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  • How To Do A Domain Name Registrar Transfer

    Posted on July 26th, 2010 phpguru No comments

    Transferring your domain name from one registrar to another can be a giant pain in the rump. The process is a bit error prone and rather confusing, mainly because every domain name registrar has a different process and different interface. Plus, it is in each registrars interest to the make the Transfer Out process as cryptic and illogical as possible, since if it fails at any step along the way, they’ll retain ownership of the registry and possibly get another annual rebill out of you.

    In this tutorial we will be moving domains…

    From: Dotster.com (the Old Registrar, Current Registrar, or Outbound Registrar)
    To: GoDaddy.com (the New Registrar, or Inbound Registrar)

    Don’t get me wrong – both GoDaddy and Dotster are terrific Registrars. There’s no hard feelings here, I’m just consolidating accounts to GoDaddy to save a little money and take advantage of their TotalDNS service, which usually costs extra at other registrars.

    Note that if you are transferring from or to different domain name registrars, your process will be similar overall, but the sample screenshots and link names will obviously be different for you.


    The registrar transfer process hinges on a basic email verification process. In a nutshell, the new registrar sends Email #1 (containing a Transaction ID and a Security Code) to the administrative contact on file at the current registrar. You login to the current registrar and generate an Authorization Code, which is sent via Email #2 to the administrative contact on file. Assuming your email is on file as the administrative contact, you’ll receive these two emails within a few minutes. You then login to your account at the new registrar, and initiate the transfer process by entering the transfer Transaction ID & Security Code, and finally, the authorization Code from the current registrar. Once all 3 codes have been entered, your domain should be migrated to the new registrar within 72 hours.

    The Process

    Before you begin, login to your current registrar and update your domain name contacts. The critical contact record you will want to update is the administrative contact. Domain Registrar Transfers are accomplished by emailing the administrative contact email address. If you cannot access the email account listed and need to make updates, do this step 24 hours prior to initiating the registrar transfer.

    1. At GoDaddy, purchase your domain name as a transfer registration. GoDaddy also has a nice interface to do bulk transfers, but – trust me on this – do domain transfers one at a time or it gets extremely confusing.
      Transfer Domain
    2. At GoDaddy, login to your account, and go to My Account -> Domains -> Pending Transfers
      Pending Transfers
    3. At GoDaddy, on the Pending Transfers page in the domain management area, click on the domain you want to work with. If you’re transferring multiple domains at once, you can see the status of each domain’s transfer process here.
      Domain Transfers
    4. At GoDaddy, click the Reinitiate button. This poorly-labeled button is the one that actually sends the Transaction ID and Security Code email to the Administrative Contact on file at the current registrar.
      Reinitialize Domain Transfer
    5. Now create a new browser tab and login to your domain management account at your current registrar. In my case this is Dotster.
    6. At Dotster, unlock your domain for transfers at the current registrar. This is done on the main account list screen by checking the domain, picking ‘Unlock these domains – to allow transfers’ from the dropdown, and clicking the Manage Domains button.
      Unlock Domain at Dotster
    7. Once Dotster says OK – Unlocked, go back to the domain management page and scroll to the bottom. Click the link that says ‘Request Authorization Code’
      Request Transfer Authorization Code
    8. Next, check your email. If you’re not the administrative contact on the domain you’re trying to transfer, have the person who is forward you any emails they receive from GoDaddy or Dotster.
      Check your email
    9. You will receive Email #1 from GoDaddy. It is from transfers@godaddy.com and lists the Domain Name, the Transaction ID and a Security Code.
      GoDaddy Registrar Transfer Email Sample
    10. You will receive Email #2 from Dotster. It is from auto@dotster.com. It contains your Domain Transfer Authorization Code.
      Domain Transfer Authorization Email
    11. Go Back to your GoDaddy account and prepare to initiate the transfer. You’ll need the Transaction ID, Security Code (from GoDaddy) and Authorization Code (from Dotster) handy.
    12. At GoDaddy, check the checkbox next to the domain listed under Pending Transfers, and click the black Authorize button, and pick ‘Begin Transfer Authorization’ from the dropdown underneath it.
      Initiate Transfer Authorization
    13. Enter the Transaction ID and Security Code (from Email #1) and click Next.
      Entering Transaction ID and Security Code
    14. On the confirmation page with your domain name shown, pick the Authorize button and click Next.
      Authorize Domain Transfer to GoDaddy
    15. On the Authorization page, paste the Authorization Code (from Email #2) and click Finish. Click OK to the final confirmation.
      Entering Transfer Authorization Code
    16. Now, just wait 72 hours and you should be good to go with your domains at GoDaddy. Note, you’ll receive at least one additional email (a transfer notification courtesy) from GoDaddy, during this process. You can ignore this email as it has no information pertinent to the actual process.
    17. After a few days, log in to your GoDaddy account and re-visit the Pending Domain Transfers page. Once all the approval codes have been entered & registered (steps 1 – 15 above) you’ll need to finalize the transfer in the GoDaddy interface.