How to Transfer a Domain Name in 4 Simple Steps

by David Utke | Last Updated: November 4, 2021

If you want to move a domain name from one registrar to another that process is called a domain name transfer. It’s not free, but the cost is pretty negligible and from start to finish the move can take upwards of a week.

In this short guide I’ll walk you through the steps required to initiate a domain name transfer. It’s not too complicated but there are a few quirks and restrictions you should be aware of.

Why would you transfer a domain name?

There are quite a few reasons you’ll want to know how to move a domain name. First, if you bought your domain name through a webhost or website builder you could find yourself paying $15-20 a year in domain fees per domain. That same domain at a registrar like Namecheap would only cost $8.88-$12.50 a year. If you have a lot of domains these small savings start to add up.

Another reason is that perhaps you are wanting to become a domainer where you buy or sell domains. For this you’ll need to know and understand the process to move domains between registrars.

How do you transfer a domain name

You simply need to unlock the domain name at your current registrar, get the authorization code for the domain name, then go to the registrar where you want to move the domain name too and put in the authorization code and pay the transfer fee.

Let’s break it down step by step:

1 – Make sure the domain name is eligible to be moved

According to ICANN, you’re not able to move a newly registered domain name within the first 60 days.

You also can’t transfer a domain name if it is within 45 days of it’s renewal date.

2 – Unlock your domain name and prepare it for transfer

Next you will need to unlock your domain name. This will enable you to make changes to the domain name and allow you to move it to a new registrar. Normally, domain names are locked by default to prevent unwanted, unauthorized or even accidental changes to a domain name.

To unlock a domain name is simple. Within your domain name registrar admin, find where your settings are and change the domain name from locked to unlocked.

Change domain lock from on to off.

3 – Request an authorization code

All registrar must provide you with this code within 5 days. Some will email you the authorization code, others will allow you to generate it yourself like GoDaddy.

For GoDaddy click on “get authorization code.”

You will need this code to move your domain name from one registrar to another.

5 – Log into your new domain registrar and initiate the transfer

You’ll need to create a new account with your future domain name registrar. For example, if you’re wanting to move to Namecheap go ahead and create a Namecheap account. Then, find a page where you can transfer domains. There you will need to enter the domain name you want to move and the authorization code.

Once you begin the transfer process your old domain name registrar may contact you to verify you do in fact want to move your domain name. Once you confirm you want to move your domain to a new registrar, you’ll simply pay the transfer fee.

This fee is the fee to transfer, it’s not a renewal fee.

6 – Wait for the transfer to complete

Once your domain name has been transferred, it will take 3 to 7 business days to complete the transfer. Your new registrar will update the DNS settings but always check and verify.

If you have a website, you may need to update the DNS setting to your nameserver but typically everything should transfer over without issue.

All in all your website should still be up and working during this time.

Namecheap

My preferred domain registrar of choice. Low renewal rates, free WHOIS protection.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He translates technical skills in an easy to understand way for beginners with his educational tutorials based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers.
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