Except you are dealing with a missionary, no one can give you a free domain name without getting something in return. I will analyze the common types of free domains and it is left to you to determine whether they are absolutely free or not.
Sub-domains are free to acquire and even majority of them are free for life. The person owning the domain pays for registering the name, retaining the name every year and web hosting, which is also an annual expense. However, in order for the 'Mr Nice' who has given you a free domain (even though it is a sub-domain) to remain in business, he has to place adverts on the sub-domain he is giving you. The adverts can be on any subject, whether you like it or not, and when you optimize the site for search engines subsequently resulting in more traffic for the site, 'Mr Nice' will perhaps make more money than you do because he controls the layout of the page.
The other type of free domain is to buy a web hosting package that comes with a free name, which in most conditions is free for the first year. Once the first year has expired, you will have to pay for the subsequent years. Under this arrangement, you will have the full control of your site and nobody can place any unwanted advert on it. When you optimize this type of site, you will get your full reward without sharing it with others (except you are running a partnership).
You can now see why free domain names may not be absolutely free and the choice is yours to choose the type that is ideal for you. The two options have merits and demerits which must be properly analyzed before deciding on the type to go for. Remember that nothing is absolutely free - even in Freetown.
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