Transferring Domain Names: When, How, and Why You Should
Last Updated: November 30, 2023
What is a domain transfer?
A domain transfer is the process of moving your domain name between companies that provide domain registration and management services, which are called domain registrars. For instance, you may have finally purchased the perfect domain name for your business, but aren’t satisfied with the quality of service you’re receiving from the registrar. Transferring your domain to a different registrar is a simple and quick process, but it’s important to consider a few factors first.
Learn more about the domain transfer process before you make a decision, including which registrar to transfer to, how to prepare for the switch, estimated wait times, and more.
Why do people transfer domains?
Domain transfers happen for several reasons. You may be in a position where you’re unhappy with your current registrar—perhaps their pricing or terms—or you may want to move your domain to another individual. Some important factors to consider when transferring a domain:
- User friendliness. When purchasing any service, you want to make sure you understand how to use it. In the case of purchasing or transferring a domain, you should be able to implement the services and features you’re offered. If features like Google Workspace, custom email, or hosting are important to you and your business, make sure that they are easy to set up and use with the new registrar.
- Customer support/service. You might run into hiccups or need problem-solving from time to time. It’s always reassuring to know that there’s someone available to troubleshoot whatever issue you may have or answer any questions. Research a potential registrar’s customer service reputation before you make a move. In the future when you need a password reset or guidance on choosing and setting up your hosting and email products, you’ll be glad you did.
- Cost. Every registrar charges different prices based on the services they offer, and it’s common for registrars to throw in free perks like URL and email forwarding, DNS templates, or two-step verification. All this makes it difficult to compare costs across registrars. When it comes to registrar pricing, the most important is transparency: discounts make sense, it’s obvious what’s included in the price and what’s not, and renewal rates are presented so that there are no surprises when your domain’s renewal comes up
Is it difficult to transfer a domain name?
Transferring a domain is a relatively simple process. The registrar you select to transfer to should have clear, step-by-step instructions for transferring your domain. You’ll need to make sure the domain is unlocked at your current registrar, find your current domain’s authorization code, and initiate the transfer with the registrar you want to switch to. While each registrar’s domain control panel is different, these are ICANN-mandated tools that should be easily accessible.
How much does a domain transfer cost?
Transfer pricing varies by domain ending (such as .COM, .LIVE, or .IO), and by domain registrar. But typically, the cost of a domain transfer will be less than the cost of renewing the domain. Most registrars provide an easily accessible list of registration, renewal, and domain transfer prices—you can usually find the pricing in the registrar’s website footer. When you transfer your domain, your domain’s expiration date is extended by another year, so a transfer acts as a one-year renewal in addition to moving your domain name to a new home.
How long does a domain transfer take? Will my website go down during the transfer?
Once submitted, a domain transfer usually takes up to 7 days, but can be expedited to take a day or two to complete. It’s important to consider how the transfer could impact your domain services, but you can be prepared ahead of time so it doesn’t lose connection to websites or email.
To reduce downtime, the domain can be changed to the receiving registrar’s nameservers ahead of time. This will vastly reduce any downtime for websites, email, and other services connected to your domain name.
Is my domain eligible for transfer?
Domains can only be transferred if they’re older than 60 days, haven't been transferred within the last 60 days, and have been unlocked in your account. If you can check and mark all of the above, then you can transfer your domain at any time.
What’s the domain transfer 60-day wait?
When you register a domain or transfer it to any registrar, the domain will be locked for 60 days and cannot be transferred, as part of the transfer policy from ICANN.
How do you transfer a domain to someone else?
The process of transferring a domain to someone else depends on whether you’re executing an internal transfer—from one account to another at the same registrar—or if you’re transferring the domain to a new registrar.
For internal transfers, you’ll need the Account code or Account ID for the new owner of the domain name. You can then initiate the transfer from within your account. Every registrar’s management system is a little different, and some require that you contact customer support to initiate an internal transfer, so refer to the knowledge base at your registrar.
If you’re transferring to an account at a different registrar, you’ll typically need to disable Whois Privacy protection, verify that the domain’s administrative contact details are correct, unlock the domain, and obtain the domain’s transfer authorization code. Once those steps are completed, the new owner can request a domain transfer at the new registrar, and you’ll be able to approve the transfer request via email.
Like all transfers, refer to your domain registrar’s knowledge base for specific step-by-step instructions on how to transfer a domain to a new owner.
Learn how to transfer your domain to Name.com.