a generic top-level domain (gTLD). gTLDs are more trustworthy and make your site look professional. Compare using ".com" to ".tk," for example.

Not to mention, you won't get the features you'll usually have with a paid domain. For example, you don't get transfer rights. Your domain won't be secure, AND you could lose it anytime.

  • Completely free domains
  • No gTLDs available
  • You have no control over the domain
  • Makes your site look sketchy or unprofessional

What Is a Domain Registrar?
A domain registrar is where you register your domains. It'll also assign IP addresses for such. Managing and maintaining these domains, however, is done by the registry. It's the registry that owns all of the domain names. You're technically just subscribing to use it.

Freenom Free Domain

Freenom is the first and only registrar that offers a completely free domain name. You can get it with month-to-month or year-long subscriptions.

Although their free domains are untrustworthy, don't be fooled by their paid domains. You still won't get gTLD options. You're limited to using .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf, and .gq.[6]

It's not a secure option, and we don't recommend it. Many website owners even claim to have lost their domains suddenly. Don't even expect customer service from them.

Your domain is an important aspect of your website. And if you're on a tight budget, options like IONOS will be better for you. You can get your own domain with just a dollar a month! You don't even have to sacrifice security for it. There's really no reason to go for free domain registrars.

How to Set Up a Free Domain Name with Freenom:

  1. On their homepage, input your desired free domain name. Click Check Availability.

  2. Select your preferred domain from the available ones. Then hit "Checkout."

  3. Select a subscription period. You can get a free custom domain from 1 month to 12 months of subscription.

  4. Review the terms and conditions, then click "Complete Order." And you're done!

Dot TK[7] is another free domain name registrar you'll often hear about. But the truth is, they use Freenom's service. Another reason why it's not recommended? Their website itself isn't secure. And just like with Freenom, you're limited to using .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf, and .gq.

But what if you really don't have the budget for domains? Are there any trustworthy providers out there?

5. Free Subdomain (Not Recommended)

Website builders typically offer free plans. That means you can create a website for free with no time limit. But free plans don't come with free domain names.

Websites you create with these plans come with subdomains instead. Subdomains look like this: www.mybusiness.websitebuilder.com. "My Business" stands for your preferred domain name, while "website builder" refers to your platform of choice.

It varies from builder to builder. But the main idea is that your preferred domain name will be shown with the platform's domain.

  • Free from trusted providers
  • Often comes with a free website builder plan
  • Customizable
  • Best for personal use
  • Looks unprofessional

Square Online Free Subdomain

Square Online is a website builder great for eCommerce stores. They offer a free plan that lets you use a subdomain.[8] And unlike most website builders, you can sell products and services with their free plan.

Using their subdomain is great if you're still unsure what your domain name will be. It's a temporary solution so you can get started on selling. But it won't look professional compared to if you have your custom domain.

It'll look like this: mybusiness.square.site. You can customize "mybusiness" to your liking.

This is different from creating your own custom subdomain. You'll need to already have an existing domain name to create a custom subdomain.

How to Set Up a Subdomain with Square Online:[9]

  1. First, subscribe to the free plan and create a Square account.

  2. Go to the Overview page. Select "Website" from the menu and then "Domains."

  3. Choose "Connect Domain."

  4. On the "Use a Square Subdomain" text box, input your preferred name.

  5. Click on "Change." And you're done! You'll have to publish your site to see it live.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What happens to the domain name if I want to switch hosting providers?
    You can transfer your domain to your new web hosting provider. But first, you'll have to unlock that domain (typically on your dashboard). You'll also need to request an authorization code (AuthCode) from your current provider. Then, with your new hosting provider, select "Transfer Domains," typically found on the Domain menu.

  • How to get a free domain-based email name?
    Domain-based email name or professional email usually comes free with a website builder and web hosting plans. But you can also opt for an email hosting plan. Your business email will include whatever your domain name is. It would look like "hello@mybusiness.com."

Bottom Line

Getting a free domain isn't exactly free. It often comes with purchasing annual or multi-year plans from website builders and web hosting providers.

Although you can get one from a registrar, it's not a good option. And subdomains make your site look unprofessional.

The best way to get a free domain is to purchase plans from trustworthy providers. It's more secure and comes with support. Think of it as an investment in your business website or personal site.


  1. ^ Wix. Wix Premium Plans, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  2. ^ Wix. Using Your Free 1 Year Domain Voucher, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  3. ^ Hostinger. Free Domain Name, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  4. ^ Hostinger. How to Get a Free Domain Registration, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  5. ^ IONOS. Choose the right professional email plan, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  6. ^ Freenom. Free and Paid Domains, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  7. ^ Dot TK. Dot TK, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  8. ^ Square Online. Plans, Retrieved 03/10/2023
  9. ^ Square Online. Use a Free Subdomain with Square Online, Retrieved 03/10/2023

Write to Karen Eloriaga at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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