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!

General Rules

Domain transfers, also known as domain name transfers, refer to the process of moving a registered domain name from one domain registrar to another. Domain transfers involve specific rules and procedures that need to be followed to ensure a smooth and successful transfer. Here are the key rules for domain transfers, explained in simple terms at a 10th grade reading level:

  1. Eligibility: Only domain names that have been registered and are currently active with a domain registrar can be transferred. The domain must also be at least 60 days old since its initial registration or previous transfer before it can be transferred to a new registrar.
  2. Authorization Code (Auth Code): To initiate a domain transfer, the domain owner needs to obtain an authorization code, also known as an Auth Code or EPP code, from the current registrar. This code acts as a security measure to confirm that the transfer is authorized by the domain owner. It is essential to keep this code confidential and provide it to the new registrar during the transfer process.
  3. Domain Lock: Before initiating a domain transfer, it’s important to check if the domain is locked. A domain lock prevents unauthorized transfers and changes to the domain’s settings. If the domain is locked, it needs to be unlocked by the current registrar before the transfer can proceed.
  4. Contact Information: The domain owner’s contact information, including the email address associated with the domain, must be up-to-date and accurate. This is because the current registrar will use this email address to send notifications and authorization requests related to the domain transfer. It’s important to ensure that the email address is accessible and monitored to avoid delays or issues during the transfer process.
  5. Timeframe: Domain transfers can take several days to complete, depending on the registrar and domain extension (such as .com, .org, .net, etc.). It’s important to plan for sufficient time for the transfer process, which may involve multiple steps, including confirmation emails, domain unlocking, and domain authorization.
  6. Domain Privacy: If the domain has domain privacy enabled, which hides the domain owner’s contact information from public WHOIS databases, it needs to be disabled before initiating a domain transfer. This is because the new registrar requires access to the domain owner’s contact information to verify the transfer.
  7. Domain Expiration: Domain transfers cannot be initiated or completed if the domain has expired. It’s important to ensure that the domain is renewed and active before initiating a transfer to avoid delays or complications.
  8. Domain Status: The domain should not be in a disputed or locked status, such as in a pending transfer or dispute resolution process, as this may prevent or delay the transfer. It’s important to resolve any disputes or issues related to the domain status before initiating a transfer.
  9. Payment: Some domain registrars may charge a fee for domain transfers, while others may offer free transfers. It’s important to review the transfer fees, if any, charged by the new registrar and plan for payment accordingly.
  10. Transfer Confirmation: Once the domain transfer is initiated, both the current registrar and the new registrar may send confirmation emails to the domain owner’s email address on record. These emails may contain important instructions or authorization requests that need to be followed promptly to complete the transfer.

In summary, domain transfers involve specific rules and procedures, including eligibility, authorization code, domain lock, contact information, timeframe, domain privacy, domain expiration, domain status, payment, and transfer confirmation. It’s important to carefully follow these rules to ensure a smooth and successful domain transfer process. If in doubt, it’s recommended to seek assistance from the domain registrars or domain transfer support teams for guidance.


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