So, you’re thinking of transferring your domain to a new registrar? In that case, you probably have a good reason! Ultimately, your website is one of your most powerful sales tools, and it deserves the best digital home.
This article will run through the simple steps needed to make a fast and flawless move to your new registrar of choice.
But, before we get into the transfer steps, it’s worth recapping what you could gain by transferring your domain to a new registrar. Who knows, maybe there’s a registrar out there that offers more than you would have settled for otherwise?
Whether you sell running shoes or online file storage services, here are a few common reasons why you should consider transferring domains:
- You want to benefit from lower pricing at a different registrar
- You want a registrar that offers built-in website hosting
- You want to combine your hosting costs with email hosting
- Your new registrar includes your preferred website builder
Ease of use
One consideration people often overlook at this juncture is user-friendliness. For example, it’s not worth moving to a cheaper registrar if the interface makes you spend hours completing a simple task like managing domain names. It should be easy to buy new domains, switch nameservers, and set up custom tracking domains as needed.
Good customer support
Secondly, responsive customer support is a big plus. A helpful support team will be able to get your domain up and running again if it goes offline for whatever reason.
If you really want to be sure, it’s recommended to raise a support issue before you transfer. For example, you could ask a common question like how to set up subdomains for SEO.
This will give you a taste of what the registrar’s customer service and support is really like. The most reputable providers are on call to help their customers constantly with 24/7 live chat and phone support.
Security and protection
A few questions you might want to ask of your registrar regarding this area are:
- Does WHOIS privacy protection come free of charge?
- Is there a web hosting uptime guarantee?
- Will the registrar notify you in time before your domain is set to expire?
- What other privacy and protection services are on offer?
- Are there authorization codes, transfer locks, and transfer confirmation emails in place?
A well-protected domain is the foundation of a security strategy that can eliminate DNS tunneling and prevent website defacement.
Risks to look out for
On the other hand, the benefits above also highlight a few issues to be aware of if you don’t want an unpleasant surprise. Potential hazards of transferring domains to a new registrar include:
- Automatically added add-ons and upsells you don’t need
- Overly complex and time-consuming user experiences
- Lack of access to timely and helpful customer support
- Hidden fees and unexpectedly high domain renewal costs
All things considered, finding the right balance of benefits can take some in-depth research. It’s advisable to look at impartial comparison websites or even a customer feedback survey. But bear in mind that happy customers rarely leave constructive criticism, so reviews will always skew to the negative.
So, let’s say you’ve checked out a lot of domain registrars and you’ve reached your final decision. Now you just need to transfer your domain. Luckily, this isn’t too hard. There are just a few steps you have to follow.
Be aware of the 60-day rule
To transfer your domain, you usually have to have been with your current registrar for at least 60 days. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) says some registrars will let you opt out of this 60-day lock period, but it’s uncommon.
So what happens if you try to transfer before 60 days? In this case, your registrar will likely notify you of this and ask you to try again later. It’s advised to use an online calendar or planning tools to note the 60 days and avoid this type of delay.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the steps of transferring a domain to a new registrar.
1. Check your contact details are up to date
Verifying your identity and confirming the fact you’ve authorized the transfer are both required for the transfer and subsequent website hosting. For this reason, you’ll need to check your contact details with your current registrar and the one you’re moving to.
If there’s a mistake in your name, email, phone, or address, your transfer might be delayed or rejected, so it’s worth logging in to your registrar’s settings and making sure everything is up to date.
2. Create a backup email domain
If you currently send emails from a company domain like firstname.lastname@example.org, this service will likely vanish when you transfer to a new registrar. Is there a temporary email you can use while your domain transfer is taking place?
If so, you’ll want to make sure that’s set up to provide a seamless transition. This applies to any custom tracking domains you have as well.
3. Unlock your current domain
Domains usually require you to unlock them in the registrar’s settings panel. This prevents domains from being transferred fraudulently or accidentally. You’ll most likely find this setting in your registrar’s “Domain” or “Security” settings.
The unlocking process can be as quick as a single click or it may require more input, depending on your registrar.
4. Get an authorization code
The other security setting you have to check is your authorization code. This is also known as an AuthInfo Code, Auth-Info, or Auth-Code. You’ll use this code to create a verified link between your current registrar and the one you want to move to. The authorization code will come to you either at your request or in an auto-generated format.
5. Make your new registrar account
Now you can create an account with your new registrar. Visit the registrar’s transfer page and provide the name of the domain you want to transfer. This is usually the URL of the domain, with “www” removed, like “youramazingwebsite.com”.
6. Provide your authorization code
Remember that authorization code you picked up earlier? You’ll be needing it now. It’s important to check the code is exactly the same, otherwise your transfer won’t be successful.
7. Confirm your domain transfer
Giving the authorization code was the signal for both registrars, old and new, to contact you for confirmation. This is typically as simple as clicking a “confirm” button in your emails.
8. Make your transfer payment
If you haven’t paid already, at this point your new registrar will ask for a year’s fee. There are also some registrars who offer the first year for free if you care to shop around.
9. Wait for the transfer to finalize
Don’t worry if your transfer doesn’t take effect straight away. It can take a few days to a week for your new registrar to configure your domain and servers. During this time, your website should still be accessible from your old registrar.
10. Protect sensitive domain details
If you want to protect details such as your name and address, some registrars will let you opt for a private domain. This will redact information that would normally appear in a WHOIS search for your website.
11. Cancel your old registrar
First, wait until your domain is up and running at your new registrar. You don’t want to be caught between two registrars that aren’t working.
When satisfied the transfer is complete, cancel the previous registrar to avoid being charged.
Frequently asked questions about domain registrar transfers
How can I find my DNS registrar?
The ICANN lookup tool is designed for this purpose. Supposing, for a moment, you have a video conferencing business, just search for your domain “best-video-conferencing.com” on ICAAN. You’ll see your registrar listed under “REGISTRAR INFORMATION”.
How much does domain transfer cost?
Unfortunately, domain transfers are not free. The typical cost is in the range of $10 to $30 per domain. Many registrars bundle the transfer fee and your domain renewal fee into one lump sum.
Does the domain transfer process differ for larger and smaller websites?
No. You might be transferring one of the world’s best online meeting sites or a personal blog. This makes no difference to the domain transfer, which is like changing a written address but on the internet.
Why has my domain name registrar denied my transfer request?
The most common reasons for a denial of transfer are:
- The registrar doesn’t have the correct contact and/or ID information from you
- You’re not the domain name owner and the owner has objected to the transfer
- You have outstanding debts to your DNS registrar
- You have forgotten to unlock your domain name in the registrar’s settings
- You have been with your current registrar for under 60 days
Can you also transfer a domain that’s expired?
To do this, you’ll have to renew your domain with your existing registrar before you can make the transfer. But, if you’ve left it longer than 60 days after expiration, the registrar may have put your domain up for sale again.
Does my web hosting provider have to be the same as my registrar?
No, there’s no requirement for your hosting and registrar to be handled by the same provider. However, there’s a reason why everyone from SaaS marketing agencies to rent-a-chicken companies prefer keeping host and registrar together – because it’s more convenient.
Can I change my details during the domain transfer?
No, you should check that all details are correct before arranging the transfer. If you want to change any information during the transfer, you’ll have to contact one or both registrar’s customer support teams, which will be time-consuming. It’s simple to change contact details or other information once the transfer is complete, however.
Guest Post By Elea Andrea Almazora
Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.
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