How to transfer a domain name?

A domain transfer is the process of moving a registered domain name from one domain registrar to another. The exact process works in a slightly different way depending on the extension of the domain name that you are transferring. You may need to fill in a form, verify your transfer request by email, or request an authorization code from your current registrar to initiate a transfer. Depending on the domain extension, the process can take between a few minutes and a few weeks to be completed. Domain transfers usually come at a fee.   

What is a domain transfer?

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A domain transfer is the process of moving a registered domain name from one domain registrar to another. Domain owners transfer their domain(s) when they want to consolidate their domain portfolio under a single registrar or to take advantage of better pricing or services offered by another registrar.

To transfer your domain, you usually need to verify your transfer before it is processed. For most extensions, you verify your transfer with an authorization code (also known as an EPP code) that you get from your current registrar. With this code, you initiate a transfer with the new registrar. However, for some other extensions, you don’t need a code, and you verify the transfer by email instead. 

After the transfer is completed in the backend, the domain management rights are transferred to the new registrar, allowing you to manage your domain through the new provider's platform. Domain transfers usually come at a fee, and there are often slightly different rules and requirements in place for different domain extensions.

Why transfer your domain name?

People and companies often transfer their domain names for simpler reasons: they're looking for lower prices, more services, easier management, or to keep all their domains under one roof for convenience and better deals:

  • Better pricing. Many domain owners will transfer their domain name to another provider because of lower pricing. Some registrars try to draw in customers by offering extremely low prices on the first year of domain registration, after which customers are surprised with unexpectedly high renewal rates. For many people, this is the main reason to transfer their domain.

  • Additional features. Registrars may offer many different products and services besides domain names, such as security products or an API module for those who manage domains in bulk. These features can be reasons for people to transfer their domain. 

  • Convenience. If you have your domain registered in one place, but your hosting or content management system in another place, it can make sense to transfer everything to the same registrar.

  • Consolidating your portfolio. If you own multiple domain names, it can be beneficial to have them all registered with the same domain registrar. This is more convenient, and you could get better pricing this way, especially if you are a reseller and/or manage a particularly large volume of domains. The process of transferring your domain names to the same registrar is also called consolidating your domain portfolio.

How to transfer a domain in 9 simple steps

You can transfer your domain by following these simple steps. As all domain registries have their own transfer policy, and all registrars have slightly different control panels, the exact process may vary slightly based on your particular case.

  1. Request an authorization code with your current registrar: You can do this through the control panel of your registrar. If you are not sure how to do this, your registrar’s Knowledge Base will likely have the answers.

  2. Create an account with the new registrar: You need this to be able to transfer the domain.

  3. Select the type of domain transfer that you want to initiate: If you are just transferring one domain name, choose “regular domain transfer”. CSV transfers, registry bulk transfers, and robot transfers are specialized options for people who are transferring large volumes of domain names, and these may require different steps.

  4. If needed, enter the authorization code: Not all transfers require an authorization code. Again, you can usually find the exact steps to do this outlined in the registrar’s Knowledge Base.

  5. Select a date for the transfer: You can choose to transfer your domain immediately or select a date in the future. If you want to choose a future date, be aware that transfer codes for certain ccTLDs (such as .be and .eu) have limited validity.

  6. Pay for the domain transfer, if necessary: Most domain transfers come at a fee, but domain names with certain extensions can be transferred for free. You can find more information about this in our Knowledge Base. Make sure you have enough balance on your account to pay for the domain transfer. At Openprovider, the price of your transfer will first be reserved in your balance and will only be deducted after your transfer is completed.

  7. Verify the transfer by email, if necessary: For domain names with most common gTLDs (such as .com, .info, and .net), you will automatically receive an FOA (Form of Authorization) by email. You can speed up the transfer process by submitting the FOA. If you do not submit the FOA, the transfer will automatically take five days. Some ccTLD registries also require email verification for transfers.

  8. Optional additional step(s): Depending on the extension of the domain name you are transferring, you may need to complete an additional step to verify the transfer, such as submitting particular documentation.

  9. Have patience: Most domain transfers take up to five to seven days to be completed, although some transfers are also processed in real time. The exact duration of the process depends on the extension of the domain name you are transferring.

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How long does it take to transfer a domain?

According to ICANN requirements, registrars have a maximum of five calendar days to transfer your gTLD domain name to your new registrar once the transfer is verified. In practice, this varies, and the processing time may even be slightly longer. Most transfers of gTLD domain names, including .com, .net, or .org, usually take up to 5-7 days to complete.

For ccTLDs, processing times can vary even more. Some ccTLD domain transfers are processed in real time, which means that the domain will immediately be available in your new registrar’s control panel once the transfer is verified. This is the case for .nl and .be

Other ccTLDs have much longer processing times (such as .fr, for which transfers can take up to 22 calendar days) or have additional steps in the verification process that can delay the process. For example, you might need to verify your email in an extra round of verification (such as for .es and .lu) or provide additional documentation (such as for .ie and .hu). You can find the transfer policies of all domain extensions in the Openprovider Knowledge Base.

Domain Transfer Statuses

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These are some of the statuses you may encounter while transferring your domain to or from Openprovider. Be aware that these may have slightly different names at different providers:

  • In progress. This means that the transfer has been initiated and is now in progress. You just need to sit back and relax while the transfer is processed in the backend.

