Domain names aren’t free — at least not the good ones. I’ve researched many services that advertise so-called “free domain names,” but most carry some baggage. They may have a poor selection of obscure domain extensions (.ml or .cf instead of standards like .com or .org); privacy concerns from advertisement-riddled websites, or questions about whether you actually own the domain.
We suggest you completely avoid these sketchy sites and instead get a free domain name from a reputable web hosting company. This way, you can choose a custom domain name and pay nothing for an entire year. This method also ensures access to useful domain extensions, complete domain ownership, and extra privacy protection tools. Not to mention, the domain you get free from a hosting company can plug right into the site you’re already hosting on its servers. Everything remains in one place.
Best of all, countless web hosting companies offer free domain names for one year. Check out our favorites below.
Every web hosting plan from IONOS comes with a free domain for one year. That includes access to a domain search tool, empowering you to find recognizable domain names — such as .com, .org, and .us — or industry and location-specific domain names, including .dev, .nyc, and .app.
On top of that, IONOS features fast and scalable web hosting that works with a wide range of external tools such as WordPress, PrestaShop, and Drupal. You can even use the free domain name with the professional email account that comes with your hosting.
- Register domains for $1 (or FREE with hosting)
- FREE domain privacy to protect your information
- Easy setup with domain lock and 2GB email inbox
- 99.9% uptime, plus daily backups and recovery
- FREE SSL certificate for safer data transfers
- Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
More about IONOS:
- Daily backup and recovery features
- Support for multiple MariaDB and MySQL databases
- Free professional email addresses to go along with your free domain name
- A free wildcard SSL certificate to protect up to 10,000 subdomains
- A web host manager app for mobile control
- Advanced web hosting options such as VPS (virtual private servers), WordPress hosting, and ASP.NET hosting
The free domain name gets your business started. After that, IONOS offers features to grow your website continually, with ever-increasing storage, PHP (hypertext preprocessor) memory, and RAM (random access memory).
Bluehost boasts a long list of features for those just getting started building a website, and is often recommended for startups and small businesses using WordPress. One of those features: a free domain for the first year of hosting. Some Bluehost hosting plans even provide free domain privacy and website backups for a year.
- FREE domain registration and site-building tools
- Unlimited domains, emails, and bandwidth
- Up to $200 in offers with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
- Top-ranked WordPress host with tons of perks
- 24/7 customer support and online tutorials
- Get started on Bluehost now.
More about Bluehost:
- Simple website scaling with plans designed to support small websites or blogs, and high-traffic websites or online stores
- Free CDNs (content delivery networks) for each web hosting plan
- Options to create professional email addresses with your new domain name
- A collection of WordPress themes
- Online store functionality on some plans, with tools for secure payments, bookings, and unlimited products
- 24/7 customer support
The host also offers SSL certificates, automatic malware scans, and additional plans for dedicated servers and VPS hosting. Bluehost helps make online business accessible and affordable, and it all starts with the free domain name.
The free domain name from Hostinger is part of every hosting plan it offers. That makes creating a website significantly easier, particularly when paired with Hostinger’s automated website migration. You receive the free domain for one year, which is plenty of time to figure out if it’s the right fit.
- Lowest domain prices in the industry
- FREE registration on most plans
- Host up to 100 domains on most plans
- Domain privacy protection safeguards your info
- 99.9% uptime guarantee and automatic backups
- Get started on Hostinger now.
More about Hostinger:
- Managed WordPress web hosting with options for WordPress multisite, staging, and on-demand backups
- A drag-and-drop site builder with AI heatmaps, eCommerce options, and hundreds of templates
- Industry-leading security with malware scans, protected nameservers, and firewalls
- A 30-day money-back guarantee
- Advanced technology for caching, SSH (secure shell) access, GIT access, and DNS (domain name system) management
- Weekly automated site backups
- Unlimited free SSL
Hostinger helps you launch your website with a free domain name, business email addresses, and managed WordPress tools. After that, you can grow into more advanced hosting and even consider one of Hostinger’s dedicated hosting packages.
GoDaddy became famous for its simple domain name purchasing service, but it now offers far more. Users with a GoDaddy hosting plan can access a free domain name for one year, a drag-and-drop website builder, and a control panel made for clutter-free site management. Through the dashboard, you can handle website backups, SSL certificates, and website security. The entire DNS management area sits on the dashboard, as well, allowing you to complete domain transfers and create subdomains.
