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Domain Names for Free: What Works, What Doesn’t

Updated on October 16, 2011

Domain Names for Free: What Works, What Doesn’t

A Google search of the phrase “domain names for free” turns up more than 12 million results. That’s a lot of people looking for free domain names. Why are they so important? A domain name is the name of your website, but it is also its internet address. Without a domain name that reflects your business, your webpage is likely to be lost. But why go through the hassle of finding a domain name for free? Granted, paying $35 or so for a domain name or two isn’t that expensive. If you are marketing hundreds of sites, however, that $35 will really add up. Many marketers, therefore, will search for domain names for free.

Are There Really Domain Names for Free?

Yes – but not every domain name is created equal. There are two levels of domain names: first-level and third-level. In addition, the multitudes of extensions used on the internet provide even more options. The most common extension is .com, followed by .org and .net. But the search for free domain names can turn up some unfamiliar extensions.

Types of Free Domain Names

Let’s examine these different domain names (for free, remember), a bit more. For purposes of illustration, imagine you are trying to start a website about smartphone reviews.

  • First-Level Domain Names. These are the domain names we are all familiar with. Your first choice for your smartphone website would probably be something like “SmartphoneReviews.com"(which is already taken). That's a first-level domain name. They are easy to remember, but a fee is usually attached. You can sometimes get first-level domain names for free, but often there are distracting pop-ups and other advertisements placed on your site to drum up revenue for the web hosting service.

  • Third-Level Domain Names. Third-level domain names are usually provided by free web hosting services. Yes, these domain names are for free, but there are at least two drawbacks. One is that ads will likely be placed on your site, which is distracting for your readers. The second that the domain name itself is often buried. For example, if you used Google to build your site, your domain name would be sites.google.com/site/smartphonereviews. That’s a mouthful, even if the domain name is free.

  • Using Extensions to Get Domain Names for Free. It is possible to score first-level domain names for free if you get creative with the extensions. For example, the extensions .tk and .co.nr may not be as catchy as .com, but they are free through their respective companies. The point is to make the main part – smartphone reviews – as visible as possible.

  • Finding Other Domain Names for Free. There is one more way to land a free domain name with a common extension. At times, people offer domain names for free on message boards and other webmaster forums. They may be closing the business associated with the site or the name may be expiring soon. It takes some detective work, but it is another option.

Finding a domain name for free may be tricky and require both patience and ingenuity, but for marketers with hundreds of sites to manage, it is a great way to save money.

Free Domain Names

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    • SuperDomains profile image

      SuperDomains 6 years ago from SuperDomains.com - www.SuperDomains.com - Atlanta, GA

      Excellent page. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

    • li smith ion-eco profile image

      li smith ion-eco 7 years ago from Hermanus, South Africa

      Thank you for sharing, I'm taking note for my website!

    • perfumer profile image
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      perfumer 7 years ago from California

      Thanks for your comment KwameG! I appreciate it very much.

    • KwameG profile image

      KwameG 7 years ago from MS

      really nice graphic - nice hub

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