Free WordPress Blog with Custom Domain (Step-by-Step Guide)

In this article, I'll show you a rare method to get a free website with WordPress, including custom domain support.

If you are wondering if it is possible to get a free WordPress blog, I'll answer that now. Yes. It is possible. In this article, I'll show you how to start a free wordpress blog with custom domain support.

When you search the internet for free blog hosting with custom domain, the vast majority of the results offer you a free WordPress service. However, with none of these services, you have the opportunity to connect your own domain.

In this article, I'm going to show you step-by-step how to have a free WordPress blog with custom domain support. And I'm talking about a WordPress blog that you can connect to your private domain if you wish.

Introduction

In order to understand what problems this article solves, we first need to make some distinctions and definitions. It would be right to start with the distinction between wordpress.org and wordpress.com.

Why Choose WordPress for Your Blog 

WordPress is an excellent choice for anyone looking to start a blog. It's one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world.

According to a study by W3Techs in 2021, WordPress powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. Another research from the same organization says that WordPress has 62,8% market share among the most popular content management systems.

Its popularity is largely due to its flexibility and ease of use, regardless of whether you're making a simple personal blog or setting up an online store.

Benefits of WordPress 

WordPress offers several key benefits that make it stand out as an ideal platform for blogging:

  • User-Friendly: Even if you're not particularly tech-savvy, don't worry! WordPress has been designed with usability in mind. Its interface is intuitive and easy-to-navigate.

  • Customizable: With thousands of themes and plugins available, it's easy to customize your blog exactly how you want it.

  • SEO Friendly: WordPress includes several features that can help improve your search engine rankings.

  • Community Support: As one of the biggest online communities in the web development world, help is always at hand should you run into any trouble.

WordPress blog options

The Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com 

When choosing to start with Wordpress, it's important to understand that there are two versions: Wordpress.org and Wordpress.com.

Wordpress.org, often referred to as self-hosted Wordpress , gives you full control over your website. You are free to do anything you want and customize it as much as needed. However, this would require some basic understanding of how web hosting works.

On the other hand, Wordpress.com handles all of this for you, so you can focus on creating content. It's free to use at the most basic level, but they offer paid plans that offer more features.

Can I truly create a WordPress blog for free?

In short, yes, you can create a free WordPress blog. 

Can I use my custom domain on the free WordPress blog?

Yes, you can utilize a WordPress blog and use it with your custom domain.

However, if we don't expand this answer, the solutions you can find online will not satisfy your needs. 

Can I get a custom domain for free?

No, you can't get a custom domain for free. Even if there are platforms that tell you otherwise, they will only offer you this if you buy or subscribe a product from them.

There are only a few small exceptions to this. If you are a student and you have an email address with an "edu" top-level domain (TLD), some platforms will allow you to register your custom domain with a very specific TLD, such as ".tech" or ".me".

If you are a student and need a free custom domain, you can read the "Free Resources for Students" section of my article "Free Blog Sites for Students".

How to Create a Free Website?

We need to understand that there is always a trade-off among existing solutions. 

It is a fact that it does not matter whether it is a blog or a website; if you want it to be online, you will need a computer that can respond when the address is requested. 

Therefore, there are three possible ways to make a website online:

  • Hosting at your home: This method allows you to use your computer and host your website at home. You can get a static IP from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or use dynamic DNS services to keep your website reachable even if your IP address changes. In this option, your computer must always be online. Otherwise, the website you self-hosted couldn't be reached. This is the most difficult option in terms of technical knowledge. 

  • Hosting in the cloud: You can use cloud computing services. By doing that, you create a web server and host your website or blog but the cost of the cloud service itself still applies. You're paying for the virtual machine/computer resources, regardless of the software you install. The level of knowledge required can vary significantly between cloud providers. Some companies provide managed solutions that simplify the process.

  • Using a platform service: This is the most common option. Platform services abstract away technical complexity. This option comes at a higher price because the service you use handles all specialized work and carries the burden of cloud computing costs. This is the easiest option for basic websites and blogs in terms of technical knowledge. The learning curve will steepen very much in proportion to the design and functionality you want. Some platform services offer free or low-cost tiers for smaller projects. The focus is on trading costs for convenience.

Free WordPress blog options

Considering the facts I mentioned above, it is reasonable to ignore the first option. 

The second option still requires a considerable amount of technical knowledge and work, which can be very difficult for a non-technical person.

I said that the third option was the most common and the easiest. WordPressdotcom, Ghostdotorg, or other popular blogging platforms are examples of this option. 

Those platforms generally have a free plan. Some people call this type of service a freemium service.

However, almost all of them don't support custom domains on their free plans. You can only use their limited subdomain version.

This is quite understandable. Even though they have optimized their own systems to be much cheaper and less costly than a website you would host in your own cloud, there is still a cloud cost. And it's only natural to expect them to make money from it. After all, these are commercial businesses.

When you search for a free WordPress blog on the internet, almost all the solutions you will come across use this last method. They have the limitations I mentioned. 

There are some exceptions to that.

I've already mentioned them in the Best Free Blogging Platforms article. You can check that out.

Thanks to recent technological improvements and the competition in the field, one more option has become feasible. It is between the second and third options. 

It doesn't cost a dime, but some extra work. 

In order to understand how to create a free WordPress blog, I must explain different types of website architecture.

I promise it will be such a brief explanation.

Traditional Monolithic Website Architecture

Today, traditional websites need a server. 

