How to Get a Free Domain Name

See how a free Mailchimp‑branded domain stacks up against the competition and choose the platform that’s best for you.

Your domain name is your address on the internet. Many companies offer “free” domain names, but their offers are often an add-on to a service you have to pay for, like hosting. Or, the free domain may come with restrictions like limited bandwidth. With a free Mailchimp marketing plan*, Mailchimp-branded domains are totally free—there are no hosting or site-building charges.

*Our free marketing plan allows a max of 2,000 contacts and 10,000 monthly email sends. If you need more, our paid plans have much higher limits and still provide our great website builder and website hosting at no additional charge.

Having a website for your business is more important than ever. In 2020, a report found that 29% of small businesses surveyed say they plan to start using a website before the end of the year, and another 60% say they’ll rely even more on the site they have.

A free domain can be an enticing offer for small businesses hoping to keep up. Not all offers are created equal, though, so it’s important to look closely at what you’re getting.

 
 

Who offers domains for free?

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but free domains exist. That’s why it’s important to understand what an offer entails and whether or not there are associated costs with a domain.

Free domains are most often offered by hosting companies and site builders, like Bluehost, GoDaddy, and Squarespace. Mailchimp also offers a free domain that is Mailchimp-branded, and it comes along with free site building and hosting.

What’s really free?

A domain name is just the web address associated with a site. So once you’ve purchased it, you still need to build the site itself—otherwise, it’s like buying a plot of land and not building a house. You have an address, but there’s nothing there.

Site builders and web hosting companies commonly offer free domain names as perks to earn your business, but they’ll charge to host your site. Mailchimp is the rare exception in offering free Mailchimp-branded domains, hosting, and site building.

What’s a domain extension?

The extension, also called a top-level domain, is the part of a web address that follows the dot. It can be .com, .org, .net, or one of many other options. Unsurprisingly, .com is the most popular—more than half of all domains in the world are .com domains, as this is what people typically associate with businesses.

There are hundreds of extensions, and you might see companies offering domains with more obscure extensions for free.

Mailchimp’s free domains are branded, meaning that your URL will appear as yourdomainname.mailchimpsites.com. It’s common practice for free domains to be branded by the company offering them. With Mailchimp, you can also buy a custom domain if that better suits your business.

Read the fine print

Always check what’s included in a free domain offer. Some companies restrict their free plans with limited bandwidth and storage, which can lead to problems later on. Limited bandwidth and storage can cause your user experience to suffer. A mere 1-second delay in load time can lead to 11% fewer page views and 16% lower customer satisfaction scores.

Page loading times can also impact your SEO ranking. Google may bump you down in search results if your page loads too slowly. If people bounce out because your site takes too long, that hurts your ranking as well.

The bottom line: It may be worth investing in a paid domain if that means better load times.

Watch out for situations in which “free” means “free temporarily.” Some companies will offer the domain for free for the first year only, but after that, you have to pay.

Mailchimp websites aren’t impacted by either of these concerns. There’s no time limit on a free Mailchimp-branded domain—once you claim your domain, it’s always free. There also aren’t any bandwidth limitations, which means that your website’s load time isn’t slowed.

Mailchimp-branded free domain names vs. other providers

When you’re looking at free domains, you’ll want to compare features from different providers.

Here’s a quick glance at what Mailchimp offers compared to some other leading plans: Bluehost’s Basic Plan, GoDaddy’s Free Website Plan, and Squarespace’s Personal Plan.

Here’s a breakdown of a few key features on each:

Mailchimp Free PlanBluehost Basic PlanGoDaddy PlanSquarespace Personal Plan
PricingFree with Mailchimp branding (yourcompanyname.mailchimpsites.com)$9.99 per month and upFree with purchase of GoDaddy hosting, which starts at $9.99 per month$16 per month and up
Site builderNativeAvailable through WeeblyNativeNative
E-commerceYes—with a Stripe-connected buy button*Requires additional paid hostingFree, requires PayPalRequires Squarespace Business or Commerce plans, starting at $26 per month
Marketing tools- Full marketing CRM
- Email
- Social media posting
- Analytics
- Unlimited landing pages
- Social media tracking
- Email
- Email
- Social media
- Google Ads credits
- Promotional banners and popups
- Website analytics

*Paypal and Stripe fees may apply.

