Hey Caroline, WordPress.com is a bit of a different animal because you don’t run a self-hosted WordPress site on there. That means, you can’t install all the plugins you might want to (especially on lower plans, where you can’t install plugins at all) and overall have less control over your site than with a self-hosted site. That’s why we didn’t include it in this list. For more information, I recommend this article: https://websitesetup.org/wordpress-com-vs-wordpress-org/
A domain name consists of one or more labels, each of which is formed from the set of ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens (a-z, A-Z, 0-9, -), but not starting or ending with a hyphen. The labels are case-insensitive; for example, 'label' is equivalent to 'Label' or 'LABEL'. In the textual representation of a domain name, the labels are separated by a full stop (period).
Shared web hosting is the most affordable type of domain hosting available. Its affordability is due to the fact that you share a server with various companies who also want a low-cost web hosting plan. Each company that shares this server has its own specified amount of storage space that is defined by the hosting package. Depending on the size of the server, you could possibly have thousands of websites hosted on the same platform, with each user receiving an allotment of the total available bandwidth, memory, and power.
A few companies have offered low-cost, below-cost or even free domain registration with a variety of models adopted to recoup the costs to the provider. These usually require that domains be hosted on their website within a framework or portal that includes advertising wrapped around the domain holder's content, revenue from which allows the provider to recoup the costs. Domain registrations were free of charge when the DNS was new. A domain holder may provide an infinite number of subdomains in their domain. For example, the owner of example.org could provide subdomains such as foo.example.org and foo.bar.example.org to interested parties.

Yes there are several free website hosting companies out there, but we highly recommend that you stay away from them. In most cases, free WordPress hosting providers put advertisements on your website. They may even distribute malware to your users. Last but not least, they can shut down your website at anytime without any notification. Avoid anyone who offers to give you free WordPress hosting, specially if you are serious about your site. Here are 36 reasons why having a “free website” is a bad idea.
“HubSpot’s blog is a well-trafficked resource because we put a lot of thought into posting  valuable content for our customers, partners and even employees or future employees, so culturecode.com was a natural place to unveil our culture code. However, we also wanted the ability to easily share the code, and giving someone a lengthy URL or asking them to do a search on our site isn’t very convenient.  On the other hand, a custom domain is much easier to remember.” 

WordPress is an uber-popular content management system that powers more than 32 percent of the world wide web. Its success is understandable; WordPress is easy to use, and it boasts an incredible library of themes and plug-ins that enhance your site in many ways. In fact, WordPress is the foundation for millions of websites, from personal pages to big brand online destinations, such as Bloomberg and The New Yorker. If you're thinking about building a website and don't want to code it from scratch, WordPress is the way to go.
Domain names serve to identify Internet resources, such as computers, networks, and services, with a text-based label that is easier to memorize than the numerical addresses used in the Internet protocols. A domain name may represent entire collections of such resources or individual instances. Individual Internet host computers use domain names as host identifiers, also called hostnames. The term hostname is also used for the leaf labels in the domain name system, usually without further subordinate domain name space. Hostnames appear as a component in Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for Internet resources such as web sites (e.g., en.wikipedia.org).
Domain names serve to identify Internet resources, such as computers, networks, and services, with a text-based label that is easier to memorize than the numerical addresses used in the Internet protocols. A domain name may represent entire collections of such resources or individual instances. Individual Internet host computers use domain names as host identifiers, also called hostnames. The term hostname is also used for the leaf labels in the domain name system, usually without further subordinate domain name space. Hostnames appear as a component in Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for Internet resources such as web sites (e.g., en.wikipedia.org).
By definition, a domain name is simply a human readable form of an IP address. In function it is the destination that you type into a web browser in order to visit a website, such a www.google.com. Metaphorically, it is very similar to how you would scroll to a contact in your cell phone rather than manually dialing the person by entering their full phone number; the phone number would be an IP address and the saved contact would be a domain name. Always buy a domain with a reputable domain registrar.
An important function of domain names is to provide easily recognizable and memorizable names to numerically addressed Internet resources. This abstraction allows any resource to be moved to a different physical location in the address topology of the network, globally or locally in an intranet. Such a move usually requires changing the IP address of a resource and the corresponding translation of this IP address to and from its domain name.
We’ve dealt with more hosts than you can imagine; in our opinion, the hosts below represent some of the best and brightest of the hosting world. If you do decide to go with one of the hosts below and click through from this page, some will donate a portion of your fee back—so you can have a great host and support WordPress.org at the same time. If you don’t need the flexibility of a full web host, you may consider getting a free blog on WordPress.com.
The article doesn’t list geographical location of the server as one of the consideration one should consider when choosing a hosting company. Isn’t geographical proximity, between the hosting server and the targeted population of the website, one of the parameters that Google’s algorithm uses when ranking a website? E.g. If I my website is in German and is targeting German people, wouldn’t it be better to host it in a server in Germany (ignoring, for the sake of this question, the issue of speed)?

For special purposes, such as network testing, documentation, and other applications, IANA also reserves a set of special-use domain names.[15] This list contains domain names such as example, local, localhost, and test. Other top-level domain names containing trade marks are registered for corporate use. Cases include brands such as BMW, Google, and Canon.[16]

Their pricing starts from $2.75/mo which allows you to sign up for 36 months. The renewal price (after your initial period) is $7.99/mo. But this is very common in the hosting market, and almost all popular hosting providers are using it. If you opt to choose them, make sure you take their hosting plan for the longest period; this helps you to save some money. If you are not satisfied with their service, they offer a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Your web hosting account is where your website files are stored. So it’s very important that you secure it. The best way to secure your WordPress hosting account is to use a strong password and avoid logging in from public locations (unless you’re using a VPN). We also recommend that you follow our ultimate WordPress security guide to protect your site. 

iPage also offers “WordPress” hosting. They have 2 WordPress plans which cost $3.75/month and $6.95/month(renew at $7.49 and $10.49/mo respectively), both plans come with a free domain name for 1 year. iPage main goal is to ensure the best possible experience, from registration to customer support. They are more aimed towards beginners as their $6.95/mo plan comes with “expert” WordPress support.
Yes there are several free website hosting companies out there, but we highly recommend that you stay away from them. In most cases, free WordPress hosting providers put advertisements on your website. They may even distribute malware to your users. Last but not least, they can shut down your website at anytime without any notification. Avoid anyone who offers to give you free WordPress hosting, specially if you are serious about your site. Here are 36 reasons why having a “free website” is a bad idea.
×