- World’s largest domain registrar with 17+ million domains under management
- FREE domain included with annual plans
- Manage your domains via cPanel or Plesk
- FREE email hosting at your domain
- 99.9% website uptime guaranteed
- Get started on GoDaddy now.
More about GoDaddy:
- Free domain privacy to keep your WHOIS information confidential
- “Payable” domains for accepting payments from clients through a link on your domain
- Access to thousands of domain extensions such as .today and .live — and traditional options, including .co and .com
- Free SSL certificates with all hosting plans
- Speedy servers, optimized for a 99.9% uptime
- Healthy storage and multiple databases for web hosting
- Free email mailboxes for the first year of hosting
- Network security that handles malware and DDoS protection
- Automated daily backup and restore options
- A one-click WordPress installation button
GoDaddy takes privacy and affordability seriously. Very few domain name registrars and web hosts provide domain privacy for free, and you get an array of other free tools to complement your domain name and overall brand.
5. InMotion Hosting
InMotion Hosting sells affordable domain names and web hosting separately, but when you opt for a hosting account, it adds the domain name for free. Choose from thousands of domain extensions ranging from .com and .biz to .org and .info. Link that new domain name to the website hosted with InMotion, and use it along with one of the several business email addresses you receive.
- FREE domain name and seamless site transfer
- Includes 1-click installer with over 310 apps
- FREE SSDs for shared business hosting plans
- Easy installs for WordPress, Joomla, and others
- FREE backups and SSL certificate
- Get started on InMotion Hosting now.
More about InMotion:
- Choose the location of your datacenter
- A security suite filled with protection essentials such as automated backups, a free SSL, malware detection, and DDoS protection
- A complete website builder with pre-built themes and a no-code interface
- GIT version control
- Support for programming languages such as Python, Ruby, and Node.JS
- Comprehensive guides on domain name transfers and management
- WordPress hosting optimization
InMotion offers a wide range of web hosting solutions (dedicated, cloud VPS, OpenMetal Cloud IaaS, Minecraft server hosting), but we suggest starting with shared hosting to see if you enjoy the experience. If not, take advantage of InMotion’s 90-day money-back guarantee.
HostGator offers a free domain name to all new customers, and you can receive a free site transfer. In addition, HostGator provides one-click installations for various apps and builders, including WordPress. You can register a domain name through the HostGator website as long as you sign up for its web hosting services. Consider sticking with an old reliable domain (.us and .org) or consider a unique top-level domain, such as .tech, .website, or .space.
- FREE domain included on all shared, cloud, and WordPress hosting plans
- Manage hosting and domains from one dashboard
- FREE domain locking and auto-renewals
- Easy transfers with helpful 24/7 support
- Unmetered bandwidth, storage, and databases
- Get started on HostGator now.
More about HostGator:
- Intuitive DNS management with dedicated IPs and custom routing
- Domain name features include domain locking, auto-renewal, and email forwarding
- Unlimited email addresses with every hosting plan
- SSD storage for all websites
- Free domain transfers and one-click WordPress installations
- Advanced options to use a CDN and transfer MySQL databases
HostGator provides flexibility and convenience and provides all the tools you need to launch an online presence on its dashboard. The free domain name starts the process, and then you can dive into the visual website builder — with advanced tools — to establish a professional website.
DreamHost strives to provide fast and secure web hosting so users and search engines trust you. Besides the speed and security of its hosting, you also receive a free domain name for a year.
- FREE domain name registration with hosting
- Full DNS management from a custom control panel
- FREE domain privacy protection for life
- ICANN accredited and approved by WordPress
- 100% SSD infrastructure is up to twice as fast
- Get started on DreamHost now.
More about DreamHost:
- Built-in visual website builder with pre-made templates
- WordPress included – with no need to install it yourself
- Option to pay for an email inbox with addresses or to get it for free in some hosting plans
- Free SSL certificate for security
- Speedy SSD storage on all plans
- Automated WordPress migrations
- Unmetered bandwidth and visits per month
- Free domain privacy
- Advanced access to portals for WP-CLI, shell, and SFTP
You may want to give DreamHost a try because of its easy-on-the-wallet pricing and bonuses, such as the free SSL and site builder. If you decide you’d prefer another hosting experience, DreamHost offers a 97-day money-back guarantee.
