How to transfer a domain name
Steps have been added in recent years to increase security when domain name registrants transfer domain names from one registrar to another. While the details might vary between different domain name registrars, the basic steps are the same.
What domains can be transferred
Domains cannot be transferred for 60 to 90 days after they've been registered or renewed. The amount of time depends on the losing (current) registrar. If the domain status in the whois records is "clientTransferProhibited," the domain can't be transferred yet. An exception to this may be a transfer back to the losing registrar.
When you transfer a domain, you pay for another year of registration for it, which goes to the gaining (receiving) registrar.
It's inadvisable to transfer a domain less than two weeks before its renewal date because of the possibility that the transfer will take longer than expected. If the domain is involved in a legal dispute, it can't be transferred.
Only active domains can be transferred.
Steps to transfer a domain name
Check your domain settings
If the domain you want to transfer is locked, unlock it. It must be unlocked for the transfer to take place. If it isn't unlocked, the transfer will be stalled.
Some registrars require domain privacy protection to be removed before they will initiate a transfer. If you use privacy protection for your domain, check with the gaining registrar to find out their requirements.
Apply for a domain name transfer from the receiving registrar
For this step to be completed, the email address (and possibly other contact information) for the whois record for your domain needs to be accurate. You need to be able to receive email or other contact from the gaining registrar.
Log into your admin panel at the gaining registrar. Most registrars will have a "Transfer" option, where you can make the transfer request. If you don't see this option, contact your registrar.
Confirm the domain name transfer
To confirm that the request is from the domain registrant, the gaining registrar will contact the person listed as the domain name administrative contact or registrant in the whois records, usually by email. This step lets domain name holders know if someone else is trying to transfer their domain away from them and prevents the transfer if the registrant doesn't reply. (Unless, that is, the person who initiated the transfer has unauthorized access to the email address in the domain name whois record.) If you initiated the transfer for a domain registered to you with you as the administrative contact, the email will come to you.
You may be asked to provide a domain transfer authorization code, also called Auth-Info code or EPP code. You can get this either from the domain admin panel for the domain or by contacting the losing registrar.
Follow the instructions in the email from the gaining registrar to confirm the transfer request within the specified time, which is usually five days.
The losing registrar may also send you an email during this time informing you of the pending transfer. You probably don't need to reply to this email unless the transfer is one that you didn't authorize.
Wait for the transfer to take place
After you've done all of the above, you'll probably receive an email from the gaining registrar informing you that the transfer will take place within the next five days. When the transfer is complete, you should receive a "transfer completed" email.
- ICANN Policy on Transfer of Registrations between Registrars
- ICANN Standardized Form of Authorization
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