Last Updated on January 15, 2021
Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no cost to you.
Let’s begin with some brutal truth.
You are here because;
- You are about to launch a website and searching for a way to save some money
- You want to set up a website and do not want to spend any money at all.
You have just landed on the right page to address both issues.
The Web Presence Critical Ingredients
Anyone garnering for web presence must have these two critical ingredients. The first is to register your domain name. Number two is to get website hosting.
Domain names identify a website. It’s like a brand or names of people. The only thing is registered domain names must be unique. This is why at domain registration, the domain name registrar will check if your suggested name is available. If it has already been taken, you have to choose another name.
Whilst domain name is the address of your site, website hosting refers to the physical location of your website’s files. The web host company provides physical and technological infrastructure to make your website online whenever it is requested by your customers or site visitors.
The best analogy for web hosting and domain name is a house and its address. The domain name is like the street address which points you to the location of the house. And the house, referring to website hosting is the actual physical location. So the domain name(address) points to where your site is physically stored(computer server).
So if you want to build a site, you will need both domain name and website hosting. You can obtain both services free of charge. However, to have more control of your web presence, you can go premium. Prices for domain registration would typically cost in the range of $9 to $16 per year. Shared website hosting would typically cost in the range of $2 to $9 per month.
How to Save Money When Starting a Website
It is always a thrill to launch your first site or blog. If you are on a budget and there is a chance to save some money, why not go for it? You have an opportunity to find free domain name registration and website hosting.
Before you register domains, make sure to find a name that will brand your online presence appropriately. My advice here is that while this is important, there is no need to spend unnecessary time trying to figure out names. After all, there are so many websites with weird names that have become very popular.
It is also important to note that domain name registrars offer a distinct service from web host providers. However, the growing trend is that one company can be a gateway for both services most likely in conjunction with other service providers. For example, Namecheap primarily offers a domain name register, but you can also host a site with them.
Let’s get back to saving money when launching a site. If you are just starting a site and on a budget, the best web hosting to go for is the shared plan. There are three critical costs here to consider. These are domain name registration cost, hosting cost and SSL certificate cost. The SSL certificate is for the security of your site and domains without it appear as un-secure in the Google Chrome browser.
To save money, you must find a service provider offering either one or two of these critical costs free of charge. Several web host companies offer free domain name registration for the first one year and then you start paying for it on renewal. Similarly, others charge for SSL certificates when others offer it free.
Before you pull out your card and pay to any of the web hosts, you must make sure they are reliable in several other areas. These could be a record uptime, excellent customer support, number of email accounts, storage, unlimited bandwidth, and one-click WordPress installation. I have explained all these terms in this article 21 Things To Know Before Signing Up For Cheap web hosting in 2020.
How Can I Get Free Domain Name and Hosting?
True you can get a free domain name and host. But you must evaluate what you are giving up to get that. I will explain that in a moment.
There are hosting companies that offer a free domain name for one year. This, of course, is a marketing strategy to get you on board. There are other companies that offer free domain names for life. For example, MochaHost offers free domain names for life on condition that you purchase one of the several types of hosting they offer.
When you get free hosting, you certainly must give up something. This is why you must evaluate the purpose of your site. For example, with free hosting, you will not have your own desired custom domain name. Instead, you will have a subdomain of your web host company. For example, if Blogspot is your host then your domain name will be www.blogspot.your site name.com. If you are comfortable with that then you can go for free domain hosting.
Disadvantages of Free Website Hosting
From the onset, it may look attractive to get free website hosting. Unless you are just playing or having a feel of running a website, free web hosting is not the way to establish your online presence. This is because it has disadvantages that will affect your site.
Here are some of them.
- The web host provider is likely to be running adverts on your site. One of the things they normally do is to put their brand in the footer. This is a link which you are not allowed to remove unless you buy some hosting.
- The loading speed of your site may be negatively impacted by insufficient bandwidth that is normally allocated to free hosted websites. There is no free web host provider offering unlimited bandwidth as this is mostly availed to premium web host plans.
- Most free web hosts provide limited storage space running into hundreds of megabytes. Very few are offering up to 2GB storage space. The limited storage space will obviously affect the growth of your site especially if you use a lot of images.
Can I Register a Domain Name for Free?
Sure, you can. Typically, a domain registration runs for one year. Free domains may however not be in perpetuity. Consider the fine print. Normally, free domains are renewed at cost.
There are several web host companies whose hosting features include the provision of free domains. So you can register a domain and buy hosting from the same company.
It is also possible to register a domain with a different company and get web hosting from another. For example, you can register your domain with Godaddy and host your website with Bluehost.
How can I host my own website for free with my own domain?
First, you need to go to a free web hosting provider. But here is a little catch.
You must buy your domain name separately.
Why? Because free web hosts do not offer you custom domains, instead they offer subdomains. So having your own custom domain for a freely hosted site will at least cost you the domain. And this may range in the region of $8 to $12 per year.
Once you are done setting up your freely hosted site, then you can attach your domain to your hosting account. That way you will have a free website with your own domain.
Some of the free website builders that will let you connect your own domain are Weebly, Squarespace, LetsEat and Wix.
Five Reliable Cheap hosting Providers
The cheapest hosting plan comes at $0.80 per month. However, this plan does not offer free domain name registration and a free SSL certificate.
You still get 99.9% uptime. Hostinger also provides 24/7/365 support, easy website builder and WordPress acceleration. You also get 100GB bandwidth.
#2. A2 Hosting
A2 hosting offers several hosting plans with their lowest beginning at $3.92 per month. Included in this offer is a free SSL certificate, easy site builder and any time money-back guarantee.
Under this plan, A2 Hosting does not offer free domain registration but you can still benefit from the free SSL certificate offered.
They also offer 1-click WordPress install, automated server rewind backups, phone and live chat support and a 99.9% uptime commitment.
This is one of the hosting companies officially recommended by WordPress. To create a WordPress site hosted by BlueHost is an easy undertaking.
With the lowest hosting plan beginning at $3.95 per month, BlueHost offers free domain for the first year and is powering over 2 million websites across the world.
Other features of BlueHost include a free SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth, 1-click WordPress installation, 24/7 support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
As the name suggests, this is a secure eco-friendly hosting provider. GreenGeeks replaces 3 times the amount of energy it consumes from the grid in the form of renewable energy credits.
For a low price of $2.95, GreenGeeks offers a wide range of features. Free domain for 1st year, free email accounts, unlimited webspace, and free wildcard SSL to mention just some of them.
If you are just getting started, this is a good plan to start with. And if you care about the environment, GreenGeeks’ eco policy will make your site “carbon-reducing.”
Here is a 100% uptime guaranteed hosting provider. It is super easy to use, fast and reliable and comes with 24/7 expert support.
Starting at $2.59 per month, DreamHost offers a WordPress website builder. There is no code required here as this is a drag and drop site builder that will assist you build your site confidently and quickly.
This hosting plan features more than 200 starter sites to choose from and has a money-back guarantee. DreamHost also offers fast SSD storage and email hosting