How Do I Transfer My Domain Name? A Guide on Transferring Domain Names

Transferring a domain name can be easy if you know what you are doing. If you don’t, read on.

Transferring a domain name means that you want to take a domain name that's registered with a certain registrar and move that domain name to another registrar. This means simply that you want to change your registrar and nothing else. Everything else about you Web site will remain the same. If you are instead looking to transfer your site from one server to another, this is not the article for you. Again, we are merely addressing how to transfer domain names between registrars.

First off, to transfer a domain name you must initiate the transfer. Only the gaining registrar (the one you’re moving to) can initiate the transfer. After you setup an account with this new registrar, you need only to click the button or link that says “transfer domain.” It will prompt you for the domain name and ask if you are sure. Click “ok.”

What happens behind the scenes is an email exchange from the gaining registrar and the administrative contact in the WHOIS database for this domain name. The admin contact needs only to accept the transfer by clicking on a link in that email. Make sure the admin contact is correct and up to date or else this process will take longer.

Once the admin contact approves the transfer, the gaining registrar sends notification to the registry for the domain TLD for further approval. A domain name must be active. If it is locked or pending delete, in redemption, or inactive, the transfer process will end here. This is why it is crucial to transfer domain names well before their expiration.

If the domain name is active and has been registered for more than 60 days, the TLD registry informs the gaining registrar that the transfer process can continue. The registry then informs the losing registrar that a transfer request has been made for the domain name.

The losing registrar has 5 days to respond to the registry. If the losing registrar does not respond to the registry in those 5 days, the registry automatically assume the transfer was approved by default. Because of this rule of thumb, the dangers of having a domain name stolen are real. That’s why we only recommend you use registrars with “domain locking” or “domain protect.”

If the transfer is actively approved, the losing registrar will notify the registry. The registry then moves the domain name from the losing registrar to the gaining registrar's account and notifies the gaining registrar.

And that’s it. The process can be easy as pie if you know what to expect, but often times customer support can’t even walk you through this simple process. That’s why it’s best to know what happens yourself.