With prices sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, the idea of a free domain name is appealing to anyone who wants to have an online presence.
But is it actually possible to get a domain name for free?
The short answer to this question is no, but the more in depth response actually varies depending on what you consider free. For starters, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) charges a fee for all domain name registration transactions.
ICANN says that it is “responsible for the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers like domain names (for example .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet.” Simply put, ICANN makes sure the online world runs smoothly, and this fee helps regulate that environment.
Beyond this cost, there are also fees from domain name registrars – who help with the registration process of all domain names. These companies, however, can basically price domain names however they want, which means you could find an option for as little as $1.
When it comes to free domains, both registrars and web hosting providers sometimes offer free domain names as part of other online packages. If you want to buy a number of domain names from one registrar, for example, you might be able to get some discounted or free, with the registrar bundling costs together so that they still make a profit.
Similarly, if you buy a web-hosting package, there may be an option to get a free domain name as part of the deal. In both of these scenarios you are technically getting a free domain name, but you’re also paying money for other services.
There is also a range of other potential charges that can come with buying a domain name, with many registrars and web hosts offering add-on services, such as email. All of these costs can be an investment for your business or personal website, but it is important to be aware of them before you make any decisions so that you can keep your expenses within budget.
Do You Want A Free Domain Name Or A Free Website?
If you really want to set up a free website, another option is to get a sub-domain. Sub-domains are added onto the beginning of registered domain names and are often free to create and use.
So with this option, instead of the web address being something like freedomain.com, it would be something like freedomain.hostingcompany.com.
Examples of hosting companies that provide free sub-domain names include WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and Wix. These companies benefit from the service because it draws more traffic to their site and can increase their business.
When the first domain names came into existence, they were practically free because no one knew how much they would be worth. But with regulation of the online world now essential, and demand for domains high, there are now a multitude of costs associated with domain names.
Figuring out exactly what you need, however, means you can find the most affordable domain name and website options at any time.