Why is transferring a domain name so complicated?
Every time I set out to do this, something seems to hiccup. So I thought I’d write out the process here.
First, a definition: Registrar
The Registrar is the company you pay money to to own the domain. It might or might not be your hosting company.
Registration should be around $15/year but some registrars (Network Solutions) charge much more per year and some less. If you pay less, they may try to upsell you with private registration and a bunch of other stuff you may want, or maybe don’t. Dreamhost gives you free private registration so that your email address doesn’t show up for bad robots. (PS: That’s my affiliate account. I’ve been hosting with them since 1999. So I’m confident about their service.)
Second: The Process
So let’s say I own the domain (outgoing/losing registrar) and the Bob (incoming registrar) wants it.
Domain names are locked so that just any old person can’t steal it from you.
So I have to unlock the domain in the cPanel (or where ever this is managed by your registrar) so that someone else can acquire it.
Then I have to supply Bob with the pass code (sometimes called EPP).
That code might just show up in the cPanel, or you might have to request it from the registrar. I’ve seen it both ways.
Next the Bob goes to his registrar and sends a request to transfer the domain to him. Bob gives their registrar the EPP code and probably pays for a year of registration.
He gets an email to approve the incoming transfer. There’s a link in that email that says, essentially, “Click this if it’s ok.” If that link DOESN’T get clicked, the transfer doesn’t go thru.
Then it’s up to the outgoing/losing registrar to release of the domain for transfer.
Depending on the registrar, this can take a couple hours or a couple days. But in any case, no human is involved in that part.
I recommend that both PEOPLE stay in contact while this is going on. So we know where we are in the process and to ensure that the domain is properly released.
If this process also includes changing hosts, then there is a DNS change and mail set up issue which can be easy or complicated.
That’s a post for a different day.