  • Scheduled. You will see this status if you select a date in the future during the transfer request. The domain transfer is therefore not yet initiated.

  • Completed. Great, the transfer was successful! You don’t need to do anything else, but if you manage a lot of domains, you could choose to remove the domain transfer from the transfer overview to keep the overview up-to-date.

  • Locked. This is the status you see if the domain is locked at your current provider, which means that it can’t be transferred right now. You can find more information under “What is a domain lock?”.

  • Cancelled. This is what you will see if the transfer was canceled, either by you or by the domain owner (if you are transferring a domain on behalf of someone else). You can delete it from the overview or start again.

  • Denied. The transfer is denied, usually because it was not verified by email. You can delete it from the overview of start again.

  • Expired. The transfer was not confirmed in time and therefore expired. You can delete it from the overview of start again.

  • Invalid authorization code. This means that the registry did not accept the authorization code you provided. You should contact your current provider and request them to reset the code and confirm that this code is valid for external transfers. After you receive a new code, you can simply click on “Change authorization code” in the transfer overview, enter the new code, and click on “Retry transfer” with the old provider that the code is valid for external transfers.

  • Failed. This means that the transfer failed for another reason. You will have received a system message in your inbox with more details about the particular error.

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Requirements for transferring a domain

To transfer a domain, your domain should follow the following requirements:

  • Your domain should not be locked.

  • Your domain was registered more than 60 days ago (if it is a gTLD). ICANN does not allow for the transfer of gTLD domain names that were registered less than 60 days before the transfer date. 

  • You should have Whois Privacy Protection turned off. After completing the domain transfer, you can turn it on again, as long as Whois Privacy Protection is supported for your particular domain.

  • The email address associated with the domain should be up to date. This is needed because you might need to verify the domain transfer by email.

What is a domain lock?

A domain lock automatically prevents a domain owner from receiving transfer requests for their domain. If you do not enable domain lock, this means that anyone can look up your domain online and submit a transfer request for it. Of course, this does not mean that your domain can automatically be transferred by other people - if you do not validate the transfer, nothing will happen. However, it can be annoying to deal with unwanted transfer requests coming in, and if you are not careful, you may accidentally verify an unwanted transfer that slipped through the cracks. 

Openprovider automatically turns on domain lock for all new domains registered or transferred to us. You can manually turn this setting on or off in the control panel.

Be aware that a domain lock is not the same thing as the 60-day transfer waiting period after registering a gTLD domain name. There is no way to bypass this rule, even if you turn off domain lock for your domain.

Will my website go down during a domain transfer?

There is no reason for a website to go down during a domain transfer. Downtime is usually caused by issues with the DNS, such as DDoS attacks or changes on the nameservers. Domain transfers usually do not involve any changes or updates to the DNS, so unless you make changes to your nameservers during the transfer process, you can be confident that your website will stay up during the transfer process.

How much does it cost to transfer a domain?

There is usually a fee involved with transferring domains, but the exact fee depends on the domain extension of the domain you are transferring. Registrars are free to set their own pricing for domain transfers. You can find Openprovider’s prices in our control panel.

Can I transfer an expired or expiring domain name?

If your domain is expired, but still in its soft quarantine period, you can still transfer it to another registrar without needing to pay the renewal fee at your current registrar first. However, if your domain is already in its redemption grace period (hard quarantine), you will have to pay a restore fee with your current registrar before being able to initiate a transfer to another registrar.

Does transferring a domain hurt the site’s SEO?

No, the action of transferring a domain name by itself will not hurt your site’s SEO, if everything else related to your domain name and website content stays the same. The only time a domain transfer could potentially impact your SEO is if you change your domain name. If you decide to change your domain name, it's important to redirect your old domain to your new one so that any existing traffic and link equity are redirected.

How to transfer your domain from GoDaddy to Openprovider

These are the steps you should take to initiate a regular domain transfer from GoDaddy to Openprovider.

Steps at GoDaddy

  1. Log in to your GoDaddy account.

  2. Go to the domains overview and select the domain you will be transferring to Openprovider.

  3. Go to “Transfer” and select “Transfer to another registrar”. If your domain isn't eligible, GoDaddy will show you a message with those details. Be sure that your domain was registered more than 60 days ago (if it is a gTLD) and that domain lock and Whois Privacy Protection are turned off.

  4. Select “Continue with transfer”.

  5. Select “Click here to see Authorization Code”, and then select “Copy to Clipboard” to copy your authorization code. GoDaddy will also send an email with your code to the administrative email address on your domain name.

Steps at Openprovider

  1. Log in to your Openprovider account (or create one if you haven’t yet).

  2. Go to “Domains overview” and select “Transfers”.

  3. Select  “New Transfer”.

  4. Select “Regular domain transfer”.

  5. Enter the authorization code.

  6. Select a date for the transfer. You can choose to transfer your domain immediately or select a date in the future.

  7. Verify the transfer by email. As the registrant of the domain name, you will automatically receive a FOA (Form of Authorization) by email. Fill in this form and submit it to verify the transfer.

  8. Pay for the domain transfer.

  9. Have patience! After submitting the FOA and completing the payment, most domain transfers take up to five to seven days to be completed, although some transfers are also processed in real time. The exact duration of the process depends on the extension of the domain name you are transferring.

Are you ready to transfer your domain? Take the first step and create an account with Openprovider today.

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