Domains & Alternatives
A recent development in the domain name market has been the offering of free domain names. The small island of Tokelau has started offering .tk domains for free. This is because it is an island of just 1500 people who have always divided everything equally amongst themselves. Because they have no real need for their own domain extension, even though they have been given one by ICANN, they are applying this principal to their domains.
You can now register a free .tk domain which you can point to your website. There are no changes, no advertising and the domain is absolutely free. The only drawbacks are that this is only a redirection service, not DNS, so you cannot have subdomains etc. on it and you do not actually own the domain, although you have full rights to use it. If you want these two you must pay $10 a year.
Subdomains are a very good way of getting a short, memorable address for little or no cost. Subdomains are a free addition to most domain names and usually take the form of: http://yourname.adomain.com e.g. http://news.cgiforme.com. There are hundreds of companies who offer you a subdomain if you host your site with them. Two of these are Netfirms and Freeservers. They offer http://yourname.netfirms.com and http://yourname.freeservers.com. Freeservers also offer several other domains to have your subdomain on.
Some companies, though, specialize in providing short, easy to remember subdomains, for example http://yourname.inuk.com. The only problem with a subdomain (as mentioned in the previous part) is that the company who is hosting the subdomain get free advertising for their site.
Companies like CJB.net offer this service (yourname.cjb.net) for free, but with many of them you must place advertising on your site from them. This does overcome the problem of moving webhosts, as with this redirection address your URL will never change.
Recently, with so many new international domains, there has been a large number of companies set up who offer a free alternative to a domain name. It is not a subdomain but it is still very cheap. The first company to do this was V3-Redirection Services who started offering http://come.to/yourname for free. This was instantly popular and V3 have added several more domains including:
and many others. Smaller companies have also come up with their own versions of this like CGI For Me who now offer http://cfm.to/yourname.
Most of these free providers will ask you to display a banner or logo on the main page of your site. Another option is to have a delay page which shows for a few seconds before your page appears.
The deregulation of the domain name business and the huge number of international domains has meant that it is very easy now to get a good domain name cheaply. If you still don't want to buy one, though, there are many alternatives, many of which are free, and these are certainly worth looking at.
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