How to Transfer a Domain Name to Another Registrar

How to Transfer a Domain Name to Another Registrar

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 /]

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3 Responses to “How to Transfer a Domain Name to Another Registrar”

  1. Alvin says:

    Hi, the authorization code is not provided by the new registrar. The registrar where the domain name is currently sitting provides this code. The new registrar will require this code when accepting the incoming domain from the other registrar.

  2. Trico says:

    Sorry Aishwar.

    i just realized Michael didn’t author today’s blog post.

  3. Trico says:

    “Step 3: You will next receive an email from your new registrar with an authorization code. Follow the instructions to confirm the transfer.”


    Very nice summary.

    I do not believe the Step 3 info to be correct.

    I have never received an Authorization Code (transfer code) from the gaining Registrar.

    Auth Codes only come from the current (losing) Registrar.

    You may be confusing Auth Codes with Security and Transaction codes like those GoDaddy sends out when transferring a domain into GoDaddy.

    You have to enter the Security code and Transaction code GoDaddy sends you into your GoDaddy account followed by the Auth Code you received from your current Registrar.

    “A registrar lock may also apply in the following situations:

    * Domain name’s whois information is updated”

    GoDaddy used to do this which is a violation of the Registry-Registrar Agreement.

    WhoIs updated info is a requirement otherwise you could lose your domain(s).

    A Registrar cannot legally lock down your domain because of changes to Whois but they can lock the domain if you change the Registrant info.

    GoDaddy does the lock down , many Registrars do not.

    “The entire (domain transfer) process typically takes 1 to 10 days, depending on the registrar ”

    Some (losing) registrars like GoDaddy, Fabulous, Dynadot, Name allow you to expedite the Transfer so it can be completed in one or two days.

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