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How to Change Name Servers & Transfer Domains

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 by

Changing Name Servers

How To Transfer A Domain Name

There are a variety of reasons you’ll need to transfer your domain name. Maybe you’re not satisfied with your current web host or domain registrar, and you’d like to switch. Or, maybe you’re just trying to bring all of your domains under one roof, so it’s easier to manage.

Whatever your reason transferring a domain name doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. If you registered your own domain the first time, then you have the skills required to transfer that same domain name.

Below we walk you through the process of transferring your domain name to a new hosting service. Follow the domain transfer steps below and you’ll be able to easily transfer your domain.


When You Can’t Transfer a Domain Name

Before we jump in, it’s important to cover this point.

There are certain situations where you won’t be able to make a domain ownership transfer. If you’ve done any of the following tasks, then you won’t be able to transfer for 60 days.

  1. You’ve just registered or transferred the domain name you’d like to transfer
  2. You’ve just updated the contact organization or information of the domain
  3. You’ve just updated the contact’s first or last name, without having an organization listed
  4. Your domain isn’t 60 days old yet.

This has to do with ICAAN’s transfer policy to ensure the safe transfer and ownership of domain names. If you’re interested you can learn more about their policies here.

If none of the above apply to you, then you can start to initiate the domain transfer via the steps below.

register domain name

How to Transfer a Domain Name

The steps below will show you how to transfer your domain name to HostGator. If you’re switching to another registrar then you’ll be in communication with the registrar you’re switching to, however, the steps will be very similar.


1. Prepare to Transfer

Before you begin the transfer there are a few things you’ll need to do first. There are a variety of protection protocols in place to ensure that your domain remains secure, so you’ll need to disable these shields in order to make it ready to transfer when changing name servers.

  1. Update your current name servers to reflect the nameservers of your new registrar.
  2. Disable the WHOIS privacy, if it’s currently enabled.
  3. Make sure that your WHOIS and domain contact information is up to date.
  4. Unlock your domain just before you begin the transfer.
  5. Make sure your domain isn’t going to expire while the transfer is taking place.
  6. Obtain your EPP authorization code. If you can’t find this get in touch with the support team at your current domain registrar.

With all of the above steps completed, you’re now ready to initiate the transfer of your domain.


2. Starting the Domain Transfer

To get started with the transfer process, navigate to the HostGator domain transfer page.

Enter your domain and the tool will run through the pre-transfer checklist to make sure you’ve completed all of the steps required for the domain registration. If there are any issues you’ll see a pop-up window that will show you how to fix each issue, so you can proceed with the transfer.

3. Complete Your Purchase

If your domain satisfies all of the conditions above then you’ll need to purchase your new domain at your current registrar and the transfer processes will begin.

If you’re transferring to HostGator, then all you’ll need to do is click the ‘Continue to Checkout’ button. Here you’ll accept the terms of service, create a new account, and make sure all of your contact information is correct.

Next, click on the ‘Place Your Order’ button and the domain name transfer process will begin.


4. Verify the Transfer

The final step in the transfer process is to verify the transfer with an email address. Go to your email inbox of the email address that’s currently associated with your domain. You’ll see a verification email where you’ll enter your EPP key.

Enter that authorization code and the process will begin automatically.


Common Domain Transfer Issues

There are a few common issues that’ll interrupt the domain transfer process. Take care of these issues beforehand and the transfer process will go off without a hitch:

  1. You haven’t setup your account at your new registrar. Make sure that you’ve chosen a plan and your payment has been received by your new registrar before you being the transfer process.
  2. Your contact information isn’t up to date. You’ll receive a confirmation email that the transfer has begun through your email addresses that are connected to the domain. Make sure these are current, otherwise you won’t be able to confirm the transfer and get the process started.
  3. Your domain is still locked. Make sure you go through the ‘Prepare to Transfer’ protocols in step one above to ensure that your domain is unlocked and ready to transfer.
  4. Your EPP code expired. Make sure you generate your EPP authorization code as soon as you’re about to start the transfer process, as the codes will expire if not used within a specific time frame.

Typically, the domain transfer process will take around 7 days. If it’s been longer than that, then get in touch with the support team at your current registrar to see if there are any issues holding up the process.

In some cases, your registrar will transfer a domain for you for free when you sign up for a new hosting account. If you’re interested in this, then check out the details here.

Learning how to transfer a domain doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow the steps above and your current domain will be transferred to a new registrar.

Hopefully, the domain transfer guide above has been useful in walking you through the process and helping to ensure the transfer process doesn’t take longer than it should.


Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.