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How to move domain names: What you need to know about switching domain providers

By Will Stevens - November 29, 2021

How to move domain names: What you need to know about switching domain providers

Once you’ve registered a domain name you like, it’s important to keep a hold of it. Especially if you’re using it as your website and email address.

But keeping hold of a domain name doesn’t have to mean staying with the same domain name registrar.

There are a number of reasons you might want to move a domain name from one provider to another, ranging from a better deal to the simple desire to gather all your domains in one place.

This guide will walk you through the basic steps of how to move a domain name and address some frequently asked questions about the process.

How to transfer a domain name

The following steps provide an overview of the domain transfer process, but the exact process will depend on the type of the domain you want to transfer and which domain registrars are involved.

You can learn about 123 Reg and domain transfers here.

  1. Update your contact details
  2. Make sure you haven’t recently transferred or created the domain
  3. Create an account with your new registrar
  4. Check whether transferring your domain could cause any downtime
  5. Deactivate any security or privacy measures connected with your domain
  6. Request an authorisation code
  7. Begin the transfer process
  8. Follow the steps outlined by your new and old registrars
  9. Authorise the transfer
  10. Wait for the transfer to be completed

1. Update your contact details

When you move your domain name, both your new and old registrar will need to get in touch with you during the process.

If they’re not able to do so, your transfer may take longer than expect, or it could even be rejected.

Keeping your contact details up to date will help avoid these problems.

Note: Some registrars may restrict domain name transfers for 60 days after a change to your contact details. This is to help protect your domains. This is another reason to make sure your details are always up to date.

2. Make sure you haven’t recently transferred or created the domain

ICAAN, the body responsible for overseeing the domain names market, has a rule which means it’s not possible to transfer certain domains if they were transferred or created with in the last 60 days.

If this is the case for your domain, you’ll have to wait until this period is up.

3. Create an account with your new registrar

You’ll need to set up an account with the registrar you want to transfer your domain to before you can move it.

4. Check whether transferring your domain could cause any downtime

In some circumstances, transferring a domain name could cause downtime for your website or email address.

If you’re using a third-party company for web hosting and/or email, the information that links these services to your domain should be copied across as part of the transfer and you shouldn’t face any interruption.

If you’re using your current registrar’s default nameservers, you may experience some downtime after the transfer is complete. Generally, these default nameservers stop working when you move to a new registrar.

Note: It’s a good idea to make a note of your existing nameserver records before starting the domain transfer process. That way, you’ll have them handy if you need them. It’s usually not possible to view old nameserver records after a transfer has been completed.

It’s also important to remember that you may lose access to free services relating to your domain which are provided by the registrar you’re moving away from. For example, if you’re using email forwarding relating to the domain you’re moving, that service would stop after the transfer, meaning you could miss out on emails. You may want to purchase and set up email hosting ahead of the transfer if this will be a major issue.

Note: If you have web hosting with the company you want to transfer your domain away from, then it’s likely that you won’t experience any downtime. However, remember that transferring your domain name won’t change who your website is hosted with.

If you’re concerned about the prospect of damaging downtime because of a domain name transfer, then it’s a good idea to contact your existing registrar to find out what will happen when you move away from them. The registrar you’re transferring to will also be able to guide you through what happens during and after the transfer process.

5. Deactivate any security or privacy measures connected with your domain

To help protect your domain against unwanted transfers, it may have been locked by your registrar. You’ll need to turn this lock off before you can make the transfer.

With some registrars, you may have to deactivate domain privacy before you transfer your domain away from them.

If your current provider offers any other domain security measures which you’re using, make sure you deactivate these.

Note: Deactivating your security measures can make it easier for your domain to be stolen. Make sure you’re using strong, unique passwords for your domain accounts and only deactivate security measures when you’re ready to start the transfer process.

6. Request an authorisation code

For some domain extensions (including .com) you’ll need to provide your new registrar with an authorisation code from your current registrar during the transfer process.

