February 9, 2010

Avoid the Pitfalls of Domain Name Transfer


Hostway Team

By Bruce Tyson

Domain registration companies (registrars) are in a highly competitive market. As they vie for business, they sometimes offer special pricing, extra features, or other incentives for you to register your domain with or transfer it to them. You may find these offers attractive, but don’t want to interrupt your service by making the switch. Fortunately, you can take advantage of lower prices and added features without experiencing the pain of moving.

Downtime when Moving

Downtime is the main concern of every domain owner who is considering switching registrars, especially those with high traffic levels. Fortunately, changing registrars is a simple process that will be transparent to your visitors.

Prerequisites for Domain Transfer

Before you transfer your domain, you must meet a few requirements. First, your domain’s registration must be at least 60 days old with your existing registrar. If not, you’ll have to wait before you can transfer your domain.

Second, the email addresses listed on your domain record must be accessible to you because the transfer process relies on email to obtain authorization. If your address has changed, you should edit it at your current registrar’s Web site before initiating a transfer. To give the changes time to replicate across the Internet, you may want to wait a day or two after you change your email address before starting the transfer process.

Finally, your domain must be in good standing with your existing registrar. If your domain has expired, is about to expire, or is on hold for payment, you won’t be able to transfer it until the issue is resolved.

Starting the Transfer Process

To transfer your domain to a new registrar, first you must unlock your domain if it is locked. To do this, log in to your existing registrar’s Web site. You can usually unlock it by un-checking a single box. While you are at your original registrar, you should also request that an authorization code be sent to you. This code will be sent to the administrative contact’s email address listed on your domain record.

Once you have confirmed that your domain is unlocked, you can go to your new registrar’s Web site and order your domain transfer. The registrar will verify that the domain is eligible for transfer and will initiate the process if so. You will receive an email message from your new registrar requesting you to authorize the transfer. When you receive the email, log into your new registrar’s Web site and enter the key code and authorization code you received from your old registrar.

After the domain transfer has been authorized, the new registrar and the old registrar will begin the process. When this occurs, you will usually receive an email from the original registrar asking for your confirmation. Once you confirm that you have requested the transfer, the original registrar will release the domain to the new registrar. When you log in to your account at the new registrar’s Web site, you should be able to view and edit your domain’s setting if necessary.

About the Author

Bruce Tyson has been managing Internet domains for multiple entities for more than 15 years. Functioning as a consultant in a variety of business and academic Web venues, he also operates several domains of his own.

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