Every business website needs a domain name, such as yourbusiness.com, and a savvy business knows there are ways to save money and get a free domain. There are several black hat ways to do this, though there are only two ways a credible business should go about getting a free domain: through a web hosting plan or a site builder plan.
Planning to use your domain with a website platform like WordPress? Then you’re going to need web hosting for your site to be live, so the smart thing to do is to choose a web hosting plan that includes a free domain (and many other money-saving extras), such as Bluehost, for as little as $3 per month.
Ways to Get a Free Domain Name
You have a few options when it comes to getting a free domain name. First, you can use a free domain registrar such as Freenom, which will give you a domain with a .tk extension at the end. While completely free, it’s generally not a wise choice if you’re looking to use the domain for a business website. Instead, consider option two to get a free domain name through a web hosting plan, or option three to get a free domain name through an all-in-one site builder plan.
Here are three ways to get a free domain name:
- Option 1: Free domain registrars (not recommended)
- Option 2: Free domain with a web hosting plan
- Option 3: Free domain with an all-in-one site builder plan
As tempting as it may be, skip the shady free domain registrars if you’re building a business website. The truly free domain registrars do not offer professional domains (e.g., a .com). Instead, you get an untrustworthy-looking .tk domain extension. The better route is to get a free domain through services you’re going to need anyway, such as web hosting through Bluehost for WordPress, or through a site builder plan, such as Squarespace.
Option 1: Use a Free Domain Name Registrar
You can get a domain name from a free domain registrar, but these don’t come with a web hosting plan and are not suitable for business use. Why? The only truly free domains use untrustworthy-looking extensions, such as .tk, opposed to a standard .com. So sure, you can save $12 per year, but a free domain like yourbusiness.tk will immediately make you appear unprofessional to prospective customers.
Looks unprofessional and untrustworthy
Business-quality domain name extensions are not available for free
You don’t own it
More susceptible to hackers
Here are three completely free domain name providers:
If you’re on such a tight budget that you absolutely need a free domain, consider using a subdomain instead of a free .tk domain. A subdomain, such as yourbusiness.wordpress.com or yourbusiness.wix.com, will look more credible than, say, yourbusiness.tk because people are familiar with WordPress and Wix, and both are free to use. As you grow, you can then get a free domain through a web hosting plan for WordPress, or a premium plan with Wix.
Option 2: Get a Free Domain Name With a Web Hosting Plan
If you’re thinking about building a site with the world’s leading content management system (CMS), WordPress, then you’re going to need web hosting. Get the most out of your web hosting plan by choosing one that includes a free domain. On top of that, you will also get one-click WordPress installation, which makes your life easy by automatically connecting your domain and web hosting to WordPress.
On the fence about WordPress? If you’re not sure if you have the time or aptitude, see how easy it can be and learn how to make a WordPress website.
Free domains with plans WordPress users will need anyway
Must purchase a web hosting plan
Free .com domains
Plans usually require a 12-month contract to get a free domain
You own the domain
Looks professional and credible
Automatically connect your domain to your WordPress site
Here are the best overall web hosting providers that come with a free domain:
- Bluehost: Best for getting everything you need to start a small business website, from a free domain to free business email for as low as $2.95 per month.
- DreamHost: Best for affordable, short-term plans that are feature-rich.
- GoDaddy: Best for low-cost, high-storage web hosting plans that include extras like a free domain.
Not sure which web host is right for you? Get the complete breakdown on the best web hosting companies or answer a few questions to find which is right for you.
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Option 3: Get a Free Domain Name With a Site Builder Plan
Those who are looking for an easy way to build a business website at an affordable price will find site builders such as Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix to be a good option. Most offer a free trial so you can see if you like it, and if so, plans start at around $12 per month and include everything needed to build, launch, and manage a professional business website, including a free domain name, web hosting, a drag-and-drop site builder, templates, and search engine optimization (SEO) tools.
Free domain with leading site builders
Must purchase a plan to get a domain
Free .com domains with plans
Site builders are generally more expensive than WordPress
Easiest way to build a site; no web design experience required
Professional and credible appearance
Here are the best site builders that come with a free domain name:
- Squarespace: Best overall for small businesses that want high-quality web design easily and at a low cost.
- Wix: Best for businesses that want an easy way to build a highly custom website.
- Weebly: Best for easing creating an online store.
- GoDaddy: Best for service-based businesses that want to accept online appointments.
Want more help deciding which is right for you? Get the complete breakdown of the best all-in-one sites builders that include a free domain.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the best way to get a free domain name?
The best way to register a free business domain is to use a domain registrar that offers free domains as a part of their web hosting plans. For example, Bluehost offers a free domain when you sign up for its $2.95 per month hosting plan. To begin, select a hosting plan, then follow the prompts to search for a domain, select an available one, and buy web hosting. Get the step-by-step instructions on the process of domain name registration.
How do you choose a domain name?
Those looking to register a domain name for the first time will find how challenging it can be to find an available domain name. There are a number of things you can do to find and choose one, such as adding keywords or your location to your domain, keeping it short, and using the right domain extension. Learn more about choosing a domain name.
How do I get a free email using my domain name?
Many hosting plans offer a free domain and at least one free email account with a matching email address (e.g., email@example.com). Bluehost offers the best deal, which includes five free business email addresses within its ultra-low-cost plan for just $2.95 per month. It also comes with many other money-saving extras too, such as a free domain name and a free SSL certification. Learn more about how to get free email.
How can I get a free website?
There are a number of ways to get a free website, from using site builders such as Weebly with a subdomain (and ads) to using an open-source content management system, such as WordPress. Those building a professional business website will find WordPress to be the best solution, which is free to use and enables you to connect a custom domain with third-party web hosting. Learn more about how to build your small business website.
What are the best domain name registrars?
The best domain name registrars are Google Domains, GoDaddy, and Hover. What they all have in common is that they’re user-friendly, competitively priced, and each includes a unique feature like free domain name privacy or the option to add extras like email and web hosting. For more insight, check out our article on the best domain name registrars.
For anyone looking to build a professional website that appears credible, the best way to get a free domain name is by choosing a web hosting plan that includes a free domain, such as one with the leading web hosting provider, Bluehost, which offers plans as low as $2.95 per month. As tempting as it may be to find a truly free domain, doing so will often waste a lot of time and compromise your ability to make a good first impression or maintain a secure and reliable site.