Difference Between Linking and Transferring | HostGator Support
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Difference Between Linking and Transferring

When you own a domain name, it must be registered with a company known as a “Registrar” for you to use it. A Registrar is basically the “landlord” or “principal” over your domain and is responsible for maintaining the year-to-year registration rights.

Your registrar will provide you with access to something known as the Domain Naming System or DNS, allowing you to update records such as A records using IP addresses for hosting and MX records for email.

Think of an IP Address as something similar to your business phone number, except only computers will call this number to reach your website. An example IP address is

Since your domain can be pointed to any hosting provider you choose, it is not always necessary to transfer a domain if you choose to build your site elsewhere. For this reason, it’s essential to know where and how to update your DNS with your current domain registrar if you’d like to host your site via a 3rd party.

When you point a domain, by updating the IP address via an A record, you are essentially giving your domain a way to be reached. When a user types out your domain name into a browser, their computer will find the IP associated with that domain and “call” the site that's being hosted there.

That is the simple idea of how domains work to point internet users to website content.

Linking vs. Transferring:

As you can imagine, there are some benefits and drawbacks when linking a domain vs. transferring a domain. Continue reading to learn more about each.

Benefits of Linking a Domain are:
Has fewer potential roadblocks due to a lower level of difficulty.Domain remains in the account it was purchased from. Will have separate billing statements.
Takes less time to resolve. Typically 24-48 hours for the domain to start working.Support can be limited since there are different owners of the domain and the website.
It is less technical. You only need to update the domain's A record and allow for the domain to resolve at the new registrar.Things like email set-up, SSLs and file management can be affected by having the domain at a different company.
Benefits of Transferring a Domain are:
Transferring keeps billing statements concise within one account control panel.Technically more difficult to accomplish and requires multiple steps at different levels.
Gives management access to the A Records, MX, and CNAMES.Can take between 7 and 10 days (on average) or longer to completely accomplish.
Support will be able to troubleshoot the domain (once transferred) and just about anything on your account.Numerous hurdles can arise during a transfer, requiring advanced troubleshooting. May require multiple contacts to support.

With your HostGator account, you always have the option of either linking your domain or transferring your domain to your account with us. You can select an option below to learn more about how to accomplish either option.

Pro Tip: Since the benefits of linking a domain do not necessarily outweigh transferring your domain, we will always recommend the path of least resistance. Keeping it simple is kind of our thing, so be sure to reach out to our support team if you need help linking or transferring a domain to your HostGator account.