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Website

9 Proven Ways to Get a Free Domain Name (100% Guaranteed)

Are you looking for an easy way to get a free domain name for your business?

A domain name is your website or business name on the internet. People can type it in their browser’s address bar to visit your website. For example, wpbeginner.com.

Normally a domain name registrar charges anywhere from $9.99 – $14.99 per year, but there are other ways to get a domain name for free.

In this article, we will show you proven ways to quickly get a free domain name. We will also cover what’s the catch behind these free domain names, and things you need to watch out for.

Easy ways to get a free domain name

What’s the Catch with Free Domain Names?

You might be wondering if domain names cost an annual fee, why would any company offer free domain name registration?

Well that’s because they profit from it indirectly.

To build a website, you need two things: domain name and web hosting.

Domain name is your website’s address on the internet whereas web hosting is where your website files and content are stored. See our article on the difference between domain name and web hosting for more details.

Majority of the “trustworthy” free domain name offers that you will see on the internet are from web hosting companies. They offer free domain name to customers who host their websites with them, and the cost of the domain name is recouped from the hosting fee.

This is a great deal for small business owners who’re looking to make a website or start a blog. You need web hosting to build a website regardless, so getting a free domain name is a great deal.

We use this method all the time and highly recommend it for all users.

Now there are some other companies that will offer a free domain name in exchange for you displaying their advertisements or placing their tracking scripts on your website.

We strongly recommend that you avoid these offers. They will likely distribute malware and viruses through your website, and this can become a legal liability for you. The $10 / year saving is not worth a bad reputation or the legal troubles.

With that said, below are the trustworthy and proven ways to get a free domain name.

1. Get a Free Domain Name with Bluehost

Bluehost

This is the best free domain name offer on the market. You’ll need to purchase web hosting from Bluehost, which is one of the best and most affordable hosting companies in the world.

Bluehost has agreed to offer WPBeginner users an exclusive 60% discount on web hosting with free domain name and free SSL certificate.

Basically, you’ll be able to start a website for $2.75 per month.

→ Get This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

Bluehost is one of the biggest hosting companies, and they are also an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Once you sign up, you can follow our guide on how to make a website to quickly start using your domain name.

2. Get a Free Domain Name with HostGator

HostGator

HostGator is one of the most popular website hosting companies on the internet. We use their web hosting for our WPBeginner website.

They are offering WPBeginner readers free 1 year domain name registration on top of a 62% discount on web hosting as well as a free SSL certificate. Basically your website will cost $2.64 per month.

→ Click here to claim this free domain offer from HostGator ←

HostGator offers 1 click WordPress install, professional free business email address, free WordPress site transfer, $200 in marketing credits, and so much more.

3. Get Free Domain with Constant Contact Website Builder

Constant Contact

Constant Contact offers an A.I powered free website builder. It comes with beautiful website templates and a powerful drag and drop editor to add your content.

They are offering free domain registration for 1 year on the purchase of any of their premium plans. Each plan has different monthly pricing and features.

You can start your website for free on a subdomain, but once you upgrade to their Starter or Business Plus plan, you will be presented with an option to get a free domain name.

→ Click here to claim this free domain offer from Constant Contact ←

Constant Contact website builder also offers other powerful features like logo maker, Ecommerce cart, and more.

4. Get a Free Domain Name with GreekGeeks

GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks is an environment-friendly hosting provider. They offer shared and WordPress hosting plans on faster servers with SSD storage and advanced security features.

They are offering WPBeginner users a free domain name with their hosting plans and a 60% discount on hosting. This would make your costs go down to $2.59 per month.

← Get your free domain with GreenGeeks →

GreenGeeks hosting also gets you free SSL certificate and 1-click WordPress installer to easily get started. If you already have a WordPress website then they would transfer it for you.

5. Free Domain Name with SiteBuilder

Sitebuilder.com

SiteBuilder is another popular website builder in the market that offers a free domain name registration with any of their plans.

You can use their hundreds of professionally designed templates and powerful drag and drop website builder to easily create your business website or online store within minutes.

→ Click here to claim this free domain offer from SiteBuilder ←

SiteBuilder offers all the essential features to build a website, and they offer live chat and phone support to assist you in getting online.

6. Get a Free Domain Name with DreamHost

DreamHost

DreamHost is one of the oldest and most reliable hosting companies around. They offer shared hosting, VPS hosting, domain name registrations, and a website builder to create your website.

