Do you want to transfer your domain name to a different registrar, but aren’t quite sure where to start? Maybe you are initiating a domain transfer process to sell your unused domain. Maybe you need additional services that your current registrar does not provide. Maybe you are simply looking for a price break. Regardless of your reasons, transferring your domain name to a new registrar is relatively easy and straightforward.
Before the Domain Name Transfer
The registrar connects your domain name with the IP address of the server hosting your website. Although the transfer should not affect your website, it is always possible for a glitch to occur that results in downtime. Therefore, if you are the webmaster, it would be worthwhile to apprise your client of the transfer in case the website becomes unavailable during the transition. It should not be necessary, however, to notify users of the website.
Another important step before you initiate the registrar transfer is to back up all of your web files. This includes layouts, content and even past versions of your site, as these items are solely your responsibility. As with communication to the client, backing up your data is a preventative measure in the event of a problem with the transfer.
Finally, ensure your registration information – email address, phone number, etc. – with your current registrar is up to date, as the new registrar will pull that data automatically.
The Domain Name Transfer Process
Step 1: At your current registrar, unlock your domain name. This can typically be done through the control panel; otherwise, contact customer support for assistance and instructions.
Step 2: Purchase a transfer with the registrar where you would like to move your domain name.
Step 3: You will next receive an email from your new registrar with an authorization code. Follow the instructions to confirm the transfer. In many cases, you can use the authorization code in Step 2 when you initially request the transfer.
Step 4: The new registrar will notify the current registrar to transfer the domain name. Registrars are typically given 5 days to return communication; otherwise the contacting registrar will assume the transfer has been rejected. When you receive a request for authorization from your current registrar to release the domain name, confirm the release.
Your new registrar will notify you once the domain name has been successfully transferred. The entire process typically takes 1 to 10 days, depending on the registrar (list of ICANN-accredited registrars). For further information, you can reference the ICANN Policy on Transfer of Registrations between Registrars.
Registrar Instructions to Transfer a Domain Name
Exceptions to the Rule
Domain names that have been registered for less than 60 days generally cannot be transferred to a new registrar. This 60-day registrar lock is meant to prevent fraud and theft of domains. During that period, you can only push a domain to another account within the same registrar.
A registrar lock may also apply in the following situations:
- Domain name’s whois information is updated
- Domain name is inactive
- Domain name is in the process of being deleted or redeemed
In addition, the registrar may deny a transfer request only in the following specific instances:
- Evidence of fraud.
- UDRP action.
- Court order by a court of competent jurisdiction.
- Reasonable dispute over the identity of the Registered Name Holder or Administrative Contact.
- No payment for previous registration period (including credit card charge-backs) if the domain name is past its expiration date or for previous or current registration periods if the domain name has not yet expired. In all such cases, however, the domain name must be put into “Registrar Hold” status by the Registrar of Record prior to the denial of transfer.
- Express written objection to the transfer from the Transfer Contact. (e.g. – email, fax, paper document or other processes by which the Transfer Contact has expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in means).
- A domain name was already in “lock status” provided that the Registrar provides a readily accessible and reasonable means for the Registered Name Holder to remove the lock status.
- A domain name is in the first 60 days of an initial registration period.
- A domain name is within 60 days (or a lesser period to be determined) after being transferred (apart from being transferred back to the original Registrar in cases where both Registrars so agree and/or where a decision in the dispute resolution process so directs).
Be certain to check your domain’s status prior to attempting a transfer, and when in doubt, contact your current registrar for its policy on any special circumstances.
Cost of a Domain Name Transfer
As with turnaround time, the cost associated with transferring a domain name to a new registrar varies but can usually be found in the range of $4.99 (with transfer coupon codes found on discussion forums) to $15.99. In most cases a domain name transfer comes free when you make a commitment with the new registrar, such as singing up for a year or more. Transferring your domain name to a registrar with lower annual registration fees can be a way to reduce business expenses.
The Bottom Line
As a domain name investor, entrepreneur or webmaster, you will undoubtedly need to transfer a domain name at some point. Knowing the simple steps involved in moving your domain to a new registrar helps keep the process smooth and your website running.
[Thumbnail photo credit: Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
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