A domain name is a website address made of a website name, followed by a dot, then an extension like .com (fitsmallbusiness.com, for example). You can receive a free domain by buying web hosting packages that include them or via domain name registrars offering little-known extensions like .tk. Paid domains offer extensions that lends to greater business credibility like .com or .net domains.
Make sure you always retain control of your domain name. There are hundreds of businesses hosting their websites with a web host they’re not happy with. Poor service, surprise invoices, unreliable uptime and email issues are just some of the common issues customers are facing today. What most of them want to do is vote with their feet and walk out the door and find another web hosting provider. They don’t go through with it, however, because moving all their domains to another host is a complete admin headache. Choose wisely from the get-go so you don’t become one of these customers.
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However, there are limitations. You cannot upload files of more than 15MB or transfer your free domain name to another host like you can with Bluehost or .tk, although this is likely to be available in the future for a surcharge. Also unlike dot.tk, .co.nf is technically a subdomain owned by biz.nf. While this makes little difference to visitors besides the slightly longer URL, it does mean you will lose the URL should biz.nf ever discontinue service.
DreamHost offers a free .com domain in its annual hosting plans. The $2.59 annual Shared Starter plan covers one website and unlimited bandwidth and offers one-click WordPress installations. The $5.95 per month Shared Unlimited plan further covers unlimited email and websites and has WordPress preinstalled. DreamHost is best for companies needing a free domain name with affordable hosting alongside a drag-and-drop builder to design very basic websites.
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The best free domains are ones with credible extensions readers or customers trust, like .com, .org, .net, and .edu. These make your readers feel more at ease by offering a professional look that puts your website in the same class as reputable organizations’ and businesses’ websites. To get a free, credible domain name, you can purchase web hosting packages with a company like Bluehost that include a free domain name.
On the one hand, this is a great opportunity for our customers to benefit from fantastic offers, on the other hand it can evoke the wrong impression about the hosting industry in general. In the long run, it is impossible to offer free domain name registration and web hosting services at a high quality level. At IONOS, we have thousands of qualified employees worldwide that run our data centers and support millions of our customers.
Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant.
If you're looking for the best email hosting service -- one that is super easy, cheap, and 100% dependable -- you're in the right place. Our team signed up for accounts with all the popular email hosts and tested each based on reliability, security, ease of use, and more. We were pleased to discover that several offer free, unlimited email addresses; free webmail; and free auto-responders with their plans. See below for our picks of the best email hosting services:
IONOS is always running offers and other deals that add value and will save you money. Recently, for example, users were able to register a .us domain extension and get the first year 100% free. Please note that this offer was restricted to customers with a bonafide US presence. It's important to check back often as we're always posting new deals on domain names and other products.
Contact the owner. Before so much as hinting at a price, simply email to ask whether or not the domain is for sale. If you are known or can clearly be linked to a thriving business, create a generic alternate email address through which to contact them, as your success might be leveraged against you. Be aware, however, that an informal-sounding email address is more likely to be regarded as spam or junk mail.