Do you want to transfer domain ownership to someone else?
Whether you’re selling your domain name, gifting it, or handing over control, you’ll first need to make sure you can transfer your domain.
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you the right way to transfer ownership.
Let’s dive right into the tutorial.
Prepare Your Domain Name for Transfer
Before you can transfer your domain name ownership, you’ll need to take a few steps to make sure it can be transferred.
1. Update your contact information
When you transfer a domain, the domain registrar will need to get in touch with you to authorize and confirm the transaction.
They may also contact you to get more information on the domain to make sure the transfer is legit and not a fraud.
So before you start a transfer, make sure you’ve updated your contact information so that you don’t miss any emails or messages.
All you have to do is log into your domain account and make sure your name, phone number, registrant email address, and physical address are up to date.
2. Disable the domain lock
By default, every domain name is locked by the domain registrar. This is simply a safety feature to prevent anyone from accidentally deleting or making changes to their domain.
You’ll need to disable the lock so that the transfer can take place. Head over to your domain registrar account or control panel, and you should find an option to “unlock domain”. In Namecheap, you’ll find the unlock option under Domain List » Sharing & Transfer tab.
If you’re using Bluehost, in your dashboard, go to the Manage » Security tab. Here, you’ll see a ‘Transfer Lock’ tab with a toggle switch.
Simply disable it to allow the domain transfer to take place.
Every domain registrar is required to have an easy way to unlock your domain so it shouldn’t be hard to find. It usually is located under the “Domain Management” or “Security” section.
In case you can’t locate it, contact the current registrar’s support team for help.
3. Disable domain privacy
If you’ve enabled privacy protection on your domain name, this means your contact information is hidden from the WHOIS database.
But during a domain transfer, the new domain registrar will need to verify who is the rightful owner. In many cases, they refer to the WHOIS records to find the current domain owner. They may also use the contact information in the WHOIS database to send you confirmation emails for the transfer.
If you have domain privacy protection on your domain, then the new registrar won’t be able to verify important details. Plus, any emails they send could end up in the default email account provided by your domain registrar which you can’t access.
So you’ll need to make sure domain privacy protection is disabled.
Now that these 3 important things are ticked off the list, you also need to make sure your domain doesn’t have any objections such as:
- Payment outstanding: If you owe payment for a previous registration period, then you won’t be able to transfer it out till you clear your dues. This includes credit card charge-backs.
- Recent registration: The domain name has not completed 60 days since its initial registration.
- Recent transfer: The domain name is within 60 days of a previous transfer.
- Court proceedings: Domain name is subject to a court order by a court of competent jurisdiction.
With that, you’re ready to transfer the domain ownership.
Note: If you’re selling a domain name and you’re unsure about how to collect payment before or after the sale, we recommend using a service like Escrow.com, Sedo, DAN, Epik, or PayPal. The new owner can make the payment to the service first. They will hold onto to the payment till you complete the domain transfer. Then they’ll release the funds to you so you can close the transaction in a safe and secure manner. This will help you avoid scams or not being paid once you’ve transferred ownership.
Step 1: Start the Domain Ownership Transfer
First, you need to determine whether the new owner will be using the same domain registrar or a different one. So for instance, if you’re transferring from your Bluehost account to the buyer’s Bluehost account, things can be a lot easier and faster since it’s handled internally.
If you’re transferring to a different registrar say GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Google Domains, then the transfer can take a bit longer.
To start the process, you’ll need to make sure the new domain owner has signed up for an account with the registrar. They’ll need to initiate the domain transfer from their account.
Step 2: Authorize the Domain Ownership Transfer
After the new owner submits the transfer request on their end, you’ll receive an email confirming the transfer. You can double check the info provided. Next, the email will contain a link so that you can log in to your domain account.
Here, you’ll need to enter a transfer authorization code. You should get the code via email instantly but there are times where it could take up to 5 days.
Some registrars allow you to auto generate the code inside your hosting account or cPanel.
This feature acts like a 2-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized transfers.
So for instance, if you see an email like this about a change of registrant and you haven’t been involved in any transfer of domain ownership, then you can submit a written objection against the transfer to ICANN. You should also contact customer support of the domain registrar to inform them that it’s not you.
If the registrar finds that there is a reasonable dispute over the identity of the person authorizing the transfer, they can deny the request.
Step 3: Pay the Domain Transfer Fee
Domain transfers usually bear a nominal cost. Usually, the buyer or the recipient will need to pay this fee to the new domain registrar. Sometimes, your registrar may also levy a charge.
In case you’re transferring the domain ownership to someone within your own business, then you may be looking for a good deal on domain transfers.
Our top recommendation is Network Solutions. When you transfer your domain name, you’ll get a 1 additional year domain validity period extension for free. They even let you bulk transfer up to 200 domain names. Read more about this here: Network Solutions Review: Features, Plans & Pricing
Once the payment for domain transfer is complete, the rest of the process will be handled by the domain registrar.
If the domain is being transferred to a new registrar, all communication and confirmations will take place between the two registrars. Once the process is complete, the new registrar will configure the domain for the new owner on their platform.
And with that, you’ve successfully transferred the ownership of your domain name. Next, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about domain transfers.
FAQS on Domain Ownership Transfers
1. Why is there a 60-day lock on domain transfers?
The 60-day lock prevents anyone from transferring your domain name without your knowledge. So if an authorized person transfers your domain name to their account, they won’t be able to sell it again for at least 60 days. This gives you time to realize the transfer has taken place and file a complaint to get it back. See: How to Recover a Stolen Domain and Prevent Domain Hijacking.
2. What is an authorization/EPP code/transfer code and where do I get it?
The Auth-Code is an authorization code provided by your registrar to verify the domain transfer. It’s also known as AuthInfo Code, Auth-Info Code, or transfer code.
Usually, your current domain registrar will send you the code via email within 5 days of placing the domain transfer request. Some registrars allow you to auto generate the code on your own through cPanel.
3. How long does a domain transfer take?
The domain transfer process usually takes 5 to 7 business days. However, if there are complications such as incorrect contact information or domain owner objection, it could take longer.
4. Can I transfer an expired or expiring domain name?
If you want to transfer your domain ownership, it should be in good standing. That means all dues and renewal fees should be paid. If your domain name is close to expiry or past expiration date, you may face complications in the process.
5. Will my website go down during a domain name transfer?
In domain transfers, only the domain ownership transfers. If you have an active website, it will not go down. This is because you’re not moving your website and your nameservers do not change. Your website remains with your web hosting provider.
6. Can I make changes to a domain while it’s being transferred?
You can make changes to your website. However, you cannot renew registration, update nameserver and DNS records, or change the WHOIS domain registration information. This needs to be done before you initiate the domain transfer.
That’s it! You’ve learnt how to transfer your domain ownership. We hope you found this guide helpful. Next, you can explore more about buying and selling domains in our guides below:
- Domain Flipping: How to Start and Make a Profit
- How to Get a Domain Name Appraisal (3 Best Tools in 2022)
- Domain Brokers: What are They and Should You Use Them?
In these posts, we take a look at domain flipping, appraisals, and brokers that can help you buy and sell your domain for a profit.