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Free Domains Hosting?
Securing a hosted domain is one of the first steps in creating a successful website. Ideally, you will find a host who offers reliable domain hosting for an affordable price. In some cases, host providers include domain hosting as a free component of your plan.
What's a Domain Name?
Your domain name is the human readable address of your website or web application. Every website needs a domain name, and some hosting providers offer free domain names as part of their packages. Everyone thinks they know what a domain name is, but do you really know how they work? And do you know how pick a good one?
Understanding URLs, URIs, and Domain Names
Every publicly accessible page on the internet has a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), which is sometimes also called a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier).
Geek Note: "URL" and "URI" refer to the same thing. The debate over which term to use is half technical and half philosophical. "URL" implies that it is an address at which to find a resource, and might change. "URI" implies that it specifically identifies the resource itself, and should not change.
The URL for the page you are currently reading is:
Have you ever really thought about what all this means? Let's break it down:
- This is the subdomain. Even though it is before the domain, it is "under" it. A single domain might have several subdomains for different reasons. By tradition, www (World Wide Web) is used for publicly available content.
- This is the domain name. The .com part is called the TLD (top level domain), and the whoishostingthis part is called the second-level domain. Taken together, they are called simply "the domain name" and they are unique to a single owner (which could be a person or organization).
- When you "buy" or "register" a domain name, what you are paying for is the exclusive use of the unique combination of second-level and top-level domain names. If you register example.com, no one else can do so (though that wouldn't stop anyone from registering example.net).
- This is a directory name. If you imagine a file system like you have on your computer, /compare/ is a folder with a bunch of content in it. This is a metaphor, though. In reality, there is no folder named "compare" on our computer. The directory name is really more like a section header.
- This is the specific resource name (or file name) of the page you are looking at. If the website is designed well (this one is!), it will be named something that describes the content itself (a comparison of hosting plans that offer free domains, along with an explanation of how domain names work).
When you register a domain name, you are getting the exclusive right to use the name you register. No one except Google is allowed to put content at google.com. No one but us can put content at whoishostingthis.com.
Picking a good domain name
There are a few things you should keep in mind when selecting a domain name.
Whenever possible, it makes sense for your web address to be the same, or at least related to, the name of your business. If you own a company called "AAA Business Accounting," it doesn't make any sense for you to put your website at abcdepartmentstore.web, does it?
The address of a website is such a major branding concern for some people that they actually name choose a name for their company based on what domain names are available for registration.
Ease of use
If your domain name is 35 letters long and contains a hyphen, an underscore, and a nonstandard spelling of a common word, people are going to have a hard time typing it in to their browser's navigation bar.
On the other hand, this might not matter. Are people most likely to arrive at your website after clicking on some link, or after seeing it on your sign?
It's a good idea to think about how potential traffic patterns onto your site before making a decision.
Some TLDs (the .com or .org part) are more trusted than others.
It is tempting to get the .net domain name if the .com version of the name you want is already taken. But this is almost always a bad idea. People will easily get confused, because almost everyone thinks of .com as the "default" domain ending.
Free domain name hosting
Many hosting companies offer free domain name registration as part of their hosting package. This is a good feature, because you definitely need a domain name to set up a new website.
But you should really look at other aspects of the hosting provider's overall package, and not select a hosting provider based on this feature alone. For one thing, it is very common. For another thing, domain names aren't actually very expensive or hard to get (which is why so many hosting plans offer them free: it doesn't cost them much to do so).
Whatever hosting plan you choose, make sure your domain name is a good one. It will be YOUR unique identifier.
At least until you change it.
If you want to host multiple domains for free, a little more searching may be required. Hosts often provide a few tiers of hosting plans, and the higher your plan tier, the more likely it is to allow multiple domains. Whether or not multiple domain hosting is free hinges on the specific host. In an extremely fortunate case, you might find a host who allows unlimited domains for no additional cost.
When you are looking for free domains hosting, it is advisable to weigh it against the other offerings of potential hosts. Hosting a domain is generally inexpensive, so you want to be certain that the host can meet all of your important criteria. Also consider if the domain hosting is free even when the name is registered with a third party.