15 Best: Domain Name Generator Tools & Hosts (Random / Short / Free)

Seemingly every web professional has a tale to tell about finding a domain name. The story could be silly, like how you snapped up the domain with your friend or coworker’s name. Or maybe you’re hoping to strike it rich by having the domain calling for a college football coach to be fired.

For me, it was securing a domain name for my freelance business — I had a unique brand in mind; how hard could it be? Alas, my dream domain was already taken. I returned to the drawing board with a domain generator to see what options existed for my no-longer-one-of-a-kind brand.

The free tools showed me that even if your first choice isn’t open, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a short, meaningful — and profitable — domain name. Keep reading for a list of our favorite domain name generators, tips to find the best one, and the hosts with which you can register them.

5 Best Domain Name Idea Generators

Almost 335 million domain names have been registered around the world, according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief, which also shows registration rates are still growing. No wonder it can be hard to get a particular domain name. Generators take your keywords and ideas and try to find different words, spellings, and domain extensions that are still available. Here are some of the most popular tools:

  1. Lean Domain Search: Acquired by WordPress parent company Automattic, Lean Domain Search turns up hundreds or thousands of available .com domains after a keyword search. They also will check if the name is available on Twitter and enable you to register the name via WordPress, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and other hosts.
  2. NameMesh: This generator breaks results into eight categories: common, similar, new, SEO, short, fun, extra, and mix. You can then filter them more based on domain extension, availability, and maximum length. NameMesh also boasts a startup company name generator.
  3. Bust a Name: After searching your keywords, Bust a Name lets you check different domain extensions, prefixes, suffixes, punctuation, and spelling. You can also look for domains that start or end with a certain word and will have 11 ways to buy the name you choose.
  4. domainhole: With seven brainstorming tools, domainhole can help you find a domain with or without a keyword. Look for recently expired domain names, or have them create random pronounceable domains. You can check any and all domain extensions to find what you need.
  5. Panabee: Interestingly, this generator wanted to be called Pandabee — but the domain name was already taken. Panabee will suggest related keywords and search if your suggestions are available social media user names.

With so many options for generators and all the domain choices they’re sure to provide, you should have no problem finding just the right domain name for your brand.

5 Tips for Cool & Catchy Domains

Domain names aren’t easy. You need a web address that will be memorable and meaningful for both your visitors and your brand. That alone can be a challenge, but you’re also playing against the clock: The more time passes, the more likely someone will come in and plant their flag on your great idea. Use these tools to find the most powerful domain available.

1. Use a .COM

I’m secretly envious of those who can pull off one of the funky, new domain extensions like .ninja or .pizza. Aside from the quick chuckle, though, users don’t naturally understand that actually is a domain name. The .com extension is far and away the most popular and recognizable. Your non-profit can still get away with .org, but that’s as far as we would push it.

2. Do Keyword Research

How do you expect visitors or customers to find your brand? Help them out by using words that describe your business or goals for the website. Your domain will also fare better in search results. Learn how to do keyword research well — while not overdoing it — here.

3. Keep It Short

Believe it or not, domain names can be up to 63 characters long — here’s the world record. Entertainment aside, you should avoid anything longer than 15 characters. Shorter domains are easier to remember, easier to share, and easier to type without messing up.

4. Avoid Legal Conflicts

This is a big one: Be wary of trademark infringement! Make sure the name you’ve chosen isn’t trademarked, copyrighted, or already being used by another company. Even if you own the domain, a lawsuit could cost you boatloads of money and the domain name itself.

5. Don’t Hyphenate

You might be desperate to use two specific words as your domain name. If that domain is taken, you might be tempted to separate the words with a hyphen — don’t! Punctuation is easy to forget, hard to type, difficult to share, and can give off a spammy vibe.

5 Best Hosts with Free Domains

A domain name is great and all, but you need a hosting plan to actually get a website online. Lucky for you, we know five hosting providers who make registering and transferring domains a breeze. Even better, most will give you a free domain for at least the first year of your plan.

DOMAIN RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • FREE domain registration and transfer
  • Unlimited disk space, domains, and MySQL databases
  • $100 towards Google AdWords and $100 in SEM credits
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $1.99
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Domain Hosting Plans www.ipage.com/domain

Our Expert's iPage Review

With iPage domain hosting, users get a free domain name registration or a free domain transfer, and can host unlimited domains. They offer unlimited bandwidth and emails, plus $200 in advertising credits to help get your website launched… read more + With iPage domain hosting, users get a free domain name registration or a free domain transfer, and can host unlimited domains. They offer unlimited bandwidth and emails, plus $200 in advertising credits to help get your website launched… collapse info -
DOMAIN RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • FREE domain name registration and site-building tools
  • Get up to unlimited domains, emails, and bandwidth
  • Over $150 in offers with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $2.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Domain Hosting Plans www.bluehost.com/domain

Our Expert's Bluehost Review

Bluehost offers all the freebies you need to get started with domain hosting. They include a free domain and transfer, plus unlimited bandwidth and storage. With 24/7 support and $150 in PPC credits, Bluehost offers excellent, reliable domain hosting… read more + Bluehost offers all the freebies you need to get started with domain hosting. They include a free domain and transfer, plus unlimited bandwidth and storage. With 24/7 support and $150 in PPC credits, Bluehost offers excellent, reliable domain hosting… collapse info -
DOMAIN RATING
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0
  • Easy domain registration and transfer services
  • FREE DNS management and custom nameservers
  • Up to unlimited email addresses, domains, and databases
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.92
Money Back Guarantee Anytime
Disk Space Unlimited RAID-10
Domain Name $14.99
Domain Hosting Plans www.a2hosting.com/domain

