The Brilliant Lab

The Ultimate Student Guide to Making a Website for $0

Bootstrapping an online presence in 2024.

8 minutes
January 23, 2024

[.blog-body-regular]A website is the modern-day equivalent of a calling card and you might think you don’t need an online, professional presence as a student, but you’d think wrong. [.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]If you’re already building, designing, or even thinking of creating new things in your field, you have a reason to document that progress. It doesn’t have to be made public right away but once you’re confident in your creations, it’s important to show it off with the world. You’re competing with people with many, many years of experience right out of college, and having a website that showcases the work you’ve done is becoming increasingly valuable.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Fortunately for students, there is a growing number of companies that understand and recognize the value of having a student discount program. Better yet, all the resources we’ll need to create the perfect website today are not only discounted but made completely free.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Given that you’re already here, you probably don’t need any more convincing. So here we go and we’re starting with GitHub.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-h2]GitHub Student Developer Pack[.blog-body-h2]

[.blog-body-regular]GitHub is an online platform that almost every software developer uses for its powerful version control, cloud storage, and collaboration features. The core functionality is free for all to use but there are some powerful features locked behind a paywall.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]But, Github makes most of those features (and a lot more) available free of charge for students under its GitHub Student Developer Pack. And no, you don’t have to be studying software development to make use of many of these features. [.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Here are the main requirements for this [.blog-body-regular]

  • [.blog-body-regular]Have a GitHub account.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Be at least 13 years old.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Be currently enrolled in a degree or diploma granting course of study from a recognized educational institution.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Be able to provide documentation from your school which demonstrates your current student status.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]You can view the full eligibility criteria for the Student Developer Pack (you’ll need to sign up for an account first).[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]So what’s all available in this Student Developer Pack? Well, frankly, it’s an unbelievable amount of things but here are the most useful perks:[.blog-body-regular]

  • [.blog-body-regular]A free 1-year domain name registration on the .me TLD.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]IconScout is a library of high-quality icons. Free access to 60 premium icons from selected contributors every month for 1 year.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]A free domain name, free privacy protection, and a free SSL certificate.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]One standard .TECH domain free for 1 year and 2 free email accounts with 100 MB free storage.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Typeform is a tool for creating online forms. Free professional plan for 1 year.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Code with AI using Github Copilot – a very powerful LLM focused on software development)[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]A free subscription to Jetbrains's suite of developer tools, including IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, WebStorm, and more.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]A $200 credit to use on DigitalOcean's cloud computing platform. The credit can be used to purchase compute, storage, networking, and other resources.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Free access to 25+ Microsoft Azure cloud services, including compute, storage, networking, and databases. The free access includes $100 in Azure credit.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]A credit of $13 USD per month for 24 months. The credit can be used to deploy and run applications on Heroku's platform.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]GitHub Pro includes features such as unlimited private repositories, GitHub Actions, and GitHub Packages.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Free access to Azure App Services, Azure Functions, Notification Hubs, MySQL database from MySQL in-app, Application Insights, Azure DevOps.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Free 3-month individual subscription for students. DataCamp offers online courses and learning paths on data science and machine learning.[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]GitHub Pages is a free hosting service for static websites. Get one site per GitHub account and organization and unlimited project sites.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]There are so many more perks included in the Student Developer Pack that we couldn’t include in this list but you can find all the perks and more information about them on the Pack’s detail page.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-h2]Registering the domain name[.blog-body-h2]

[.blog-body-regular]What we’re definitely interested in, however, is the free domain. You can get multiple domains with many different TLDs (the suffix to your domain) to choose from. Namecheap and Tech only offer a free domain name with a .LIVE and .TECH TLD. [.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Name, however, has far more TLDs to choose from for Github students:[.blog-body-regular]

  • [.blog-body-regular].rocks[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].ninja[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].games[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].codes[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].systems[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].studio[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].email[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].works[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].software[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].engineer[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular].live[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Regardless, once you have verified your Student status on GitHub and claimed the Student Developer Pack, you can log into one of the domain registrars and choose your domain.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-h2]Getting your custom email address[.blog-body-h2]

[.blog-body-regular]Email hosting is separate from your domain address and web hosting. Unfortunately, neither nor bundles email hosting with your free domain address.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]That said, we can still use the Tech bundle to get a custom email address with a .tech TLD. The main limitation here is that your inbox only has 100MB of storage. On the upside, you do get two of these email addresses.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]You can host your own mail server but that is complicated and requires significant technical know-how to make sure everything runs securely. There are guides for it but for now, it is outside the scope of this article.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-h2]Why are we choosing Webflow?[.blog-body-h2]

