Monday, December 12, 2005

How to transfer a .com domain name

I thought I would post this as its come up a few times recently.
This advice is based on doing lots of transfers from different registrars.

This advice does NOT reflect the rules as they are written but it reflects
the practicalities of dealing with the various systems that I see on a day
to day basis.

If you follow this advice you will increase the chances of a transfer
working:

1. Make sure that you are listed as the admin contact for the domain name
and that the email address listed is still accessible. This can be checked
in the whois.
If you are not listed as admin contact then you will need to get the current
registrar to make you the admin contact. If the email address is wrong you
need to get this updated to one that works.

2. Make sure that the domain name is unlocked. You can check the lock state
in the whois.
If it is locked you will need to get the current registrar to unlock it.
Some registrars check the lock state in the whois rather than at the
registry so if you are transferring to one of those registrars you will need
to wait 24 hours for the whois to update (Godaddy do it this way and its a
cause of many failed transfers to them).

3. If the domain is in .org .biz or .info you will need to ask the current
registrar for the transfer authorisation code before you can start the
transfer. The code is valid for 5 days so you need to have it before you ask
the new registrar to start the transfer.

4. Now ask the new registrar to request the transfer. if you have followed
all the steps above then it should be clear to go.

5. Follow all the instruction emails sent from the new and old registrar.
The losing registrar may require you to confirm the transfer by replying to
an email or visting their site in some way. If you fail to do this then the
transfer will fail.

Registrar transfers usually take 7 to 10 days to complete so it is not a
good method of changing web host. Its faster to change the name servers
witht he current registrar and deal with a registrar transfer later if you
want to do that. In fact its not possible to change name servers once a
transfer has been initiated so you need to be careful if you are doing this
to change web host.


The most common reasons for transfers failing are:

1. Admin contact has not approved the transfer (usually they never received
the emails as the email address was not functioning or they were not the
admin contact).

2. The domain name has already expired (needs to be renewed at the current
registrar before the transfer can be requested).

3. The domain is less than 60 days old or has been transferred within the
past 60 days.

4. The customer never owned the domain name in the first place (aol.com
etc).

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