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Fonts are really important for good design. There are many websites which offer free fonts, like 1001fonts.com, urbanfonts.com, fontspace and fontsquirrel.com (my personal favorite).
On FontSquirrel, I really like that there are a lot of categories which you can select from, and there are free and licensed fonts. They have a really cool selection of TOP fonts -- these are the ones that most people download from the website. You can be sure that if you select a font from this list and use it on your website, it will be well-known and familiar to your site viewers. Plus, on FontSquirrel you can download the whole Font-Face kit (including TTF, EOT, WOFF and SVG format), so you can be sure that your design will look the same on every platform, it does not matter if its Windows or Mac or Linux.
UrbanFonts also has a Top100 list of fonts which you can check out when you need some nice and widely used fonts. This website also has premium fonts that you can buy.
There are a lot of sites that offer free fonts for a designer, depending on your definition of what's "essential". FontSquirrel offers a lot of good free fonts for commercial use, with font sets that include light, italics, bold, heavy, and other stylized variants--all of which you're going to need if you're going for a uniform look.
The League of Moveable Type offers a wide selection of modern stylized fonts that are good for graphic design use, while Behance is an online portfolio that always features new typeface creations by fellow creatives.