Hostwinds offers a simplified pricing structure, and most of its hosting plans have the same features. The only change: how many domain names you receive for free. Other than that, users have unlimited bandwidth and disk space on a solid state drive to ensure speedy storage. Although Hostwinds starts off more expensive than others on this list, its plans include enough features to make up for it.
- Unlimited SSD storage, databases, and email
- FREE site migration with cPanel and Softaculous
- Instant upgrades without downtime
- FREE around-the-clock monitoring
- Automatic nightly backups available
- Get started on Hostwinds now.
More about Hostwinds:
- Multiple free domain names with higher-tiered hosting plans
- Drag-and-drop website builder powered by Weebly
- Unlimited FTP (file transfer protocol) accounts
- Free SSL certificates
- An instant website setup with Softaculous auto-installation
- Nightly website and database backups
- Website monitoring for uptime issues and security threats
- 24/7 customer support
Other domain benefits from Hostwinds include unlimited sub-domains and email accounts to use with your custom domain. The free domain name is just one way Hostwinds can help your business, so we highly recommend that you check it out.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name serves as the internet address for a website. Site owners can purchase domain names from domain name registrars and hosting companies. A domain name includes what’s called a domain extension, or top-level domain, which consists of the “dot” and everything after it, such as .com, .org, or .gov.
Once purchased, the owner can use a domain name as their website address and within their business email addresses.
How Do I Get a Free Domain?
You can get a free domain name in many ways, but not without a trade-off. The best way to obtain a free domain name is by signing up for web hosting that includes a free domain for one year. Some website builders, including Wix and Squarespace, offer free domains as well.
Several web hosts and domain name registrars also offer free domain names when you pay for their email services. The last, and least promising, way of getting a free domain name is through a service such as Freenom or Freedomain.one. These services only offer undesirable domain name extensions, and the companies typically own the domain name, not you.
Can I Get a Free Domain for Life?
Not without paying for another service. Some domain providers, including Freenom, give out free domains, but Freenom technically owns the domain name — and it only offers a limited selection of domain name extensions.
Most hosting companies provide free domains for up to one year. IONOS has a “domain for life” deal when you pay for one of its email plans.
Does Google Sites Give You a Free Domain?
No. You can complete a free transfer of any domain name to a website built on Google Sites, but you must purchase it elsewhere, outside of Google Workspace.
Google Sites lacks functionality to search for or buy domain names, but it provides a domain ownership verification and transfer tool. Google Sites is a decent free tool for building a website, but lacks many of the features that other platforms have. WordPress and Wix are better options.
My Final Take on Free Domain Names and How to Get Them
Skip the free domain names from sites with questionable motives; instead, opt for a reputable hosting service that provides free domain registration with hosting. After all, you’ll eventually need a web host to make that domain name useful.
There’s no shortage of quality, affordable web hosting companies that offer a free domain name for your first year of service. You can’t go wrong with IONOS, Hostinger, GoDaddy, or Bluehost. Sign up for a hosting package today to get a free domain name and all the website building essentials.
See Our Full Review of 1&1 IONOS
Whatever type of hosting plan you’re looking for, 1&1 IONOS is a solid choice no matter the scale. Our reviewer Alexandra Anderson recently took 1&1 IONOS for a spin, and rated the popular host a 4.9 in the Domain Hosting category out of a perfect score of 5.0. Here’s what Alexandra had to say about 1&1 IONOS:
A leading web host across the board, 1&1 IONOS offers solutions to meet the needs of all customers. Following a 2018 rebrand, the company focused its priorities on customer support and transparent pricing. Thanks to dedicated personal consultants, numerous site builder options, and a variety of cloud offerings, customers can trust 1&1 IONOS for the long haul.
Before signing up for 1&1 IONOS, it’s a good idea to read through Alexandra‘s full review to learn about all the features 1&1 IONOS offers. You can also compare it to other web hosts to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible:
If you decide 1&1 IONOS is the right choice, keep in mind that it takes just minutes to deploy your 1&1 IONOS server space. And at $1.00 per month, it’s a bargain considering the many great features that come in any 1&1 IONOS plan.