How To Legitimately Transfer A Domain

Transferring an existing domain was the hardest part of the week one assignments.  I never thought it would be this difficult since I’d worked with the same company for years.  They had hosted my domain without a problem.  I had been very happy with their services.

For week one, essentially what I needed to do was transfer my domain to a new hosting service.


I started the transfer process in February.

I would expect it to take a week or so.

It took until April to finish the transfer.


Things You Should Know Before You Transfer a Domain

First, the unauthorized transferring of a domain is a very bad thing.  As such, hosting companies are very strict about making sure that the person transferring the domain is actually the owner of the domain.

In a world where my keyboard is my fingerprint, how does one hosting company know that these typed letters are really coming from my fingers? That’s where it started getting challenging.

Most hosting companies will lock a domain so that an unauthorized transfer does not happen.  This locking of a domain also means an authorized transfer does not happen as well.

Before you unlock a domain in preparation of transferring your domain, please be sure your contact information is all up to date and accurate.  Any hosting company will want to confirm the transfer with the owner of the domain.  If you don’t have a way to update your contact information, you’ve got a problem.

Next, you need to make sure that both the old company and the new company are aware of the domain transfer.  To do this, I contacted both companies and made sure that I knew what to expect.  Both said they’d send me an email that would include a link that I’d need to click to authorize the transfer.

So, I waited for the emails.

And they didn’t come.  One didn’t arrive because it was considered spam by my email provider.  Typically, most domain transfer emails are phishing emails and are not legitimate. And, since I was only beginning the relationship with my new hosting company, I (obviously) did not have a prior relationship or history of receiving emails from the new hosting company.

The other email arrived but instructed me to do nothing and the transfer would be automatically approved in 5 days.  I realized my domain transfer had failed when I received notice from the new hosting company.

Turns out that the old hosting company had a link where I could decline the transfer.  That same link had the “approve transfer” option.  But, they didn’t mention that in the email. Arg.

So, after a long string of emails with the old hosting company, we started the domain transfer again.  This time I ignored the instructions in their emails and figured out what I needed to authorize the domain transfer. Finally, it worked.

Third, after the domain transfer was completed, I had my domain suspended.  Turns out that I had updated my contact information which required the hosting company to confirm the accuracy of the information.  Again, this is to prevent unwanted and unauthorized activity on the domain.

Needless to say, they confirmed the new contact information via email. And, again, I did not receive the email.  It wasn’t until I was trying to edit my website and couldn’t even load the home page that I contacted technical support and found out that I didn’t click on a link in the email that I didn’t receive.

Summary: Steps To Legitimately Transfer A Domain

  1. Change email providers so that you can get the emails that you’ll need to receive to confirm the authorized domain transfer.
  2. Next, ensure that your new contact information is up-to-date.
  3. And finally, cross your fingers and email technical support until it works.
  4. Sleep well and thank heaven that the hosting providers are so good at protecting your domain from being transferred by unauthorized people.

Please note my sarcasm.  All this trouble for an authorized domain transfer is exactly what protects the domain from being transferred without my permission.  Although it was a bit cumbersome to transfer the domain, I’m very grateful that both hosting companies for taking precautions to protect their customers.


  • David Bay

    Reply Reply April 15, 2014

    I am smiling because during the last week my domain expired. I had (thought) it had been transferred with my hosting. It had not and I truly discovered bow awful my previous hosting company was which reminded me why I left them in the first place. When it goes wrong, it can be a totally faceless business!

    • rachelbock

      Reply Reply April 16, 2014

      That’s crazy! And you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong….

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