No, you didn't read the title wrong. you can create a free website with a free domain and hosting. I've used it before. I didn't trust myself to continue with my website back in 2016 and I didn't want to spend any money on something I was unsure of. So I started my research on How to get a free domain, free web hosting, and of course, how do I get a free website builder since I really didn't want to code a WordPress website when I wasn't sure of the future.
Whether it's a practice website learn a bit of WordPress development, work on a bit of personal branding or set up a small business website. We all need to start somewhere. So without further delay. let's get started.
Services like dot.tk provide a free domain for a year. Granted the domain will have a .tk,.ml TLD (Top level domain). But it does mean you get started for free. If you don't mind a small starting fee. GoDaddy always has offers running for .com TLDs. I do not endorse GoDaddy they have great prices for the first year but subsequent years prices are usually very high.
But if you want a quick and dirty start, I would start with a free domain and then switch domains when I get the hang of owing a website and building up an online presence. This is something I do not recommend, domain names carry the SEO value that's built upon a website, and with my recent personal experience migrating from danantony.com to dan.marketing, and the countless other rebranding campaigns I have been a part of have taught me, domain migrations take a lot of time for all URLs to switch out properly on Google. Not to mention the absurd rates I've seen for domain migration services that mostly just set up redirects.
With the free domain name out of the way. It's time to get free web hosting. Without getting too technical, We're going to be setting a basic WordPress Website. Why WordPress? Wix, Squarespace, and other site builders all work very similarly to GoDaddy, Except these sites did a great work with a free website builder. While their website builder is on point, they make most of their money Upselling services and add ons, Not a fan. I feel WordPress websites just scale better in the beginning. It's best not to lock yourself into any Wix or Squarespace environment when you're starting out. Now, Who's going to provide free web hosting? 000webhost! Again free hosting comes with a catch, Free hosting basically means 000webhost will be trying to upsell you Hostinger most of the time. Hostinger and 000webhost are the same company. Hostinger provides free hosting on 000webhost to upsell their actual web hosting service, Hostinger. I've used both, Hostinger is alright to start with for a cheap web host. But their support is terrible.
000webhost provides you with PHP, MySQL database, and cPanel. It's alright if you don't understand what all this means basically you need PHP and a MySQL database to host a WordPress site. The cPanel basically stands for Control Panel an interface to manage the website hosting which makes it easier than learning command lines.
Signup for a free account on 000webhost by selecting the free hosting plan and let's start to Creating a new website on our new web host.
Enter Your Website Domain and create a password to login in to manage your website. You'll find yourself on the Website creation Wizard.
Click on Install WordPress from your Website Manager
Then Create your admin account for your WordPress login.
Wait a bit as WordPress is being installed on your website.
After installation, you will see an “Go TO Config page” button. Click on the button.
And this screen will open, Provide your admin login details.
This is the last and most important step of this tutorial.
Now, your website is LIVE with the WordPress default hello world theme. You can visit your site by clicking on the link provided by 000webhost. Most of the cases, it is “yourwebsitename.000webhost.com” format. which we can change and have it work with the recently obtained free domain name.
Astra is a theme that's bundled with some amazing features that change the whole WordPress website building process a no-brainer. it's also pretty lightweight even though it's feature-packed. You can't go wrong with Astra so let's get it installed. The most important reason, Bundled with Elementor it comes with free website templates.
Installing Astra Theme and a Free Website Template to use with Elementor
When you successfully log in to your WordPress dashboard. Go To >> Appearance >> themes
In the left sidebar options menu
Click on “Add new” button
Now, type “Astra” in search bar and activate theme after installation
After activating Astra theme Go To >> Appearance >> Astra Options
and Click on “Install Importer Plugin”
Next, Select Elementor as a page builder
Next, Select Business filter
And find theme that suits your business needs. Astra have a large collection of themes for multiple business for free.
In this case, I'm going to select the very first template for this example
Now, Click on the Import Complete Site button
Check all options and click on Import
After a while, your website will be imported and will be live.
and that's it. You have a website with all the pages from the template ready to go. Now, We need a way to edit these templates without making it complicated that's where Elementor comes in.
Elementor is a website builder, it's free version packs a bunch that many paid Visual builders lack. it does come with some PageSpeed issues. but if you're starting out getting a responsive website with the ability to edit it visually is not a bad trade-off while we are a free plan on a free web host with 000webhost, A free domain, Let's top this off with a use a free website builder that has a million downloads.
Now a guide for Elementor is something I will expand on a little later.
But for now, How to Install Elementor Page Builder for WordPress will have to do.
Before I end this post, I wanted to give a shout out to Abilash Jaibaskaren and Krishnan Swaminathan. Two juniors I've had the pleasure of mentoring over the last few years. They have started on their own journey to building websites and build their personal brand, makesme proud to see people taking initative. So Kudos to you both.
Now that you own a domain, You can add a lot more to your branding with a free custom Business Email that you can manage from your Gmail account.