This is a reworked version of an article I wrote (my own, on my own domain) How to set up a free domain and host your site. In time I will redo the version on that page to reflect the realities of google having stopped free google app accounts.


Some years ago, I decided that I wanted to have my own domain and email address. Being low on funds (or cheap), I didn't want to pay for a domain name, or hosting. This article, therefore, attempts to provide a howto for using a domain registrar ( and a domain hosting service (

Setting up the domain

As I am a South African, my example will use the domain registrar ( This will also explain why I use EN-UK style spelling.

The registrar mentioned above allows one to register either a or domain for free provided you have name servers ready to host the domain. What I like about the service is that it is not limited to non profit / personal use. I'd like to point out that this is not essential to setting up your own free domain as there are many other free domain providing registrars.

Let me stress that again, you need to have your name servers ready before the domain registration is attempted to save yourself headaches!

We will now determine a domain name to use (in the universe), set up an account with a name server provider ( and finally register the domain.

Finding a free domain

The first thing that needs to be done, is to check if the domain that you require is available. Your domain registrar will have a similar feature to check for available domains (Or google WHOIS your_domain).

  1. Navigate to the whois server.
  2. Enter (for example) in the text box on the screen and press enter.
    1. You WANT it to say “No such domain:”.
    2. If it doesn't say this go back to step 1 and try again.

With any luck, you have now found a free domain name “” and are ready to proceed to the next step.

Preparing a name server

I found that the easiest way (for me) to get a name server was to use To set up my name server - I did the following:

  1. Go to - scroll to the bottom of the page and click sign up.
  2. Enter the required details and a valid email address and click send confirmation email.
  3. Open up your email client, and follow the steps in the email you have just received.
  4. You can add a subdomain (not what we are going to do for now!) or continue to the next step.
  5. Click on “Domains” in the left menu.
    1. Click on the text “Add Domain” that appears in the centre of the screen.
      1. I suggest saving this page as you will need the details later on.
    2. In the field labeled “Domain” enter your domain e.g. and select “Private”.
      1. You do not want a Public domain, and if you are lucky when you are complete - your first domain registered to the account will be Invisible / Stealh.
        1. A Private domain allows you to delete any sub domains added by other users of - the general idea being that you will allow most sub domains in the spirit of sharing.
        2. If you are lucky (I think it must be the default) - the first domain you add is marked as invisible - this means you don't have to pay for your first domain!
  6. At this point in time you have a BROKEN domain - but don't fear - we will rectify this shortly!

Creating your domain.

The final step in this process is to head on over to and fill out the form. Most fields are pretty self explanatory so I will only highlight a few areas. TIP: You can not use a free email address such as gmail or yahoo email address - this is an attempt to block “unscrupulous” registrations.

  • If you have an email address with your ISP use that instead as a starting point.
  • If like me, your mobile provides an automatic free email address for your cellphone number, use that instead.

For the name servers (Name1, Name2 and Name3) on the form enter (In Order)


Submit the form and wait for your domain to be registered.

  • (this can take several hours or days depending on the workload of the administrators so be PATIENT!).
  • If you wish to see where your request is in the queue go to, enter your domain (e.g. and you will be able to see where you are in the queue.
  • If there were any errors in your request these will be sent to the email address you provided.
  • Once you receive confirmation that your domain has been created head on back to and log in.
    • Follow the checknow link to see the status of your domain.
      • The resulting web page should NOT indicate status BROKEN.
      • You may need to wait a few hours before checking.


You have now successfully registered a (possibly) free domain, using a free name server service and now just need a hosting service that will provide free email and webspace. Oh one last thing, it would be helpfull if your email / web provider allows you to host your own domain :).

Additional tasks

  1. Find a free web space and email provider that will either allow you to host the domain with them, or will allow you to point your domain hosts to the relevant email server etc.
  2. Configure everything (which is no longer part of the scope of this as I have my free google aps account. Unfortunately, no more free google app accounts so - try one of the many other free email and webspace companies.
  3. PRO TIP: allows for the use of dynamic dns and offers an update client that can be run on your own server. Why would you want to do this:
    1. DynDNS free accounts are no more.
    2. Imagine pointing to your home or work network regardless of how many times your IP changes! Find it here.

Thank You

Thanks for reading my first real attempt at any sort of writing, drop me a note if you think this was bad or good. If you think its good I'll try write some more ! :) If you think its bad, let me know whats bad and I'll try fix it (writing style etc). Drop me a line @ golem on

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