There are over one billion websites in the world. While this number changes every second, a domain name gives your own identity and lets you stand out from your competitors. For instance, when you type crazyegg.com, you’ll always land on this very website—never somewhere else.
You cannot launch a website without a domain. Read on as we show you how to get a domain name easily, and most importantly, for free.
Why Getting a Free Domain Name Is Worth It
A domain name allows you to create a distinctive online presence exclusive to you and your business. From your customer’s viewpoint, it makes it easier for them to visit their favorite websites.
However, the importance of a domain name isn’t limited to a technical shortcut. A good domain name—one that’s memorable and relevant to your business—can make a significant difference between creating a successful web presence and getting lost in the multitudes of the world wide web.
And it’s even better when that domain is free!
Here are three reasons why getting a good domain name is worth your time:
Helps Build Your Online Brand
A domain name that aligns with your business will help build your brand and create a strong business image.
When your domain matches your company name, it increases your brand awareness. This reinforces your branding and company name by making it easier for customers to remember and return. Increased awareness also creates word-of-mouth publicity opportunities.
Adds Mobility to Your Online Presence
Owning your domain name allows you to take that name with you if you switch to an in-house server or transfer web hosts.
This won’t be possible if you don’t have the ownership rights of your domain. Instead, you’ll have to get a new URL, which will not only lower your search engine ranking but also destroy your existing branding and marketing.
Adds Credibility to Your Business
A great domain name lends instant credibility to your business and puts you in the same online spot as your rivals. It also makes your customers see you as a conveniently accessible company, which can seriously help increase traffic.
It makes your company look professional too. When you publish your site through a free web hosting site or an ISP, your URL will look something like yourisp.com/–yourcompanyname.
What do you think would appeal to your customer more, yourisp.com/yourcompanyname or yourcompanyname.com? We’re sure you’ll agree that the latter looks like a more trustworthy site that deserves your time and money.
Now imagine getting all the above advantages WITHOUT having to pay a single cent for your domain. Amazing, right?
Obviously, getting a free domain is totally worth it.
The Investment Needed to Get a Free Domain Name
You can get a free domain, yes. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be paying for other website services.
Sound confusing? Hear us out.
Many web host companies offer a free domain in exchange for signing up for their hosting plans. Bluehost, for example, gives free domain names for a year to customers who host their websites with them. This way, they profit from you indirectly, where the cost of the domain name is recouped from the hosting fee.
No need to panic, though. This method is still worth it since web hosting is something you’ll inevitably need when building a website. Plus, these web hosts provide you with excellent speed and uptime reliability.
But how much do you actually pay?
The fee you pay for your “free” domain name depends on the subscription plan you choose. For example, Bluehost plans start from $3.95 per month, whereas Dreamhost has plans starting from $2.95 per month. Hostinger, our top pick for the best web hosting services, is the cheapest, with plans starting at $1.39 per month.
Buying web hosting services isn’t your only option, either.
Other companies offering a free domain may want free ad space on your website or access to the personal information of your visitors to sell on to advertisers. We don’t recommend making deals with such companies, as saving $10-$15 per year for those things will not be worth it in the long run.
When it comes to domain name registration, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
4 Steps to Get a Free Domain Name
We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of signing up with Hostinger for your free domain here. Even if you want to sign up with another web host, the steps will be similar. You’ll be getting a free domain either way.
#1 — Head Over to Hostinger.com
Go to www.hostinger.com in your browser.
Once the official website opens, click on Domain Checker under the Domain tab on the top menu bar.
#2 — Check the Availability of Your Desired Domain Name
In the search bar, enter your desired domain name and choose Search. If the domain name is available, you’ll see the option to Add to Cart. Select it.
If the domain name isn’t available, you’ll have to look for other alternatives. You can use free website name generators like Domain Wheel for inspiration. This tool will give you tons of domain name ideas after you type in your niche keyword.
Don’t panic if your first domain name idea is taken. With so many websites online, it happens to the best of us!
#3 — Choose the Type of Hosting
You’ll see the option to Select Hosting Plan just below the Add to Cart option. Click on it.
Hostinger offers tons of hosting options. Select the one that fits your needs best. Here’s a breakdown of each hosting type to make decision-making easier for you:
- Shared Hosting — Best for Small to Medium-Sized Websites
Under shared hosting, you share the same server resources with multiple other websites. It’s why this hosting style is so affordable. While it can accommodate the needs of low-traffic sites, this hosting type can potentially cause slow loading times and performance issues as your traffic increases. Therefore, we would only recommend it if you don’t expect high traffic volumes.
- Cloud Hosting — Best for Growing Websites
Shared hosting isn’t always enough for a quickly growing website. But that doesn’t mean that site owners have to immediately go for the most expensive hosting. Cloud hosting gives users the best of both worlds—the power and reliability of VPS hosting and the simplicity of shared hosting. It’s the perfect option for website owners that want a scalable plan on a budget.
- WordPress Hosting — Best for WordPress-powered Websites
As the name suggests, WordPress hosting has been optimized and fine-tuned to run WordPress websites, allowing users to store all their website files and folders to ensure peak performance. It’s an optimal option for WordPress site owners.
- cPanel Hosting — Best for cPanel-based Web Hosting Solutions
cPanel is well-renowned for its reliability and diversity. Since it can simplify complex technical and development issues, it’s often the go-to option for website owners looking for an intuitive and user-friendly solution. This hosting type eliminates barriers to entry, making it accessible for all kinds of users. Keep in mind that once you install cPanel, you’re fully responsible for the web hosting process.
- VPS Hosting — Best for Getting Dedicated Resources to Scale
VPS hosting gives you access to dedicated resources, so you don’t have to share with other websites. As a result, you get better performance and faster loading speeds. Technically, you still share a server with other websites, but having a virtual server guarantees useful resources to you exclusively. Understandably, this hosting type is aimed at websites that can accommodate a higher price point.
Other than the above, Hostinger also offers Minecraft hosting and CyberPanel VPS hosting. But since you can’t register a domain with these plans, we won’t be discussing them. Ignoring these two, you get a free domain name with every other type of hosting on Hostinger.
To make this guide easier to follow, we’ve chosen Shared Hosting.
#4 — Select Your Web Hosting Plan and Complete the Remaining Steps
Hostinger has three shared hosting plans: Single Shared Hosting, Premium Shared Hosting, and Business Shared Hosting. However, you only get a free domain with the last two options.
We recommend going for Premium Shared Hosting, which is the most popular option and excellent for personal websites.
This plan will cost you $3.49 per month for the length of your initial contract (in order to get this deal, that’s four years), followed by $6.99 per month after your term is up.
In addition to a free domain, you also get several other freebies, including email, SSL, Google ads credit, and unlimited databases and bandwidth.
No doubt, four years is a big commitment, but Hostinger is an excellent web host provider trusted by millions worldwide. If you’re still apprehensive, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee that can come in handy if you aren’t satisfied with the service.
Once you select which plan you want, Hostinger’s checkout page will come up. There, you can opt for a shorter term than four years, just keep in mind it’ll cost more per month.
Select your term, then fill in the email address you plan to use to log in and select a payment method.
Finally, click Submit Secure Payment.
Congrats! You now have a Hostinger web hosting account and a free domain.
After getting a web hosting service and domain, your next step should be to get an amazing website builder. Once your website is ready, you can either use it for blogging, launching an online store—or anything else you want. Here are some Crazy Egg guides to get you started on the right track.