This server sends the code that ought to appear on a visitor's screen when they access the website. WordPress is this type of website.

The server makes certain calculations based on the page the visitor is on and requests the correct information from the database.

It prepares the necessary markup with the database information. This markup will determine how the new information will appear on the page. This markup is a combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript codes.

The format and data are combined, and the final version of the web page shown to the visitor is prepared and sent to the visitor.

This is what happens behind any web application you visit every day.

Static Website Architecture

It is common for some websites, such as company websites, to show every page to every visitor. These types of websites don't have to calculate every request because what will be shown to a visitor is already known before they visit. 

In other words, the pages shown to visitors are pre-rendered (build-time) rather than calculated at the time of their visit (run-time).

Roughly speaking, because it won't require much calculation, showing these statically generated pages to a site visitor is not much different from accessing an image in Google Drive or Dropbox.

We call these types of sites static sites. 

Because they don't need a server, static hosting cloud services are cheap or free. 

If you ask why free, I would say because of competition.

Unfortunately, a bare-bones static website is very limited and won't fit our needs. For example, due to its architecture, you can't use a static hosting service for a free WordPress blog.

The Method for Creating a Free WordPress Blog

What if we set up such a working environment that our server only works, preferrably on our local computer, only when we need to update our blog?

When we need to update our free WordPress blog, we start the local version of the blog. 

After we are done, we pre-render the whole site, call it exporting as a static website, and then upload it to the static hosting cloud service of choice.

After the final version of the site is decided, it is printed out and made open to the internet after the necessary procedures.

So, it will be reasonable and efficient to generate those pages beforehand.

When you do this to your monolithic website, you will actually produce a static version of it.

What are the Limitations of a Free WordPress Blog?

But there are also disadvantages.

For example, you cannot update it whenever you want. 

When you need to make your changes live, you must render all of your site and deploy it to the cloud. 


A Step-by-Step Tutorial to Create a Free WordPress Blog

Free WordPress Blog

There are some steps you should complete. If you complete those not difficult steps, you'll create a free blog on WordPress at the end of this article.

  1. Install WordPress locally.

  2. Run that WordPress installation.

  3. Make some changes, such as creating a post, installing a theme, or using a plugin.

  4. Export the static version once you think it is ready to publish.

  5. Upload this static export to the cloud service.

Once you need to update your free blog, move to step 2 again.

I) Installing a Free WordPress Locally

We have many options for installing WordPress on our computer. 

Some of these options are:

  • Docker: We will not use this method as it requires relatively more technical knowledge.

  • Bitnami: One of the most ideal applications for installing WordPress.

  • Flywheeel: Allows you to quickly install any number of WordPress applications in isolation from each other.

In this article, I'm going with the third option, but I've made sure to share the other options in case you run into any problems.

In the end, what we need is a WordPress application that will run on our own computers whenever we want.

During the installation process, you will be asked for:

  • A name for the website. (e.g. freeblog )

  • A username and a password for admin access

II) Running Locally Installed WordPress

If you haven't encountered any problems, you have now installed a WordPress blog on your computer. 

If you install WordPress with Flywheel the first time, it is possible that it will be automatically started.

You should see your WordPress environment under the Local Sites heading in the top left. If there is a green light or indicator next to it, it is now active. If it is green, you can stop it at any time by clicking the red "Stop Site" button on the top right.

If there is no green sign, you will see the green "Start Site" button on the top right. With this, you can reactivate your WordPress environment at any time.

When your local WordPress runs, there will be two addresses available for you.

  • Live Website: (e.g. freeblog.local )

  • Admin Panel: (e.g. freeblog.local/wp-admin )

You need to authenticate with the username and password you created in the previous step to access the admin panel.

You can always check whether your changes have been applied or not by visiting the live website.

III) Making Changes on Our Free WordPress Blog

You first need to navigate your admin panel to make any changes. 

After logging in with your username and password, you will have access to your admin panel. 

You can use this panel to use the theme of your choice, install any of the numerous plugins that suit your needs, and create a new blog post. 

How to use your free WordPress blog is beyond the scope of this post. Therefore, I'm leaving this part totally up to you. 

IV) Export the Static Version of Our Free WordPress Blog

When we are done with the changes, we need to export a static version of our free blog.

We will install a specific plugin once and for all in order to get a static output from our free WordPress blog.

To install a plugin on WordPress, first click on the plugins tab on the left side of your admin panel, then click on the install a new plugin button.

So, the first thing to do is to type static export in the search box and install the first plugin that comes up. 

For example, the Simply Static plugin is tailored for this job.

After the installation, we can export the static version if we want to publish our free blog.

In order to do that, navigate to the Simply Static tab on the left, press the Generate Static Files button, and wait for the process to finish. 

When the process is completed, a download link will appear. 

Download the export file and uncompress it into a folder.

Because we have a static version of our blog, we can move on to the next step.

V) Deploying Static Files to a Cloud Provider

There are a couple of static hosting providers where we can deploy the static version of our WordPress for free. Some of those popular options are Vercel and Netlify.

I'm going to use Netlify this time. Navigate to the homepage of Netlify and create an account.

After the sign-up process, you'll be redirected to your dashboard. At the bottom, there will be a section for uploading files. 

Drag-and-drop the local folder to this section. In other words, you need to upload the static version of the site you generated in the previous step. It will be uploaded immediately.


After that, your brand new, free WordPress blog will be ready.