[.blog-body-regular]This is where the most fun part begins. There are many no-code website builders that you can use, the most popular being WordPress.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]However, there is one key limitation with WordPress -  you need web hosting for it. You can get web hosting for pretty cheap these days but since our goal is to build a website for free, we’ll go with Webflow.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Webflow is arguably the single best no-code website builder on the planet right now. It looks and feels like just another drag-and-drop website builder but it has none of the bloat that its main rivals do.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]More importantly, Webflow will host the website for you. [.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Now, Webflow is generally considered one of the most expensive options with its annual plans starting from $200. For students (and educators), however, Webflow is 100% free as long as you are a student.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Webflow also has an immense wealth of resources including hundreds of high-quality videos under the Webflow University, a helpful community called Discourse, and a massive library of prebuilt elements and websites called Webflow Cloneables.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-h2]Registering as a student for Webflow[.blog-body-h2]

[.blog-body-regular]The Webflow Classroom program offers a free CMS site plan for one year. The plan can be renewed by sending a ticket to Webflow support with proof of your student status.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Now what exactly is the CMS site plan? Well, Webflow’s pricing structure is very complicated but we can get some information through the name itself.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]CMS means that the plan includes Webflow’s native Content Management System that you can use for eCommerce items, blog posts, etc. Site means that you get a single, paid website with two additional free slots. [.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]The biggest benefits of a paid site are the ability to add custom code and the ability to publish to a custom domain.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Registering for Webflow’s Student Discount is fairly easy. Simply go to and click on Apply for Student Discount.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]This will take you to a form that takes less than two minutes to fill.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Now most importantly, who qualifies for the Webflow Student Discount. Thankfully, Webflow is even more open than Github when it comes to accepting your student status since they will not only accept students from an accredited college or school (meaning you have a dedicated email address provided by your university or school), but they will also accept students are currently enrolled in an online course.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Currently, Webflow is accepting students from the following online course partners: [.blog-body-regular]

  • [.blog-body-regular]General Assembly[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Thinkful[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Ironhack[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Designlab[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Careerfoundry[.blog-body-regular]
  • [.blog-body-regular]Coursera’s Google UX course[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Once you have applied, you can jump straight into your Webflow account and start planning out your website and even experimenting with your free account. Webflow staff is generally very quick to review and accept your application so it should only be a day or two until you get your paid CMS site.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-h2]Building your Webflow website[.blog-body-h2]

[.blog-body-regular]We won’t go into too much detail since there are already thousands of guides and tutorials on the topic but once you’re set up with your paid site plan, you’ll need to hook your custom domain with Webflow. [.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Webflow offers instructions on how to do this but in essence, you’ll log into your domain registrar and add two DNS records to make sure your domain name points to your Webflow site.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Use the endless resources you have available at your disposal to build the website that you want.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-h2]Wrapping up…[.blog-body-h2]

[.blog-body-regular]Creating a professional website as a student is not just a vanity project; it's a strategic move in a competitive world. The digital era demands an online presence, and the benefits extend beyond mere visibility. With the plethora of resources available at no cost, the process has become incredibly accessible.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]GitHub, a cornerstone for developers, opens up a world of possibilities with its Student Developer Pack. This includes not only powerful tools for coding and collaboration but also exclusive perks from various companies. The Namecheap domain registration, IconScout's premium icons, and the free .TECH domain offer a significant head start for creating a unique online identity.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]The decision to use Webflow as the website builder comes from its status as a no-code platform, eliminating the need for additional web hosting expenses. Webflow's Classroom program generously provides a free CMS site plan for students, allowing for the creation of dynamic content and blogs. This plan, along with the Webflow University, Discourse community, and Webflow Cloneables library, gives students the tools and knowledge to design and host their websites seamlessly.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]Registering for Webflow's Student Discount is a straightforward process, and the inclusivity of accepting students from various accredited institutions and online courses makes it accessible to a broad audience. The eventual integration of a custom domain and the utilization of available resources empower students to shape their digital presence.[.blog-body-regular]

[.blog-body-regular]In essence, this guide has hopefully simplified the seemingly complex process of website creation for students, proving that with the right tools and initiatives, one can establish a professional online presence without breaking the bank. As you embark on this journey, leverage the resources, unleash your creativity, and let your website be the showcase of your academic and creative endeavors.[.blog-body-regular]