Like most things in life that are claimed to be free, there are catches. Let’s examine the 3 sources where someone can register a domain name and see if they are indeed giving away free domains, or whether it’s just marketing tactics. The 3 sources are web hosting companies, online website builders and domain registrars.
Web Hosting Companies
Web hosting companies are probably the most notorious for advertising free domains. Do any web hosting companies really offer free domain names? Technically, no. What they’re really offering is, yes, a free domain ONLY IF you sign up for a paid hosting account with them. So, there is a condition to these types of deals.
Online Website Builders
These are web-based applications/sites that allow you to build your own website without any technical experience. A few examples of online website builders would be: BigCommerce, Wix and Yola. This market is growing so much that even companies like GoDaddy and Web.com have jumped on board. As a promotional offering, some online site builders have been providing free domains on some of their paid plans.
Believe it or not, there is a small group of registrars that do provide free domains. But the catch is these registrars only deal with ccTLDs (country-code top level domains) or sub-ccTLDs. So, don’t expect to get any .COMs or .NETs for free. Examples of free domain extensions are: .TK, .ML, or USA.CC. Personally, I think it’s a waste of time registering these domain extensions even if they are free.
If you are looking for free TLDs (top level domains), sorry, but they don’t exist. Some registrars do come close to giving it away for free though. For example, registrars like GoDaddy and Register.com have been known to run promotions offering domain registrations for under $1 for the first year. It doesn’t get much better than $0.99 for a TLD domain registration. Finding coupon codes and promotions for these registrars are easy. Just go to Google and run a search for “registrar name + coupons.” Or, you can find domain coupon codes at specialty sites like DN Promos.