Do You Need to Transfer Your Domain or Change Your Name Servers? | HostGator Blog

HostGator Blog

Web Hosting Made Easy!

Blog / Web Hosting Tips

Do You Need to Transfer Your Domain or Change Your Name Servers?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by

Changing Name Servers

When you own a domain there’s a lot of things you’ll be able to do with it, beyond building a website on the domain. Naturally, talking about domain name transfers and name servers can get a bit technical and overwhelming, so we’ll bring the process down from the clouds for you.

Below we’re going to examine the differences between transferring the domain to another registrar or user, and changing the name servers altogether. HostGator customers can learn more here.


What Are Registrars?

When you register a domain you choose a certain registrar to register your domain with. Usually, you end up choosing a yearly contract where you’ll have ownership of that domain for a year before you need to renew it again.

Some common domain name registrars include: HostGator,, and GoDaddy. The domain name registrar you choose doesn’t matter all that much, but most will differ based upon pricing and the benefits included with your domain.

Remember, your web host and your domain name registrar can be different companies, in which case you’ll just need to change the name servers, which we’ll get to below.

Domain Name


Why Would You Want to Transfer a Domain?

There are a variety of reasons for transferring your domain, but we highlight a few of the most common reasons below:

  • You want to merge your host and domain name registrar together.
  • You’ve bought a domain that’s currently registered at a different registrar.
  • You’ve sold a domain name and need to transfer the domain to the buyer.


Domain Name Transfer Prerequisites

Before you begin the domain name transfer process you’ll want to review the prerequisites below to ensure that you’re not creating any additional headaches for yourself.

  • Your domain must be over 60 days old and not have gone through other transfers with 60 days.
  • You must know whether or not the name servers will also need to be changed when you switch to a new registrar.
  • In some cases, you might need an authorization code and remove WHOIS protection before making the switch.
  • Make sure you update all of the domain contact information, as this will be needed to complete the request.


The Domain Name Transfer Process

The domain name transfer process will begin with your current registrar. You’ll put in a request to transfer your domain to a new registrar and be given a set of processes to follow on their end.

The steps required will differ based upon the registrar you’re currently using, and where you’re moving your domain. The transfer usually takes a few days to complete, as there are steps in place to prevent unauthorized transfers.


What Are Name Servers?

Name servers are the secret key for your website to actually show up when people search for it. Essentially, when someone types in your domain name, the name server will then point to the web host where your site is hosted.


Transferring Name Servers

Transferring name servers is the process of pointing your domain to a specific host. Your existing name servers will usually look something like this:

To change your current name servers all you have to do is change the existing name server information to your new host.

Name servers allow you to point your domain towards whatever web host you’re using currently, while transferring a domain deals with the registrar where your domain lives.

Hopefully the post above helped to clear up any confusion between actually transferring a domain and simply changing the name servers.

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

  • Don Davidson
    26 April 2017 at 10:17 am

    I may wish to transfer my domain name to Hostgator since you are the ones who host my two websites.

    However, before doing that, please advise:
    1. what’s the advantage in doing so
    2. what’s the disadvantage in doing so.
    3. what’s the fee for transferring to you
    4. and what’s your annual fee to keep it registered?