Transferring a domain from one registrar (like GoDaddy) to another (like DNSimple) can be a scary thing. You have domain names that you want to make sure stay operational during the transfer and you want to know that your domain will be safe. I've put together this blog post to help clarify how the transfer process works.

Here are a couple of things that you should know about before transferring a domain:

  • When you transfer a domain the name servers for the domain will not be changed. This is a good thing if your domain is already hosted by a DNS provider that you use and trust. On the other hand, if you are using your registrar's name servers (for example, if you use GoDaddy's DNS) then you should switch to DNSimple's name servers before you start your transfer because they will likely turn off your DNS records either during the transfer process or shortly after the transfer completes.
  • Your domain must be more than 60 days old and cannot have been transferred within the last 60 days.
  • Your domain must be unlocked before you start your domain transfer.
  • Certain registrars such as GoDaddy require that you remove whois privacy protection before attempting to transfer a domain.
  • For many domains you'll need an authorization code from your current registrar and you have to submit with your domain.

When you start a domain transfer the first thing we do is look in the current Whois for the administrative contact email address associated with your domain. We also look for the registrant email address. If these two email addresses are different then each will receive an authorization email. This authorization email will come from info@transfer-approval.com and will include text explaining that a transfer has been requested. It will include a link that you must click on to continue the transfer process.

Once you've authorized the transfer request we will submit your transfer request to the registry for your domain. At this point the current registrar has 5 days to respond to the transfer request. During those 5 days they may approve the transfer, decline the transfer or do nothing. At the end of the 5 days if they've done nothing then the transfer will automatically complete.

Your current registrar may reject the transfer due to the following reasons:

  • Evidence of fraud
  • UDRP action
  • Court order by a court of competent jurisdiction
  • Reasonable dispute over the identity of the Registered Name Holder or Administrative Contact
  • No payment for previous registration period (including credit card charge-backs) if the domain name is past its expiration date or for previous or current registration periods if the domain name has not yet expired. In all such cases, however, the domain name must be put into "Registrar Hold" status by the Registrar of Record prior to the denial of transfer.
  • Express written objection to the transfer from the Transfer Contact. (e.g. - email, fax, paper document or other processes by which the Transfer Contact has expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in means)
  • A domain name was already in “lock status” provided that the Registrar provides a readily accessible and reasonable means for the Registered Name Holder to remove the lock status.
  • A domain name is in the first 60 days of an initial registration period.
  • A domain name is within 60 days (or a lesser period to be determined) after being transferred (apart from being transferred back to the original Registrar in cases where both Registrars so agree and/or where a decision in the dispute resolution process so directs).

When your transfer completes successfully the domain will automatically be extended the minimum allowed registration period, which is 1 year for most domains. Since the domain is extended you won't lose time still left on your domain registration. The extension is included in the transfer fee for the domain. The domain will show up in your account as registered once we receive notification that the transfer is complete and we will bill your credit card for the amount of the transfer. You'll also receive an email indicating that the transfer has completed. There may be a small period of time between when your transfer completes successfully and when it appears in your DNSimple account as registered where the domain may no longer appear in the losing registrar's domain list. This is one reason why it's a good idea to set up your DNS before you transfer if you plan on switching to DNSimple's name servers.

If your transfer fails to complete for any reason we will not charge your card and you will receive an email indicating that the transfer has failed along with an explanation of why the transfer failed. Once you receive that email you may make any changes necessary to ensure that the transfer completes successfully (such as unlocking the domain, disabling privacy protection, etc.) and retry the transfer.

If you ever have any concerns before, during or after the transfer of a domain, we're always here to help. Send an email to support@dnsimple.com with the domain name you are transferring and we'll help you out. If you're looking for specific details on how to transfer out of GoDaddy take a look at our post on that topic.

P.S. If you're interested in the finer details of domain transfers then take a look at ICANN's transfer policies: http://www.icann.org/en/transfers/policy-12jul04.htm.