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Domain Transfer Best Practices

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Domain Transfer Best Practices

There are may different reasons why one would want to transfer his domain name to another Domain Registrar. It could be because of poor customer service, lack of features, high pricing, complicated user interface or maybe he found another provider with better package.

Whatever the reason may be, there are things we need to know before transferring. These best practices will help you avoid service disruption and other hassles when transferring a domain name to another provider.


1. Do not wait for your domain name to expire before transferring it

This is one of the common mistakes being committed by domain owners.

Transferring a domain to another provider prior to the expiration date will carry over all the remaining days, months or years to the receiving registrar.

So there’s no point or advantage waiting for the domain to expire. In fact, this bad practice may harm or disrupt the domain and website service unnecessarily.

In addition you may lose 1 year registration during the process if you transfer a domain within the Auto-renew Grace Period(0-45 days from the expiration date) due to an ICANN transfer policy.

What will happen is you will pay both the losing registrar (for the auto-renew) and the gaining registrar (for additional year), but only receives one year. The lost 1 year auto-renew may not be refundable depending on the receiving registrar.

Here’s what ICANN says about transferring your domain within the Auto-renew Grace Period.

Registrants who transfer names within the 45-day Auto-Renew Grace Period should check with the registrar from which they are transferring regarding a possible refund. Even though losing registrars receive refunds of auto-renewal fees they have paid to the registry in these circumstances, not all registrars make refunds to customers. The effect of failure of the losing registrar to refund is that the registrant pays registration fees to both the losing registrar (for the auto-renew) and to the gaining registrar (for the transfer), but only receives a one-year extension of term.ICANN

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.

To avoid all sorts of trouble, transfer your domain at least a month before the expiration date.


2. Do a thorough research about the receiving Registrar

Doing thorough research about the receiving registrar is a must. Once your domain is transferred to another provider, it’s locked for another 60 days.

In addition, the 1 year registration you paid for will not be refunded.

In some cases, some registrars may let you transfer your domain back to the previous provider. However, most will not, so do more research about their features, policies and services before proceeding.

Think of your priorities and needs. What are the the must-have features for you? If you cannot find the answers to your questions in their help center, then contacting the receiving registrar is the way to do it.

Here are some features/services you may need:

  • Domain Access Sharing
  • Domain Masking
  • Easy integration process
  • Free Email
  • Email Forwarding
  • User Friendly User-Interface
  • Web Hosting Bundles
  • Discounted price
  • Free Private Registration
  • Competitive auto-renewal fees
  • Free Add-ons

There are other things to consider so make sure to do your own research.


3. Transfer with Minimal or Zero Downtime

This step is applicable for domain owners who have an active website, email and other services connected to their domain name.

The process of transferring a domain to another registrar without downtime varies. But to make it simple, you need to opt in using the current Name servers of your domain registrar or DNS provider during the transfer.

This is the only option to completely eliminate the possibility of your domain and website going down.


If it’s not possible to use the current Name servers at all, there’s a way to minimize the downtime.

Some Domain Registrars like NameSilo and NameCheap allow domain owners to setup an account with them prior to transferring.

This option will let users setup or add all of their DNS records with them prior to the transfer. This doesn’t eliminate downtime but it will significantly minimize it.


The other option is to use Cloud Flare to host the DNS of your domain name.  You may follow the steps in this Cloud Flare help article for detailed steps how to add your domain.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to point the domain to Cloud Flare name servers. And once it’s all set, you can now transfer your domain to any domain registrars while continuously using Cloud Flare name servers without downtime.


4. Prepare your domain for transfer

There are only two things you need to prepare to make a domain transfer happen. Doing these steps prior to transfer will save you time of going back and forth between the losing registrar and the new one.

Do these steps from your current registrar’s end:

  • Unlock the domain name: Unlocking the domain is relatively easy. Most of the time you will find this option in the domain’s dashboard.
  • Get an authorization code: You can generate and authorization code or EPP code through your Registrar’s user-interface, but sometimes you need to manually request one from the Registrar.

If you’re unable to find the option to complete these steps, contact your registrar for further assistance.

The next steps are pretty straightforward transfer process through the gaining registrar.

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