Luckily, DreamHost is offering WPBeginner users a 47% discount on hosting + free domain name and SSL certificate. You would be able to get it all for $2.59 per month.

→ Click here to claim this free domain offer from DreamHost ←

DreamHost is also an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider. Their offer also includes pre-installed WordPress, free WordPress migration, and expert support.

If you don’t want to use WordPress, then you can still claim this offer and use any self-hosted website builder with your domain name.

7. Get Free Domain with InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting

Another way to get your free domain name is by signing up with InMotion Hosting. They offer WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and a website creator plan.

They are offering WPBeginner users a free domain name and discount on their hosting plans. You can get their premium hosting plan for $4.55 per month.

← Get free domain name with InMotion Hosting →

InMotion hosting offers incredibly fast hosting plans with 1-click WordPress installer, and free BoldGrid website builder. You also get award winning 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email from US based technical staff.

8. Get Free Domain with WordPress.com

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a fully-hosted website builder and blogging platform. It is not the same as self-hosted WordPress.org websites. To learn more, see the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

You can get a free domain name by signing up for a paid plan with WordPress.com (Personal plan or higher). Basically, you’d get all the features of WordPress.com with your own custom domain name.

← Get your free domain name with WordPress.com →

WordPress.com offers multiple plans suitable for different kinds of websites. For example, if you want to install plugins then you’ll need their Business plan. For an eCommerce store, you’ll need their eCommerce plan

You don’t need to install any software, manage updates, or create backups. You also get access to tons of free website templates to make a professional looking website.

9. Get a Free Domain Name with Gator Website Builder

Gator Website Builder

Gator is a new website builder offered by HostGator, the popular web hosting company that we mentioned above.

If you don’t want to use WordPress to build your website, then Gator website builder is a good alternative. They’re offering a free domain name, website, analytics software, customizable templates, and more in their very competitive offering.

← Get your free domain name with Gator →

Although we always recommend everyone to use WordPress, but we know that sometimes people want a WordPress alternative. Gator is an excellent alternative in case you’re looking.

FAQs About Free Domain Name Promotions

Over the last 10 years, we have helped thousands of beginners find domain names, make websites, and start their own online businesses. During this time, we have heard almost every question you can think of.

Following are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about getting free a free domain name.

1. Why are some companies offering free domain names?

Domain names are generally not free. You need to pay a small yearly fee to a domain registrar to buy a paid domain name. If you are just starting a blog or a website, then this adds up to your startup cost.

Some companies use this as a promotional tool to sell their other services and products. They pay the cost of your domain name by hoping to cover the cost from other services.

Many of these companies, like Bluehost are domain registrars themselves. This makes it easier for their users to manage their websites and hosting from the same dashboard.

2. Can I buy a domain name without a website?

Yes, you can buy a domain name from any of the reputable domain registrars online. We recommend using Domain.com because they make it super easy to manage your domain names and point them to any hosting company of your choice.

You can use our Domain.com coupon code to get an additional discount.

If you want domain name ideas, then check out a domain name generator like Nameboy.

3. How is domain name different from website hosting?

A domain name is your website’s address on the internet (e.g. wpbeginner.com). Web hosting is where your website’s data and files are stored.

Think of domain names as the street address and web hosting as the actual house where your website’s files live.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on the difference between domain name and web hosting.

4. Can I transfer my free domain name to a different company or hosting provider?

Yes, you can transfer your domain name to a different domain registrar or a web hosting company that allows you to move your domain registrations.

You can even point your domain name to any hosting service without actually transferring it by simply editing its DNS settings.

5. Which is the best free domain name option?

If you searched on Google, you’ll find hundreds of companies advertising free domain names. Many of these websites will lure you in with a free domain offer and will try to sell you lesser known domain extensions or lock you into their platform.

All the companies we have mentioned above are one of the best companies on the internet with stellar reputations. They all allow you to transfer your domain name to any other company if you need to.

In terms of value, we recommend using Bluehost. They give you a free domain name with robust shared hosting and all the useful tools you’ll need to start your website.

We hope this article helped you find the perfect ways to get a free domain name. You may also want to see our article on how to get a free business email address or how to get free website hosting.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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Website

How to Turn Off Comments Notifications in WordPress

Do you want to turn off comment notifications on your WordPress site?

