Understanding Domains and Domain Transfers

Did you know that a domain, website, and your email are all separate from each other? While they are separate, your domain actually controls all of it.

What exactly is a domain?

In short, a domain is the easy way to find your website or receive an email. Since no one can remember IP addresses, the domain became a necessity. You can actually register a domain in only a few minutes through services like Godaddy. That type of service is call a domain registrar.

How do you get a domain?

Anyone can register a domain, which is a good and bad thing. Years ago, it would be common practice for your web company to register your domain for you. While this is a great service to provide, occasionally the domain would be registered in the web company’s name and not the client. We actually make a rule to always register the domain in the client’s information.

I currently have a domain, how can I transfer it if I am working with a new registrar?

If for some reason you need to transfer a domain away from the current registrar, there is a series of steps you must follow to make the transfer smooth without issues. Below are the steps to perform to make the transfer. Please note that these steps should be done in this order:
  1. Verify the domain administrative and registrant emails are set to the appropriate email address. This is important, because transfer specific email will be sent to these email addresses.
  2.  Record all of your current DNS entries. These are the records associated with your domain. Typically, you will need the @ record and MX records. Other records would be TXT, CNAME, and SPF to name a few. A great tool to discovery these records is mxtoolbox.com
  3. Verify the domain is unlocked. If the domain is locked, then you will need to log into your domain and unlock it. The process should take less than five minutes.
  4. Retrieve your transfer key. The transfer key is a series of numbers, letters, and symbols. This is key is required to start the transfer. Most registrars will email the key to the administrative or registrant email addresses on the domain.
  5.  Ok, the hard part is done!
  6. Initiate a transfer with your new domain registrar. Initiating a transfer varies among registrars, but you will have to pay a fee for the domain transfer.
  7. Once the transfer starts, you will receive a series of emails in regards of the transfer. One of the emails will have a link to approve or deny the transfer. If you click the approval link, it will ask for the transfer key. This is the transfer key you retrieved in step four.
  8. After the approval, the actual transfer may take up to five business days. You may or may not receive a confirmation of the transfer completion.
  9. The transfer should complete within those five business days. Once completed, log into your new domain registrar and verify the correct records are in place.
While these steps sound complicated, the actual process performed by the user can be done in a few minutes. If you have domain questions, we are here to help!