A growing number of hosting companies are offering free domain names to customers who sign up for hosting accounts. The list of providers bundling free domains with hosting plans includes some of the industry's largest hosting specialists, some of whom are including multiple domains with entry-level plans. Major hosting companies have been slashing domain name prices for more than a year as a strategy for attracting small business customers. The widespread use of free domains in hosting packages extends the trend, and is at least partially a response to competition from domain registrars seeking to expand their hosting operations.
1&1 Internet includes a free domain with its $4.99 a month starter hosting plan, and three free domains with its $9.99 a month plan. Yahoo bundles a free domain with its small business hosting accounts, which start at $11.95 a year. Interland includes a free domain with its Value Hosting plan if customers prepay the first year. Netfirms, which sells stand-alone .com domains for $4.95 a year, is offering two free domain names with a $9.95 a month hosting plan.
Pricing on new stand-alone domain names was largely stable this month, with no major changes in leading providers' pricing for one-year .com names.