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I read a few articles on why do we need to pay for domain name and what I understand from them is that you pay for the service which points the visitors to a particular server, otherwise your domain name will lead to nothing.

My question is, Let's say I've made a website a decided to host it on my own server. Now If I don't register any domain name against that server, will someone be able to access my website if they enter my server IP?

Because in 1969 when ARPAnet was launched It was hard to remember the long IP address of the server they decided to create a file hosts.txt which contains domain names which point to the particular server.

  • Yes, you can do that, however if someone want to visit your site, he need to know your server's IP (that's hard to remember) – Peter Jun 9 '17 at 8:39
  • As answers indicate, yes you can. Consider whether or not you will require encryption though, as most Certificate Authorities will no longer issue a certificate for an IP address and require a FQDN. If you don't care if users seeing browser warnings (for URL domain not matching cert domain), users can bypass the warnings and traffic will still be encrypted (as long as you configure the server/app and install a certificate). You could also consider a self-signed cert for the IP address, however it won't be automatically trusted by browsers and will also warn until users trust your cert/root. – Dallas Jun 29 '17 at 22:09
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Yes.

You don't need a domain to run a website, you just need the web server set up and listening for visitors.

Now, when you say "launch", that is a marketing thing. If you want people to easily access your site on a certain advertised date, then the shorter and more memorable the better. Unfortunately, that can become more expensive the closer to that goal you get.

For free solutions, look into:

free subdomains (freedns.afraid.org is a good start)
free domains (.tk, .cc, etc)
create a subdomain on your current domain
give out the IP address (not recommended)
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Yes, sure you can do it. The domain name you purchase is/has to be registered on domain name servers which are basically key-value pairs linking your domain name to your server's IP address.

What options do we have..

  1. You can access your site simply using your IP address. Make sure it's a public one.

  2. If you own even a single domain for example, mydomain.com, you can create a subdomain for mydomain.com and that's free. In DNS entries you have to register subdomain.yourdomain.com points to your public IP and you are done.

  3. As @Zekar said, you can go for the "free subdomains" and "free domains".

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