How to use your domain name with Mailchimp

Mailchimp lets you do your domain your way. You have 3 basic options:

  • Connect a custom domain you own through another host to your existing or new Mailchimp account
  • Use a Mailchimp-branded domain and customize your subdomains for free. Mailchimp-branded sites will end in “mailchimpsites.com.” Those might look something like yourbusinessname.mailchimpsites.com.
  • Purchase a custom domain name through Mailchimp for as little as $12.99 per year

Whichever you choose, Mailchimp lets you build, host, and promote a website and unlimited landing pages for free. You can build your new website directly through Mailchimp, no coding skills needed.

Mailchimp’s new, intuitive site builder makes it easy to design a professional-looking site without coding or design experience. The new interface is flexible and customizable, making it easy to turn your unique vision into a stunning website that represents an online hub for your brand.

You also have the option to add pop-up and embedded forms to your website so anyone who visits can easily sign up for your mailing list. It’s a simple and no-fuss way to grow your audience. Plus, when you build your website with Mailchimp, you have the option to turn on Track with Mailchimp, which provides insight about your website’s performance.

 
 

Free marketing tools

When you use a free Mailchimp-branded domain, purchase a custom one, or connect one you already own through Mailchimp, you automatically get a free Mailchimp marketing plan with tools to grow your business. All Mailchimp marketing accounts come with a marketing CRM that lets you segment your audience and send targeted messages. Mailchimp’s Free plan is available for customers with 2,000 or fewer contacts and who need 10,000 or fewer monthly email sends. Or, if your business outgrows the Free plan, you can upgrade your Mailchimp account to an affordable paid marketing plan that features more functionality, contacts, and email sends.

By logging into your personalized audience dashboard in your Mailchimp account, you can measure engagement with your marketing campaigns and track visitors to your website. You can even see who’s purchased from you in the past.

Your free Mailchimp marketing plan also gives you access to Mailchimp’s collection of digital marketing tools. You can send emails, post on Facebook and Instagram, and buy digital ads to reach your audience.

What you get with Mailchimp’s paid plans

Ready to do more with your website and marketing? Mailchimp scales with you as your business grows.

Anytime you’re ready to switch from a Mailchimp-branded domain to a custom domain, you can easily search and purchase available domains directly through Mailchimp. All you have to do is enter your business name or the domain you want.

If your first choice isn’t available, you’ll get a list of similar options that are. You’ll even get a suggestion for which domain name to use based on best practices around well-known extensions and user friendliness.

You can use a paid custom domain with Mailchimp’s free marketing plan or upgrade to a paid plan. You can explore plan details and pricing at any time and upgrade when you’re ready.

 
 

Choosing the best domain for your business

Hosts and site builders have different free domain offerings. Now that you know what a few of the companies out there can provide, it’s time to think about your needs and priorities.

Branded vs. custom domain names

Your domain name is almost as important as your business name. It’s how people will find you online, so it needs to be memorable and relevant to your brand.

Mailchimp offers free Mailchimp-branded domain names as part of its marketing plans. That might work well for you, but if you ever decide you want to remove the “mailchimpsites.com” extension from the end of your domain name, you can buy a custom domain through Mailchimp. You can take that step any time you’re ready.

E-commerce availability

Before you choose a domain name provider, consider whether you need to be able to sell through your website. Not all providers allow you to sell on free websites. Some, like Bluehost, have separate plans for online store hosting. Mailchimp lets you easily add e-commerce functionality through the website builder, so people can start buying your stuff.

Marketing needs

How do you plan to promote your website? Not all website hosting platforms will give you the tools you need to effectively market your site.

Whether you’re a new business or an established one with a new website, you need to get the word out there that you’re on the web. According to research from Ahrefs, only 5.7% of websites will rank in Google’s Top 10 within a year of publication. More than 90% of pages, new and old, get no organic traffic at all.

You need a way to promote your website, ideally using channels that will make it easy to track results. Mailchimp lets you design email and social media campaigns and target them to specific segments of your audience. Targeting can be based on how people arrive at your site and what they do when they’re there, so you know that you’re marketing based on their interests.

Launching your website

A free domain name can be your gateway to a web presence for your business, but be careful not to rush into a decision. Not all providers offer free hosting and site building with free domain names and some only offer free domains on a temporary basis.

Think about whether you want to sell things on your site and how you’re going to promote it. Both e-commerce and marketing are included in Mailchimp’s free marketing plan, and they’re easy to use for even the least-experienced site owner.

Get started today by signing up for Mailchimp’s free marketing plan and then picking your free domain name.

When you’re ready, you can pay for a custom domain or upgrade to a paid plan and get more advanced marketing and analytics tools to help you connect with your audience.

Claim your free domain name

Start your business online today, so you can grow tomorrow.

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