I'm in the same boat as RKM's friend.
I want to register a few different domain names for various members in the family and have someone host small small private websites - like a dozen pages each max.
To just register each domain name with 'Domainsatcost' for instance is $12.95 per year per domain name or I can go with a web hosting site like the firt one on this list:
which has an introductory hosting price of $3.95 per month for the first year and that includes up to 10 "free" domain names.
What's the downside of going with the "free" domain registration of a hosting site?
Does the domain name not belong to you after it gets registered or can't you transfer the web hosting with that domain name to another host later?
I assume there is some fixed fee charged by the actual domain registrar which any of these sites have to pay.