By default, WordPress notifies the site administrators when there is a new comment on the site.

If you are just starting a new blog, then this feature will alert you of new comments that you can respond to and increase user engagement.

However, these comment notifications could become annoying as your blog grows because you would start getting a lot of them.

Luckily, there is an easy way to disable WordPress comment notification emails. In this article, we will show you how to easily turn off comment notifications in WordPress.

Turning Off Comment Notification Emails in WordPress

How to Turn Off Comment Notification in WordPress (Step by Step)

First of all, you need to login to your WordPress admin area and go to Settings » Discussion page. From here, scroll down to ‘E-mail me whenever’ section where you will see these two checkbox options:

  • Anyone posts a comment
  • A comment is held for moderation

Default WordPress comment email notifications

As shown in the image above, the comment notification emails are enabled by default in WordPress.

Disable Comment Notification Emails in WordPress

To disable comment notifications, you need to uncheck both boxes, and then click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the page.

That’s all!

WordPress will now stop sending comment notification emails to the site administrators and post authors.

If you want more tips to improve your WordPress comment notifications, then you can see our guide on how to how to manage WordPress comment notifications emails.

Turning Off Comment Notification Emails from Other WordPress Websites

Are you receiving comment notification emails from websites other than yours?

If you have commented on a post on another blog and subscribed to its comments, then you will receive comment notification emails every time a new comment is added to the post.

Many blogs nowadays use a plugin like Subscribe to Comments Reloaded to add a comment subscription option in their comment box.

You probably checked or forgot to uncheck the comment subscribe option.

For example, you can see ‘subscribe to comments’ option under the comments section of this article.

Subscribe to Comments in WPBeginner Blog

It is useful if you have asked a support question and waiting for a response from the post author. But if you posted a general feedback comment, then it can distract you unnecessarily.

You can unsubscribe to such comment notification emails by merely clicking on the unsubscribe link in the email.

We hope this article helped you to learn how to turn off comment notifications in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to completely disable comments in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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Using WordPress

9 Best WordPress Plugins for User Generated Content

best plugins for user generated content

Looking for a plugin to enable user-generated content on your WordPress website?

Using such a plugin allows your visitors and followers to submit content on your website directly from its front-end. It can be in the form of written articles, images, videos, audio files, digital images, etc.

User-generated content can be a great way of marketing your business because this content comes mostly from your clients and they are not usually paid for doing that. You can encourage content submissions by your users as a part of your publicity campaigns, guest post submissions, etc.

One of the most successful examples of such a campaign was Starbucks White Cup contest Launch. Starbucks Customers were asked to join the contest and submit a picture of their doodled Starbucks cup as an entry. The winner’s doodle would feature on the limited edition Starbucks cups. More than 4000 customers sent their entries within 3 weeks.

The contest was a huge success. It helped them earn free publicity and customer loyalty by showing users how much they value their customer’s feedback.

In this article, we’ll show you some of the best WordPress plugins for user-generated content sites.

1. WPForms

wpforms, user-generated content plugins

WPForms is a super powerful drag-and-drop form builder plugin that enables you to accept user content submissions, such as guest posts, testimonials, reviews, etc. without having to provide wp-admin access to users. The plugin comes with attractive form templates, that makes it easier for you to create any types of forms. It is super flexible in terms of customization as well thanks to the drag-and-drop builder that it tags along.

This plugin also helps you integrate payment options with your user submission form. This comes in handy if you accept sponsored articles on your site. It is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and works wonderfully across browsers.

2. AccessPress Anonymous Post Pro

AccessPress Themes, user-generated content plugn

AccessPress Anonymous Post Pro is another robust plugin that can be a great addition to your user-generated content site. With this plugin, you can accept standard WordPress guest posts from your users along with a featured image. It even notifies you every time there is a new submission.

With this plugin activated, anyone can submit a post on your site. You can have editable form labels, tooltips/suggestive texts, categorize, and do a lot more. This plugin also comes with a custom field to specify author name and URL. The plugin is consistently being maintained and supported.

3. NextGen Gallery

NextGen Gallery is another amazing plugin that helps you accept user-generated content on your website. With this plugin, your users can submit media galleries right from the front-end. It offers beautiful galleries to display your images in various fancy styles.

You can also have a lot of premium extensions to extend your functions. A few functionalities you can enable with the premium extensions are image proofing, integrate social share buttons, a full-screen pro lightbox, enable digital downloads, and more. Because of its responsive design, your pictures look stunning across devices.

