Get a free domain name and hosting from Microsoft

You'll be surprised by the depth and breadth of the free tools Microsoft offers budding Web denizens in its Microsoft Office Live Basics package, which has a decidedly business focus.

A free Web site and hosting from Microsoft? It's true. Microsoft

The words "free" and "Microsoft" don't often appear in the same sentence, so imagine my surprise at discovering this deal: a free custom domain name, free Web hosting, free e-mail accounts, and more.

As you might expect from the name, Microsoft Office Live Small Business has a decidedly business focus--but that doesn't mean you can't use it for a personal site.

The freebie account includes not only the domain (any available .com, .net, .org, or .info address), but also site-building tools, reporting tools, project and document managers, 100 e-mail addresses, and collaboration-minded online workspaces. You get 500MB of storage, too.

So what's the catch? There really isn't one, though the free domain hosting expires after one year. After that, it'll run you a very reasonable $14.95 annually.

Needless to say, this is a pretty nice offer for anyone looking to start a small business or just carve out a private corner of the Web.

Side deal: Amazon MP3 has Brit-pop star Lily Allen's second album, It's Not Me, It's You, on sale for just $3.99. iTunes price: $9.99.

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