Getting something for nothing sounds great but it is worth considering the pros and cons of free domains and whether they will meet your requirements. If everything goes wrong you won't lose financially but you may feel "cheated" and feel that you have wasted your time having a free domain name.
Let's look first at some of the popular free domain names and their providers
Free Domains provided without free hosting
This Dutch company in partnership with the national governments of the countries concerned offers the following free domain names:
- Free .cf Domain (Central African Republic)
- Free .gq Domain (Equatorial Guinea)
- Free .ga Domain (Gabon)
- Free .ml Domain (Mali)
- Free .tk Domain (Tokelau) an island in the Pacific Ocean
Once registered these domains can be forwarded to the web address of your choice or name server details can be set to your webspace to enable you to create your website
European site offering .eu.org and .xx.eu.org subdomains (where xx =country two letter code eg uk=united kingdom).
French language site offering free .fr.nf (Norfolk Island), .asso.st (São Tomé and Príncipe), .ze.cx (Christmas Island), .infos.st, .biz.st subdomains
Free Domains provided including free hosting
When you register for a free webhosting package you also receive up to 3 free .co.nf subdomain names
- Free .co.nf Domain (Norfolk Island) an island in the Pacific Ocean east of Australia
When you register for a free webhosting package you also receive up to 5 free .eu5.net/eu3.org/eu3.biz subdomain names
Choice of 10 subdomains - coolpage.biz, freeoda.com, freetzi.com, freevar.com, orgfree.com, noads.biz, ueuo.com, 6te.net, eu5.org, xp3.biz
Ukranian site offering free .zzz.com.ua, .adr.com.ua, .kl.com.ua domain names. Can register up to 3 free domains (sub-domains) and have 2 e-mail accounts. Site available in English.
Pros and Cons
- No need to reveal personal details on a whois registrant document
- You may be able to obtain a domain name which has already been taken with a regular domain name extension (.com, org, .co.uk, .org.uk etc.)
- You have no rights to the domain, since it is not registered in your name. You are only being allowed to use the name. "Your" domain name can be taken from you at any time and either kept by the company or sold to someone else without any recourse.
- Search engines view free domain websites in a poorer light than websites using the more usual domain names .com, .org, .co.uk, .org.uk and other top level or country domain names eg .fr, .de etc.
- In some people's eyes there is an association of websites using free domain names with scam or sites set up for illegal purposes
Do not use free domains for long term or commercial business websites. Restrict use of freedomains such as the above for personal websites or for test websites before commiting to purchasing a domain. However considering the low cost of domains it would be worthwhile to buy a regular domain.
Biz.nf do offer an attractive free package including domain name and free hosting which could be considered suitable for a "hobby" website. It depends whether you already have a professional paid-for webhosting package which permits unlimited add-on domains. If you had such a package then there might not be a need for free hosting.
Other articles by Michael Fowler:
Discussion of the inadequacies of isp e-mail addresses and the free e-mail alternatives available.
The Pros and Cons of using free hosting. A review of the free hosting available in the early days of the internet (1990 - 2000) and the free hosting options available today.
A listing of leading website hosting companies with links to Review centre and Trust Pilot reviews
Notes: Potential Communications does not receive payments from any of the companies mentioned on this page