4. WP User Frontend Pro

WP User Front end Pro, user-generated content plugin

WP User Frontend Pro is an amazing plugin for accepting any types of user-generated content. With WP USer Frontend Pro, you can create beautiful directory & membership sites, event registration forms, accept guest articles, and more. Users are even allowed to upload products from the front-end.

This plugin is best suited for membership sites that want to publish stunning content area for the logged in users.
The plugin even lets you offer individual dashboards to your users which can be accessed from the front-end itself. With its brilliant custom field support, you can create any kind of form that you want.

5. Frontend Publishing Pro

Frontend Publishing Pro is another plugin that’s worth giving a try. It’s a fully responsive, flexible and user-friendly WordPress plugin that makes creating user-friendly content sites much easier.

You can create an unlimited number of forms, custom post types, custom fields, enable validators and do a lot more. It even has the option to let you send a thank you message to the users every time they submit a post. Besides, it supports accepting media files in various formats as well.

6. Newsmaker for WordPress

Newsmaker for WrdPress, user-generated plugins
Newsmaker for WordPress is a wonderful plugin that definitely deserves your attention. With this plugin, you can allow your visitors and followers to publish posts, images, links, videos even polls right from the front-end.

Your users can submit content without even having to register on your site. The plugin also lets users edit their submitted post. Both the front and the back-end are translation ready.

7. Prometheus User Submitted Content

Prometheus, user-generated content

Prometheus is a new addition to the WordPress market. The plugin has been loaded with great features so that it’s easy for you to create a user-generated content site with the least effort. You can add a submission form anywhere on your website. It can be on your widget, on a specific page or post, etc. To avoid confusion, you can set up submission rules for your users and display it wherever you want.

It also offers you the option to ban users who break the rules that you’ve set up. The Google ReCaptcha option ensures that your site is safe and is protected from spam. The plugin also sends you email notifications every time there is a new submission on your website. To keep your site clean, you are also capable of filtering curse words and censor unwanted content.

8. User Submitted Posts

User Submitted Post

User Submitted Posts is a free WordPress plugin for accepting and publishing user-submitted content. Currently, this plugin has 30K active installs. It comes with an advanced post submission form by which users can submit a form right from the front-end.

Like other advanced plugins, this plugin also lets you display your form anywhere on your website using the shortcode that it offers. The plugin also lets you translate your posts to more than 20 different languages. It also auto-detects already logged in users, supports multiple emails with email alerts, lets you assign submitted posts to any registered user and do a lot more.

9. Front-end Uploader

Frontend Uploader, user-generated content plugin

Front-end Uploader is another great WordPress plugin that you can use to accept user-generated content on your website. You can use the plugin to create highly customizable forms and add them to your posts and pages. The plugin will hold the submitted content for moderation and will not display it on your website until you approve it.

Because the plugin does not have a form builder at the moment, you will have to use a shortcode to display your forms. You can enable the Akismet and Recaptcha functions to enable spam protection. The plugin also notifies you about any new submission via email by default.

These are some of the plugins that can help you create a user-generated content campaign on your website. For more details, check out this guide on How to Use User Generated Content in WordPress to Grow Your Business to know more.



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Using WordPress

How to Create a Successful Giveaway on Your WordPress Site

wordpress-giveaway

Are you wondering how to do a giveaway on WordPress? Creating a giveaway is a great way to increase brand awareness, boost engagement, grow your email list and social media following, and even generate more sales.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily create a successful WordPress giveaway using RafflePress, the best WordPress giveaway plugin on the market.

Here’s an overview of the steps for creating a successful giveaway on your WordPress site:

  1. Determine Your WordPress Giveaway Goals
  2. Pick a Good Contest Prize
  3. Set the WordPress Giveaway Rules
  4. Use RafflePress to Create a New Giveaway
  5. Name Your Giveaway and Choose a Giveaway Template
  6. Add the Giveaway Prize Details
  7. Choose Your Giveaway Entry Actions
  8. Design Your Giveaway
  9. Configure Your Giveaway Settings
  10. Publish Your Contest
  11. Promote Your Giveaway
  12. Pick the Contest Winner

But, before we get started with this tutorial on how to create a giveaway on your WordPress site, let’s take a closer look at RafflePress.

