Why Do I Need a Domain Name?
Creating a website for your business is just the first step to creating an online presence. You will also need a domain name to attract customers. Think of it like this, your website acts like your physical office online, while your domain name is the physical address of that office. Therefore, a customer can't find your website without a domain name.
A low-cost domain name isn't a significant expense if you are profiting from only one or two sites. However, what about those avid online marketers? If you are profiting from hundreds of sites, even a small per-domain fee will add up. Consequently, some companies turn to a free domain name, limiting their overhead.
What is a Free Domain Name and Can I Obtain One?
Yes, but like most free things, they don't come without a hitch. You may find yourself with a bulky URL, an unusual extension that could confuse customers, or a site with pop-up ads. Let Brandgy break it down for you below.
Types of Free Domain Names
There are three types of free domain names:
- Third-level domain
- First-level domain with less common extensions
- First-level domain with standard extensions
Namecheap Domain Auctions
Web hosting companies or affiliate programs usually distribute a third-level domain name. Yet, this isn't without a downside. The main disadvantage is that your third-level domain will also include a first-level domain name (usually the web hosting company's name).
For example, think about a site produced with NameCheap. If a web designer chooses ‘web hosting' as their third-level domain, the syntax would be namecheap.com/webhosting. Customers could find this domain name type inconvenient. However, a workaround could be redirecting these bulky URLs to another free domain variation.
It's also important to mention that a third-level domain name could require a subscription to the web hosting company; therefore, you might find it's not entirely free.
First-Level Domain with Less Common Extension
The second option to a free domain name is the first-level domain name with a less common extension. Registrars like Dot TK and Freenom allow you to search for domains using extensions such as .tk, .ml, .gr, .co, and .nr. These are far from the easy-to-remember .com or .net extensions, but they are not as cumbersome as a third-level domain name. The primary goal with this type of domain will be ensuring the initial domain name is short and memorable. Thus, bringing balance to the unusual extension.
It's also important to mention that a first-level domain name with a less common extension does necessarily provide you with ownership of that domain. Most of the time, the domain is owned by the registrar, who permits you to use it.
First-Level Domain with Standard Extension
One can obtain a free domain name with a standard extension, such as .com or .org. However, this might require a bit of sleuthing. Some domain owners might offer a domain name for free if it is close to its expiration. You might be able to find these if you search dedicated web admin message boards.
Some companies offer a free domain name because, as a result, they will obtain free ad space. Not sure what that means? Picture this. A customer goes to your website and encounters your content and a pop-up advertisement from the company that provided the free domain. However, this pop-up can be easily overlooked if it doesn't impact the effectiveness of your site.
In short, free domain names can be an exceptional alternative, especially for somebody managing multiple websites and needing a domain for each site. The ideal option for a free domain name is getting a first-level domain through a third-level domain name.