Transferring Domain Names

Transfer Between Registrars

The qualities that lead you to buy a domain from a particular registrar, such as price, may not insure that the particular registrar offers all the services you want for hosting your domains or offers those services at the best price. So, having secured the domain name of your choice, perhaps you wish to now transfer it.

Or perhaps you’d simply like to consolidate all of your domains with one registrar to keep your management duties simpler. Since registrars may offer an account manager that allows you to make changes across multiple domain names within a single account, this could be a significant savings if you hold a large number of domains. Since the choice of registrar is up to you, you can switch registrars when you need to or want to. When working online it is important to make sure you do not lose any data. You can look into online backup to make sure your data is backed up.

Steps in Transferring Domain Names to a New Registrar

To transfer a domain name to a new registrar, the following steps are usually followed:

  1. Begin by verifying or updating, if necessary, the information about the domain name at WhoIs ( using the Lookup feature. The e-mail is of particular importance.
  2. Obtain the authentication code from the current registrar.
  3. Make sure there is no lock on the registration.
  4. Contact the new registrar, specifying the services desired and providing the authentication code.
  5. After the new registrar contacts the current registrar, the current registrar will contact you to confirm that you initiated this request. There may be some steps you have to take in order to make this confirmation, which will allow the current registrar to release the domain to the new registrar. This doesn’t mean that they will do so immediately: transfers can take up to two full weeks. So be sure to initiate a transfer well before the expiration date on a domain name registration so you and your domain name are not caught in administrative limbo.
  6. After the new registrar notifies you that the transfer is complete, check to make sure that the domain server and all other information is correct.

Note that there may be costs associated with transferring registration, and that the costs may vary depending on the top-level domain (TLD) of the domain name.

The 60-Day Rule

Note that after a registration transfer, all transfers except a transfer back to the previous registrar are prohibited for 60 days. This mean that you should not transfer registrars right when you are contemplating selling the domain and that you should research the new registrar carefully.

Transferring to a Buyer

If you sell your domain name through a domain broker, the escrow process may include help with the technical transfer as well as the funds transfer. You may also be able to obtain domain escrow services for a private transaction (i.e., one conducted without the use of a domain broker). In these cases, the contact with the current and new registrar may be conducted on your behalf by the escrow service. Since different registrars have different processes to transfer domain holdings, there may be different steps and different types of information needed.

These are the customary steps in the transfer:

  1. After agreement between buyer and seller, the buyer transfers the payment to the escrow company.
  2. The seller initiates the transfer of the domain name with the current registrar.
  3. After the registrar transfers the domain, the buyer confirms the completion of the transfer.
  4. When the transfer is verified by the escrow company, the payment is released to the seller.

Avoiding Cybersquatting

While domain name acquisition, development, and reselling—sometimes called “domaining”—is an accepted business practice, cybersquatting is not. Cybersquatting refers to the acquisition of trademarked names, names that are similar to trademarked names, and typographical errors likely to occur in trademarked names and existing URLs. This latter practice is referred to as typosquatting.

Federal law (Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act) prohibits buying, selling, using, or registering domain names in bad faith with the intent to profit from someone else’s trademark. While cybersquatters may believe that they will be able to to sell the name back to the trademarking company or individual at a great profit, they are more likely to be prosecuted.