About RafflePress: The Best WordPress Giveaway Plugin

rafflepress-wordpress-giveaway-plugin

RafflePress is an easy-to-use and powerful WordPress giveaway plugin. With their drag and drop giveaway builder, even beginners can create an awesome giveaway widget or landing page in no time at all.

RafflePress offers a ton of cool features including pre-built giveaway templates, 1-click entry and fraud protection, social media integrations, viral sharing (refer-a-friend), marketing and CRM integrations, tracking and retargeting, and more.

With RafflePress you can easily grow your email list, social media followers, and website traffic.

For more details, check out our full RafflePress review.

Now, let’s get started on how to create a successful giveaway on your WordPress website.

1. Determine Your WordPress Giveaway Goals

Before you start to build your giveaway, you first need to determine why you want to run a giveaway and what you want the outcome of the giveaway to be. By setting goals for your WordPress giveaway, you’ll be able to tell whether your giveaway was successful or not.

There are a number of different goals you can set for your WordPress giveaway, some common ones include:

  • Generate sales
  • Grow your email list
  • Increase website traffic
  • Boost brand awareness
  • Grow your social media following
  • Increase user engagement
  • Gather user-generated content
  • Promote a new product or service

One of the great things about RafflePress is that they offer verified bonus actions that you can add to your giveaway campaign. These actions, such as “follow us on twitter” and “join email list”, allow users to get more contest entries by completing them.

So, it’s important to choose the goals for your giveaway campaign and then create your RafflePress giveaway based on those goals.

2. Pick a Good Contest Prize

Of course, if you want people to enter your giveaway, you need to pick a good prize. A good contest prize is what will attract a ton of people to your giveaway.

Some of the most popular giveaway prizes include:

  • Cash
  • Gift certificates
  • Free products or services

Choose a giveaway prize that relates to your business and is something that you know your target audience will be interested in.

For instance, this hair salon chose a free haircut as their contest prize, makes sense right?

contest-prize-idea

By choosing a contest prize that promotes your business at the same time, you’ll be able to attract a ton of your ideal customers to your website.

3. Set the WordPress Giveaway Rules

Every contest needs rules, so plan them out before you start creating your giveaway.

First, decide how users will enter your contest. Will they be able to simply enter their email address for a chance to win? Or will you require them to submit something in order to enter?

For instance, requiring users to submit a photo to enter your contest is a great way to gather user-generated content to use in your marketing. On the other hand, more people may be willing to enter a contest if nothing is required from them because it’s easier.

You also have to set rules for:

  • Start and end dates – How long will your contest run?
  • Participant rules – Who can enter your contest? Are there age or location limits? How often can they enter?
  • How to pick the winner – Will you pick the winner by random draw, vote, etc.?

When planning the giveaway rules it’s also important to remember your goals. For example, if your main goal is to grow your following on Twitter, make sure to set the rule that users have to follow you on Twitter to enter the giveaway.

Now it’s time to start building your WordPress giveaway with RafflePress.

4. Use RafflePress to Create a New Giveaway

After downloading, installing, and activating the RafflePress plugin, you’ll want to create a new giveaway.

To do so, hover over the RafflePress icon in your WordPress dashboard and click Add New.

rafflepress-new-giveaway

5. Name Your Giveaway and Choose a Giveaway Template

After clicking Add New, you’ll be taken to a new screen. On this screen, you’ll want to name your giveaway first. For example, you can name your giveaway after your prize, such as “iPad giveaway”. This is just for your own purposes, the giveaway name won’t be seen on the front-end.

You’ll also want to choose a template for your giveaway campaign. RafflePress offers a number of pre-built templates that make building your giveaway even easier. These templates are designed to help you reach specific goals such as Grow Your Email List, Grow Your Facebook Page, Pre-launch Campaign, and more.

rafflepress-giveaway-templates

For this tutorial, we’ll choose the Classic Giveaway template, which allows you to create any type of giveaway you want.

To choose this template, hover over it and click on Use This Template.

rafflepress-wordpress-giveaway-template

6. Add the Giveaway Prize Details

After selecting your template, you’ll be taken to the RafflePress builder.

The first step to creating your giveaway is adding your giveaway prize and its details. Click on the pencil icon in the Giveaway Prize Details section.

rafflepress-giveaway-prize-details

Here you can enter the name of your prize along with a short description and upload an image of your prize.

