Last updated: May 16, 2017
When you chose the domain name for your website, did you think about where your domain would be registered? Did you use a specialist domain registrar company, or did you just use the registration services available from your web host? If you own a number of domain names, are they registered with many different companies, or do you have them consolidated with one? What if you want to change where your domain is registered?
If you want to change your web hosting company, it’s fiddly, but it can be done. In fact, you can follow the steps in this article. This process does not change where your domain is registered though. To change your domain registrar you need to follow a different process. Again, it’s fiddly, but if you work methodically, it can be done. Let’s investigate.
What is a Domain Registrar?
A domain registrar is an organization or company that administrates the allocation of internet domain names. They make sure that when you choose a domain name for your site, no one else has already taken it. They also make sure your domain name is secure, so no one can take yours. They must be accredited by a top level generic domain suffix (such as .com or .net) or a country level domain (.uk, .de).
A domain registrar is not the same as a web hosting company, although some companies offer both services, such as HostGator.
Why Change Your Domain Registrar?
You don’t have to change your domain registrar when you change your web host, but it does have its benefits.
If you took out a plan with your original web host to register your domain and host your website, cancelling one part of that package could mean a big price rise for the other part. You can avoid the price hike by moving your domain registration too.
If you’re leaving your old web host for a reason such as poor service or too much downtime, you may not want to reward them with any more ongoing business. It makes sense to change your domain registration too.
Moving registrars safeguards your domain for the future. Web hosts come and go, as some of them are small resellers. Moving your registration to a specialist registrar guarantees the smooth management of your domain.
Finally, if you own a number of domains, it makes your life easier to consolidate all of the registrations with one company.
When Can You Change Your Domain Registrar?
You can change your domain registrar at any time, provided it is more than 60 days since you originally registered it. You can’t change your registrar if your domain is under a legal dispute. You can’t change it if you’re bankrupt either.
You also need to know that there will probably be a cost to change your domain registrar. The cost is different for each registrar, and you may find one that will do it for free, but be prepared to pay between $5 and $20 to change. Look out for introductory offers.
OK, here’s how to change your domain registrar.
1 – Unlock your domain
Assuming you have already found a new registrar that you’re happy to join, and you’ve opened an account, the first step is to unlock your domain with your current registrar. You do this by logging into your account and unlocking your domain from the management screen. If you have protected or private registration, you must cancel that too. This requires to you verify your identity to your current registrar.
2 – Do you need an authorization code?
Next, check with your new registrar to see whether you need an EPP code, or authorization code. This depends on the nature of the top level domain that you’re using. All of the most popular domain suffixes, like .com, .org and .net require EPP codes. However, if your domain is relevant to a particular country, then you may not need one. Domains in Spain (.es) do not need one. For .uk domains in Great Britain, you also need an IPS tag, which is a code unique to your new registrar.
If it’s clear that you need an EPP code, request this from your new registrar. They will email it to the address associated with your domain.
3 – Initiate the transfer
At your new registrar, enter the code, and get your transfer rolling. You’ll receive another email asking you if you want to confirm the transfer. Assuming you still do, confirm it, and make it happen.
4 – The waiting game
Next, you play the waiting game. Different registrars take different amounts of time to push through transfers. The average waiting time is about five days. Of course, your domain and website are still accessible during this period. You will eventually receive an email telling you that the transfer of registration has been completed.
And you’re done!
There you have it. It’s a little complicated, but perfectly doable if you follow the process. Be methodical, and there won’t be a problem. We wish you every success with your new registrar.