Want to just get started? Sign up for Hostinger and get a free domain today.
If you’re ready to launch a new website, the first place you need to start is with the domain. The domain is the address people will type in to go to your website, so you can see why this first step is crucial. You need to start with finding and registering a domain name, which can be a bit confusing if you’ve never done it before. However, I am here here to show you that it’s actually quite easy to find a domain name and register it – for free.
Yes, you read that right. Whether you’re starting a blog, building an online portfolio, or creating a personal or business website, I’ll show you the quick and easy way to get a free domain name.
Top Rated Domain Registrars to Get a Free Domain Name
If you want to get a free domain name, you’ll need a domain registrar. Here are the top options I’ve identified:
- Hostinger — Best for creating your first website
- Domain.com — Best for keeping domain costs low
- Porkbun — Best deals on unique domain extensions
- Network Solutions — Best for locking down domains for decades
- GoDaddy — Best domain registrar for protecting your personal data
- Namecheap — Best domain registrar for tight budgets
- NameSilo — Most affordable domain deals with bulk purchasing
You can read our full reviews of each domain registrar here.
But today I’m going to show you how easy it is to claim your free domain name with Hostinger. Why? Because hands down, Hostinger is one of the easiest ways for someone new to domain names to get one for free.
There are a few other ways to get a free domain name with free hosting, and I’ll cover those later. But going with Hostinger means you won’t run into the limitations that come with those other options.
6 Steps To Get a Free Domain Name
Getting a free domain is easy, and it only takes six simple steps.
- Go to Hostinger.com
- Select a web hosting plan
- Choose your billing terms
- Create an account
- Enter payment information
- Claim your free domain
Hostinger is a great option to get a free domain, since it comes bundled with its most affordable web hosting packages. These bundle deals are really valuable, because you’ll still need someone to host your future website once you secure your domain name.
With a bundle you kill two birds with one stone. Plus you keep domain registration and web hosting with a single provider.
Hostinger’s low-cost bundles also include WordPress, free email accounts, and other tools you’ll need to build a great-looking website.
The signup process for Hostinger is incredibly easy. Everything is geared toward beginners, so you don’t need any technical experience to get started.
There’s no sign-up risk, either, since Hostinger offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you aren’t happy for any reason, get in touch within a month of the start date to receive a full refund.
Hostinger keeps it simple: Click Start Now and purchase one of the plans with a free domain! But I’ll walk you through getting your free domain name with Hostinger below.
Step 1: Go to Hostinger.com
The first thing you need to do is visit the Hostinger website. The company regularly runs specials, so be sure to pay attention to the offers displayed on their home page.
You’ll see several different menu navigation options. Click the Hosting option, and select Shared Hosting from the dropdown menu.
You’ll see other types of web hosting, like cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and Minecraft hosting. Ignore those.
Shared hosting is the most affordable way to get a free domain name, and it requires the least amount of maintenance and security know-how on your part.
If your website gets super popular, or you want to add some interactive features, you may outgrow shared hosting.
If and when that happens, Hostinger makes it easy to upgrade your hosting arrangement. More resources, more control, more websites–it’s just the click of a button when you’re ready.
Step 2: Select a Web Hosting Plan
After selecting the appropriate type of hosting, you need to choose the right plan.
Hostinger offers a few different options for shared hosting. If you want to get a free domain, don’t select the Single Shared Hosting plan, as it does not come with one.
The cheapest plan is a steal, no doubt, but if you want a free domain, it’s the wrong way to go. That leaves you with the Premium and Business Shared Hosting plans.
Here’s what each plan offers.
Premium Shared Hosting (includes free domain name)
- Create up to 100 websites
- 100 GB SSD storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited databases
- Approximately 25,000 monthly visits
- Create up to 100 email accounts @yourdomain
- Free SSL certificate
- WordPress one-click install and developer tools
Business Shared Hosting
- Everything that comes with Premium, plus:
- 200 GB SSD storage
- Approximately 100,000 monthly visits
- Lightspeed Cache for WordPress
- Daily backups
- Free CDN
Either of these plans is a solid option. I’d lean toward the Premium plan if you aren’t expecting to hit your resource limits in terms of storage or monthly traffic.
I’d recommend the Business plan for folks that are regularly updating their site or expecting a significant amount of traffic. Business plans include automatic daily backups for the last seven days and weekly backups for the last seven weeks.
