The Real Reason Freenom Is Having “Technical Issues”—And Why Free Domains Won’t Exist for a Long Time

Freenom is a Dutch domain registrar that’s unique from others because it offers completely free domains—or, at least, it used to. Only recently have we commended Freenom for its generous offer. However, for most of 2023, users attempting to register a free domain are greeted with this message:

“Because of technical issues the Freenom application for new registrations is temporarily out-of-order.

“Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience. We are working on a solution and hope to resume operations shortly.”

The Problem with Freenom

Because Freenom is a free domain registrar, anyone can sign up and register their very own domain without paying a penny. Unfortunately, this also includes scammers and cybercriminals, who take advantage of services like this.

A 2021 study reviled that all of Freenom’s free domains—TK, ML, GA, CF, and GQ—were amongst the top ten domain extensions used for phishing.

The problem further develops when you realize that Freenom is struggling for funds. Because Freenom is free, they lack the money and manpower to deal with situations like these. This might lead one to believe that they are unable to properly respond to abuse reports and cybercriminals go unnoticed by them. However, according to a lawsuit, this may not be the case.

Freenom Sued Over Cybersquatting

On December 2021, Meta, previously Facebook, sued Freenom over cybersquatting, trademark infringement, and phishing. Meta claims that Freenom does not do enough to respond to abuse complaints and that their domains are often involved with scams on Meta’s Platforms.

The corporation wants to know the information on twenty specific Freenom customers, which have all been targeting users on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and others.

Meta also mentions how Freenom also attempts to profit off of these types of websites by redirecting visitors to advertisements, malware, pornography, and other malicious content.

Furthermore, they argue that Freenom is part of a group of companies that encourage cybersquatting. According to this article, Meta states that “one or more of the ccTLD Service Providers, ID Shield, Yoursafe, Freedom Registry, Fintag, Cervesia, VTL, Joost Zuurbier Management Services B.V., and Doe Defendants were created to hide assets, ensure unlawful activity including cybersquatting and phishing goes undetected, and to further the goals of Freenom.”

Based on speculations, Freenom suspended free domain registration because their past seems to have caught up with them. However, Freenom has yet to make a public statement on the matter, other than the error message on their front page.

Not the first time

This isn’t the first time that Freenom has been accused of shady business practices. In 2015, ICANN, the company that oversees all domains, suspended Freenom’s registrations for three months. They rightly claimed that Freenom cybersquatted competitor’s domain names.

When Will Free Domain Registrations Be Restored?

Unfortunately, Freenom has not made an announcement regarding the situation. The only direct information given is the message on their front page, stating that free domains are temporarily out of order, and that they are supposedly working on a solution.

What Will Happen to My Free Domains

While new free domains cannot be registered, if you have any existing ones, they can still be used as normal. It is important to note that Freenom does not have automatic domain renewal. As such, if you fail to renew your free domain two weeks before it expires, it will be seized from you, and potentially lost forever.

Alternatives to Freenom

Unfortunately, there are no other free domain registrars. However, there are some possible alternatives. Some include using a free subdomain or getting a domain bundled with paid hosting.

 The future of Freenom remains unclear for now. The only option given is to wait it out and hope for an official announcement.

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