Our Expert's A2 Hosting Review

There are plenty of excellent cPanel shared hosting providers out there, so what sets A2 apart from the rest? Not only do they offer a ton of features, they've custom-built their packages for enhanced performance, speed, and security — putting your... read more + There are plenty of excellent cPanel shared hosting providers out there, so what sets A2 apart from the rest? Not only do they offer a ton of features, they've custom-built their packages for enhanced performance, speed, and security — putting your priorities above pricing.What's Included? → The FREE & The Easy-to-UseA2 Hosting packages include a free Cloudflare CDN, 24/7 "Guru Crew" support, and their SSD speed boost solution. Within the included cPanel 11 control panel, users will find Softaculous — featuring easy, 1-click installations of popular web applications.Custom Features for Usability & SecurityWith an emphasis on performance, A2 has then gone above and beyond to craft A2-optimized, performance-enhancing solutions for their services.A2-Optimized Software: WordPress & PrestaShopThey have an A2-optimized plugin for WordPress that pre-configures caching and compression options, allowing you to get started on the content side of things quickly and easily. If you land and convert on A2's WordPress landing page, they automatically install both WordPress and their optimization plugin, so the performance enhancements are built in. Similarly, they developed a cPanel plugin that is designed to detect a recent PrestaShop installation and auto-configure optimizations for you.A2-Optimized Security: Enhanced & ProactiveWith A2's "Perpetual Security," users receive free HackScan protection and KernelCare, which runs rebootless auto-updates to kernels daily. They promise 99.9% uptime and 24/7 network monitoring, plus virus scanning and defense against brute-force attacks. WordPress users also benefit from another A2-optimized plugin, which auto-hardens WordPress sites to prevent hacking.Speed Solutions with Turbo Servers & Site AcceleratorNot only was A2 one of the first to offer SSD hosting — featuring three times the page load speeds of standard hosts — but they also built their own Turbo hosting platform. A2's Turbo Servers yield 20 times faster page load speeds, using less CPU and less memory, with fewer users on each server. They also offer their A2-exclusive Site Accelerator, with SPDY and HTTP/2 support.Final Words on Affordable A2 HostingA2 spends a great deal of time and effort performance testing and feeling out the competition to ensure they're giving their customers the best speed, security, and support they can offer, at a price users can afford. Their A2-optimized solutions make it easy, and the usefulness and reliability of their products make them cost-effective. With their 24/7 support, including a WordPress-specific support department, we're confident A2 Hosting can provide the assistance you need to get an affordable site launched and thriving. collapse info -
DOMAIN RATING
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0
  • Recognized as the #1 Domain Name Registrar
  • FREE domain included with annual plans
  • Manage your domains via cPanel or Plesk control panels
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $1.00
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 100 GB - Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (w/ annual plans)
Domain Hosting Plans www.godaddy.com/domain

Our Expert's GoDaddy Review

We’d be remiss not to include GoDaddy on this list of the top domain name hosting providers. Perhaps the most well-known name in the domain space, GoDaddy is widely recognized as the #1 registration services company, and the $1 hosting is tough to... read more + We’d be remiss not to include GoDaddy on this list of the top domain name hosting providers. Perhaps the most well-known name in the domain space, GoDaddy is widely recognized as the #1 registration services company, and the $1 hosting is tough to beat… collapse info -
DOMAIN RATING
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0
  • Up to 100 email accounts hosted at your FREE domain
  • 99.9% uptime means your site is almost always online
  • Helpful support available any time of day
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 100 GB - Unlimited
Domain Name FREE for life!
Domain Hosting Plans www.hostpapa.com/domain

Our Expert's HostPapa Review

One of the last remaining privately owned hosting companies, HostPapa is a trusted source for shared, virtual, and dedicated hosting services, including domain name hosting for your new site… read more + One of the last remaining privately owned hosting companies, HostPapa is a trusted source for shared, virtual, and dedicated hosting services, including domain name hosting for your new site… collapse info -

Start Building at Your Unique Domain

Finally have your domain name and hosting package? You’re just getting started — now begins the journey of getting a website designed, built, and published. You should be as proud of your site as you are of your domain name. If you need help with this step, we’ve got you covered. Tons of hosts include intuitive drag-and-drop website builders that remove all the coding from web design. Take a look at our recommended website builder hosts to get started.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Bernheim

Laura Bernheim has spent more than 12 years crafting engaging and award-winning articles that share the passion behind organizations' products, people, and innovations. As a Managing Editor for HostingAdvice, she combines a reputation for producing quality content with rich technical expertise to show experienced developers how to capitalize on emerging technologies and find better ways to work with established platforms. A professional journalist, Laura has contributed to The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, the Sun Sentinel, and the world's top hosting providers. In addition to conducting interviews with industry leaders, Laura drives internal writing and design teams to deliver stellar, timely content that clearly explains even the most difficult concepts.