To upload an image of the prize, click on the Select Image button to choose a photo from your media library or upload a photo from your computer.

add-giveaway-prize-details

Once you’re done adding the prize details, click on the Done Editing button.

If your contest has more than 1 prize, you can add another by clicking the +Add Another Prize button.

Underneath the Giveaway Prize Details section, you can also set the start and end dates and times for your WordPress giveaway.

Click the Save button in the top right corner when you’re finished. Remember to click the Save button throughout the process of building your giveaway so you won’t lose any of your changes.

7. Choose Your Giveaway Entry Actions

As we mentioned earlier, RafflePress provides a number of actions users can complete to enter your giveaway. For instance, users can get extra entries by following you on Twitter. So, you’ll want to choose those entry methods for your giveaway now.

You can choose to add as many actions as you want. Most users will be willing to complete all of the actions in order to get as many entries for your giveaway as possible.

Think back to the goals you set for your giveaway earlier when choosing your giveaway entry actions. You’ll want to choose actions that align with those goals.

To pick your actions, click on the Actions tab. The entry actions are sorted into 3 different groups based on goals: Get More Subscribers, Get More Social Engagement, Get More Traffic.

Simply click on any action you want to add to your giveaway.

rafflepress-giveaway-actions

Then, you can set entry options for the action. This includes the title for the action, the value (how many entries users will get for the action), and whether the action is mandatory or not. For certain actions, there will also be a field to enter a URL such as your Facebook page URL.

rafflepress-action-values

You can add as many actions as you want. Just make sure the most important actions you want users to take are worth the most entries. That way you’ll be able to reach your giveaway goal easier.

To rearrange actions, simply drag and drop them into the desired order.

rearrange-giveaway-actions

When you’re finished adding giveaway actions, click Save and continue to the next step.

8. Design Your Giveaway

RafflePress also allows you to customize the design of your giveaway to match your brand and your website.

So, go to the Design tab.

customize-giveaway-design

Here you can choose from 2 different layouts, set a background image or color (for landing pages), choose button color, pick different fonts, and so on.

When your giveaway is looking good, click Save.

9. Configure Your Giveaway Settings

Next, you’ll want to configure the giveaway rules. To do this, head to the Settings tab.

Luckily, RafflePress makes it incredibly easy to come up with rules for your giveaway. You can use the Rules Generator Template to create contest rules in an instant.

Click the +Generate Rules button. A window will come up where you can enter the sponsor name, address, email, minimum age to enter, eligible locations, and other details.

giveaway-rules-generator

The tool will then generate basic contest rules for you.

rules-for-giveaway

In the Settings tab you can also configure settings for email verification, success tracking, success redirect, social logins, and more.

10. Publish Your Contest

Now that you’ve finished building your WordPress giveaway, it’s time to make your giveaway live!
To publish your giveaway, simply click on the Publish button at the top of the screen.

On the next screen you’ll find 3 publishing options, which are:

  • RafflePress WordPress Block – This option allows you to embed the giveaway widget in your WordPress post or page with the new WordPress block editor.
  • WordPress Shortcode – With this choice you can embed the giveaway in the classic WordPress editor, sidebar widgets, or inside your WordPress theme.
  • Giveaway Landing Page – This option allows you to create a distraction-free giveaway landing page on your website.

We recommend creating a giveaway landing page. Because a landing page removes all other distractions from the page, users will be more likely to enter your contest. So, it’s a great strategy for getting more contest entries.

Choose the giveaway landing page option, and click View Page to view your new giveaway landing page.

giveaway-landing-page

That’s it!

11. Promote Your Giveaway

Now that you have a giveaway landing page, don’t just sit around and wait for people to enter your contest. If you want to get a lot of contest entries, you need to promote your giveaway.

Some of the easiest and best ways to promote your giveaway include:

  • Share it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • Submit it to online sweepstakes and contest directories
  • Announce it in an email newsletter

Remember to start promoting your giveaway before it goes live, so you can create a ton of buzz around your giveaway and get a lot of entries on day 1.

12. Pick the Contest Winner

Finally, it’s time to pick a winner for your giveaway. If you’re wondering how to pick a winner for your giveaway, don’t worry, RafflePress makes it simple.

The easiest and most fair way to choose a giveaway winner is by random draw.
So, when your giveaway is over, go to RafflePress » Giveaways and then click on the Needs Winners link next to your giveaway campaign.

pick-a-winner-for-a-giveaway

Here you can see all of the people that entered your giveaway and how many entries they each have. To pick a random winner, just click the Pick Winner button, select your options, and then click the Choose Winners Now button.

