How To Transfer a Domain

Written by Pressable on
How to transfer a domain

Think you understand the domain transfer process? If you know the differences between a push and standard transfer, yeah you probably do. Otherwise, continue reading. Morgan Linton, one of our secure WordPress hosting customers at Pressable, explains not only the differences between a push and standard transfer, but also what steps you need to make in both cases to claim your domain after purchasing it.

As a startup, buying a domain name can be an incredibly confusing process, especially when it comes to the domain transfer step. The thing is, the domain transfer process hasn’t changed a whole lot since the inception of the Internet which means it’s still a very confusing and relatively archaic process.


So if you’re confused by the transfer process, don’t feel bad, most people are. By the end of this article you’ll be armed with everything you need to transfer a domain with confidence.


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First, I want to talk about two different ways you can get a domain into your registrar account: a push (sometimes called an account change) and a transfer. These two are often lumped into one category but they are two different ways of transferring a domain, and one is much easier than the other.


A “push” is when you transfer a domain within the same registrar from one account to another.  It happens instantly and is by far the easiest way to transfer a domain. You don’t need to worry about auth codes or complicated verification steps; the only requirement is that you keep the domain with the same registrar.


Here’s an example of a push. You buy a domain name from someone and find-out that they have the domain registered at Go Daddy. You also have an account at Go Daddy so once you buy the domain you simply provide your Go Daddy account number and email address and the seller pushes the domain into your account. You get an email from Go Daddy and simply accept the account change and the domain is instantly in your Go Daddy account.


The other way to transfer a domain is with a standard transfer from one registrar to another. This is all most people know and unfortunately, not the easiest way to quickly get a domain you’ve just purchased. The only time you want to do a transfer is if you really don’t want to create an account at the registrar the domain is currently registered with. Maybe the domain is registered with some random company in Russia you’ve never heard of and all your domains are with Go Daddy so you want them in the same place. Whatever your reasoning, sometimes you need to transfer between registrars; this is where things can get complex.


To transfer from one registrar to another the domain owner must unlock the domain and provide you, the buyer, with an auth code (sometimes called a domain secret, or secret key). Once you have this code you will initiate a transfer with your domain registrar.


This is where things can get tricky. Many registrars (like Go Daddy) send the current registrant (the domain owner) an email with two transfer authorization codes. You will need these two codes along with the auth code in order to accept the transfer.


It is this step where most people get lost and another great reason why you really want to stick to a push/account change wherever possible. Still, this article is here to demystify the process for you no matter how you approach it, so I’ll end by walking you through the transfer process when you’re moving a domain name to another registrar.


After you have paid for the domain (preferably using a service like Escrow.com for security) you ask the domain owner to unlock their domains and to send over the auth code/domain secret. You then initiate the transfer with your registrar and the seller will get an email with the two codes that you need to input along with the auth code/domain secret.


The final step is getting these two additional codes from the seller and inputting all three of these to complete the transfer. Here’s the catch, the domain won’t transfer immediately. This is another downside to a domain transfer vs. a push/account change. Every registrar works differently but transfers can take as little as a couple of days all the way up to over a week.


This is where most domain buyers get a bit freaked-out since they’ve paid for the domain and initiated the transfer; now they want the domain. Waiting another week for the transfer to complete can be incredibly painful…which is why I always recommend that you stick with a push or account change; it is much easier, faster, and saves you from all the complexities and headaches that come with changing registrars.


Congratulations! If you’ve finished this article you are now armed with everything you need to know in order to take possession of a domain after you’ve purchased it. You know the two ways to transfer a domain and chances are you’re a big fan of pushes and will be avoiding registrar transfers like the plague.


Still have questions about how to transfer your domain? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @pressable

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