The basic process in transferrring a domain name

By | July 12, 2007

I notice a lot of people have and are still asking questions about how to transfer a domain name from one registrar to another. Your domain is the most valuable component of your online presence – make sure it sits in good hands.

People transfer domains for all kinds of reasons but probably the main reason is cost. Registrar A might have offered a good deal for the first year, but jacks the price up in the second year. On the hand, registrar B may have a cheap deal for any incoming transfers.

Other usual cited reasons for wanting to transfer domains around are customer service, trust, security, and policies of the particular registrar.

So what happens during a typical transfer? In particular order:

  1. Unlock your domain at the losing registrar. Losing registrar – the registrar which currently holds your domain on your behalf.
  2. Disable any privacy protection you may have on the domain. Privacy protection hinders the domain transfer process.
  3. Make sure you have already set up an account with the gaining registrar. This is the registrar that you wish to transfer your domain to.
  4. Inside your account with the gaining registrar, go to the section that deals with transferring domains. Although it differs slightly from registrar to registrar, you are usually presented with a space/box where you type the domains that that you transferring, but without the www or http://.
  5. At this stage, you would also input the domain authority code which is unique for every domain. This bunch of letters and numbers is something that you should be having at this stage – if not, request them from the losing registrar BEFORE you even think about transferring.
  6. The gaining registrar now sends a transfer request to the losing registrar, asking for the transfer to be initiated.
  7. The gaining registrar then sends the owner (which is you) an email to the email address that you specified in the whois info for the named domain Administrator. Make sure beforehand that the email address listed in the whois is always working and valid.
  8. This email usually is sent within 24 hours. There is a link in the email that requires you (as the Administrator) to approve the transfer request. You are given the option of accepting or declining the transfer. There will be instructions giving you a choice. Go ahead and click on the approve transfer link. Your IP is recorded when you approve the transfer. If you change your mind, just don’t do anything. The transfer will then be declined if no response has been recorded for 7 days.
  9. The losing registrar will then send you a similar email. The difference is this email only notifies you and if you should change your mind at this point, contact the losing registrar immediately, and they will halt the transfer.
  10. Once you have completed the necessary steps above, the transfer takes place within 5-7 days (usually). It could take longer than that.

Please note that you cannot transfer domains within:

  • 60 days of registration
  • 60 days of successful transfer to another registrar

Some registrars prohibit transfers from taking place before 60 days are up, if the whois details have been changed in any way. Although it’s annoying to many people including myself, it actually serves a useful purpose, and that is to make it harder for fraudulent transfers to take place. So look at the bright side too. 🙂

Another problem may have to do with the Authority code. If you find that your authority code is unavailable or missing, you have every right to demand it from your registrar. If they are not providing it, by all means seek a legal recourse as this is an example of domain hostage taking. This type of problem usually happens with shady domain registrars/resellers/webhosts.

So as a rule of thumb, never register your domain with the webhost that you wish to set up a site on. Even though it’s free. Unless you’re really short of cash…Register your domain with a solid domain registrar and set up your hosting elsewhere, to minimize any possible problems.

One more thing to remember is – Transfer early. Don’t transfer if your domain is about to expire. In other words, leave a window margin of at least 30 days before attempting to transfer any domain that will expire after that. Just in case any unexpected problems happen; as could with so many registrars or resellers (many registrars are actually just resellers) out there. With the bigger registrars, there are usually no major problems, and the entire process is automated.

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