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My web hosting company is offering a free domain name. Should I take this packaged deal?

My web hosting company is offering a free domain name. Should I take this packaged deal?

The web hosting industry has become very competitive over the last few years. Cheaper hardware, better configuration and management software, fuelled by high demand have resulted in tremendous growth in web hosting.

So it is not surprising that some web hosting companies now give a free domain name with web hosting. How can they do this and generate profit? And more importantly, if the domain name is free with web hosting, should you take it the deal?. On this page, I shall answer these seemingly simple questions!

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Free domain name with web hosting packages

In the late 90s (just before the dot-com bust), there were only a few companies through which one could buy domain names. I remember registering my first one for $70 (for one year). The web hosting market was also just about starting to bloom. Getting a online identity was expensive.

However, years later, with immense competition, the prices of both domain names and web hosting have come down substantially. Even though they own the hardware (the server computers), companies still have to pay “the agencies” for the domain names and bandwidth. It’s but natural that, in order to remain profitable, they “sell” these services.

So if the companies are paying for the domain names, how can they give it for free? That’s because they build the price of the domain name in the web hosting package. On an average, domain names cost about $10 for a year and companies like www.GoDaddy.com, the largest domain name registrar, may offer a discount on this value.

Since domain names are cheap, companies give them for free and absorb the costs in the web hosting package price. After all, a $10 domain name thrown in with a hosting package will only increase its price by about $1 per month.

So is the domain name free? Yes, its just that you don’t see the cost!

Should you take web hosting with a free domain name?

Something free is always attractive, right? However, you need to keep the following in mind if you are going in for a free domain name + hosting package.

  • Will the domain be owned by you?
    Confirm this with the company. The domain name has to belong to you. Thus, you should not be forced to host it with the company for all eternity.
    This is very important point, because the domain name IS, or will become, your online identity.
  • Domain name: free for a year or free as long as you host with the company
    The domain name might be free for only a year. You would need to pay for it from the next year. This is fine as long as you don’t end up paying a price that is way higher than the industry; i.e. your domain name should not cost you $100 from the next year.
    It might also be that you don’t have to pay for the domain name as long as you host it with the company. This is acceptable. However, make sure that you have the provision to shift web hosting (refer the above point)
  • A control panel for your domain name
    Make sure that the company gives you a control panel or equivalent management tool for administering domain name. [Note: The domain name control panel might be different from that of your web hosting account]. Using the control panel you would be able to manage your domain name and even purchase more if the need arises.
  • Be judicious in choosing a domain name
    Just because its free, doesn’t mean that you pick up any old domain name that comes your way. Be judicious in choosing a domain name because it would be your “name on the net”. Read the article on how to get a domain name of choice for further details.

If you’re confused by all this, I suggest checking out www.GoDaddy.com. They are, and have been for some years, the largest domain name sellers in the world. They also offer super deals on domain name + web hosting packages. Click the banner below to avail the latest discount offer from the company.

$.99* .COM Domain! Get going with GoDaddy!

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