The ability to restore your site is crucial. Handling backups on your own is a hassle you can avoid with Business plans.
Step 3: Choose Your Billing Terms
After you select the appropriate plan, Hostinger asks you to choose a period for your plan: monthly, 12-month, 24-month, or 48-month.
If you want the free domain, do not select the month-to-month payment option. Hostinger only includes the free domain with terms of one year or more.
The longer your commitment, the greater the discount. You also stretch out that discount for as long as possible, because renewal pricing is never as good. This is not a Hostinger thing, it is just the way every host does it.
If you sign up for longer, Hostinger will actually lower the renewal rate. This is not common. As you can see in the image above, the renewal price for a single month of service is $11.99 per month, whereas the renewal price for a 48-month term drops to $6.99 per month.
The downside to signing up for a longer period is that you have to pay upfront. Again, this is typical of every host. But I’m willing to take the hit with Hostinger because it is a really great deal.
Do the math: Hostinger Premium Shared Hosting saves you over $400 for four years of hosting. Pay a hundred and change today, and don’t worry about your website hosting again until this year’s high school freshmen have graduated.
When you factor in the savings of a free domain name, the price only gets better.
Step 4: Create an Account
After selecting your plan period, you’ll need to share the email address you’ll use to log into your new Hostinger account. Alternatively, you can log in using your account from Facebook, GitHub, or Google.
I’d make this an email you check regularly. If there’s ever an issue with your site, this is how Hostinger is going to get in touch with you.
Step 5: Enter Payment Information
After you set up your email, choose your preferred method of payment. Hostinger supports a range of popular credit cards and payment gateways.
Normally, I’d walk you through some of the other add-ons you want to select as part of your package, but because we’ve decided to go with a 48-month term of Premium Shared Hosting, all of the critical features are included:
- Free domain name: you don’t have to pay for the first year
- Free CDN: better security and site performance
- SSL Certificate activation: keeps your site safe and trusted
All of these added services are great. While you can configure SSL certificates and CDNs yourself, potentially without spending a dime, it’s not easy unless you know what you’re doing. Hostinger makes all of this happen with just a few clicks. Beginners never have to worry about expiring SSL certificates or CDN issues.
Hostinger also waives the setup fee, which month-to-month customers have to pay.
Once you’ve confirmed how you want to pay, enter your payment details and click the button to submit at the bottom of the page:
Step 6: Claim Your Free Domain
Once your payment goes through, you’ll have the option to claim your free domain name.
Select this option unless you want to buy additional domains or connect other domains you own.
From there, Hostinger will walk you through the process of selecting a domain name that’s available. You can search right on their site.
Hostinger offers domains with different extensions, including:
In most instances, a .com domain will be the only one I recommend. But there are two reasons why you might get an alternative domain extension: price and availability.
Getting a .site or .tech domain is cheaper than a .com extension. But in this case, you’re getting a year for free anyways.
Price aside, .com domains will be better for the long-term success of your website.
I recommend getting your domain name set up right away for a few reasons.
- Sure, the chances are small, but someone else could grab your preferred domain name while you are hesitating.
- You’d be surprised how many people hesitate in picking a domain name and never come back to it. You already paid for the service, so force yourself to take this step to keep your project moving forward.
- Don’t second-guess yourself about your name choice! If you made it this far, I’m confident that you already gave quite a bit of thought about the domain name you want, so just pull the trigger and register your domain.
However, if you skip this step now or click out of the window for any reason, don’t worry. You can always claim your free domain later through your Hostinger dashboard.
Other Ways to Get a Free Domain Name
While Hostinger is definitely the best way to get a free domain name, it’s not the only way. Below are a few other free ways to do it.
Use a Free Subdomain
Many website builders offer free subdomains. A subdomain exists within an existing domain name.
For example, if you use a free website builder like Wix to create your website, you won’t have to pay anything for a domain. However, your site will have a subdomain in this format:
Here’s what that would look like if your Wix username was “My Stunning Website 123” and the domain you wanted was “myblogsite.”
This is obviously not ideal. No credible website has a domain like this. The only time I would consider using this method for a free domain is if you were just experimenting with the free features of the website builder. Overall, it isn’t a viable long-term strategy.
You want your domain name to be short and memorable. With a subdomain, it’s neither of those things. Just another generic domain with a bunch of letters your customer has to remember (or rather, forget). Plus, it shows people you’re not even willing to invest the money into an actual domain name.
