As a key step to market yourself or your business, you need to build an online presence. In this digital age, there is a need to have an online engagement for building a brand. In fact, having a website is the first and foremost step to establish yourself in the cyber world.
A website is a window for all your target audiences to have a glance at the products and/or services that you offer. Even if it is a personal website, it is the easiest way someone can reach you digitally. After cementing a well-curated website that is both informative and pleasing to the eye, you can branch towards email and social media engagement.
Let us say you have finished designing your website and want to get it online. In the process of getting your website online, you must find a hosting service. There are multiple hosting service providers that offer a wide variety of services.
Apart from finding a hosting service, you need to have a unique identity to stand out from competitors. That is where a domain name comes into the fray. Just as it sounds, a domain name is a unique identity for a website on the internet. As a matter of fact, getting a domain name is the foremost step in the process of launching a new website. In this article, we will be sharing with you some important information about the domain name along with the simplest way of getting a free domain name for your website.
What is a Domain Name?
It is essential to know what a domain name is. Especially if you are someone starting out in the website department, it is good to have some fundamental knowledge. A domain name is the address of a website that is entered in the address bar of a web browser.
To put it simply, the address of your website is its domain name. So for hosting a website, a domain name is a must. One can get both hosting and domain name service from the same hosting provider or from separate business entities.
Types of Domains
Domain names are formed using the rules and regulations of the Domain Name System or DNS. All domain names currently in use are added to the DNS. There are multiple levels in the DNS namely the root, first level, second-level, and so on.
The basis for the classification of domain names is the extensions. Extensions are the last part of a domain name.
For example, in www.google.com, .com is the extension. Some of the common extensions are .com, .org, .gov, etc. Following are the different types of domains:
Extensions like .com, .net, and .org fall under Top-Level Domains, which are placed at the first level of the Domain Name System. These domain extensions are more preferable by the users.
There are other TLDs, but the most common are the ones mentioned above.
Sponsored Top-Level Domain
The .gov domain extension is used on websites of government organizations. Another one is edu, which is predominantly used by education-related institutions. These fall under the category of Sponsored Top-Level Domains.
Country Code Top Level Domain
There are extensions based on the countries the site belongs to. Some of these are .us (United States of America), .au (Australia), and .in (India).
The country code top-level domains are used when the target audience is from a specific country.
How to Choose a Domain Name for a Website?
The domain name you choose must resonate with what the website stands for to your target audience.
For example, if a website is named CryptoNews.com, the reader will expect to get information and news about cryptocurrency while visiting that site.
It is a common practice to use the .com domain name extension. Over 50% of all websites use the .com extension. Also, it is found that most people prefer to redirect to a .com domain compared to others.
A domain name must be short and on-point, which makes it easy for an individual to read and remember. It is not recommended that you add numbers or special characters like hyphens in a domain name.
How to Get a Domain Name for Free?
There are cheaper domain registrars like Namecheap, but if you want to keep costs even lower, you should opt for hosting plans that provide you with a free domain name for one year.
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting platforms with the above-said provision. Once you register for any of their hosting plans, they provide you with a one-year free domain. You can either register a new domain with Bluehost or transfer an already existing domain name registered with another hosting service.
There are a few other hosting services that provide a free domain name with their hosting plans. Some of them include HostGator, Hostinger, and DreamHost. Another way is to use a free subdomain, which will append the subdomain along with your domain name.
Also, there are online platforms like Wix.com and WordPress.com that provide you a domain name, but there is a catch. Instead of having a .com site like google.com, you will get google.wordpress.com if you use WordPress for free. On Wix, this will be your website name followed by wixsite.com.
Paid vs Free Domain Name
There are multiple ways to get a domain name. The paid option can be quite costly, especially for someone who is looking to keep the website development cost as minimal as possible. Since hosting a website costs a considerable amount of money per month, buying or registering a domain name could be too much.
Also, the cost of a domain name might vary based on the domain extension, availability, and the domain registrar. Generally, a domain name could cost somewhere between $9 to $15 per year. The paid option offers more variety in choosing a name for the website. But if you are someone starting out and do not want to spend more money, then opt for the free option.
Currently, you could get a free domain name for a year, when you buy from certain hosting services. But after this period of 12 months, you need to renew the subscription to keep the domain name. Using a subdomain is also a great option until you want to improve the visibility of the site. At the end of the day having a standalone domain name is always good for audience interaction.