Episode 4: Domain Transfer

 Domain transfer is a service that allows you to transfer your domain from one registrar to another. There are several reasons for which you might consider transferring your domain to a different registrar:

  • Better renewal pricing.
  • Consolidating all your hosting service under a single provider.
  • Free domain renewal upon transfer.
  • The new registrar provides additional services such as DNS management, email services etc.

What are Domain Name Registrar and Registry?

A Domain Name registrar is a business that handles domain name reservations in addition to the assignment of IP addresses for those domain names. It should be noted that registrars don’t actually manage and maintain domain names; that part is done by a domain name registry. The registrar that you are transferring away from is called a Losing Registrar, while the one you are transferring to is called a Gaining Registrar. 

Registries are organizations that manage top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .net, and .org — specifically by maintaining the records of which individual domains belong to which people and organizations. The Registries are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) — a department of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a global organization that coordinates several processes and databases that support the Internet’s basic functionality. Registries delegate the commercial sales of domain name registrations to registrars.

Registries own all of their domain names and registrars simply offer customers the opportunity to reserve those domain names for a limited amount of time. The maximum reservation period for a domain name is ten (10) years. A user can hold onto a domain name for longer than ten years, as registrars usually let them keep renewing their reservation indefinitely. But the user never actually owns the domain; they simply lease it.

Are Only Registrars Allowed to Sell Domain Name Registrations?

Resellers are another type of organization that can sell domain name registrations. Such resellers sell domain names on behalf of a registrar in return for a finder’s fee. While these resellers are legitimate, do keep in mind that they are usually operated as a side business, and can thus lack dedicated customer support. Resellers’ websites rarely explicitly state that they are resellers, and it can be tricky to tell them apart from registrars. However, there’s an easy way to know if a company is a legitimate registrar — ICANN has a published list of every accredited and active domain name registrar on its website.

 Frequently Asked Questions about Domain Transfer

Question 1: If I Registered a Domain Name with One Registrar, am I Allowed to Switch to Another? 

- The answer is Yes. It is among your rights to transfer your domain name registrations between registrars.

Question 2: Why can't I Transfer a Domain Name I just registered to Another registrar? 

- Your registrar may deny a transfer request if the domain name is within 60 days of initial registration. Another situation where you may not be able to transfer a domain name is if the domain name is subject to a 60-day Change of Registrant lock. You cannot transfer a domain name to a different registrar within 60 days of making changes to the registrant's name, organization or email address (or the Administrative Contact email address, if there is no registrant email address).  Some registrars may provide an option for you to opt out of this 60-day lock period. However, that rule exists for your protection against unauthorized transfers, and registrars are not obligated to offer this option. If your ultimate goal is to transfer the domain name, you may want to consider completing the transfer process before changing your contact information.

Question 3: What Do I Do if Someone Wants to Purchase One of My Domain Names? 

- It is up to you to decide if you would like to respond to an offer for the purchase of your domain name. You can transfer the control of your domain name to someone else if you would like. That involves changing the Registrant.

Question 4: How Can I Move my Domain Name to a Different Registrant? 

- If you wish to move your domain name from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another, you may initiate the transfer process by contacting the registrar to which you wish to transfer the name. To transfer your domain name to another registrant, you can initiate a change of registrant by contacting your current registrar. Your registrar will then ask for your confirmation via a secure mechanism (which typically will take the form of an email to the registered name holder). You must provide your confirmation within the number of days set by your registrar (not to exceed 60 days) or your transfer will not proceed. Once your registrar receives confirmation from you, they will process the transfer and notify you and the new registrant once the transfer is completed.

Question 5: Where do I Get an Authorization/EPP/Transfer Code? 

An Auth-Code is a code created by a registrar to identify the domain name holder and prevent unauthorized transfers. An Auth-Code is required for a domain holder to transfer a domain name from one registrar to another. Your registrar may allow you, via an online interface tool, to generate and manage your own Authorization/EPP code. If not, you will have to contact your registrar directly to obtain it. Your registrar is obligated to provide you with the AuthInfo code within five calendar days of your request.

Question 6: What if I Don't know Who my Registrar Is? 

If you don't know who your current registrar is, you can look it up by performing a search for your domain name at ICANN's lookup tool. The Registrar field shows you who your registrar is.

Question 7: Why Is My Registrar Refusing to Transfer my Domain Name? 

Your registrar may deny a transfer request in the following circumstances:

  • Evidence of fraud;
  • Reasonable dispute over the identity of the person authorizing the transfer.
  • Domain name is on hold due to payment owed for a previous registration period.
  • Express written objection from the domain name holder.
  • Domain name is in "Lock" status.
  • Domain name is within 60 days of initial registration.
  • Domain name is within 60 days of a previous transfer.

Your registrar is required to specify a reason when denying your transfer request unless they are required. Contact either the current (losing) registrar or the registrar you wish to transfer to (gaining registrar) for information on the denial.

Your registrar is obligated to deny a transfer request in the following circumstances:

  • Domain name is the subject of a Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceeding.
  • Domain name is subject to a court order by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  • Domain name is the subject of a Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy (TDRP) proceeding.
  • Domain name is the subject of a Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) proceeding or URS suspension..
  • Domain name is subject to 60-Day Change of Registrant lock.
Question 8: Is My Registrar Allowed to Charge me a Fee to Transfer to a new Registrar?

 - Yes — registrars are allowed to set their own prices for this service so some may choose to charge a fee.

Question 9: What Do I Do if My Request Was Denied for a Reason not Listed Above? 

If you think your request to transfer your domain name was inappropriately denied or you do not agree with the reason (if any) provided by your current registrar for denying your request, you should then submit a formal Transfer Complaint with ICANN.

Question 10: What Can I Do if I Believe my Registrar Is Violating the ICANN Transfer Policy? 

If you believe your registrar is in violation of the ICANN Transfer Policy, you may file a complaint with ICANN.

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