Things You Need To Know Before Transferring Your Domain Name
We all have our own reasons why we want to transfer our domain name to another Domain Registrar. It could be because of poor customer service, lack of features, high pricing, complicated user interface or maybe you just found a better provide in general.
Whatever the reason may be, you need to know a few things that may cause an issue and give you trouble. These are common issues that you might experience when transferring a domain name to another provider.
1. Do not wait for your domain name to expire.
Some domain owners transfer their domain out when their domain is already expired. Transferring your domain to another provider prior to the expiration date will carry over all remaining days, months or years you have to the receiving registrar so doing it a month/s before the expiration won’t hurt.
If you renewed/auto-renewed a recently expired domain then transferred it out within the Auto-renew Grace Period(30-45 days), you’ll be charged twice but you will only get 1 additional year. Basically, you have paid the renewal fee to the losing registrar and paid the mandatory additional 1 year registration to the receiving registrar. The renewal fee from the losing registrar will be dropped and will serve as a service fee to the Registry. This is the reason I recommend to do the transfer at least a month before the expiration date to avoid this issue from happening.
You may refer to ICANN’s policy about domain transfer within Auto-renew grace period for more info.
In summary, registrars should note (and advise their customers) that in most cases where a name is transferred within 45 days after its expiration/renewal date, the successfully transferred registration will only be extended by one year, not two years as might be expected. In such cases, the transfer during the Auto-Renew Grace Period simultaneously triggers a removal of the auto-renewed year and a credit to the losing registrar, and a charge to the gaining registrar for the year added to the registration term as a result of the transfer.
2. Do a thorough research about the new Registrar.
Doing thorough research about the receiving registrar is recommended. Once you transferred your domain name to another provider, it’s locked for another 60 days, and there’s no way to transfer it to another registrar.
However, some registrars may let you transfer your domain back to the previous provider, but that’s not always the case, so to save the trouble, do more research or contact the receiving registrar.
Think of the must-have features for you and check it with the receiving registrar’s help center or support team, here are some examples:
- Domain Access Sharing.
- Domain Masking.
- Free Email.
- Email Forwarding.
- Newbie Friendly User-Interface.
- Web Hosting Bundles.
There are other things to consider so make sure to do your own research.
3. Transfer with Zero Downtime.
This step is only applicable for domain owners who have an active website connected to their domain name, and this is only for domain transfer (website is not included). This process varies but I will give you a better view what needs to be done.
Note: Perform a Whois lookup to identify your domain’s current Name servers.
Scenario 1: Domain and Website are being hosted separately
1a. Domain Points To Web Host’s Name Servers or 3rd-party DNS provider:
This specific scenario is an easy task. While transferring your domain to another provider, you will be asked if you want to use the current Name servers or transfer your DNS settings to the new registrar’s Name servers. Choose the first option and it will be a seamless transfer.
It’s the same rule if you’re using 3rd-party DNS provider like Cloudflare, just choose the option to use their name servers and you’re good to go.
1b. Domain Points To Domain Registrar’s Name Servers:
This scenario may cause downtime, most registrars won’t let you use their name servers once you transfer your domain to another provider, which means you’ll be forced to use your new Registrar’s name servers.
Moving from one name server to another will cause downtime due to DNS propagation. This may take from few minutes up to 48 hours, there’s no exact time frame.
This means that you can prepare or add all of your DNS records with them prior to the transfer, this doesn’t eliminate downtime but it can definitely minimize it.
Scenario 2: Domain and Website are being hosted in one place.
This scenario is exactly the same as Scenario 1a, all you need to do is use your web host’s name servers and your domain will be transferred without downtime.
Important Reminder: You need to contact your current provider and check if it’s possible to transfer your domain to another provider while continue hosting your website with them. There are instances that bundled plans or packages may trigger the cancellation of your website service.
To make the long story short, you must use your current Name servers from your web host or 3rd-party DNS provider to avoid downtime.
4. Prepare your domain for transfer
There are four things you need to accomplish to make the process smoother. Doing these steps prior to transfer will save you time of going back and forth between the losing registrar and the new one.
Here the things you need to prepare ( Do these steps from your current provider’s end):
- Unlock the domain name: Unlocking the domain is easy, go to your domains account and go to Settings to Unlock it.
- Disable Private Registration: This is applicable if your domain is on Private registration, if not, you skip this one.
- Check if the Registrant and Admin email is your best email: It’s very important that your Admin and Registrant email are your own email address. All notifications and confirmation emails will be sent to either one of those.
- Get an authorization code: Most of the time you can generate it through your domains user-interface or send the code to your email.
Once you’re done, you can now start the transfer process through the gaining registrar’s end and they will assist you moving forward.
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