Transfer of a Domain Name

(Page 4 of 8)
<< Index Page: How to Transfer A Website

How To:

1. Transfer a .com, .net, .org, .biz
2. Transfer a,
3. Transfer a .ca
4. Transfer a .eu
5. Tips to ensure smooth progress
6. Caveats

Domain registries allocate domains but you can't deal directly with them. You use a domain registrar who registers domains on your behalf. They usually send you email reminders when the time comes to renew. They also give you access to changing the WHOIS details and the name servers (which point visitors' browsers to the physical location of your site).

They are distinct from hosting companies though sometimes a registrar does perform hosting services as well.

Domain names can be transferred very easily. With domains registered at some of the big registrars such as godaddy, the buyer simply opens a free account with the registrar and the seller can "push" the domain just by logging into his account and following the instructions on screen. A code is sent to his email address which he passes on to the buyer. The buyer then logs in at the registrar's site and provides the code to get the domain moved into his account and control. 

The buyer could prefer a different registrar in which case the process is similar but it may take a few days rather than a few hours.


The actual process for .com, .net, .org. ,biz and many others:

1. The buyer starts the process with the "gaining" registrar following the instructions they provide on their site (it varies slightly from one to the other).

2. The gaining registrar sends an email to the administrative contact listed in the WHOIS. It will need to be actioned. There's often a coded link in the email that needs to be clicked to signify approval. They may also ask  for the unique authorisation code issued for this domain by the current registrar.

3. If the above is done within the time limit, the gaining registrar sends a request to the registry (the controlling body that oversees registrars). The registry sends an email to the losing registrar.

4. The losing registrar now sends an email to the registered "administrative contact" for the domain. They may offer the option to proceed with the transfer plus and an option to cancel (trying to retain your business). If the domain owner cancels or doesn't approve within the specified time, the domain does not get transferred.

5. Provided approval happens at the previous step, the losing registrar releases the domain to the gaining registrar. (Or is supposed to. Registers have complaint procedures for when registrars don't play ball.)

Note though that these are just broad guidelines as to what happens. Individual registrars have their own systems, their own point in the process where they ask for an EPP code, authorisation code or registry key and their own (sometimes complicated) hoops to be jumped via their websites. Do also read the caveats below).

For example:

Domain transfers at Yahoo

Domain transfers at NetworkSolutions

Domain transfers at NameCheap

Domain transfers at DynaDot

Domain transfers at SEDO

Domain transfers at godaddy

Start to finish happens normally within 5-10 days.

The actual process for and domains

It's a system quite different to the .coms. You don't change registrars as such. You need to get the IPS TAG changed to the tag of your new registrar and you need to fill in a form at Nominet to change the owner of the site. There is a fee involved to get the ownership change registered, but it makes sense to do it. If you're just "changing registrars" it can be done simply by asking your new registrar for their IPS-TAG and requesting your current registrar to change the TAG for your domain to the new one provided. That's it. If they don't comply, please visit this Nominet link where you can get the change enforced for a small fee. A more detailed explanation for uk domains. Note that you can't transfer the SLDs and unless you're buying the LTD or PLC company the domain is attached to. More

Warning: If you have privacy settings on the to prevent disclosure of your postal address etc., this can sometimes be lost when a domain is transferred and your details could become public. You can reset them to private but once they are out they'll always be available via WHOIS tools that track and record all changes.

The actual process for .ca domains

To transfer a .ca domain, the registrant has to first purchase a transfer, submit a request through his Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) account and reply to the confirmation email sent by CIRA. His registration always remains sorta with CIRA but he can administer it through his account with the gaining registrar now instead of his account with the losing registrar. More

The actual process for .eu domains

This is a pretty individual system and there is a fee involved per transfer. You start with the gaining registrar who has to contact the European Registry of Internet Domain Names (EURid) who email the registrant and provide an authorisation code. This code needs to be given to the gaining registrar to complete the transfer. More

Advertise in this spot and be the only banner advert on this page!

How to ensure smooth progress

1. As all approval emails are sent to the email address listed as the "administrative contact" in WHOIS you need to ensure that the seller is listed as the administrative contact for the domain (some registration companies are sneaky and use their own names as the administrative contact - you'll need to get it changed before starting). 

2. Ensure that this email account is checked regularly for notification and approval emails.

3. Some domains are "locked" for added protection against fraudulent transfers. Doing a WHOIS check reveals whether a domain is locked: the WHOIS result would have the wording “REGISTRAR-LOCK” or “Client Transfer Prohibited”. To avoid delay in transfer, the current owner should approach his registrar to unlock the domain.

4.  Get the registrar/s white-listed in any email spam protection system to ensure no emails are missed.

5. Ensure that at least 60 days have passed since the domain was originally registered or last transferred (see Caveat 1 below).

6. Ensure that all domain registration and domain renewal fees are up-to-date with the losing registrar before starting the transfer.

Learn more about how to transfer domains. And these links may be useful: 1 | 2 

Caveat 1: There is a sixty day lock on most transfers i.e., if the domain in question was registered or previously transferred in the last sixty days then it can't be transferred till the sixty day period is up. But that's for the common ones like the .com, .org and .net. With the .au TLD, a domain can't be transferred for six months from registration.

Workaround: Transfer from one owner to another within the same registrar. What the buyer can do - apart from waiting for the lock-out to expire - is to sign up for a free account at the holding registrar and ask for the domain to be "pushed" to his account.

Caveat 2: Note that rules vary widely across various TLDs and ccTLDs. .com, .org and .net are fairly well open and unrestrictive. With others you may need to be resident in a certain country - or meet other requirements - before you can legally own one of their domains. Rules for transfer of: (note that there's a Nominet charge for transfer)

.ca (you need to have a Canadian presence - see pdf)

.au (You have to be Australian. Also, they may insist you disclose how much you bought the domain for!)

.us (you need to have a presence in the US: rules)


Where to register a domain

How to transfer a website

Step 2 in the website transfer: Backing up the site >>