This will instantly highlight a winner.

email-giveaway-winner

Now, you can email the winner and make their day by clicking the Email Winner link!

That’s it! Congratulations on running a successful giveaway.

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to do a giveaway on WordPress with RafflePress. If you enjoyed this article, check out our post on How to Make an Online Portfolio on WordPress.



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Uncategorized

How Much Does a VPN Cost? And Are VPNs Safe?

How Much Does a VPN Cost

How much does a VPN cost, and is it safe to use a VPN? Those are the two key questions we’re going to answer in this article.

By the end, you should understand what makes a VPN safe, as well as how much you should expect to pay for a quality VPN service.

We’ll also leave you with some specific service recommendations to get you started.

Are VPNs safe to use? What to look for in a safe VPN

As a technology, VPNs are safe to use…but not all VPN services are safe.

Basically, if you choose correctly, using a VPN is 100% safe, but just because a service calls itself a VPN does not automatically mean that the service is safe.

To understand whether or not a VPN is safe to use, we need to quickly run over what’s actually happening when you use a VPN.

Essentially, a VPN acts as a middle-man between you and the websites or services that you visit. When you visit a website, your VPN encrypts that data before it goes to the website (or even before it goes to the WiFi network, which is why a VPN can help protect you on public WiFi, as well as from snooping ISPs). In addition to a lot of other benefits, this makes it safer to log into WordPress.

In turn, that website or service sees the VPN’s IP address instead of your actual IP address, which gives you anonymity.

If you pick a safe service, that’s all there is to it. But there are some specific things you need to look for when choosing a quality VPN:

Pay attention to the logging policy

Because you route all of your traffic through the VPN, your VPN is in a position to keep track of a lot of what you do.

Now, it’s not like they can see your passwords and the exact actions you take on each site. But they can keep track of which sites you’re visiting, when you connect to certain sites, how long you’re there, how much traffic is passing through, etc.

A good VPN will not log this information. That is, even though the VPN technically could keep track of this, they don’t store any of this information.

For example, not only does Mullvad not log your information, they don’t even ask for your personal information when you create an account:

It might cost more, but you want a VPN with a no log policy

Put simply, a safe VPN is a VPN with a strict “no logging” policy.

Understand who owns the VPN and where they’re located

If you’re privacy conscious, you’ll probably want a VPN service that’s headquartered in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.

For example, if you live in the USA, choosing a VPN service located in the USA makes it a lot easier for the US government to exert its will (though the USA is still better than some other jurisdictions because it doesn’t require logging).

For that reason, a lot of VPN services will locate themselves in jurisdictions like Panama or obscure islands like the British Virgin Islands, Nevis, etc.

Beyond considering where a VPN’s owner is located, you’ll also want to consider who the owner is.

For example, in 2013, Facebook acquired a VPN service named Onavo. They didn’t do this to secure the web. Instead, they spent $200 million on the acquisition in order to gather data about visitors’ behavior, like people’s usage of Snapchat, Facebook’s competitor. This is why Apple kicked the Onavo app off the App Store in 2018.

Basically, you want the VPN owner to be dedicated to you as the customer, not your data.

Make sure they’re using the latest standards and patching issues

Implemented properly, a VPN should fully hide your identity and encrypt your data. However, not all VPNs use the proper security standards or promptly fix issues.

For example, the Port Fail flaw in 2015 could lead to VPN users’ IP addresses being exposed.

This flaw was in the underlying protocols, so it’s not the VPN services themselves who were at fault. However, some services were more responsive than others in patching the issue.

In addition to being responsive to issues, a safe VPN should offer features like:

  • DNS leak protection, which helps prevent your IP address from being leaked.
  • AES 256-bit encryption to safely transmit your data.

For example, NordVPN offers what they call “military-grade encryption”…which is really just a fancy way of saying AES 256-bit encryption:

How a good VPN uses encryption

You want a kill switch

Even if you’re using a VPN that’s safe in every other aspect, there’s still one big problem:

If your computer drops its connection to the VPN server, you might continue browsing without noticing and, as such, expose your real IP address.

To fix this, a lot of the safer VPN services build in something called a kill switch.

