Free Domain .TK
|Notes||Minimum 25 hits per 90 days and various other whimsical conditions.|
|DNS Records||A, CNAME, MX, NS|
Since mid-January 2023, all Freenom-based domains (
.gq) are down and not available: "application for new registrations is temporarily out-of-order," says the website, and according to our sources, several of the existing domains have ceased operation due to DNS resolution issues.
With Meta (Facebook) suing Freenom for malpractice, with the company also being sued by one of its main stakeholders, and with national telecom authorities of Gabon and Mali officially taking over the domain name management, it sure seems this is the end of Dot.TK!
Freenom managed to contractually position itself as the manager of these third-world top-level domain extensions. It prides itself on many years of service, but with somewhat mixed reviews. In the past, they have been redirecting to lots of spam and phishing sites, but they supposedly mitigate that issue now by actively analyzing target websites and their traffic patterns.
They require already developed websites and regular traffic of visitors. They support IDN domains (including emojis) when registered as Punycode. More importantly, domain renewals are available only fifteen days prior to the expiration date, and a free domain can be extended for a maximum period of 12 months.
One thing to keep in mind are several unfavorable reviews stating that Dot.TK is a scam. For instance, here is a recent thread on HackerNews. Supposedly, when your site gets a spike of upwards of 100 hits per day, they get unreasonably strict regarding your content or your site availability (i.e. the reliability of your hosting provider), and just if they feel like it, they park your domain at Sedo for their profit. (Interesting fact: According to Wikipedia, the revenues from the
.tk top-level domain represent a significant share of Tokelau island's income.) Of course, you can always try to contact them and hope to get your domain back, but if you're in for anything shady (piracy, adult material, hate speech, MFA sites etc.), better just forget about it. It's all in their Terms of Service:
By accepting this Agreement, you hereby acknowledge and agree that we, in our sole discretion, may modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the service at any part thereof, at any time with or without prior notice, including, without limitation, modification or discontinuance of advertising, content and applications appearing as part of FREE DOMAIN. You agree that we will not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of FREE DOMAIN or any part thereof.
What Users Are Saying
There are reports of the website not being completely glitch-free:
I've been trying for 2 weeks now to register domain with them, and it never ever works. What's the point of providing free services when it never actually works?
Somewhat as an outlier, DjKing says:
Great! Looks professional, works great, and is easy to set up! Wonderful.
And another happy user:
It's the only service provider that provides top-level domains for free.
But most comments are negative, reaffirming the fact some free domains just tend to vanish:
Worked pretty well, but apparently I got too much traffic on my site, because without any warning emails or anything, my domain suddenly disappeared, and now they are trying to charge me $20 to get it back. It would be more worthwhile for most people to just buy a
.comand not have to worry about their domain suddenly disappearing without any warning whatsoever.
I don't know why, but the first time a domain kept working for over 8 months. Then I registered a second domain, and they removed it after 2 weeks and redirected to a scam/ads page.
Next morning when I logged back in, all my domain names were gone. Gone to Ibiza I think. They don't even respond to the emails sent to them.
When your domain starts getting non-zero traffic, you must watch it VERY closely, else you lose it to scammers forever. Their inactivity and renewal policy look like they are specifically tailored for squatters: You may only renew the domain during a short predefined time period before it expires — this means it is very likely that you forget to renew, or are unable to do so. If THEY think the domain does not recieve traffic, they can unregister it any time without warning. And if it does recieve traffic, they may take it because it is premium - and if you don't pay, after a short while they lose interest and unregister it. Quite predictibly, seeing a domain getting unregistered, squatters quickly register it for themselves. Another thing is, unlike a web-hosting, DNS-hosting has very little info about your visitors because of DNS caching. Especially if all your users only use 1-3 local providers. My domain was unregistered a few times, then it became premium for a while for no reason at all, then I managed to register it again, and then I forgot to renew and a squatter grabbed it. They don't even display scam on it, just hoard it. Lots of people get similar results with .TK. The bottom line: it is free and cool, but unless you continously monitor it, squatters will steal you domain sooner or later.
The service was great while it lasted, but once my website hit a certain number of hits per day (100? 500?), it was sedo-parked, removed from the domain list on my account, and it could not be registered again. I am promptly switching to another domain service …
FREENOM IS NOTHING MORE THAN A BAIT-AND-SWITCH, A SCAM. I WAS UNAWARE OF THE COUNTLESS COMPLAINTS AGAINST
.tkUNTIL I WOKE UP TO DISCOVER ALL MY SITES WERE GONE, THEN I E-MAILED THEM AND AS YET NEVER HEARD A WORD FROM THEM.
Basicaly, what they are doing is getting people to develop the ".tk". And we are all falling for it. If you want to put your blood, sweat, tears, and money in a ".tk" just for them to take it from you, then they will be more than happy for your free help. Being another country, you have no action for recourse. And because it was free, they say it was never really yours anyways. Go with a ".com" — it will be cheaper in the long run. If you think your going to get one over on them, think again, this isn't their first rodeo!
Trying to use the website with any web browser, incompatiblity issues run rampant. Ever since Freenom took over, it has been complete and utter garbage.
Then Kyle opposes everyone by writing a really positive review:
.tkdomains exclusively for everything from my personal website to free open source software projects and other experimental websites. They don't even ask for personal private information such as my residential address and telephone number, which most paid domains require that I make public in their whois database, or would make me pay even more just to keep that information from prying eyes. They are also very easy to register, while still being proactive against spam, phishing and other abuses. The
.tkregistry is becoming recognized as one of the safest domain registries on the internet, and actually has fewer spammers and phishing sites than .com, .net, .org and many other paid top-level domains that are somehow seen by the general public as automatically trustworthy. I also like the fact that
.tkseems to have very few problems with squatters, i.e. people who just register domain names and sit on them just so that no one else can have them, never putting a website or any other service on them other than advertising or sponsored search results. This is a huge problem with nearly all paid domain registrars, who generally actually encourage such abuse. I do wish they would provide an alternative to the characters in the picture (CAPTCHA), as I'm visually impaired, and need to use an automated tool in Firefox to get around it, which kinda defeats the purpose of having such a verification system. Other than that, I highly recommend
.tk, and haven't found any other domain registry that is as reliable, offers more value or has such a large number of free domain names still available.
Make of it what you will.