Or What To Do With Your Domain Name, For Free
So you've finally got that really cool domain name you've always wanted; now what? How do you let everyone know how uber-cool you and domain name are? You could give some of these free services that allow you to use custom domains a shot.
I bought my domain almost a year ago. I didn't really have anything specific in mind that I wanted to use the domain for, except perhaps my blog. I didn't want to shell out for hosting or other services that I wasn't really going to use but I also didn't want the domain name to lie idle. So I looked about for free services that I could use. I found only a few and they're listed below (mostly from Google!). The ones that I've not used are starred.
- Google Apps - This is pretty much the best one in the list. It includes a lot of services. You get
- Microsoft Windows Live Admin Center ( formerly Windows Live Custom Domains ) * - Microsoft's answer to Google Apps? You get some Windows Live services for your domain
- Windows Live Hotmail
- Windows Live Messenger
- Windows Live Contacts
- Windows Live Alerts
- Windows Live Photo Gallery
- Windows Live Spaces
- Virtual Earth
This is what I could gather was being offered, the site is a bit confusing as to what exactly is up for use.
- Blogger - The http://myblog.blogspot.com URL is, like, so ordinary, dude. Use Blogger's custom domain feature to publish your blog on http://myblog.mydomain.com. Your old BlogSpot URL is still valid, people will simply get redirected from there to the custom domain. ( I've noticed, however, that http://www.myblog.blogspot.com will NOT redirect! ) Blogger also supports redirection of feeds so if you're using the FeedBurner MyBrand service, you could even redirect your Blogger feed to the one published on your custom domain!
- FeedBurner - After Google's acquisition, all the premium features are now free. So you can use the MyBrand service to change your feed address to something like http://feeds.nogoodatcoding.com/nogoodtipsandtricks; much better than http://feeds.feedburner.com/nogoodtipsandtricks, don't you think? Of course, you have to be using FeedBurner to publish your feeds!
- Free Forum Hosting * - I found these sites that offer free phpBB forums with custom domain name support.
- Free-Space.net * - Free website creation and hosting; the pages are shiny!
One more advantage of putting your stuff on a custom domain name is that if you should ever choose to switch providers ( be it email, blogging platform, feed publisher, whatever ), all you need to do is update your domain settings to point that URL to the new host. Your friends and readers need not update anything!
If you know of any other services that can be added to this list, post a comment! I'll add them to the list ( and credit you, of course :D ).
* I've not used these services but the sites seemed to indicate that they were free and had domain customization features.