WordPress is another popular option for a free subdomain. It’s not quite as complex as the free Wix subdomain.
The format for a free WordPress subdomain is:
You can get away with this for a while if you’re using WordPress to run a small blog or personal site. But you’ll eventually want to ditch the subdomain if you want to establish any sense of authority online.
Pay for a Premium Site Builder Plan
Keeping in the same vein as above, you’ll likely notice if you build a site with Wix (or Squarespace, Zyro, or most of our other recommended website builders) that you may not have to settle for the free subdomain.
The catch? You’ll need to bump up to a paid plan with your website builder.
This may not be a worthwhile solution for some folks. Paying for a premium site builder plan is likely to not only negate the savings of a free domain—it’ll almost certainly cost you more. Plus, whatever savings you do get will disappear after one year.
But, if you’re setting up an ecommerce site or something else that needs the enhanced features of a premium Wix or Squarespace plan anyway, this can be a way to mitigate some of that first-year expense.
And, fortunately, even the base-level paid plans for Wix ($14 per month) and Squarespace ($12 per month) come with this bonus. In the case of Zyro, you’ll need to choose their Unleashed plan (second-cheapest) or higher. Fortunately, Zyro often slashes prices on their paid plans, too, for the first year.
However, be very careful to research the rates at which these domains will renew. You don’t want to get stuck with a bad deal that totally wipes away the savings of the first year for free and is more expensive in the end than just paying for a domain from the get-go.
Pay for a Business Email Service
Along the same lines as paying for a site builder plan and receiving a free domain, you can pay for a business email service and receive a free domain. Places like GoDaddy will allow you to pay for a business email account while receiving a free domain for the first year.
Keep in mind the drawbacks that we mentioned in the last section. With some of these services, you will have to pay any ICANN registration fees for your domain. You also will have to begin paying fully for the domain in year two and beyond, and some of these renewal rates can be quite high.
Do your homework before you try to obtain a free domain name by subscribing to a business email service. You may find that it’s a better deal to just pay for a web hosting service like Hostinger to receive your free domain name.
Domain Registrar Ad Programs (Not Recommended)
Domain registrars sometimes offer to give you a free domain in exchange for running ads on your website.
Don’t do this.
There’s nothing wrong with ads on your website. However, you won’t have any control over the ads and their placement with this method. This will not only hinder the experience for your website visitors but will also damage your SEO ranking.
Plus, what if your website got one million views? You wouldn’t see a dime from those ads. All you get is a free domain.
If you want to run ads on your website, do it through a legitimate advertising network, like Google. Don’t exchange ads for a free domain.
Free ccTLD Services (Not Recommended)
The web is full of free TLD (top-level domain) services for different country codes (cc). This refers to the extension after your domain name.
So instead of .com, you can register your domain with country codes like:
- .tk — Tokelau
- .ml — Mali
- .ga — Gabon
- .cf — Central African Republic
- .gq — Equatorial Guinea
You can get these from services like Freenom or Dok.tk.
But I really don’t recommend this.
These country codes make your website seem sketchy, which doesn’t help you build trust with those who visit your site. If you look up reviews about these ccTLD services, you’ll find nothing but criticism. From malicious ads to adult content and random domain removal, you won’t have a pleasant experience if you choose free ccTLD services.
Another big drawback here is that you do not gain ownership of the domain name when you subscribe to one of these services. This means you can’t transfer the domain name to anyone else, and you could lose the domain name at some point in the future if the service changes its mind.
If you are trying to run any sort of legitimate business or blog, using one of these services is not the way to go. It might be free, but it almost certainly will cost your site its reputation.
Hostinger is the best way to get a free domain name. Just sign up for a web hosting plan, and they’ll give you a free domain for one year.
There are other ways to avoid paying for a domain: using a free subdomain, joining an affiliate program, or using a sketchy ccTLD service. But I personally wouldn’t recommend the majority of alternative options.
If you’re thinking about getting a free domain using a random country code from some island in the South Pacific, don’t do it. Saving a few dollars isn’t worth the cost of running a spammy website.
Stick with Hostinger, or check out the best domain registrars for paid alternatives. They’ll give your website and brand a professional edge. First impressions are everything. You don’t want yours to be ruined by a bad domain name.