How to Get A Free Domain Name

Four ways to get your own TLD without paying for it

A man looks for free domain names using his laptop.

hocus-focus / E+ / Getty

When you build a website, your domain name is your identity. That's why you want a website that uses a top level domain (TLD) like lifewire.com and not a subdomain of a provider's domain like yourwebsite.yourhost.com. Having your own domain name looks more professional, and it makes your site easier to remember. You normally have to pay for that privilege, but we'll show you four different ways to get a free domain name.

Ways to Get a Free Domain

There are a number of ways to get a free domain, and each one comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Some sources only provide free domains on a limited time basis, and others only provide free obscure country code top level domains (ccTLDs), so they aren't suitable if you're looking for a .com or .net domain. Others let you choose a .net or .com, but they register your domain in their name instead of yours.

Here are the best ways we've found to get yourself a free domain:

  • Watch for promos from Name.com: This service normally sells inexpensive domains, but they sometimes provide domains for free. You have to follow their social media to catch a promo if you want a free domain.
  • Get a free domain from Freenom: This service works in conjunction with Dot TK and others to provide totally free domain names. You don't actually own the domain name, so you can't sell or transfer it.
  • Get the GitHub Student Developer Pack: This option is only available if you can prove that you're a student, but it provides access to a free domain name among other benefits.
  • Use web hosting that provides a domain name: Some web hosting companies provide a free domain name when you sign up. Check to make sure that you will actually own the domain yourself.

How to Get a Free Domain From Name.com

This is the only way we've found to get a totally free domain name with a premium TLD like .com, .net or .org, but it's not very reliable. Name.com is just a domain registrar that specializes in cheap domain registrations, and they don't always have free domains available.

To get a free domain from Name.com, you have to follow them on social media and then wait for them to run special promotions. These promotions sometimes include access to free domains, so remain vigilant and you might score.

How to Get a Free Domain From Freenom

Freenom is another registrar that provides free domain names. The catch is that when you register a free domain through Freenom, they register it in their name and then just give you the right to use it for the length of your registration period. You won't be able to sell or transfer the domain to anyone else, because Freenom actually owns it.

The other important thing about Freenom is that they only provide a limited number of top level domains. You can't use this service to get a free .com or .net domain, but you can get a free .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf, or .gq domain.

Here's how to get a free domain from Freenom:

  1. Navigate to Freenom.com, enter your desired domain name, and click Check Availability.

    The Check Availability option on Freenom.

    Freenom only provides domains with the .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf, and .gq TLDs.

  2. Click Checkout.

    A screeshot of the Freenom domain registration process.

    If your desired domain name isn't available, enter a new one or try one of Freenom's suggested alternatives.

  3. Select your desired registration period, and click Continue.

    A screenshot of the Freenom domain registration process.
  4. Click Verify My Email Address, and wait for an email from Freenom. Click the link in that email to proceed.

    A screenshot of the Freenom domain registration process.
  5. Enter your information, and click Complete Order.

    A screenshot of the Freenom domain registration process.

How to Get the GitHub Student Developer Pack

GitHub is a massively popular community that allows users to host their own code and review the code of others. It enables a collaborative process that allows others to help you improve your code, while you get the opportunity to check out code written by other people.

The GitHub Student Developer Pack is a set of tools and services that are designed to help students get a jump start in writing code. One of those benefits is a free domain, so this is a great way to get your own website up and running if you're a student.

This option is only available if you're actually a student, and it's limited to students who are at least 13 years old.

Here's how to get the GitHub Student Developer Pack so you can claim your free domain:

  1. Navigate to education.github.com/pack, and click Get the Pack.

    A screenshot of the GitHub education pack.
  2. Sign in to GitHub, or create an account and sign in.

    A screenshot of the GitHub sign in page.
  3. Click Get student benefits.

    A screenshot of the GitHub student benefits sign up page.
  4. Select Student, select your email address, and enter a description of how you plan to use GitHub, then click Submit your information.

    A screenshot of the GitHub student benefit request form.

    If GitHub isn't able to verify your student status, you won't be accepted. Use your student email address to sign up if you have one.

  5. If your request is accepted, you'll gain access to the full GitHub education pack. Follow the instructions you receive via email to claim benefits like your free domain name.

How to Get a Free Domain From Your Web Host

The last way to get a free domain isn't totally free, because it requires the purchase of a web hosting plan. A lot of great web hosting companies provide a free domain when you sign up, and this option isn't limited to expensive hosts.

Since you need hosting for your domain anyway, this is a decent option to explore. Once you've narrowed down the best web hosting companies for your particular needs, check to see if any provide a free domain, and that might be the tie breaker you need to make your choice.

We'll use Bluehost for our example, because they offer a free domain with all of their hosting plans, but there are plenty of web hosting companies that provide free domains.

Here's how to get a free domain using this method:

  1. Navigate to the web hosting service that provides free domain names, and locate their free domain offer. Using Bluehost, you would click Get Started.

    A screenshot of Bluehost.
  2. Select your web hosting plan.

    A screenshot of Bluehost plans.

    Make sure to verify that the plan you choose comes with a free domain name.

  3. Select your preferred domain name. If your preferred name is taken, try other options until you find one that's available.

    A screenshot of the free domain name selection process on Bluehost.

    Most web hosting services allow you to register domains with a number of TLDs, including .com, .net, .org, .biz, .space, and more.

  4. Enter your billing information, select any optional hosting add-ons that you want, and submit.

    A screenshot of the Bluehost billing page.
  5. The web host will register the free domain in your name, and you can start building your new site.