It’s likely you’ll be able to request this through your control panel. If you can’t see how to get an authorisation code, check the registrar’s support site, or contact them directly.

Don’t share this code with anyone else, except for your new registrar when it requests it during the transfer process.

For transfers of any .UK domain, you’ll need to change the IPS tag to that of the registrar you’re transferring the domain to.

7. Begin the transfer process

To start the transfer process, either visit your new registrar’s domain transfer page or search for your domain using their domain search function.

Simply search for your domain and you should see an option to transfer it. Click that link and you’ll begin the transfer process.

8. Follow the steps outlined by your new and old registrars

At this stage, the exact next step you need to take will depend on the processes your new and old registrars have in place.

You should be able to find detailed guides on how to complete the process on the support sites of the registrars.

The steps you need to take to transfer a domain name to 123 Reg are outlined here.

9. Authorise the transfer

Once the transfer has been initiated, you may (depending on the type of domain you’re transferring and the processes your new registrar has in place) receive an email from the registrar you’re leaving asking you to confirm the transfer. If you don’t authorise the transfer, it won’t go through.

10. Wait for the transfer to be completed

It can take five to seven days for a domain transfer to be completed. If you’re transferring your domain name to 123 Reg, then you’ll be able to track progress through the domain transfers section of your control panel.

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Frequently asked domain name transfer questions

How do I renew my domain with a different company?

To renew your domain name with a different company, you need to follow the domain transfer process outlined by the company you want to move to.

How do I find out who hosts my domain name?

You can use the Who Is service to find out which company you registered your domain name with. The company will be named as the registrar.

Will my website go down during a domain transfer?

If you’re using a third-party host, your website should stay up and running during and after the transfer.

However, if you’re using your registrar’s default nameservers, you may experience downtime after the transfer is completed. If you’re worried about this, contact your existing registrar before starting the transfer.

How long does it take to transfer a domain name?

A domain transfer should be completed within seven days. However, if you don’t approve the transfer or your contact details aren’t up to date, then the transfer request may be refused, extending the time it takes.

Does transferring a domain name affect email?

If you’re using a third-party email provider, transferring your domain name shouldn’t affect your email account and you should be able to complete the move without losing an email.

However, if you’re using a service like email forwarding this is likely to come to an end when you leave your existing provider, so you may suffer email downtime. If you’re worried about this, contact your existing registrar before starting the transfer.

How much does it cost to transfer a domain name?

The cost of transferring a domain name depends on the type of domain you’re transferring and the registrar you’re transferring it to.

At 123 Reg, you can get free transfers for selected domains. You can see the full list of domain transfer costs here.

Is there a limit to the number of times you can transfer a domain name?

There is no limit to the number of times you can transfer a domain name. However, for certain domain extensions, you have to wait 60 days between each transfer.

Why do we have to wait 60 days between each domain transfer? What is the 60 days lock?

The 60 days lock is in place to is in place to protect you from domain hijacking. It’s ICANN policy and applies to all generic top-level domains such as .com and .net. Country code domains (such as .uk) have their owns rules. However, some domain registrars choose to impose the 60 days lock to all domains to help protect you.

How do I get a domain transfer/EPP code?

You can request a domain transfer/EPP code from your current registrar. You may be able to do this via your control panel or by contacting support. The code should be provided to you within five days.

Note: Not all domain names need a domain transfer/EPP code. For example, .uk domain names use the IPS tag system.

What can I do if my domain registrar won’t give me a domain transfer/EPP code?

All reputable domain registrars should provide you with a domain transfer/EPP code within five days. If they refuse, you can raise a transfer complaint with ICANN using this form.

Remember: Not all domain names need a domain transfer/EPP code. Your domain registrar will not be able to provide you with a code for these domains.

Is it possible to transfer more than one domain name at a time?

Many registrars offer the ability to transfer domain names in bulk. If you want to bulk transfer domain names to 123 Reg, log in to your control panel and select “Bulk Registration/Transfer”.

Got more questions about 123 Reg and domain transfers? Contact the 123 Reg support team.

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