Essentially, this feature will automatically stop your Internet access if your connection to the VPN server drops for some reason. This ensures that you don’t accidentally keep browsing while exposing your real IP address.

Be careful with free VPN services

If you’re on a budget, you’ve probably encountered some of the free VPN services out there. The biggest name is Hola, but there are plenty of other free VPN services.

Here, you have a big case of “you get what you pay for” and most free VPN services are not safe. If they’re not charging you money to use the service, that probably means you’re the product in some way.

That was the case with Hola in 2015, where they got caught selling users’ bandwidth to a botnet.

See, rather than using their own servers like a paid VPN service, Hola is able to offer its free price tag by routing traffic through its users’ computers, in a sort of peer-to-peer VPN situation.

That’s just not a safe approach, and you don’t want your computer’s resources to be used by other people. Or, in the case of Hola, sold off to a botnet.

A good VPN is safe

To recap, a good VPN service is safe, but not all VPN services are good.

To choose a safe VPN service, you’ll want to look for features like:

  • A strict no logging policy.
  • A transparent owner.
  • AES 256-bit encryption.
  • DNS leak protection.
  • A proactive security team who stays on top of newly exposed vulnerabilities.
  • A kill switch to avoid accidentally exposing your IP address.

And you’ll probably want to avoid free VPN services, as they aren’t free out of the generosity of their hearts, and they’re probably monetizing your traffic in some way (like selling your bandwidth to a botnet).

How much does a VPN cost? What you’ll pay for a quality service

Next, let’s get into the question of how much does a VPN cost.

TL;DR – How much does a VPN cost?

A quality, safe VPN service will usually cost you $5-12 per month if you pay on a monthly basis, or as little as $30-50 per year if you’re willing to pay for a couple years up front. Let’s go deeper…

You can find some free VPN services, but, as we discussed above, these free services can be sketchy. Remember how Hola got caught selling users’ bandwidth to a botnet? Yeah – you don’t want that to be you.

Additionally, you’ll also come across “lifetime deals” for some VPN services. For example, it’s not uncommon to find offers on deal sites that grant lifetime access to a VPN service for as little as $50.

While this type of lifetime offer is attractive from a price perspective, you should be cautious in this scenario because, with a lifetime deal, there’s no incentive for the service to continue to provide a good product once they get your money.

This often leads to them overloading their servers, which means these types of VPNs are often a lot slower than services you pay for on an ongoing basis. Additionally, they have no incentive to invest in improvements and security updates since they’ve already gotten all the money they can get out of you.

Instead, if you really care about the speed and safety of your VPN, your best bet is to pay for an ongoing service. Yes, it sucks to pay a little more – but it’s important to remember that you’re not paying more for nothing.

Basically, you want a VPN service that has an incentive to keep providing great speeds and safely handling your data…and the only way to get that is to pay for it.

So – how much does a VPN cost that will do that?

Typically, you’re looking at around $5-12 per month if you pay on a monthly basis (I’ll show you a comparison of some popular services below).

However, most VPN services will offer you a hefty discount if you pay for one or two years at a time, which can be a great way to save some money.

For example, NordVPN – one of our recommended services – costs $11.95 if you pay month-to-month. However, if you’re willing to pay for two years up front, you’ll pay just $95.75 total, which is equal to just $3.99 per month.

They even occasionally run a three-year deal with an even bigger discount:

How much does a VPN like NordVPN cost

How to pick a safe VPN – what are the best VPN services?

Now for the million dollar question – what are the best safe, affordable VPN services to use? And how much does a VPN cost that’s going to offer you good quality?

This is a big question, which is why we actually wrote an entire post on the best VPN services. So, if you want the long answer, check out our full guide to the best VPN services 👈

If you want the shorter answer, you can check out the comparison table below. All of these VPN services are safe, with Mullvad offering the absolute most privacy if that’s your biggest concern:

ExpressVPNNordVPNPIAMullvadIPVanish
Month-to-Month Price$12.95$11.95$6.95€5$10
Cheapest Price$99.95 / year$99.95 / two years$69.95 / two years€5 / month$89.99 / two years
Windows App
macOS App
Servers2,000+5,000+3,000+300+1,100+
Killswitch

And for the best results, pair your VPN with a password manager to keep your logins safe, too!

Still confused by the question of how much does a VPN cost? Still have some safety questions? Ask away in the comments!

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

Layout, presentation, and editing by Karol K.