Domain registrars are online ledgers that allow you to create, document, purchase, and manage your domain name. This gives would be visitors to your site an easy-to-remember way to get to it. Standalone registrars exist, but it’s common for web hosting providers to also offer registrar services. The following web hosts also provide domain registrar services, sortable by popular plans or hosts offering free domains.

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Using A Web Host Vs Standalone Domain Registrars

Web hosts frequently include free, or deeply discounted, domain registration for your website for the first year when you sign on with them. After a year passes, the price increases to its regular amount. That said, by keeping your domain registration and hosting in the same account, you have only one login and generally never have to worry about things like changing nameservers.

Domain registrars typically don’t offer free first-year
registration, but their regular price can be a third of the cost of going
through your host instead. While having your registration and hosting separate
requires two accounts and does complicate the setup, the work involved for maintenance
and configuration is minimal.

Ultimately, for a single site account, the difference in cost and labor doesn’t make a significant difference. Furthermore, there is no penalty or commitment for moving your registration from your hosting after the year is up in most cases. If you plan on hosting several sites, the cost can add up and tip the scale in favor of standalone registrars – especially over time.

Do Subdomains Require Domain Registration?

Nope! While creating a subdomain for your website requires a little bit of setup, there is no additional cost associated with creating a subdomain (and if there is, you should consider a new host or registrar). It is important to keep in mind if your hosting provider has any limitations on subdomains though; this is typically more common on shared hosting plans.

How To Register A Free Domain

In order to obtain a free domain, you must first find and
sign up for a hosting plan that includes it as a feature. During the sign-up
process, you can elect to create a new domain or choose to use a domain you
already own and have registered. In the latter case, many hosts will migrate
your domain name to their registrar and include free registration for a year.

While domain registration is generally cheap – frequently costing
$10 to $20 a year – it is also paid up front annually instead of monthly. If
you signup for new hosting when you’re only halfway through the annual cycle of
your registration, it is usually truncated without any prorated refund given to

Finally, keep in mind that “free domain” refers to
registration and not ownership of the domain itself. If you want to use a
domain that is already registered by someone else, it is in your hands to
secure that domain first before taking advantage of any free registration.

Best Free Domain Registration Services

Domain registration operates exactly the same across all
registrars. That said, if this feature is important to you, there are two
factors to take into consideration:

  • The cost of registration after the year is over:
    free domain registration usually covers just the first year of ownership. After
    that, you’ll be charged for the registration at a price designated by the host.
    Since there is no penalty for having registration separate from hosting, it is
    recommended you consider this price when making a purchase.
  • Lifetime free registration: some hosts to provide free lifetime registration so long as you stay with them for your hosting needs.

Further Reading