Register a Free Domain – Is It Worth It?

Nils Knäpper 3/21/2024

Running your own domain for free - it's actually possible. But is it also worth it? Find out in this article!

Whether it's an online store, informative blog, or simply a digital business card: hardly any business can do without its own website these days. And thanks to various providers of website builders you don't need extensive programming or design skills to create a solid online presence. If only it weren't for these constant costs! Because running a domain is, of course, not free - or is it? In fact, there are different ways to launch a website without any costs. In the following article, you will find out what your options are and whether they are right for you.

What exactly is a domain?

Especially at the beginning, future admins are often confused about what exactly a domain is - sometimes the term is even used synonymously for the term website. However, strictly speaking, both terms refer to different things. A website, in general, refers to the actual online presence, which consists of elements such as HTML elements, text, and other media files. The location where this data is stored is referred to as webspace. To put it simply: The website is what your users ultimately see on their screens. The domain, on the other hand, is the name under which visitors can find you. This location is located on the basis of the URL. However, the term domain is also applied to the entirety of an online presence.

Free domains: 4 possibilities for a free website

To answer the question of the existence of free domains right ahead: Yes, they exist! However, be aware that free offers always come with certain limitations. We will introduce you to the different options in detail:

Subdomain with a Freehoster

A popular option for free domain registration is to store it as a subdomain with a free hoster. A popular example of this is WordPress. In the free version of WordPress, a domain can be registered which is then led as a subdomain. The URL would then look something like this:

This is certainly a good option for beginners to try their hand at building their first website. However, for many comfort features and for a top-level domain that does without the “wordpress” in the URL, you have to switch to a paid version of the CMS. Another disadvantage of this option: In the free version, WordPress shows ads on your site that you cannot control.

Register LowTrust-Domain

A LowTrust or Trash-Domain refers to a domain with low trustworthiness. You can register such a domain free of charge in countries like Gabun in Central Africa or Tokelau. Domains from these countries end with .ga or .tk. The disadvantage of such a domain: Due to the low trust score of the domain extension, you have almost no chance of appearing on the search engine result pages (SERPs). From the point of view of search engine optimization, it is therefore strongly advised against LowTrust-Domains.

The provider Freenom, which refers to itself as the world's first and only free domain provider, allows you to register domain extensions for the countries of Tokelau (.tk), Gabon (.ga), Equatorial Guinea (.gq), and the Central African Republic (.cf).

In addition, Freenom also offers free domains that can be registered for the country of Mali with the extension .ml. However, the country-specific criteria for allocation require that you have a residence or a branch in the country.

The reasons why domain registrations with extensions from these countries have low authority vary. Usually, however, this is due to the country-specific allocation criteria: Due to the fast and free option for registration, these domains are often used by scammers and other fraudsters on the internet.

Free domain with advertising

There are also providers that offer a free domain but place advertising banners on your website. The disadvantage of this method is obvious: Nobody wants to expose their users to obtrusively placed advertising from third parties.

Free domain thanks to test phase

A temporary solution for the search for a free domain is to use a test phase, which some providers offer. After this period, however, you have to pay for the domain. However, the providers do without placing advertising banners on your website.

The alternative: Almost free domains

If the above-mentioned options should have deterred you, it is worth taking a look at the cost options, but some are extremely cheap alternatives. Many providers, in fact, offer particularly inexpensive promotional offers for beginners, with which you can register a domain for a few cents a month (For example at Strato Domain currently only 5 cents for a .de-Domain in the first year, status: January 2023). Be aware, however, that after the promotional period you will have to pay the regular price.

Conclusion: Is a free domain worthwhile?

Whether a free domain is worthwhile depends mainly on what you expect from your online presence. As shown, free versions often come with considerable limitations in one place or another. So, if you want to maintain a professional and trustworthy online presence, there is hardly any way around a paid provider. The good news at the end: Domains and web hosting don't have to be expensive and are often offered for just a few euros a month. If you are now looking for a suitable provider, just take a look at our list of domain providers at OMR Reviews. We have already brought along some popular service providers for you:

Nils Knäpper
Nils Knäpper

Nils ist SEO-Texter bei OMR Reviews und darüber hinaus ein echter Content-Suchti. Egal, ob Grafik, Foto, Video oder Audio – wenn es um digitale Medien geht, ist Nils immer ganz vorne mit dabei. Vor seinem Wechsel zu OMR war er fast 5 Jahre lang als Content-Manager und -Creator in einem Immobilienunternehmen tätig und hat zudem eine klassische Ausbildung als Werbetexter.

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