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What happens when you transfer a domain name?

You may want to transfer your domain name from one registrar to another for a variety of reasons. Maybe you can get better prices and/or support at another registrar or perhaps you’re unhappy with the level of service from your current registrar. Another reason might be you have more than one domain name, and use multiple registrars and want to switch to a single provider.

Regardless of the reason, moving a domain from one domain registrar to another is a fairly simple process governed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). As long as you follow all the steps, it shouldn’t be too complicated. To transfer a domain name, you need to be the registrant or the administrative contact. Check your registration agreement details with your current registrar if you’re not sure. If you don’t know who your current registrar is, search for it at https://who.is/

With a domain name transfer, you tell ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, that you want a different registrar to manage your domain. You may or may not switch hosting providers at the same time too.

Transferring a domain name only vs changing the hosting

Before you switch hosting providers, make sure you have a backup of your site on your computer. In addition, you’ll need to make sure any server-side scripts will run on your new hosting platform since you’ll need to upload your site. Check with your new host if you don’t know how to do it. Just to note, QuickHostUK offers free website and email migrations to help make moving to us a breeze.

If you’re just transferring the domain, your hosting account won’t be affected, and there won’t be any need to move files between servers. DNS (domain name server) information should be transferred as part of the process, but it’s always a good idea to keep a record of them. You can usually see these in your hosting control panel such as cPanel or Plesk under the DNS tab.

Process of transferring a domain

When you request a domain name transfer, you are initiating a chain of events that will move your domain:

  • You request a transfer with the new registrar
  • In order to approve the transfer, the new registrar emails the WHOIS database administrative contact.
  • The Administrative Contact confirms the domain transfer and provides an AUTH code for the domain. You should make sure you are listed as the administrative contact and both unlock and obtain the EPP auth code from your current registrar before requesting the transfer. A transfer request will fail if it does not receive confirmation within five days, and a new request must be initiated. Note: UK domains such as .uk or .co.uk do not use EPP AUTH codes.
  • For UK domains such as .uk or .co.uk you can simply contact your current registrar and have them update the domain TAG to that of your new registrar.
  • After that, the new registrar will email the organization which manages the TLDs (top-level domains).
  • It is common for the managing body to send an email to the old registrar, for confirmation, if there is no reason not to release the domain. The domain will pass to the new registrar by default if no reply is received within five days. This gives you a sort of cooling-off period to change your mind.
  • You will receive an email notification once your new registrar completes the transfer. When moving from one registrar to another, the DNS information is usually transferred along with the domain name, but if that does not happen, you may need to enter the DNS information in the new registrar’s control panel manually.

Why a domain name transfer might fail

This domain is locked, pending deletion, in a redemption period, or inactive. Domains can’t be transferred for 60 days after they’re first registered or transferred. In addition, they won’t be released if there’s a legal dispute, like ownership or payments. If you plan on transferring your domain, make sure it’s in good standing and ask your old registrar to take care of any domain locks, or unlock them yourself in your control panel.

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